Lakewood swimmer Nicole Haislett was named Pinellas County's Outstanding Amateur Athlete of 1989, and the Lakewood girls basketball team was named Outstanding Amateur Team at Sportsalute XVIII, held Wednesday night at the St. Petersburg Hilton and Towers. Haislett, a senior and a four-time state freestyle champion, received the award for the second year in a row, beating out four other individual finalists, all representing different sports. The Spartans, who went 30-1 and won the 1989 Class 3A state championship, were selected as the best of five team finalists.
The Chi Chi Rodriguez Youth Foundation, a Clearwater organization that helps disadvantaged and abused youths by using role models, tutoring and golf instruction, was the recipient of the 1989 award for Outstanding Sports Achievement.
Sportsalute, which is sponsored by the St. Petersburg Times, the City of St. Petersburg, and the St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce, is an annual awards banquet that honors Pinellas' amateur athletic achievements for the previous year.
In 1989, Haislett won her third and fourth state freestyle titles (at 50 and 100 yards), twice setting a national record in the 100 and breaking her own state mark in the 50.
She also won her first national title _ in the 100-meter free _ at the U.S. Long Course Championships in August, defeating two past Olympic medalists in a time just .85 off the American record.
Other finalists for the individual award were Erika Kuttler (The Canterbury School, girls tennis), Chris LeRoux (Largo, weightlifting), Necole Tunsil (Lakewood, basketball and track) and Tad Yeager (Pinellas Park, wrestling).
The Lakewood girls basketball team was ranked No. 1 in the 3A state poll all season, and won the program's first state title by defeating Sanford Seminole 78-75 in double overtime.
The Spartans went undefeated (14-0) in the South Division of the Pinellas County Conference, and beat Pinellas Park _ the 1989 state runner-up in Class 4A _ for the overall PCC championship.
En route to the state title, Lakewood won district, region and section titles.
Other finalists for the team award were the Clearwater Central Catholic boys soccer team, which won the Class 2A state title; the Shorecrest Preparatory School baseball team, which won the Class A state championship; the Seminole High girls soccer team, which lost in last year's 4A state final; and the Pinellas County Police Athletic League baseball squad, which won the national PAL championship for teams 16-under.