Columns & Blogs

James Blake to return to Sarasota Open tennis tournament

The 2012 Sarasota Open is taking shape. The annual professional men's tennis tournament recently gained an additional big name when play begins this weekend.

James Blake, who captured last year's event, is slated to defend his title in the $100,000 men's tourney.

Blake, who has won 10 career ATP Tour titles, is currently ranked No. 74 in the world. He also won the 2008 Arthur Ashe Humanitarian of the Year award.

The USTA Pro Circuit event is being held at Longboat Key Club's Tennis Gardens April 14-22. Ticket information can be found at or by calling 941-809-8996.

Easter Bowl

Several IMG tennis players are taking aim at the prestigious Easter Bowl tournament in various age divisions.

The tournament, held in Rancho Mirage, Calif., began on Easter Sunday and runs through April 15th.

The boys 14 singles started on the first day with No. 1 seed Anudeep Kodali breezing with a 6-0, 6-0 victory over Daniel Park in the round of 128. Kodali is scheduled to become a full-time tennis player at IMG next year.

The 16s (boys and girls) and 18s (girls) singles por

tion started on Monday, while the boys 18s begin today. Among the area players competing from IMG include: Mark Ihrig (boys 16), Grayson Goldin (boys 16), Alexandra Baer (girls 16), Rebecca Weissman (girls 16), Lamar Remy (boys 18), Trey Strobel (boys 18), Tommy Mylnikov (boys 18), Michael Mmoh (boys 18) and Stephanie Nauta (girls 18).

Youth camps

Lakewood Ranch's Premier Sports Campus has two top-notch camps scheduled for youth lacrosse and football players in June.

The LB3 Lacrosse Camp runs June 18-21 for boys ages 8-18 years old. It costs $275 and runs each day from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Campers get the chance to learn under Syracuse University All-American Liam Banks and Duke assistant coach John Galloway.

Email for more information.

Later in June, the Ray Sherman High Performance & Skills Football Camp is also being held at the Premier Sports Campus. Sherman, a local resident, is a veteran NFL coach and will host the camp with NFL players such as Dallas Cowboys linebacker DeMarcus Ware, San Diego Chargers wide receiver Patrick Crayton and former Super Bowl winning quarterback for the Tampa Bay Bucs Brad Johnson are holding the camp June 28-July 1 for boys 7-18 years old. Position training include: quarterback, wide receiver, running back, tight end, defensive back and linebacker.

For more information, call 806-9827 or email

Local lacrosse

Speaking of lacrosse, local lax players are invited to watch Out-of-Door Academy's varsity team host the Tampa Prep Terrapins in Thunder Stadium at 7 p.m. today.

The 2012 Thunder will honor its lone senior, Tyler Burgett, while holding local Lax Club night for community youth players. Those wearing their club lacrosse jerseys gain free admission, get a coupon for a free hot dog and are entered in a halftime shooting contest.

Jason Dill, sports reporter, can be reached at 745-7017 or via email at Follow him on Twitter @Jason__Dill