'Tis the season - to watch football
|U-10 Female Champions: The Stormetts
Kendall Chlebina, Alison Gollnick, Kendall Gollnick, Hanna McMatron, Emily Harding, Janie Hritz, Hannah Howell and Keylea Loudermilk. Coach Ken Chlebina.
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|U-10 Male Champions: The Grinches
Matthew Tschiggfire, Logan Moriarty, Vincent Tan, Gregory Burstein, Chandler Norder, Connor McCullen, Annie Skokos, Hunter Clarke. Not pictured: Aubrey and Delaney Riggins. Coach Dawn Tschiggfire.
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|U-14 Male Champions: Red Rage
Shea Moriarty, James Funk, Andy Quiano, Ryan Roberts, Bobby Stevenson, Brandon Lam, Brandon Bechtol and Kyle Meduetz. Coach Brendan Moriarty.
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This past weekend brought some extremely strong winds and cold weather to the area, forcing this Santa to stay a few extra minutes at each of his many stops on Christmas Eve. It also brought a plethora of football games for sports fans to watch football starting early Christmas Eve with Green Bay going up to Minnesota for a Friday night NFL matchup. Christmas day gift-wrapped two more NFL games for football enthusiasts, while Sunday, Dec. 26, produced the normal array of NFL games on the tube and up at Raymond James Stadium where the Bucs gift-wrapped a victory for the Carolina Panthers.
Counting Monday, Dec. 27, there will be football games on every single day and night from now until we push out the old and usher in the new year. Throw in NBA basketball games, the endless hours of the World Series of Poker, not to mention World's Strongest Men competition on ESPN, and you've got more sports viewing than the hearty sports widow can take.
Fear not, wives and girl friends. It won't be long before the NFL season comes to a close and, with no end in sight to the NHL lockout, the only sports worth viewing in the near future is NCAA basketball, which really doesn't get interesting until late February and March.
Somebody help me. What day, time and channel does Desperate Houswives come on the tube?
Indoor soccer tourney wrapup
The 11th annual Anna Maria Island Community Center's indoor soccer tournament is in the books and, as usual, the games were action-packed affairs that brought out loads of people to participate and watch the accelerated action.
Once again, the Island was shut out of the winner's circle with its best showing coming in the male under-14 age division where Island Magic fell 3-2 to the Red Rage in the championship game. To be fair, Island Magic was not an all-Island team, though they did boast the services of Islanders Joey Hutchinson and Nick Tankersley, who both play for the U-11 Manatee Magic team.
The Red Rage captured first place in the U-14 division by winning three consecutive games. The Rage opened the tourney with a workman-like 5-2 victory over the Bubbleheads and followed that up with a 4-2 win over Island Magic in the winner's bracket final.
The loss sent Island Magic into the loser's bracket where they defeated the Bubbleheads 5-4 to earn another shot at the Red Rage. The championship game was a closely contested affair that might have gone the way of Island Magic had it not been for the stellar play of Bubblehead goalie Kyle Meduetz, who came up with several good saves to deny Island Magic the title.
Offensively the Red Rage was led by Brandon Bechtel, Shea Moriarty and Andrew Quiano, who each notched a goal in the championship game.
Meduetz' strong play between the pipes in all three victories earned him tournament MVP, while strong man-to-man defense and an opportunistic offense carried the Red Rage to the U-14 title.
The U-12 male division was a battle of teammates that pitted Rage Rocks against Red Rage in the finals. The members of both teams are regular season teammates on the Braden River Rage U-12 soccer teams. This is the third year the Rage has split into two teams for the Christmas tournament, but it's the first year that both teams advanced to the finals.
Rage Rocks took the long road to capture the title after dropping a 3-1 decision to Black Magic in its second game. This dropped them into the loser's bracket, forcing them to win five consectutive games, including two straight victories over Red Rage to win the title.
Shane Baumann and Seth Browning shared MVP honors after leading their team in scoring with 10 goals apiece. Goalie Zach Reda, with the help of defenders Jarred Becker and Aaron McKamney, posted two shutouts on the way to the title.
The U-10 male division was captured by the Grinches, which eked out a 2-0 win over the Braden River Rage in the championship game. The Grinches opened play against the Islanders and made quick work of them with an 8-0 victory that matched them up against the Rage in the winner's bracket finals.
After battling to a 2-2 tie in regulation, the teams went to a penalty kick shootout that saw Grinches goalie Connor McCullen stop seven of eight penalty kicks to carry the Grinches to victory. McCullen's stellar play in their three games earned him tournament MVP. McCullen also scored one of the two goals of the championship game, while teammate Hunter Clarke added the second goal. In all, five different players came through with goals during the tourney, and Annie Skokos was cited for her outstanding defense throughout the tournament.
The U-10 female division was won by the Stormettes, a collection of players from Bradenton, Sarasota and Osprey. The Stormettes, which defeated the Snow Strikers 5-2 in the championship game, threw a total team effort at their opponents. They received goals from every girl on their roster, including tournament MVP Hannah Howell's team-leading eight goals in the tournament.
Other offensive contributors recognized for their strong play were Kendal Gollnick and Kendall Chlebina, while Alison Gollnick and Janie Hritz were cited for their stellar defense in front of goalies Emily Harding and Kendall Chlebina.
Islanders take two age groups in Manatee River Run
Some 260 runners and walkers braved cold winds Sunday morning for the Fourth Annual Manatee River Run 5-miler at Emerson Point Park.
Islander Anne Dougherty took the Senior Grand Master (60-and-over) title, and Island visitor Norelle Longhurst, age 82, took the 70-and-over age group crown.
The top Island finisher overall was Ryan Longhurst, 38th overall at 34:49 for third in the 20-24 age group. Other Island participants were Gail Garneau, Jim Jenkins and Marilyn Dzikis.
Bradenton Runners Club weekly runs continue on Tuesdays at 6 p.m. from the downtown Bradenton Library, and Sundays at 7:30 a.m. from Manatee County Beach. For more information, call Neil Longhurst at 778-1171.