Suncoast WaterWorks won its first U.S. Synchronized Swimming South Zone Championship this month in Richmond, Va.
Nine of its 11 routines placed in the top 10, with the senior team winning the gold medal and the juniors (ages 14-15) placing 10th.
"We thought we were capable of winning," said Alexandra Sevillano, a sophomore at Clearwater High School. "We all had inspirational messages for each other and really tried to stay focused."
Senior team swimmers included Sevillano, Cara Burns, Cathy Cady, Danielle DelBello, Lorna Fountain, Susan Greenfield, Diana Paulk and Jane Perverzoff. Sevillano also swam with best friend Paulk in a duet that finished sixth. Fountain and Greenfield's earned second in duet while Nondi Garrett, Evonne Paulk and Amanda Wilkins placed ninth in trio competition.
Solo performances by Fountain, Burns, Greenfield and Diana Paulk yielded third-, sixth-, ninth- and 10th-place results respectively.
"The girls really gave their heart and soul, especially in their final events," said Karen Paulk, coach of the Suncoast team based in Largo. "Some swam three routines in a day, others two, and they were all really exhausted going into figures."
Team scores include routines valued at 65 percent of the total and figures 35 percent. Suncoast held a small lead after the routines and held on through the figures to defeat the defending champion Texas Pirouettes and perennial powerhouse University of Richmond.
Members of the junior team, competing among older and more experienced swimmers, included Jennifer Amsinger, Kara Clemens, Garrett, Veniece Kilissanly, Evonne Paulk, Dana Rosenfeld, Kristi Whichter and Wilkins.
BASKETBALL: The girls 12-and-under team from Roberts Community Center in St. Petersburg won the title in this month's Florida Youth Basketball State Championships. The Lakewood Junior Spartans 11-and-under boys team placed second and the Seminole AAU 13-and-under boys squad won the consolation title.
In the girls final, Roberts defeated a team from Orlando 32-24. Players included Kelcey Roegeirs-Jensen, Megan East, Brittany Lambeth, Dominique Redding, Jenny Brazzell, Roseanne Tullo and Mary Shaw.
Last weekend, three Clearwater for Youth AAU girls teams traveled to Venice for the fourth annual Venice Invitational. The girls 12-and-under team won the 14-and-under title, the 15-and-under squad finished second, and the 11-and-under team was fourth.
Roegeirs-Jensen, East, Brazzell, Lambeth and Redding also are members of the 12-and-under AAU squad.
SKIING: Christina Dicus of Dunedin placed first among 40 girls in the first slalom race of the Para Derby Mid-Atlantic Championships in Pennsylvania. Dicus is the first junior girl (ages 13-14) from a southern section to earn first place.
Overall, Dicus was one of the top finalists in an elite junior event and is competing this weekend at Loon Mountain in New Hampshire in the Eastern Junior III finals.
TENNIS: Matthew Buckles won the sportsmanship award at this month's Junior Grand Prix Challenger Series held at Countryside Country Club. Singles winners were Elizabeth Perlow (girls 12), Jeff Mixon (boys 12), Ricky Pracel (boys 10) and Devin Hultgren (boys 16).
Treasure Island hosts a grand prix event April 12-13 at its city courts. Call 360-6062 for more information.
BOYS GYMNASTICS: Apollo's Joshua Abdalla was third all-around in Class 5 at this month's Third Qualifier in Tallahassee. Abdalla won the still rings, was second on pommel horse, and third on floor, vault and parallel bars. Nicholas Miller was seventh all-around in Class 6 and won the vault competition.
Apollo medalists in Class 7 were Joseph Koslowski, Matthew Tucker, Griffin Turner, Richard Labelle and Daniel Maraventano. Victor Valenty was eighth on the high bar in Class 6.
Gemini's Jeremiah Hodges was first all-around at the Gasparilla Classic this month and won each of the six events in Class 5. Other event winners included Louis Fierro (Class 7 floor), Joshua Miller (Class 7 still rings), Colin Crist (Class 7 parallel bars), Lester Nichols (Class 5 pommel horse) and Joshua Matson (Class 5 floor).
Gemini's Class 5 team was second, Class 6 third and Class 7 fifth.
GIRLS GYMNASTICS: Brittni Shriver and Amber Bebee were third all-around in this month's AAU Second Qualifier in New Port Richey. Shriver also won the beam competition, and Christy Hintz won the vault.
At the Gasparilla Classic in Tampa, Natalie Mera, Claire Canon, Melissa Wheeling, Jasmine Johnson, Melissa Lay, Rachel Thibault and Sally Cantrell won their respective all-around divisions. Katy Fulk, Kristina Low, Lyndsey Childress, Heather Lange, Meagan Mather and Keriann Arnold finished second all-around.
CFY AWARDS: The 24th annual Celebrity Clearwater for Youth Banquet last month honored area youths for their participation in CFY programs.
Clearwater High School senior Michael Hedge received the first annual Art Capogna Scholarship Award, and St. Petersburg High senior Tanis O'Connor the 11th annual Barnett Bank Youth Scholarship Award. Hedge played CFY football; O'Connor softball.
Nadine and Daniel Carlisle received the 11th annual Frederick E. Fisher Humanitarian Award for dedication toward youth, and Larry Bird received the 12th annual J. Warren Hughes Award for inspiration to youths.