Sunshine State Games provides Father’s Day bonding through amateur sports

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Sunshine State Games provides Father’s Day bonding through amateur sports


WEST PALM BEACH – On Father’s Day at the 2016 Sunshine State Games Palm Beach County Festival, fathers and sons fenced in the same division, sons cheered on their fathers in Taekwondo sparring matches and fathers and daughters worked side-by-side to make sure events were conducted with great efficiency.


In the Fencing competition, Larry, Ivan and Isabelle Lingvay, of the D’Alerta Fencing Club in Orlando, competed in six Epee events.  Steve Quillian, of Tampa, won a Taekwondo sparring match with his three sons cheering him on.


The athlete’s experience was made an enjoyable experience for the father’s and their children due in part to the work done by Master Bill Ferkile and his daughter, Caitlin, who worked behind the scenes for the 340 athletes over two days of Taekwondo competition.  For the nearly 200 Fencers, Sport Director Brian Harper, of Gainesville, worked with his daughter Brianna, who served as an armory manager and his son Tyler, who was a referee.


A special moment of the Palm Beach County Festival came when 12-year old Meredith Pence, of Symmetry Martial Arts in Jupiter, was able to compete in the Inaugural Taekwondo Challenged Warrior Division event.  Pence, a yellow belt athlete, who experiences epileptic seizures due to Dravet Syndrome, won a gold medal in the breaking competition.  She broke three sets of boards, being held in place by her coach, Sonia Mendez, with a series of punches and kicks.


“Meredith is such an amazing spirit and gives it her all every time she comes for training,” said Mendez.  “She never complains and inspires me to be my best all the time.  She’s my hero.”

Mendez coaches both Meredith and her brother Mason, who won a breaking gold medal and a silver forms medal in the 6-7 age group, at Symmetry Martial Arts.


Jermaine James, a three-time USA National Champion and International Gold Medalist from Cape Coral,  won a gold medal in the 18 and Over Male Black Belt 130.6 – 161.0 lb division. James is a 5th Degree Black Belt originally from Detroit, MI and has over 20 years of experience in the martial arts. James because of his Swiss dual citizenship, had the opportunity to compete as a member of a 2012 Switzerland Olympic Team.. He also won a gold medal at the 2015 Sunshine State Games.


The Stoccata Fencing Academy & Club, of Longwood, won the SSG Fencing Team Trophy with a total of 39 points, finishing ahead of the Master’s Fencing Academy and the Naples Fencing Academy.  Stoccata fencers combined to win 19 medal over two days of competition, six gold, eight silver and five bronze.  Contributing to Stoccata’s success on Sunday was three gold medals from Amanda Pirkowski, who won the Y-14 Women’s Epee, Y-14 Mixed Saber and Senior Women’s Saber events.  Also winning gold on Sunday for Stoccata was Hannah Donderis in the Y-10 Mixed Saber and Jameson Karnes, who won the Div III Mixed Epee in a field of 36 fencers.


Adam Maamoun, of Fort Walton Beach, won his second Table Tennis gold medal of the weekend winning the Under 2000 Division at the Simpson Park Recreation Center in Lakeland.  Maamoun won the Sandpaper competition on Saturday.  Kit Jeerapaet, of Tampa won the Open Division gold medal which featured some of the top table tennis players in the State. Jeerapaet won the Open Division silver medal in 2015.


Between the seven sports of the Palm Beach County Festival, the Table Tennis Championships in Lakeland and the Track and Field Championships in Minneola, nearly 2,000 of Florida’s Finest Amateur Athletes were in competition this weekend.  For the 2016 calendar year, nearly 8,000 athletes have competed in a Sunshine State Games event.


The final weekend of June brings the Sunshine State Games Water Polo Championships to the Coral Springs Aquatic Center with 69 teams playing in age groups from 10 and under Coed to 30+ Master’s Divisions.  The SSG Badminton Championships will be held at ClearOne in Orlando and the Senior Divisions playing in the 50+ age groups will have the opportunity to qualify for the 2017 National Senior Games in Birmingham, Alabama during the summer of 2017.

For results of the 37th Annual Sunshine State Games, visit 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 in a pdf document that is updated weekly.

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