Top 5 island sports stories of 2017

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Holmes Beach resident Sydney Cornell is all smiles as she signs her letter of intent to play soccer at Stetson University in Deland during a signing ceremony at Manatee High School Feb. 1. Islander Photo: Courtesy Denise Brigg
Truly Nolen goalie Jack Mattick makes a valient diving attempt to save a penalty kick from Progressive Cabinetry’s Charlie Rogers during the 8-10 division championship game May 30 at the Center of Anna Maria Island. Islander Photo: Kevin P. Cassidy
Wrestler Max Higgins of the Center of Anna Maria Island team has Jack Mentzer of the Green Machine tied up during the Manatee Wrestling Club’s I Own Florida wrestling tournament in December 2017 at Manatee High School in Bradenton. Higgins finished in second place, the top finisher for the center at the tourney. Islander Photo: Kevin P. Cassidy

The countdown of the top sports stories from 2017 continues with youth soccer at the Center of Anna Maria Island, which provides the bulk of the sports content on Anna Maria Island.

5. Truly Nolen wins 8-10 championship
The June 6 sports story told of an epic battle between Truly Nolen and Progressive Cabinetry, a 40-minute back-and-forth affair played May 30 that needed a penalty-kick shootout to decide a champion in the 8-10 division of the Center of Anna Maria Island youth soccer league.

Pakbaz and Rogers scored for Progressive in their first two attempts, as did Ueltschi and Nick Yatros for Truly Nolen. Kieran Cloutier’s penalty shot clanged off the crossbar for Progressive, giving Truly Nolen an opening, but Ewing Cloutier saved Guerrero’s attempt to keep the game tied.

Progressive player Jack McCarthy’s penalty kick was saved by Jack Mattick, who then stepped out of the goal to deliver what turned out to be the game-winner for Truly Nolen. Mattick then made the save on Lily Stringer’s penalty kick to make Truly Nolen a 3-2 winner.

4. Hooke runs up another record
Six days after Hurricane Irma raced up the Florida peninsula, longtime Galati Yacht Sales employee and former island resident Mickey Hooke put on his running gear for the 13th annual Sept. 16 Ranch Run in Temple Terrace. His racing achievements were heralded in the Sept. 26 Islander.

Hooke, who recently turned 56, maintained a solid, steady pace and ran the 10K in 41:31, giving him first place overall. His finish time was 4 minutes and 12 seconds ahead of his closest competitor and earned him course, masters and grandmasters records.

Hooke has set 290 records since he turned 40, 46 which are overall course records.

The race attracted 323 runners to the 5k, 10k and 15k races and raised $19,000 for the Florida Sherriffs Youth Ranches and their programs.

3. Meneley still on course at 70
As reported in the May 23 Islander, Holmes Beach resident Sandy Meneley ran the 2017 Boston Marathon April 17 and finished in sixth place in her age division with a time of 4 hours, 34 minutes.

This was Meneley’s third time running the Boston Marathon, having also run in 2000 and 2009. This race had some significance to Meneley and other women runners as it was the 50th anniversary of women being entered to run in the Beantown marathon.

Kathryn Switzer, the first woman to run in Boston also was in the race, ironically competing in the same age division as Meneley. And, for the record, Meneley finished 10 minutes ahead of Switzer.

Meneley was well represented in Boston. Her husband Fuzz, son M.J. Meneley, along with friends from the Boston area who winter on Anna Maria Island, including Susan and Dan Smith of Natick, Massachusetts and Pam Halsey from New Hampshire.

Also in attendance was Meneley’s daughter, Lesley Brainard, of Collierville, Tennessee, competing in the 45-49 age group. She finished 33 out of 1,800 with a time of 3:22.

Next up for Meneley is triathlon season, which she prefers because the training is easier on her body. She says the muscle groups used for swimming and bike riding — as opposed to simply going on 20 mile runs in Florida’s stifling heat — are a relief for her.

2. Islander commits to Stetson soccer
The Feb. 7 issue of the Islander shined the light on Feb. 1 national signing day, which took on an Island flavor when Holmes Beach resident Sydney Cornell signed with Stetson University in Deland to play soccer for the Lady Hatters.

Cornell was a four-year starter at Manatee High School at outside midfield and forward who had an injury-plagued senior season that limited her to two games.

Still, she finished her Manatee Hurricanes career with 40 goals and 39 assists.

Cornell also got it done in the classroom, as evident by her 3.9 grade-point average and White M Academic awards in 2014 and 2015.

Cornell has lived in Holmes Beach for 10 years with mom Denise Brigg and dad Robert Cornell. She also attended Anna Maria Elementary and played a few seasons of soccer in addition to a season of flag football and basketball at the then-named Anna Maria Island Community Center.

Cornell plans on majoring in business and then attending graduate school to pursue a degree in health care administration.

Congratulations and the best of luck at Stetson to Sydney from The Islander.

1. Island wrestlers get their feet wet
The Dec. 19 edition of The Islander highlighted the newly formed wrestling group at the Center of Anna Maria Island. These newcomers to the sport got their first taste of competition in the Manatee Wrestling Club’s I Own Florida youth wrestling championships Dec. 16 at Manatee High School in Bradenton.

The wrestling program started up in early November, so expectations were tempered at best by center coaches. Center recreation director and wrestling coach Will Schenerlein told the athletes to be aggressive, stay in the fight and have fun.

According to the team standings, the center took it on the chin, but the effort shown in the first competition no doubt made their coaches proud.

Maximillion Higgins earned a second-place finish in the fourth-fifth-grade 110-pound division and was the top performer for the center. J.M. Feeney was another wrestler who did well in his first endeavor, finishing third in his division..

Jaxon Henry in the second-third-grade 56-pound division and Jaxon Kagin in the second-third-grade 72-pound division both earned fourth-place finishes, while Stone Smith, Dylan Sato and Harrison Schenerlein finished fifth.

Other participants were William Pakbaz, Ethan Sackett, Michael Coleman, Ethan Talucci, Cale Rudacille, Fox Smith, Bam Gartman, Liam Coleman, Caden Quimby, Frankie Coleman and Stone Smith.

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