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Soccer teams in final stages of Rec Cup play

Don't tell Gulfcoast Youth Soccer Association players the recreationdivision isn't competitive. At least not while they're in the knockout rounds of the annual GYSA Rec Cup.

Since Feb. 4, 130 teams in 10 age divisions have participated in

single-elimination championship play. Before today, competition had narrowed to quarterfinals or semifinals. All championships are to be played March 3 at Walter Fuller Park, St. Petersburg.

The boys division has 102 teams in six divisions (under-8, under-10, under-12, under-14, under-16, under-19). The girls have 28 (under-8, under-10, under-12, under-14).

Mark McGrew, coach of the girls under-10 team from Azalea, hopes to have his team repeat as GYSA Rec champion. Azalea plays Southside of St. Petersburg in the semifinals today. Next up would be the Largo-Countryside semifinal winner in the championship.

"I'm really hoping to win the GYSA Rec Cup," said McGrew. "I've worked with most of these girls two years and we've won it two years.

We hope to again."

After the GYSA Rec Cup, McGrew said, he plans to enter his team in a regional tournament event against teams from the Tampa Bay area.

Regional winners advance to the President's Cup with the winners designated state champions.

William Hamilton, coach of an under-14 girls team in Palm Harbor, said his team will complete its season with the GYSA Rec Cup.

"Girls this age, particularly, have a lot of outside pressures that influence whether they continue sports," said Hamilton.

Hamilton's team plays Countryside today in a semifinal, with that winner meeting Dunedin or Azalea March 3 in the final.

Annually, about 6,000 youths register for soccer in the GYSA.

Nearly 75 percent of the participation is recreational. While the GYSA Rec Cup signifies the end of the recreational season, the GYSA Competitive Cup begins in April. In that, 46 teams (34 boys, 12 girls) will begin competition with the final slated April 1.

Street hockey: Safety Harbor is signing players for its second season. A skill and safety clinic is scheduled at 2 p.m. Monday at the Community Center and at 4 p.m. at the North City Park. Players 13-under are invited. Call 725-2184.

Elementary age track and field meet: At 9 a.m. today, an elementary track and field meet is to be held at Clearwater High.

Girls gymnastics: LaFleur's Gymnastic Club, of Largo, was fifth in the senior and junior team competitions in the Connecticut Classic, Hartford, Conn. last week.

Senior members were Jan DeMerritte, Jenni Raines, Jenny Luper and Shana and Sara Wides. Juniors were Brooke Corbett, Lena Hokola, Ericka Hawkins, Maureen DeSilva and Suzanne Frost.