Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Nighthawks' gift: tourney title

The Palm Harbor Nighthawks under 10 soccer team took home trophies from the Tampa Bay Classic after posting four wins over the course of last weekend’s tournament.

Special to the Times

The Palm Harbor Nighthawks under 10 soccer team took home trophies from the Tampa Bay Classic after posting four wins over the course of last weekend’s tournament.

The Palm Harbor Nighthawks under 10 girls soccer team wanted to give coach Gerald Czaja a Valentine's Day present. The players figured the best way to do that was to win the Tampa Bay Classic under-10 girls tournament on Feb. 13-14. After four wins, two Saturday and two Sunday, the Nighthawks earned the trophy.

It was the club's second tournament win since forming two years ago, but it was the first championship Czaja has coached. In the other championship more than a year ago, Czaja was out of town and assistant coach Keith Barbaccia led the victory.

"That's been kind of a running joke,'' Czaja said. "The only championship they won and I was out of town. So this one is special, although the girls did all the work. I just stayed on the sidelines and yelled at them.''

Palm Harbor started the tournament with a 4-3 win over Wesley Chapel. Then came a 2-2 tie against host Plant City. On Sunday, Palm Harbor played rival East Lake and won 6-4. Already in the final, the Nighthawks waited to learn their opponent, which turned out to be East Lake again.

In the rematch, Palm Harbor trailed 2-0 at halftime but tied the score at 2. The winner came on a blast by Alivia Gonzalaz to give the Nighthawks a 3-2 win.

The nine girls on the team are Daniella Altamura, Taylor Baksay, Kaylyn Burroughs, Mackenzie Cumings, Avery Enlow, Jillian Fragale, Isabel Fraley, Oriana Garcia and Gonzalaz.

Czaja doesn't have a daughter on the team, but that doesn't keep him from being involved.

"I just love the game,'' he said. "I don't have any kids yet, so I like being out there with them.''


The latest Largo Golf Course biweekly 18-hole scramble was held on Saturday, Feb. 13. The scramble, which is open to the public, had a total of eight teams (29 players). The team of Dave Nagy (St. Petersburg), Rick Creech (Largo) and Bob Panko (Seminole) won the event with a score of 50 (12 under par). During the tournament, Jeff Davis of Largo recorded a hole-in-one on the 155-yard fourth hole with a 5-iron.

• Cypress Run held its men's club championship on Feb. 14. Neil Vanleeuwen defeated Ron Salhany in a 36-hole final match. In other brackets, Frank Zepf won the Sam Snead flight, John Geheb won the Byron Nelson flight and Gerry Turtora won the Ben Hogan flight.


The USTA National Open for 14-year-old girls was held on Feb. 13-17 at Bardmoor Tennis Club in Largo. In the singles final, Julia O'Loughlin defeated Rianna Valdes 7-5, 7-6 (7-2). In doubles, Alexandra Baer and Alexandria Najarian defeated Savannah Durkin and Johnnise Renaud 8-4.

• The Largo Tennis Center will be hosting Tennis Night in America from 5-7:30 p.m. on Monday, March 1. Parents and kids are invited to help kick off the 2010 youth season as part of the USTA's National Youth Registration Night Initiative. Play tennis, have fun and enjoy pizza, prizes, games and QuickStart Tennis demos. For more information about this event, call 518-3125 or visit


Kudos to the Oak Grove Middle School Golden Knights for winning the Pinellas County Central Division championship with a 10-0 record. Members of the team are Cody Carden, Armin Tabakovic, Juan Rivera, Mevlut Dauti, Adam Harris, Casey Kennedy, Raymond Johnson, Alex Davis, Marcus Budd, Scott McElravy, Jordan Leston, Rasim Avmet, Dominic Haggerty, Darien Asberry and Dakarai Allen. The coaches are Jamey Baby and Dave Cory.


The Big East vs. Big Ten baseball challenge will be held Feb. 26-28 at various venues in Pinellas County. Games will be played at the Naimoli Complex, Progress Energy Park and Jack Russell Stadium in Clearwater. All Big Ten teams except Wisconsin will play (Wisconsin does not field a varsity baseball team). Big East teams playing are South Florida, Connecticut, St. John's, Seton Hall, West Virginia, Cincinnati, Louisville, Rutgers, Villanova and Notre Dame. For information and complete schedules, go to

Rodney Page can be reached at

Nighthawks' gift: tourney title 02/20/10 [Last modified: Saturday, February 20, 2010 3:30am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. St. Petersburg's Sebastien Bourdais vows to return for IndyCar finale

    Auto racing

    INDIANAPOLIS — Sebastien Bourdais was in one of the best race cars he'd ever had, so fast that most of his competitors thought he would win the pole for the Indianapolis 500.

    Sebastien Bourdais does physical therapy at the Rehabilitation Hospital of Indiana in Indianapolis. Bourdais broke his pelvis, hip and two ribs in an accident during qualifying for the Indianapolis 500 on May 20. He plans to return home to St. Petersburg soon to continue therapy. [Associated Press]
  2. Yellow cards stall Rowdies offense in tie with St. Louis


    ST. PETERSBURG — It's not the result they wanted, but it certainly could have been worse. Neill Collins' 87th-minute header off a corner kick was the reward the Rowdies settled for Saturday night during a 1-1 draw with St. Louis before an announced 6,068 at Al Lang Stadium.

  3. Calvary Christian routs Pensacola Catholic to win state baseball title


    FORT MYERS — Calvary Christian left no doubt as to which baseball team in Class 4A was the best in Florida this season. The Warriors defeated Pensacola Catholic 11-1 in six innings Saturday night at Hammond Stadium to claim the school's first state championship in any team sport. It also solidified a 30-0 season. …

    Matheu Nelson celebrates after scoring on a wild pitch during the first inning, when Calvary Christian took a 6-0 lead.
  4. Numerous lapses add up to frustrating Rays loss to Twins

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — While the Rays made some good defensive plays, threw a couple of big pitches when they needed to and got a few, and just a few, key hits, there were some obvious things they did wrong that led to them losing Saturday's game to the Twins 5-3:

    Rays reliever Tommy Hunter says the Twins’ tiebreaking homer came on a pitch that was “close to where I wanted it.”
  5. Rays journal: Steven Souza Jr. laughing right along after comical dive

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — Souza being Souza.

    That seemed to be the best way to describe the entertaining — and comically bad — dive Rays RF Steven Souza Jr. attempted in Friday's game, and the good humor he showed in handling the fallout, including a standing ovation his next at-bat from the …