Looking back: The Islander’s best in sports for 2013
Happy new year to all and good riddance to the outgoing one. It was a tough one for me, personally, so I’m looking forward to 2014, but first I have to look back at all of the people and events who filled this page in the past year.
Before I get started, I need to thank the people that keep me informed on the island sports scene, starting with Troy Shonk and now Matt Ray at the Anna Maria Island Community Center. Youth sports and the new popularity of adult competition there makes up the majority of my weekly column.
I also would be remiss if I didn’t mention Gary Duncan, Helen Pollock and Joy Kaiser of the Key Royale Club for contributing weekly golf news.
Jay Disbrow is another person I need to thank for providing timely, weekly updates of the games and goings on at the Anna Maria City Hall horseshoe pits.
Another frequent contributor to my column is runner Mickey Hooke, a longtime Galati Yacht Sales employee and former islander. Hooke appeared in The Islander several times in 2013 — as an overall race winner four times, which is impressive, and more so considering he’s 52 years old.
Hooke won the seventh annual Spring Lake 5K in May, the St. Pete Beach Series 5K in June, the Sunsets at Pier 60 5K in July and the UA 10K Beach Running Championships in Cocoa Beach in October.
He punctuated 2013 with a win in the RRCA Florida 5K Grandmasters State Championship in September. Hooke’s time of 17:28 was 1:27 ahead of his nearest grandmasters-level competitor. He set a grandmasters record for the new course, plus it was a grandmasters record over the event’s two courses in its 10-year history.
Hooke was the 2012 grandmasters record holder at 17:33.
Hooke set his 30th record this calendar year and 19th championship since 2000. He also set a grandmasters record at the 2013 RRCA Florida 10K State Championship in April, placing second overall.
If he wasn’t winning a race, he was near the top. He won races as a master and grandmaster entry. Hooke set record after record in his age group and for his high level of success, he is — yes, again — The Islander’s top sports story for 2013.
2. Islander qualifies for world triathlon
Sandy Meneley takes second place based on her qualification for the national championship run by winning her 65-69 age group in the Aug. 10-11 Olympic Age Group Triathlon in Milwaukee.
The national title enables her to participate on Team USA representing the United States at the World Championship Triathlon next summer in Edmonton, Canada. Meneley also was a member of Team USA a few years ago, earning a fourth-place finish in Beijing.
Meneley, retired from her years as an Illinois high school track coach, began training for triathlons after retiring from teaching. A background in marathons has helped her obtain podium finishes in all triathlon distances, including her fourth-place finish in the past year at the world championship Ironman in Hawaii.
3. There’s Magic in the island waters
The recreational leagues at the Anna Maria Island Community Center provide area youth the opportunity for exposure to a multitude of sports, so it’s great when you see players who got their start here move on to play at a higher level.
For us, U14 Manatee Magic girl’s competitive soccer team has a definite “Island” flavor. Eight of the 15 players on the roster live on Anna Maria Island, while one, Brooke McIntosh, has deep roots here. Her father/coach Brett McIntosh grew up on AMI, and Aunt Beth and Uncle Scott McIntosh reside in Holmes Beach.
The other eight — Lily Meaker, Morgan Burns, Grace Bowers, Emma Monuese, Olivia Glavan, Brooke Capparelli, Danielle Capparelli and Jenna Rogers — all either formerly lived on AMI or now live near the island and got their start playing soccer at the center.
Most of them had prominent roles on a Magic team that placed second in the Largo United Halloween tournament played Oct. 5-6.
Since that tournament, the Magic girls have compiled a 4-1-3 record, which puts them in second place in their division.
For taking their game to another level, the U14 Magic girls rank as third best sports story.
4. Champs crowned for indoor soccer league
From the bleachers, one of the best sports the center offers is the summer indoor soccer league. It provides players a chance to hone their skills in a competitive league, while avoiding the stifling heat of the summer.
The list of awards won by Beach Bistro and Eat Here, thanks to restaurant owner Sean Murphy, got a little longer Aug. 16 as both teams won the championship game in their respective age divisions in the center’s summer league.
Beach Bistro upset regular-season champ LPAC 6-5 in the 8-10 division championship game behind a game-high five goals from Tyler Brewer and single goals from Jeremiah Sculco and Shane Solletti. Bistro also received strong play from Ana Gonzalez, Travis Bates, German Rivera, Javier Rivera and Tuna McCracken in the victory.
Regular-season champion Eat Here won its 11-13 division championship with an exciting 4-3 victory Aug. 16 over Island Dental Spa.
Eat Here was led by Carter Reemelin’s two goals and single goals from Dunn Reemelin and Robbie Fellowes. Fernandes was supported defensively by Conal Cassidy, Reagan Nevin and Gauge Nevin in the victory.
Dylan Joseph led Island Dental Spa with two goals, while Luke Marvin added one in the loss.
5. Pirates punch up scoreboard
Though this isn’t exactly a sports story, it definitely involves sports and it appeared in my column. In April, the Pittsburgh Pirates came to the community center to dedicate a new outdoor scoreboard.
The Pirates Charities awarded a matching grant to the center and Jackson Hayes, a youth baseball player at the center, raised the most money to help match the Pirate funding. He was front and center at the dedication with the Pirates mascot and centerfielder Mel Rojas Jr.
The Pirates also gave the same grant to the Manatee Area Youth Soccer Organization earlier in the year to purchase four sets of soccer goals.
Kudos to the Pirates organization for its generosity in our community.
6. Moss family dominates adult sports
It came across as two sports stories a week apart, but it should be noted that the center flag football league champions, Agnelli Pool & Spa Giants, and center volleyball champions, Southern Greens, couldn’t have fielded teams were it not for the legion of Moss players.
The Moss family members helped third-seeded Agnelli Pool & Spa Giants roll to a 38-22 victory Aug. 22 over Waterfront Restaurant Raiders to win the NFL flag football Super Bowl at the center.
Quarterback Ryan Moss led the way for the Giants on offense and defense. He completed 16 of 23 passes for 253 yards and five touchdown passes. Three of his touchdown passes went to Brent Moss, who finished with five catches for 73 yards.
Ryan Moss made an incredible eight flag pulls to lead the defense, which also received two pulls apiece from Rio and Brent Moss in the victory.
Then a few days later, the Moss family helped Southern Greens outlast Beach Bums 25-16, 17-25, 25-16 to win the Aug. 27 adult volleyball playoffs in the center gym.
7. AMICC Pickleball Club brings home the gold
Twelve members of the Anna Maria Island Community Center Pickleball Club competed in the Florida International Senior Games and State Championships Dec. 13-15 in Estero. The group brought home 10 gold and silver medals.
Bob McClure and Bill Wilson competed in singles and both brought home gold medals, while Clayton Taylor earned a silver medal in men’s singles.
Jim Teasdale teamed up with McClure to win a gold medal in men’s doubles, while Taylor and Wilson brought home silver.
Toni Teasdale and Barb Smith teamed up in women’s doubles and captured a gold medal, while Toni Teasdale and Gib Reffit grabbed silver in mixed doubles.
Pickleball is a combination of ping-pong, tennis and badminton and has been around for more than 20 years.
The club converges at the center gym on Monday through Saturday at varying times and they welcome new players. For more information, call the center at 941-778-1908.
8. Island Pest, Feast take soccer titles
The center’s fall soccer season came to a close with two exciting championship games in November. Island Pest Control captured the 8-10 division title and The Feast took home the 11-13 division trophy, both in close, hard-fought victories over two capable opponents.
No. 1 seed Island Pest Control defeated No. 2 seed Beach Bistro 4-3 in the championship game behind two goals each from Javier Rivera and Julius Petereit.
The Feast and LPAC battled to a 5-5 tie in regulation play, but Feast connected on three of five turns in the penalty-kick shootout to take the 11-13 title.
Michael Latimer scored three goals and Joe Rogers added two goals during regulation play to lead The Feast, while Abbey Achor, Latimer and Joseph Peery scored goals for The Feast in the shootout, securing the dramatic victory.
9. Super Bowls end flag football
NFL flag football has been one of the better additions to the center’s menu of sports offerings, and just like the big league, center Super Bowl games were played March 21-22.
Two of the three Super Bowls were blowouts, also much like in the NFL. The 8-10 division championship game, however, was an exciting back-and-forth affair between Coastal Orthopedic Bears and Tyler’s Ice Cream Vikings that ended with the Bears on top 20-19.
Late in the game, with the Bears trailing 19-13, Jackson Hayes took a handoff and swept around left end. He outran Viking defenders to midfield where he reversed field and outran everyone down the right sideline to complete a 45-yard touchdown run and tie the score at 19-19 with just over two minutes left to play. Gavin Johnston calmly hit Maddie Rogers with the extra-point pass to give the Bears a 20-19 lead.
The Vikings took over on offense with 1:50 left to play.
Facing a third down and short situation, Nathan Costello tried a short pass over the middle, but Hayes jumped the route and knocked down the pass to take over on downs with 1:27 left to play. The Vikings held the Bears in check on first and second downs, but on third down and 14 yards to go, Hayes again got loose up the right side for a 15-yard gain and a first down that allowed the Bears to run out the clock on the 20-19 victory.
Holy Cow Cardinals earned an easy 36-12 victory over Lobstahs Buccaneers in the 11-13 Super Bowl behind a strong performance from quarterback Joey Stewart.
Integrity Sound Falcons earned a 32-13 victory over Walter & Associates Bears to win the 14-17 division Super Bowl.
10. Three champs crowned in basketball
The center’s youth basketball season came to an end in June after being delayed a day due to Tropical Storm Andrea.
Not one top seed captured the championship. Second-seed Heritage Paper Co. in the Premier Division, second-seed Walter & Associates in the 11-13 division and third-seeded Manatee Cancer Center in the 8-10 division all scored upset victories to claim their respective titles.
Heritage Paper defeated No. 1 seed Walter & Associates 50-35 behind 19 points and six rebounds from Austin Miller and 13 points and 11 rebounds from Chris Lehman.
Walter & Associates captured its division with a 45-33 victory over Ross Built behind the inside-outside combination of JP Russo and Dayton Modderman. Russo scored 23 points and pulled down 10 rebounds, while Modderman added 20 points and 20 rebounds to lead Walter.
Manatee Cancer Center, which won only two regular-season games swept into the finals and defeated top-seed Beach Bistro 22-6 in the championship game of the 8-10 division.
Stay in touch in 2014 by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll put you on our team.