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FYSA region event is loaded with area squads

Area teams are playing this weekend in the Florida Youth Soccer Association (FYSA) Region C Championships.

Winners in the first division advance to the President's Cup. Second-division winners earn regional co-champion status.

In all, 15 girls squads and 17 boys teams begin semifinal competition today. Finals are scheduled for Sunday.

The Countryside Lightning has squads in girls under-15, -14, -12, -10 and boys under-12, 17). The Largo Wolves have teams in girls under-17, -10 and boys under-17, -14. Strictly Soccer is represented in girls under-12, -11 and boys under-9, -10, -12). Pinellas FC is in girls under-17, -15 and boys under-15, -18/19.

"We've been working towards this goal of having good representation at the Regional Cup," said Larry Ferrol, Largo's director of coaching. "We've been focusing on providing good coaching and training, and this representation shows us that it's working.

"A highlight for us is having two teams in the under-14 boys semifinal," he said.

"The downside is they're playing one another in a semifinal, so one will be eliminated. The upside is we're assured of having a team in the final."

The St. Pete Raiders (boys under-16, -10, -9), Palm Harbor Lightning (girls under-10 Division 2, -15 and boys under-10 Division 2), Clearwater Chargers (boys under-10, -9), Belleair Blast (girls under-11 Division 2, -13), Oldsmar Outlaws (boys under-13 Division 2) and Azalea Eagles (girls under-14) round out the area clubs competing.

Division 1 games are hosted by Hillsborough United. Division 2 is in Temple Terrace.

"Anything can happen when you get to this stage," Ferrol said. "There's no need to look at what you did before against an opponent because this is a whole new game.

"We've stressed with our teams that they must just go out and play the best they can."

GIRLS GYMNASTICS: LaFleur's of Largo advanced five gymnasts to next month's Level 9 and 10 Regional Championships.

They are Jodie Heinicka (Level 10) and Alyssa Wright, Elizabeth Hermann, Whitney Eberhardt and Jennifer Voynovich (Level 9).

The Tampa Bay Turners were the runner-up in Level 9 in last weekend's state championships.

The squad received a first-place all-around performance from Alyssa Harmon. Jenny Cotrin and Sarah Brownlee finished fourth and eighth, respectively.

Lauren Bernloehr was first all-around in Level 10. Terin Martinjak was second and Jessica Beckman third. Cameron Logan and Bernloehr were tops in the floor exercise, and Harmon posted a vault victory.

The National Judges Association presented special awards to Danielle Holtz, Emily Earle, Martinjak and Logan.

Holtz was recognized for her hard work, Earle for leadership, Martinjak for artistry and creativity, and Logan for academics.

This weekend is the Level 7 and 8 state championships at the Long Center in Clearwater.

Top-10 all-around awards at the Third AAU Qualifier were captured by Medalist All-Star Gymnastics' Briana Stiles (second), Melissa Perkins (fourth), Jamie Oakes (sixth), Claire Ferrari (eighth), Tirzah Bailey (ninth) and Christine Sayler (10th) in Level 7.

Also earning awards were Amanda Crane (fifth) in Level 8 and Ryann Matthews (second) in Level 9.

BOYS GYMNASTICS: At the Class 7 State Championships this month, Medalist Hoel Taylor was fifth all-around, Joseph Garrison eighth and Byron Starlin seventh.

SWIMMING: St. Petersburg Aquatics swimmer Kaitlin Frehling collected three firsts and Stase Michota one in this month's Junior Olympic Championships in Gainesville.

Frehling won the 10-and-under girls 50-yard freestyle, the 50 backstroke and the 50 butterfly; Michota won the 11-12 girls 100 backstroke.

SPA's Frehling, Casey McKeon, Melanie Margalis and Rachel Shea were second in the 200 freestyle relay.

At the Senior Championships last weekend in Clearwater, firsts were earned by Stephanie Margalis (100, 200, 500, 1000 free) and Haley Skaggs (100 fly).

Relay firsts were earned in the 400 and 800 freestyle events by Charlotte Petersen, Daniela Brands, Margalis and Skaggs.

SYNCHRONIZED SWIMMING: The Suncoast WaterWorks novice and intermediate teams competed in the Winter Invitational Synchronized Swim Meet in Jacksonville.

Firsts were earned in duet by Taylor Koon and Gabrielle Lewis, intermediate 11-and-under; Abbie Zohn and Keeley Lawner, advanced 12-13; and Jessica Milam and Rebecca Schuyler, intermediate 14-15.

Winning trio teams were Emily Minteer, Sarah Vernick and Katy Alexander, in novice 10-11; and Lilly Althauser, Jenna Lee and Logan Worley, intermediate 11-and-under.

The squads posting victories included the novice 10-11 (Marissa Foreit, Alicia Hartman, Kayla Bell, Megan Porter, Minteer, Vernick and Alexander), intermediate 11-and-under (Jennifer Aguero,Jessica Bennett, Laurie Goyack, Althauser, Koon, Lee, Lewis and Worley) and intermediate 14-15 (Rylie Burns, Casey Miller, Jeannie O'Connell, Erin Ritz, Milam and Schuyler).

Suncoast also produced four second-place finishes and two thirds.

TWIRLING: Fifteen awards were won by Deb's Allstars Baton Twirling Academy in the Drum Majorettes of America Southern States Regional Competition.

The program received honors in dance line, dance twirl, twirl team, specialty, novelty, pom line and show team events.

The national finals are to be held in North Carolina this summer.