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Hernando County gymnastics academies shine in state competition

Local gymnastics academies performed well in the Amateur Athletic Union State Championships on April 28 and 29 in Daytona Beach.

Coached by Beth Strazzullo, Top Contenders Gymnastics of Spring Hill swept team titles in Level 2, 3 and 4 against some of the state's top talent.

The girls won the Level 2 Large Team title over Suncoast Gymnastics of Trinity with numerous gold-medal efforts.

The school won 14 individual golds: Shelby Goode (vault), Alexandria McCann (vault, bars), Jacqueline Jones (bars), Anastasia Nicotra (bars, beam, floor), Chloe Krug (vault, bars), Danika Abbadessa (beam, floor), Regan Barron (bars, vault) and Aurora McBeth (vault).

Nicotra and Abbadessa each won all-around titles in their divisions, with Abbadessa winning an All-American award at the conclusion of the meet.

Top Contenders also won the top team award in Level 3, with three All-Americans. The Large Team title was won over Golden City Gymnastics of Brandon.

The 19 individual gold medals won at Level 3 came from: Melissa Visnaw (bars, beam, floor), Cassidy Coburn (floor), Alexa Meitzner (floor), Hayley Shamblin (vault), Courtney Wenrich (floor), Hayley Danner (beam), Mandy Birren (floor), Bailey Burdin (vault, beam, floor), Abigail Barron (beam), Mackenzie Bell (floor), Natalie Torraco (floor), Sofia Palma (bars, beam) and Gabrielle Healis (vault, bars).

Visnaw, Coburn, Burdin, and Torraco each won all-around crowns, and Burdin, Torraco and Palma each were named All-Americans.

Although the team didn't win any individual golds at Level 4, it won the team title over Jackson's Gymnastics of Orlando.

Stars & Stripes Gymnastics of Spring Hill also had its share of solid performances. The team was second in the Level 2 Medium Team standings, just behind Aerial Stars Gymnastics of Land O'Lakes.

Gold medals were earned by Andrea Florkowski (beam) and Fiorella Aviles (vault, floor) at Level 2. Level 3 gold medals were won by Mackenzie Moss (vault, floor) and Ashley Anselmo (beam). At Level 4, Kendall Haff (beam), Kristen Pizzano (beam), and Christina Magrini (vault, floor) won gold.

Moss, Haff and Magrini emerged with the team's three all-around titles.

NATURE COAST VOLLEYBALL CAMP: Nature Coast Technical High School volleyball coach Emily Gore is hosting the program's second annual summer youth volleyball camp in the Nature Coast gymnasium from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. June 11 to 13.

Registration will begin at 8:45 a.m. June 11. The fee is $60 per player, which includes a T-shirt. Early registration is preferred and guarantees the correct shirt size. The camp is open to children from age 6 to those entering seventh grade. Pizza and Powerade will be sold for $1 each, or participants may bring their lunch.

Several members of the Nature Coast volleyball team will help with the camp. The goal is for each player to have a fun experience while learning volleyball skills, game situations and rules. Forms are available in the school's front office.

For information, contact Gore at (352) 535-5091; (352) 797-7088, ext. 228;, or

KIWANIS SUPERKIDS TRIATHLON: The Kiwanis Club of Spring Hill will host the fourth annual SuperKids Triathlon at Weeki Wachee Springs State Park on May 19.

This event is free for children ages 5 to 14 who attend Hernando County schools. All participants will receive an award, with trophies for winners in each age group. Athletes will be divided into three groups: ages 5 to 7, 8 to 10 and 11 to 14.

For information, visit

There will be a mandatory prerace check-in from 5 to 7 p.m. May 18, with the race the following morning. All races will be started by Hernando County superintendent of schools Bryan Blavatt.

JEROME BROWN GOLF CLASSIC: The Jerome Brown Golf Classic, sponsored by Bright House Networks, will take place June 2 at World Woods Golf Course, north of Brooksville.

The entry fee is $70 per player or $280 per foursome, which includes golf, cart, lunch and a cap. Registration will be at 11:30 a.m., with lunch served at noon. The shotgun start will be at 1 p.m.

Proceeds go to the Jerome Brown Youth Foundation. Prizes will be awarded to the first-, second- and third-place teams.

For information, call Dianna Rusk Yoder at (352) 796-2526.

NAMI BOWL-A-THON: The National Alliance on Mental Illness/NAMI Hernando will host its second annual bowl-a-thon fundraiser at 3 p.m. May 19 at Spring Hill Lanes on Mariner Boulevard.

The cost is $20 per bowler for three games, including bowling shoes and a chance to win gift cards, prizes and giveaways. There will also be a hockey stick raffled, signed by Tampa Bay Lightning star Vincent Lecavalier.

Participants can be accommodated all the way up until the day of the tournament. Business sponsors and prize donations are still needed. Proceeds go to NAMI Hernando, a nonprofit, all-volunteer organization.

To register as an individual or team of four, call NAMI at (352) 684-0004 or LaVonne Roberts at (352) 596-1541.

FIRST TEE SUMMER PROGRAM: The Brooksville Parks and Recreation Department will begin a First Tee golf program starting the week of June 11 at the Quarry Golf Course in Brooksville.

First Tee focuses on golf and life skills instruction. The juniors program strives to instill in participants the organization's nine core values: honesty, integrity, sportsmanship, respect, confidence, responsibility, perseverance, courtesy and judgment.

The cost is $60 per child per week, with ages 9 to 17 eligible. Classes will run from 9 a.m. to noon each day, Monday through Friday. Students are encouraged to bring a bottle of water with them.

Donations are welcome, including youth golf clubs, bags and balls. For information, contact Miles Groff at (352) 540-3835 or

HYL FOOTBALL: Registration for the Hernando Youth League football season will be Saturday and also May 19 and June 9 at Ernie Wever Youth Park in Brooksville.

Officials will be on hand from 9 a.m. to noon each day registering players. The cost is $128 per player, which includes a $3 county park usage fee. Payment may be made with cash, money order, debit card or credit card. All players must be present at registration so they can be fitted for equipment.

Space is limited, so participants are urged to sign up early. For forms and information, visit online.

For other information, call (352) 346-0000.

Contact Derek J. LaRiviere at or (352) 584-6337.

Hernando County gymnastics academies shine in state competition 05/09/12 [Last modified: Wednesday, May 9, 2012 4:41pm]
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