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Five athletes from Gator MMA take top honors at Pan American Games

Local athletes Hunter Solem, 15, and Taylor Kearbey, 12, won the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu events in their respective age group Dec. 17 at the prestigious Pan American Games in Kissimmee.

Ariana "A-train" Blevins, 9, Ethan "Lion Heart" Blevins, 6, and Mike "the Shark" Sylvester, 11, each came in second place at the tournament, a North American Grappling Association event. The athletes all represent Gator MMA in Port Richey.

"It's truly amazing to watch them work as hard as they do and see them achieve what they have," Gator MMA owner and instructor Daniel Blevins said. "You never go into a tournament expecting to win like that. It's NAGA so it's tough competition and you just never know who you could face, but I think it says a lot about how hard these kids work to see these results."

For information about Gator MMA, visit or call (727) 807-7933.

RUNNING: The Suncoast Arts Fest will host its first "Run for the Arts" on Jan. 22. The 1-mile charity run/walk will benefit Arts for Kids and will help supplement funding for arts education in schools. The run will start at 9 a.m. followed by a pancake breakfast. The event is part of the Suncoast Arts Festival at the Shops at Wiregrass. For information visit

BASEBALL: Spring registration for Zephyrhills baseball and softball is now open. Registrants must bring three proofs of residency and a birth certificate. Registration fees are $80 for kids ages 4-8 and $100 for kids ages 9-16. Registrations will be held at Sam Pasco Field from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday and Jan. 19; 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday; and 5 p.m. Sunday. All registrants must attend at least two of the four tryouts, which will be held 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Jan. 19 and 20; 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Jan. 21; and 1 to 3 p.m. Jan. 22. Teams will be selected Jan. 28 and the season begins Feb. 28. For information, call (813) 782-1913.

TENNIS: Lake Jovita Golf & Country Club is looking to crown the best junior tennis players in the area. They will host two open events, one for high school team players and one for rookie players. High school players will compete for the Chris Gupta Trophy on Sunday. Rookie players will compete on Monday. Entry fee for either event is $25 and includes matchplay, light refreshments and trophies. To enter or for information contact Bobby Gillespie, tennis director at Lake Jovita Golf & Country Club at (813) 476 5787 or Deadline for entries is Thursday.

BASKETBALL: The J. Ben Harrill Recreation Complex's girls youth basketball league is available to girls age 10 to 14. The league will start play on Feb. 18 with an evaluation day on Feb. 11. The cost is $35 per participant. Proof of age is required. For information, call (727) 942-7439 or (727) 934-4198.

Contact David Rice at

Five athletes from Gator MMA take top honors at Pan American Games 01/10/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, January 10, 2012 5:43pm]
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