Eight Sports in Action Saturday at the Sunshine State Games Sarasota/Bradenton Festival

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June 11, 2016

Eight Sports in Action Saturday at the Sunshine State Games Sarasota/Bradenton Festival

SARASOTA – The 2016 Sunshine State Games Sarasota/Bradenton Festival opened Saturday with a Powerlifter deadlifting over 700 pounds, three generations of Sunshine State Games athletes in the pool for Synchronized Swimming and Rowers coming from behind in the waters of the nation’s premier rowing facility.


Eight sports are in action at the 2016 Sarasota/Bradenton Festival this weekend and all were contested Saturday.  More than 1,300 of Florida’s Finest Amateur Athletes and a combined athlete/spectator total of more than 3,200 braved temperatures of over 90 degrees today.


To close out the Powerlifting competition at the Bradenton Area Convention Center, Kevin Phillipson, of Big Baby Powerlifting in Melbourne, had an impressive showing with his final three lifts of 645, 683 and 716.5 (325 kg) pounds


The 35-year old Electrical Engineer participated in the Sunshine State Games as a high school and college student as a member of the Lake Brantley Water Polo team in 1999 and 2000.  The 2016 Games were his first in Powerlifting.


Saving the best for last, after a long day of Synchronized Swimming competition at the Arlington Aquatic Center, the Palm Beach Coralytes Masters Team of Debra Cane, Marta Miranda, Suzanne Plamondon, Stacey Staley, Coralytes coaches Courtney Karolinko and mother Jacki Barrett topped off the day with their six-member team performance set to “It’s Raining Men,” combined with a touch of Aretha Franklin to complete their edgy team routine. The two-minute routine including Karolinko, who swam in the Games as a teenager performed while eight month’s pregnant with her daughter-to-be, Aria. The routine was judged based on their artistic routine, execution and difficulty.


Karolinko and Barrett’s 12-hour day was filled with coaching, judging and swimming. Karolinko had rambling nerves before the competition, because she and her team were unable to warm up due to her mandatory coaching duties for Novice and Junior Olympic teams of the Coralytes. Courtney is set to deliver baby Aria sometime next month and her swimsuit and Coralytes T-shirt will be waiting for her.

The Miramar Mermaids earned the Novice Division Mary Rose High Point Award with a total of 11 medals.  The 15 novice Mermaid swimmers earned eight gold medals and three silver medals.  Miramar topped the Hialeah Stormettes, who earned seven medals.


The day kicked off with two come-from-behind races at Nathan Benderson Park. The Men’s Veteran’s Master’s 50+ 1X 1000 meter, came down to the last meters where Sunshine State Games veteran  Brice Crossley, of Row Brevard, pushed passed opponent, Clemente Sanchez, out of Miami, taking the first victory of the day. Crossley finished with a time of 3:52.10 beating Sanchez by 1.7 seconds.


“I had a rough start and had to play catch up the whole race,” said Crossley.


Crossley has been rowing since 1982 and attended UCF where he rowed for four years and eventually became a coach for the team. He now works as an engineer at the Kennedy Space Center.


After receiving her 2015 Sunshine State Games Athlete of the Year Award, Gainesville Area Rowing’s Jen Figueroa and her partner Lauren Day, wrapped up a close victory in the Women’s Masters 2X 1000 meter. GAR trailed the combined team, Karen Wiegandt, of the Sarasota County Rowing Club and Linda Detlefsen, from the Jacksonville Rowing Club for most of the competition until the very last seconds of the race. Figueroa and Day had a nail biting victory beating their opponent by a six-tenths of a second coming in at 3:48.00 and Wiegandt and Detlefsen trailed with 3:48.60.


In the 10-person Men’s Advanced Division of the Disc Golf competition, Tampa’s Michael Vaughn and Dunedin’s Lyle “Fish” Fisher, shared the gold medal as both recorded a score 96 over 36 holes at Lakeview Park.  After the first round of 18 holes, Fisher led Vaughn by three strokes with a 45.  Vaughn topped Fisher by three strokes with a 48 for both rounds of 18.


Vaughn has won the gold medal in the Men’s Advanced Division for all three years of the Sunshine State Games Disc Golf event.  Fisher earned a gold medal in his second Sunshine State Games sport having won a gold medal in Judo in the mid-1980s.


The Paddling Sprint races at Benderson Park brought out elite athletes of the sport’s community as a former Athlete of the Year returned to face a former member of the USA Canoe/Kayak National team. Tanner Mack, a member of the USA National Team from 2008-2011 crossed the finish line one second ahead of the 2002 Athlete of the Year, Larry Parzynski.  Mack paddled the 200 meter race in :39 while Parzynski crossed the finish line at the :40 mark.


The race was the highlight of the day for sport director Melinda Mack, as her son had the opportunity to race against another elite athlete of the sport. Mack also pointed out that 14-year old Kalen Oliveria, of Cape Coral also turned in a 200 meter sprint time of :39 seconds.


Men’s Open and Coed Teams combined for 23 teams playing on 12 fields at the Premier Sports Campus in Pool Play.  Four teams emerged undefeated as Orlando’s Swing State was undefeated in five games and the Orlando Friends were undefeated in four games of the Coed Division.  Hammerhead of Jacksonville and Wooly Mammoth, a Gainesville-based team with a roster of players from throughout Florida, both emerged from pool play with five wins. Bracket play in both divisions begins at 9:00 a.m. Sunday.


Two archers topped 700 in the 720 Round of the Compound Release Event as Austin Hall, a 14-year old from Valrico, recorded the high score of the day with a 709 to win the gold medal in the Cub Division.  12-year old Sydney Sullenberger, of Valrico, shot a 701 for the gold medal in the Compound Release Bowman Division.


Among adult competitors, Angel and Angelica Ramirez, of Melbourne had the top Compound Release scores of 677 and 671, respectively.


The championship brackets in the top two divisions of the Racquetball competition were set Saturday at the Sarasota YMCA Frank Berlin, Sr. Branch.  The nine-player Men’s Singles A Division Championship Bracket first round features a matchup between Wes Teel, of Mims and John Gutierrez, of Port St. Lucie.


The Men’s Singles B Division featured 12 players in four pool play divisions.  Advancing out the pools were James Cassidy, of Tampa, Juan Carlos Moreno, of Tampa, Elvin Serrano, of Valrico and Brian McGinnis, of Port St. Lucie.  In the semifinals, Serrano defeated Cassidy and Moreno beat McGinnis, setting up a championship match between Elvis Serrano and Juan Carlos Moreno on Sunday.


The 2016 Sarasota Bradenton Festival continues Sunday with five sports in action and the third of three days of the Sunshine State Games Swimming Championships taking place in Gainesville.


Schedule for Sunday, June 12
8:00 a.m.              Synchronized Swimming (Junior Olympic Age Group and Open Masters Divisions), Arlington Park Aquatic Center, Sarasota
8:30 a.m.              Swimming, Dwight H. Hunter Northeast Pool, Gainesville
9:00 a.m.              Archery, Sarasota Archers and Premier Sports Campus, Lakewood Ranch
9:00 a.m.              Racquetball, Sarasota YMCA Frank G. Berlin, Sr. Branch
9:00 a.m.              Ultimate (Championship Bracket Play), Premier Sports Campus, Lakewood Ranch
9:30 a.m.              Paddling (Marathon Races), Fort Hamer Rowing Facility, Sarasota

For results of the 37th Annual Sunshine State Games, visit www.sunshinestategames.com and click the “Results,” link for full results of each of the 28 sports of the Games as they progress over the next few weeks.  The Sunshine State Games are presented annually by the Florida Sports Foundation, the state’s lead sports promotion and development organization.

Information about the upcoming Sunshine State Games competitions throughout the month of June is available at http://www.flasports.com/2016/06/02/2016-sunshine-state-games-press-kit/ in a pdf document that is updated weekly.




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