Polk County’s Sunshine State Games Come to a Close
Posted on June 27th, 2012 by Rebecca Thompson
The Lakeland Center served as the Sunshine State Games’ center of competition as five of the six sporting events were held there. More than 1,000 of Florida’s Finest Amateur Athletes competed in Fencing, Judo, Karate, Taekwondo and Weightlifting at the Lakeland Center, while Wrestling was held at Polk State College’s Wellness Center in Winter Haven. Tropical Storm Debby had no effect on the Games as both centers remained high and dry for Fencing, Judo and Wrestling athletes.
In the Fencing competition, Alisa Chernomashentsev, of Jacksonville, won the gold medal in the Women’s Foil event for the second consecutive year. She earned the gold medal from a field of 19 women. It was the third consecutive year she won a women’s foil medal, taking a silver medal in 2010. Rafael Suarez, of Aventura, won his second Men’s Foil gold medal in three years, earning the gold medal out of a field of 38 fencers entered in the event. Longtime Sunshine State Games fencer, Wayne Frey, of Monticello, who has been competing in the Games since 2002, won the gold medal in the Veteran Men’s Foil event.
The Florida State University Fencing Club earned the Sunshine State Games Fencing Team Trophy with medal-winning performances by Monticello’s Wayne, Nicole and Claire Frey and John McFarland, of Tallahassee. Wayne Frey and McFarland won medals in the Veteran Men’s Epee event while Nicole and Claire Frey placed in the Women’s Epee event.
As in each Sunshine State Games Judo competition, an Outstanding Performer was selected and in the Senior Division, and it was Chris Weerts, of Metro Orlando Judo, who earned the Outstanding Male Adult Athlete after winning a gold medal in the 17-29 year old Male Lightweight Class. The Outstanding Female Adult Athlete Award went to Yesenia Crespo of the Budokan Judo Club. Adonis Diaz, of the Budokan Judo Club in Miami, earned the Outstanding Junior Male Athlete of Saturday’s Judo event and Arianna Pileta-Martinez, of the Florida School of Judo, earned the Outstanding Junior Female Athlete. Diaz, won the gold medal in the 15-16 year old Male Bantam Division while Pileta-Martinez won a silver medal in the 13-14 Female Heavy Division.
Six Karate athletes won a pair of gold medals in Kata (Forms) and Kumite (Sparring) competition. In the 6-7 year old age group, Jonah Blankenbaker, of Wesley Chapel, Isaiah Welch, of Clearwater and Zackary Spangler, of Orlando, each won a pair of gold medals. Javier Urdaneta, of Winter Garden, won two golds in the 8-9 year old age group while Doral’s Ivan Reggeti won two in the 13-15 age group and Renee Martin, of Largo, earned a pair in the 14-34 age group.
Taekwondo featured more than 300 athletes competing in events with names such as Poomsae (Forms), Goypka (Breaking) and Gyoroogi (Sparring).
The top weightlifters of Saturday’s competition were Stephanie Spencer, of Pensacola, who had a combined lift of 163kg (73kg snatch, 90kg clean and jerk) (359 pounds total) in the Senior Women’s 58kg weight class and 19-year old Kyle Hannah, of Port Orange, who totaled 285kg (125 snatch, 160 clean and jerk) (628 pounds total) in the Junior Men’s 94 kg weight class. Also at the Weightlifting competition, Chris Follenius, of Gainesville, was presented with his 2011 Sunshine State Games Male Athlete of the Year Award. Follenius followed up his 2011 performance with a gold medal Saturday in the Senior Men’s 69kg weight class with a combined lift of 228 kg (100 snatch, 128 clean and jerk).
Polk State College, in Winter Haven, closed out two days of amateur wrestling with representation from 46 teams and over 200 grapplers in action in Folkstyle, Freestyle and Greco-Roman events. Winning the Sunshine State Games Team Trophy was Tampa’s Caveman Wrestling Club edging Fort Lauderdale’s Calvary Wrestling by one point and West Volusia PAL by three points.
Three sports, Badminton, Powerlifting and 5K Road Race, will be held in conjunction with the 2012 Florida Senior Games State Championships, to be held in Polk County in December.
Since April, more than 9,000 of Florida’s Finest Amateur Athletes have participated in the 33rd Annual Sunshine State Games. As the longest-running State Games competition in the U.S., Florida’s Sunshine State Games is now in its fourth decade of providing amateur sports opportunities for Florida residents. For more information on Florida’s Sunshine State Games and the 2012 Florida Senior Games State Championships, please visit www.flasports.com. Florida’s Sunshine State Games are a program of Florida Sports, a division of Enterprise Florida, Inc. The Polk County Festival was presented in conjunction with Central Florida’s Polk County Sports Marketing.