Sotiria Tsilionis of Spring Hill has been selected by the U.S. Olympic Committee as one of 72 national finalists in the 2009 Junior Olympic Skills competition, the official youth skills competition of the USOC.
Finalists will meet at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif., for the National Finals, which started Thursday and run through Sunday. This competition will be streamed live today at www.teamusa.org. Fans can also track the action by following "JrOlympicSkills" on www. twitter.com.
Competing athletes range from ages 8 to 13 and will compete in four fundamental sports: basketball, soccer, tennis, and track and field. Tsilionis qualified by winning the 10- and 11-year-old division in soccer at one of 130 regional events, stemming from nearly 8,000 local qualifying events across the country.
Out of more than 1.6 million competitors, the finalists represent the event's top 72 young athletes from the United States and Puerto Rico. This is the first time in the program's four-year history the U.S. and Puerto Rico Olympic Committees are joining together in this event and three athletes from Puerto Rico have qualified. Thirty states will be represented in the final this year, and Florida is represented by six athletes.
GYMNASTICS: Stars & Stripes Gymnastics Academy competed at the AAU National Championships at the Savannah Civic Center in Savannah, Ga., last month with much success.
Five gymnasts from the school in Spring Hill came back with gold medals from the June 24-28 competition. With more than 1,500 competitors from 22 states on hand, Stars & Stripes earned more first-place finishes than any other gymnastics academy in Florida.
Nicole Flynn, Kaylee Pizzano, Tessa Fritsch, Stephanie Rozanski and Samantha Trodt made up the group of athletes that attained these strong finishes.
Flynn is no stranger to success, as she also took home a gold medal at the AAU State Championships at the Disney Wide World of Sports complex in Orlando earlier this year. In Savannah, she was named an All-American for scoring highest in the Level 4 competition.
Each level was awarded three All-American honors according to scoring. Pizzano and Rozanski also earned All-American labels.
TENNIS: Ace Performance Tennis will be offering one more camp this summer for students interested in learning the basics of the sport.
Ace Performance welcomes youths ages 6 to 18 to sign up for the event. Fees are $100 per camper.
The final session will be held August 4-7 at Brooksville Country Club. Each day of camp goes from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
For more information, visit www.louisedowney.usptapro.com or call John and Louise Downey at (352) 666-0658.
BASEBALL: The West Florida Young Guns, a 9U travel club including players from Hudson and Spring Hill, won the 2009 AAU National Championship at Disney's Wide World of Sports in their division.
The Young Guns went undefeated in the AAU championship and also won a USSSA 10U tournament and placed second in three other 10U tournaments earlier this season.
Of the 11 players on the roster, four of the boys were Spring Hill residents. Brendan Sessa and Derek Ordaz, two key players in the West Florida run, were members of the Brooksville Bombers 8U club that dominated state play last season in the AAU and USSSA.
Submit upcoming events, registration, info to communitysports@ tampabay.com.