Nancy Cothron didn't concern herself too much with the risk of trying to organize a community volleyball tournament across Bradenton and Manatee County. This was year one of what the Bayshore head coach hoped could become an annual fundraising tradition for the school.
With six co-ed adult teams, three high school teams and three middle school teams participating the three-leg tournament, Cothron feels the inaugural Ironman 3-on-3 Volleyball Tournament was a success. It raised nearly $1,000 for Bayshore, set a precedent for Labor Days to come and gave the Bruins and other high schoolers who participated a valuable experience.
"The girls on my team really bonded," Cothron said. "It was hard, but they really learned a lot about volleyball."
A team made up of three BHS players - Sarah Dietrich, Reesie Karkoff and Maddie Olson - won the high school division, and Cothron especially praised the high level of the adult division. The team of Lakewood Ranch High School player Coourtney Rapp, Daniel Virkus and Nate Davis edged a team consisting of Bayshore assistant coach Katie Martin, Leo Lunardi and Virkus' brother, Dave Virkus, to win the 3-on-3 adult championship at Holmes Beach on Sunday.
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Tamara Clemannn, Ella Bisio and Andrea Everstein teamed up to win the middle school division.
Beach volleyball was only the final leg, though. The 3-on-3 tournaments began at G.T. Bray Park on Saturday on grass and eventually moved indoors. The original plan was to have two courts set up in the Bruins' gym, but a cable snapped on one of the basketball hoops, rendering half of the gym unusable. The remaining games had to be moved to G.T. Bray on short notice.
"A little hiccup," she said, "but G.T. Bray came to the rescue."
Labor Day weekend means youth tournaments in Manatee County, and two of the biggest events in the area concluded Monday with local teams emerging as champions.
The main event in the county is the Labor Day Soccer Showcase at the Premier Sports Complex in Lakewood Ranch, which drew roughly 10,000 visitors and more than 250 teams from around the country. It made things competitive for the locals, but the host Chargers SC were able to sweep the boys 12U elite and premier divisions and win the 19U championship, 1-0 against the Lee County Strikers.
Most teams were from Florida, and that meant most champions were from the state. North Fort Myers SC, Wesley Chapel, SWFL Adrenaline Academy, Plant City FC, the Davie United Sharks, West Pines United, Charlotte Permier and the Tampa Dynamo all won a boys championship, and the PDA Florida Boys won two. The only out-of-state boys winners was Georgia's SAF Elite in the 13U elite division.
The girls divisions were even more Florida-dominated. Weston FC swept 11U and won the 19U premier division, Davie United won a pair of titles, Tampa Bay United and West Pines United each added championships, and Venice claimed the 19U elite title.
On the other side of Manatee County - and, partially, up in Clearwater - another slew of titles were being settled on the ice. The Gulf Coast Flames hosted the Labor Day Youth Hockey Tournament and Ellenton Ice & Sports Complex this weekend, and the Flames' 18U reached the final before falling to the Atlanta Knights 4-0.
Gulf Coast, which fielded seven teams at the tournament, entered the final day of play in Ellenton and Clearwater with a combined 15-13-2 record.