Columns & Blogs

Commentary | Budding IMG Academy tennis star dusts off Orange Bowl opponents quickly

IMG Academy's Whitney Osuigwe added a prestigious tennis championship in late December. The junior tennis standout polished off the girls 12s final of the 53rd Orange Bowl International Junior Tennis Championships like the previous rounds: with a straight sets victory.

Osuigwe never dropped a set en route to capturing the girls 12s title, which included seven matches.

The championship was won, 6-4, 6-4, over No. 1 seeded Himari Sato, of Japan. In addition to impressively reeling off seven straight victories without losing a set was that Osuigwe did it as an unseeded player.

Two other IMG players captured championships at the Orange Bowl, but did so in doubles. Michael Mmoh partnered with Stefan Kozlov to win the boys 18s title, while Catherine "CiCi" Bellis teamed with Marketa Vondrousova for the girls 18s title. Mmoh and Bellis train at IMG.

Salute the Admirals

The East Manatee Admirals opened up a seven-point cushion atop the Florida High School Hockey Association's Lightning Conference standings after Friday's whitewash of Sarasota at the Ellenton Ice and Sports Complex.

The county's lone high school hockey team defeated rival Sarasota 7-0 behind Bradenton's Rhett Rampinelli's hat trick and Sarasota's Bradley Cook's three assists.

The Admirals have amassed 32 points from 16 games, while producing the stingiest defense (20 goals allowed) and the most prolific offense (162 goals scored) in the league this season.

Steinbrenner is East Manatee's nearest competitor, with 25 points from 15 games.

There are 18 games in the regular season before the playoffs begin.

The Admirals are off this week, before hosting Tampa Wharton in Ellenton and traveling to Clearwater to face Seminole to close out the last two Fridays in January.

Manatee River Run

The Manatee River Run took place recently, with county runners claiming most of the female age division titles in the 5-miler that saw 473 participants finish the race.

Bradenton's Rae Ann Darling Reed (female masters, 34:55.0), Bradenton's Mary Quinn (female grand masters, 39:13.3), Holmes Beach's Sandy Meneley (female senior grand masters, 40:01.4) and Bradenton's Erma McMullen (female veteran grand masters, 58:43.0) won their age divisions at the race.

The overall female winner was Temple Terrace's Laura Bowerman, who clocked in at 32:27.0.

Donny Barnes, of Huntsville, Ala., was the overall male champion with a time of 26:46.5. Bradenton's Michael Lamb finished second with a time of 27:44.5.

Age division winners went to Gye Scheiwiller (male masters, 30:15.1), Rob Murphy (male grand masters, 30:40.6), Jose Alvalrez (male senior grand masters, 32:48.8) and Donald Ardell (male veteran grand masters, 38:41.3).

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