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Date of Issue: March 21, 2010

Island sports: a look back at 2009

Brooke Capperelli knocks the ball past Melissa Katzenberger as Julia Murdoch and Maya Sapienza look on during Island Beach Bash action at Coquina Beach. Islander Photo: Kevin Cassidy

Christian Daniels shows off some of the moves that helped him capture first place in the minis division of the Skimboard Bash at the BeachHouse Restaurant. Islander Photo: Courtesy of

Gillian Cassidy, as well as brother Conal, find their way into the writer’s column often. Here she’s playing beach doubles during the Dig the Beach series stop in Siesta Key. Islander Photo: Kevin Cassidy

Sandy Meneley, shown running the last leg of the Ironman Championships in Clearwater on the way to a third-place finish is the sports story of the year for the Islander.

It’s hard to believe another year has passed, much less another decade. As I sit at my computer thinking of the year’s top sports stories, it makes me reflect on just how old I’m getting and how long I’ve been covering youth sports for The Islander. As is the case with old age, I’m not exactly sure how long I’ve been writing a weekly column for The Islander, but I’m pretty sure it’s somewhere in the neighborhood of 15 years.

A lot has changed during that time. I don’t live on the Island anymore, and I’m happily married with two beautiful children that grace my column more than they probably should, but hey, I’m a proud father.

One thing that hasn’t changed though is that I continue my love affair with sports, and it seems kids and adults still enjoy reading their names in the paper highlighting their accomplishments.

With that said, I want to thank my readers and the people who e-mail me content, good folks like Bob Kral, Cindi Mansour, Erma McMullen and others from the Key Royale Club. Also a big thanks to Ron Pepka and Jeff Moore from the horseshoe pits, Mickey Hooke, who keeps folks informed about the running scene and Lee Ross who frequently has a camera on hand at many youth sports events. Last, but not least, a big thanks goes out to Andy Jonatzke and Billy Malfese from the Anna Maria Island Community Center for providing schedules, standings, play books and the basis of many of my weekly columns.

It’s hard to pin down individual games from the leagues that the center offers, but often the players in those leagues move up to play for their high school teams and higher level club teams in whatever sport they choose. The common denominator is that these young athletes, much like myself many years ago, got introduced to sports at the Center.

Without a doubt, the biggest story of the year in sports for Manatee County is the Manatee High School Hurricanes football team’s run to the Class 5A state finals where they dropped a heartbreaking 21-14 decision to Tampa Plant high school.

Islander Nick Galati, an offensive lineman on the team, was highlighted in early November and we continued to follow Nick and his teammates’ incredible run. Since it’s not such an Island story, and it played out recently, I’ve got other choices for my top Island sports stories for 2009.

1. Islander runs in Boston Marathon, takes third in Ironman Triathlon

Holmes Beach resident Sandy Meneley, 62, has had quite a year. In November, she was in The Islander with news she finished third in her age group (60-64) in the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Clearwater. Meneley also was in the May 13 edition of The Islander with news about her having run the Boston Marathon with her daughter April 20. Sandy placed 13th in her age group with a time of 3:53, which was a good enough to qualify in the 40-45 age group. For those two events, she is the Islander’s sports story of the year.

2. Island Beach Soccer Blast fun for all

The first annual Island Beach Soccer Blast was just that — a blast for each and every one of the 140 kids who participated in the two-day event Jan. 24-25 at Coquina Beach. Kids of all different levels of playing experience and age got out on the sand and got their kicks in.

This wasn’t a tournament where wins and losses were tracked, except by maybe the kids themselves. This tourney was all about playing the game because it’s fun. Every team in the four age groups ranging from 4-5 up to the 10-12 level got to play three games, and they all received trophies and T-shirts to commemorate their experience. Tournament organizer Rich Bell, a former Island resident and owner of Youth Sports Training Inc. put the event together to give back to the community and honor the memory of his late mother, Nancy Stork, who taught him that it’s far better to give than to receive. Great job, Rich!

3. Hall of Fame beckons Island resident

Long-time Anna Maria Island resident Beth Greig McIntosh was notified that she has been chosen to be inducted into the Florida Southern College Sports Hall of Fame. Beth and her husband of 16 years, Scott McIntosh, will be attending the induction ceremony March 20 at the Lakeland campus.

Greig played fast-pitch softball for the Moccasins in 1986 and 1987 and put up some impressive numbers.

A 20-year veteran teacher in Manatee County schools, she’s lived on the Island for 34 years and got her start playing sports at what was then known as the Island Youth Center.

Congratulations to Beth and her family from The Islander.

4. Key Royale player aces hole — twice

Chuck Montgomery made some news a couple of weeks ago at the Key Royale Club. He made a hole-in-one on number seven Dec. 6, a 167-yard par 3. Problem was, he was playing alone and had no witness, so it was unofficial. The following day, playing in the men’s weekly nine-hole game, he aced the same hole with plenty of onlookers to receive his due reward.

5. Skimboard bash makes splash

Once again, the skimboard contest at the BeachHouse Restaurant in Bradenton Beach drew a throng of people to watch 80-plus participants show their stuff at the Oct. 4 event. Several locals placed in various age divisions and the eighth annual event again donated a portion of the proceeds — some $800 — to Mote Marine red tide research in addition to paying out prizes to the winners.

6. MHS-Island girls in Volley for the Cure

Island residents Sarah Howard, Jenna Duvall, and sisters Mackenzie and Mallory Kosfeld, members of the Manatee High Hurricanes volleyball program, met up with their Southeast High counterparts for the second annual “Volley for the Cure” volleyball match Sept. 30.

The girls, along with other players, parents, friends and family members, all went to work selling pink T-shirts to raise money to help find a cure for breast cancer during Breast Cancer Awareness month. With more than 1,000 shirts sold, the Southeast High gym was a sea of pink and they managed to donate almost $4,000 for the cause.

7. Playoffs open with upsets

The regular season of the Anna Maria Island Community Center youth basketball season wound down in February. A couple of hot teams entering the playoffs scored upset victories in the opening round of the playoffs in Divisions I and II.

Division I Island Family Physicians, which finished the season in last place with a 4-8 record, came into its playoff game with Fronius full of confidence, which they parlayed into a 46-18 thumping of the No. 2 seeded team.

Division II E-Training Solutions was 1-6 and languishing in last place in the standings on Jan. 28, but team members finished the regular season by winning five straight games to earn the No. 3 seed in the playoffs. They continued improved play in the opening round of the playoffs with a 15-5 victory over Longboat Observer.

8. Island girls help Magic to round of 16

Maddy Valadie and Jacqueline Burgess play for the Manatee Magic U12 girls soccer team, which competed in preliminary rounds of the FYSA Region C Cup the weekend of Feb. 20-21. They managed to win their group, which advanced them to the round of 16 that took place in Land O’Lakes Feb. 28 and March 1. The girls played Island Coast Alliance, New Tampa and Gulf Coast and won all three games with a combined score of 4-0.

9. Indoor soccer closeout

The Anna Maria Island Community Center New Year’s indoor soccer tournament came to a close on Jan. 11 with two championship games. Ross Built rolled to the U10 title with two goals apiece from Henry Howell, John Rivera and Andrew Ross in its 8-1 victory over the East Manatee Hurricanes. Jake Ross and Jake Lafeminia added one goal apiece to complete the Ross Built scoring. The Islanders dropped a 5-3 decision to the East Manatee Hurricanes to take second place in the U8 division. The Islanders were led by Dylan Joseph, who scored two goals and Leo Tilelli, who added one.

10. Surf Shop earns a pair of victories

It was a tough season for Anna Maria Little League teams, but West Coast Surf Shop squeaked out a pair of extra-inning wins against the Yankees to finally earn a taste of victory. They did it with improved pitching and capitalizing on mistakes and opportunities. They defeated the Yankees at home on March 9 behind the strong relief pitching efforts of Johnny Mattay and Philip Duduvoire.

Their second game of the week was another barn burner March 13 at G.T. Bray in Bradenton. The Surf Shop won 7-5, as Devin Cole and Mattay drew bases-loaded walks to force in Brennan Gallagher and Henrik Brusso with the go-ahead runs.

Mattay pitched three solid innings for the Islanders, allowing one hit and striking out four batters. Dudevoire followed with two innings pitched and four strikeouts, while Neal Carper came on to close the game out with six strikeouts in two innings of work.

Anna Maria Island Community Center NFL Flag Football League schedule
(All games at AMICC)

Date  Time Teams
5-7 Division
Jan. 5         6 p.m.         Patriots vs. Bears
Jan. 5         7 p.m.         Cardinals vs. Ravens
Jan. 9         12 p.m.      Cardinals vs. Bears
Jan. 9         1 p.m.         Patriots vs. Ravens
Jan. 12       6 p.m.         Cardinals vs. Patriots
Jan. 15       6 p.m.         Bears vs. Ravens

8-9 Division
Jan. 5         6 p.m.         Sparks vs. BeachHouse
Jan. 6         6 p.m.         Tortilla Bay vs. Sandbar
Jan. 9         3 p.m.         Tortilla Bay vs. Sparks
Jan. 9         4 p.m.         BeachHouse vs. Sandbar
Jan. 11       6 p.m.         Tortilla Bay vs. BeachHouse
Jan. 12       6 p.m.         Sparks vs. Sandbar


10-12 Division
Jan. 5         7 p.m.         Ross Built vs. IRE
Jan. 6         7 p.m.         Walter vs. Norman RE
Jan. 8         6 p.m.         Bones vs. Holy Cow
Jan. 9         12 p.m.      Ross Built vs. Bones
Jan. 9         1 p.m.         IRE vs. Walter
Jan. 9         2 p.m.         Holy Cow vs. Norman RE
Jan. 11       7 p.m.         IRE vs. Bones
Jan. 12       7 p.m.         Ross Built vs. Holy Cow

13-16 Division
Jan. 5         8 p.m.         Galati vs. Tapes
Jan. 6         8 p.m.         Oyster Bar vs. Lapensee
Jan. 9         10 a.m.       Tapes vs. Lapensee
Jan. 9         11 a.m.       Galati vs. Oyster Bar

Jan. 11       8 p.m.         Galati vs. Lapensee

Jan. 12       8 p.m.         Tapes vs. Oyster Bar

Adult Coed Division
Jan. 7         8 p.m.         Lions vs. Chiefs
Jan. 7         8 p.m.         Cowboys vs. Titans
Jan. 7         8 p.m.         Raiders vs. Bengals