For the past six years, St. Petersburg's Adam Moravick has spent his summers as an assistant coach with USA Baseball. He has helped coach the 14-under team, and this year he helped with the 16-under team. He spent hot days at the team's training site in Jupiter, on the east coast of Florida, helping coach some of the most promising baseball players in the country.
He did it for little to no money. Moravick just wanted to be around baseball. The payoff came on Aug. 10-23 when Moravick accompanied the team to Chinese Taipei for the International Baseball World Youth Baseball Championship. He replaced a coach who couldn't attend because his wife had a baby. Moravick coached first base.
"They asked me if I wanted to coach and I said 'sure,' " Moravick said. "It was a great experience. I got to be around some of the best youth players in the world.''
Moravick, 32, was recently named the baseball coach at Indian Rocks Christian. He graduated from IRC in 1996 and briefly attended the University of St. Francis in Indiana before transferring to Florida State, where he majored in physical education. He is a physical education teacher at Lakewood Elementary.
Moravick always has wanted to be around baseball. He was an assistant at Largo before becoming the head coach at Northside Christian for three years. He was an assistant at Seminole after that before taking over at IRC. Moravick credits former Northside Christian coach Darrell Don for getting him involved in USA Baseball.
"I went into coaching because I've always wanted to work with kids,'' Moravick said. "I like coaching at this level. This is where I feel the most comfortable.''
The USA 16-under team went 8-0 in the 12 team tournament. They defeated Cuba 7-6 in the championship game after trailing 5-1 in the sixth inning. There were four players from Florida on the team, but none from the Tampa Bay area.
This was Moravick's first trip to Asia, and he said it was unforgettable.
"It's a heavily populated country and the people were very respectful,'' Moravick said. "There was some great baseball over there. We got to play in two of their professional stadiums with professional locker rooms. It was great. You don't do something like that for the money. You do it because you love it.''
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St. Petersburg Tennis Center hosted the SPTC Junior Super Series on Aug. 22-24. Ben Hwang won the boys 18 singles over top seed Garrett Betsarakis, 7-6 (9-7), 6-4. Colin Roller, won the boys 16 singles and Christopher Reign won the 14. The girls 18 singles winner was Blair Martin, who defeated second seed Nicola Wellman6-2, 6-4. Amy Lowther won the 16 singles and Gabrielle Rodriguez won the 14.
- Seminole Lake Tennis Center held a Super Series Challenge on Aug. 29-31. The boys 18 singles winner was Betsarakis, the 16 winner was Alex Saltiel. The girls 18 singles winner was Akilah Jamesand Julia Sikorski won the 16. The boys 18 doubles winners were William Chen and Bruce Kowalski, and Adam Ambrozy and Christian Rincon took the 16 doubles. The girls 18 doubles winners were Emily Dvorak and Katherine Pyne.
-The Clearwater NTRP Championships were Aug. 22-23. The men's 3.0 singles winner was Rene Fernandez. The 3.5 singles winner was Nicolas Garazo, the 4.0 winner was Enrique Vela, the 4.5 winner was Adam Talley. The women's winners were Amy Powell (3.0 singles), Zana Lukosiuniene (3.5) and Shu-Sha Mu (4.0).
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The Ryan Wells Junior Golf Classic was last weekend at Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club. In the boys division, Aaron Watson of Palm Harbor won with a two-day score of 142. Jake Johnson of Clearwater and Linzy Clark of Palm Harbor were second with 144. In the girls division, Dakota Dowd won with a total of 144. Madison Opfer of Plant City was second with 146. The middle school boys winner was Cole Johnson of Sarasota, who shot 136. Clayton Spillman of Belleair was the top local finisher with 146.
- The County Golf Association held a tournament Monday at the Bayou Club in Largo. The regular division gross winner was Richard Bullock, who shot 73. The net winner was Mark Thomas, who shot 67. The senior gross winner was Mark Wheaton, who shot 72. The net winner was Dean Johnson, who shot 68. The ladies net winner was Jeannine Wiles, who shot 74 and won in a scorecard playoff.
- Richard Kerper of Safety Harbor tied for third at the Florida Mid Senior Championship on Aug. 23 with a three-day total of 216. Kerper was the highest local finisher. Phil Olive of Estero won the tournament at 211.
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Shelby Olson of Palm Harbor travelled to Colorado Springs on Aug. 22 to compete in the U.S. Junior National team trials for tae kwon do. Olson, a senior at East Lake High, won the tournament and earned a spot on the U.S. Junior National team. Olson trains at US Best Tae Kwon Do Center in Largo.