Brad Harris was a gymnast growing up until an injury sidelined him when he was 18. Instead of moving on to something else, Harris, 41, moved into coaching. It became a full-time job.
Harris started working with gymnasts at the Tampa Bay Turners in St. Petersburg in 1994 and became an owner of the gym in 2000. In that time he has coached hundreds of gymnasts, but he and his club have never had as much success as this past season.
The competitive gymnasts at Tampa Bay Turners won eight of 11 levels at the Florida State meet, a record. Because of that success, Harris was named the USA Gymnastics Junior Olympics Coach of the Year.
"It's really an honor,'' Harris said. "They've only had this award for five years now. It's pretty slim company.''
Harris said there are between 800 and 1,000 kids who come through the Turners gymnastics and swimming program each week. There are about 100 kids who are in the competitive program that travels the state competing. Harris works mainly with the competitive level gymnasts.
"It's a funny award,'' Harris said. "I'm named the national coach of the year, but it takes a huge amount of other people being involved. There's the other coaches and a very dedicated group of kids. And then the parents because it is a sport that demands a lot of dedication. They are in here a lot of hours every week.''
The County Golf Association held an individual tournament Aug. 18 at Belleair Country Club. The regular division gross winner was John Lisenbee, who shot 72. The regular division net winner was Doug Laseter, who shot 65. The senior division gross winner was Greg Farrey, who shot 71. The senior net winner was Bo Whitley, who shot 60. The ladies net winner was Shirley Nesbitt, who shot 70.
• The West Coast Women's Golf Association held its bimonthly event at Feather Sound on Aug. 24. The Flight AA winner was Sisi Hedges, who shot 72. The Flight A winner was Robin Park, who shot 84. The Flight B winner was Lyla Kinsel, who shot 85 and the Flight C winners were Ivette Kotke and Jenni Marshall, who shot 95s.
Members of the Tennis Foundation of St. Petersburg are headed to the women's 4.0 national championships Sept. 23-25 in Tucson, Ariz. The team defeated Orange/Seminole 5-0 in the USTA Florida Adult League Championships in Daytona Beach. The team is captained by Sally Marshall and includes Katie Healy, Meredith Heineman-Van Vaals, Nancy Bahls, Tammy Trace, Allyson Hoffman, Brenda Bowman, Sandy Martin, Shelly Banks, Kathy Moll, Donna Dicus, Carolyn Davis, Marijan "MJ" Krista Lindsay, Ann Worthington, Janet Matthews and Leslie Godwin.
• The St. Petersburg Tennis Center Junior Super Series was held Aug. 20-22. The boys 18 singles winner was Will Showers, the 16 winner was Dan Stefan, the 14 winner was Bailey Showers, the 12 winner was Sebastian Korda and the 10 winner was Chase Martin. The girls 18 singles winner was Star Makarome, the 16 winner was Vanina Iordanova, the 14 winner was Juliet Zhang, the 12 winner was Shachaamah Brown and the 10 winner was Sandra Swiderski.
• The Royal Racquet Club of Clearwater held the summer classic (designated)/state closed tournament Aug. 20-22. The women's open singles winner was Sherry Li and the women's 45 singles winner was Kim Cashman. The men's 45 singles winner was Terry O'Grady and the 55 winner was Robert Graham.
The Pinellas County high school league will hold tryouts this week for the upcoming season. Any high school student interested in bowling is asked to contact his or her local alley for tryout information. There are three leagues: boys varsity, girls varsity and coed junior varsity. Each lane provides coaches for the league. Dunedin High School practices at Dunedin Lanes, East Lake, Tarpon Springs, Palm Harbor; Countryside practices at Countryside Lanes; Clearwater practices at AMF Clearwater; Largo and Osceola practice at Twedts Lanes; Pinellas Park practices at Liberty Lanes, Seminole; Dixie Hollins practices at Seminole Lanes, Gibbs, St. Petersburg; Northeast practices at Ten Pin Lanes; and Boca Ciega and Lakewood practice at Ten Pin Lanes. Matches begin Sept. 8.
• Greg Waddell of St. Petersburg recently set the Seminole County (Orlando) record by rolling a 300-289-279–868 series. The previous record was 864.