Between the Lines 20130716

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Local dancer collects many accolades

SPRING HILL – Makayla Messaris, 9, has had a year to remember. A dancer on the Erin’s Danceworks competition team and daughter of studio owner Erin Messaris, Makayla has always shown her love for the stage.

This year she performed her musical theater solo “Broadway Baby” at several local competitions where she received the highest awards possible in her categories; a first place, two platinum awards and an ultimate victory.

In the overall standings she was awarded sixth place at Starbound National Talent Competition, fourth place overall at Showbiz National Talent Competition, and won the Overall High Scoring Solo Awards at both Creation Dance Championships and Danceamerica. She was judged against dancers ages 4-13.

On July 5, Messaris traveled to Schaumburg, Ill. to the Danceamerica national competition where she won the 2013 Petite Dancer of the Year title. She danced against roughly 65 other girls ages 7-11. She was judged on a short interview segment and a jazz combination. These scores were added to her solo score.

After that, the top 13 dancers were announced and she had to perform again in a dance-off. This second solo score was added to the previous score, earning her the top spot.

She was also awarded the High Scoring Female Solo Award for the Primary/Junior age group at the national level.

Last year, Messaris came in first runner-up for Dancer of the Year. She came home and was determined that this year she was going to win it. She worked hard in and out of class. Along with her solo she performed in seven group dances with her teammates.

Messaris also made time for a few other outstanding achievements this year. She performed as Tiny Tim in Springstead High’s “A Christmas Carol” in December. At the end of the year she was awarded Superintendent’s List for straight As all year along with two 5s for her first year of FCAT testing.

Her solo teacher, choreographer and aunt, Kelli Gill, said, “Makayla’s been working crazy hard all year, came back from states with a self-made list of her goals for nationals. Danced full-out every practice and rarely took a day off. On the last day before we left she looked at me with such sincerity and asked ‘Do you think I’m prepared?’ Don’t know if I’ve ever seen such drive in a 9-year-old.”

Week Wachee fall sports meeting

WEEKI WACHEE – A mandatory fall sports meeting for all players and parents of players interested in participating in fall sports at Weeki Wachee High will be held July 29 at 6:30 p.m. in the school’s gym.

Come meet the coaches and pick up fall sports schedules. Requirements to play sports for the upcoming season will be discussed.

For more information, call the school at (352) 797-7029 Ext. 230.

NRA classes offered

BROOKSVILLE – The Hernando Sportsman’s Club is offering several special NRA classes this summer.

NRA Basic Instructor Training (BIT) courses are set for July 24 and Aug. 21, from 4 to 10 p.m.

Instructor candidates must possess and demonstrate a solid background in firearm safety and shooting skills and be intimately familiar with each action type in the discipline they wish to be certified. Candidates will learn NRA policies and procedures; basic public speaking skills; training methodology; use of a training team and training aids; organizing a course; building a budget; and preparing to teach.

Students will receive the NRA trainer’s guidebook. Cost of the course is $100.

A NRA Rifle-Instructor class is set for July 26, from 5 to 9 p.m., and July 27-28, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Instructor candidates learn how to teach safe gun handling, ammunition knowledge, the fundamentals of rifle shooting, and how to improve the performance of beginning rifle shooters.

Candidates must pass exam with a score of at least 90 percent and receive endorsement of training counselor for certification.

Pre-requisites: Completion of both the NRA Basic Rifle-Student class and NRA BIT class. The NRA BIT class must have been completed within two years previously. Cost of the course is $300.

The NRA Basic Shotgun-Student class is scheduled for Aug. 2, from 5 to 9 p.m., and Aug 3, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The NRA Basic Rifle course teaches the basic knowledge, skills and attitude necessary for the safe use of a shotgun in shooting a moving target. Students receive classroom and range time learning to shoot shotguns.

Lessons include: the NRA’s rules for safe gun handling; shotgun parts and operation; shotgun shell components; shotgun shell malfunctions; range rules; shooting at straightaway and angled targets; and cleaning the shotgun.

All students receive the NRA’s Basics of Shotgun Shooting handbook. Cost of the course is $100.

A NRA Shotgun Instructor course will go on Aug. 23, from 5 to 9 p.m., and Aug. 24, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Instructor candidates learn how to teach safe gun handling, ammunition knowledge, the fundamentals of shotgun shooting, and how to improve the performance of beginning shotgun shooters.

Candidates must pass exam with a score of at least 90 percent and receive endorsement of training counselor for certification.

Pre-requisites: Completion of both the NRA Basic Shotgun-Student class and NRA BIT class. The NRA BIT class must have been completed within two years previously. Cost of the course is $200.

Preregistration is required for all classes.

To preregister, or more information on the courses, call Hernando Sportsman’s Club at (352) 597-9931 or visit

Junior golf national championships coming to Orlando

KISSIMMEE – The best junior golfers in the United States will converge on the Orlando metropolitan area later this month to cap off the 2012-13 USSSA Junior Golf season.

The competitors will play at Champions Gate Golf Club in Davenport Friday through Sunday to determine this year’s Mizuno/USSSA National Championships.

The tournament will feature USSSA’s state and regional champions, as well as winners of a number of other junior golf events. In addition, this event will serve as a final tune-up for several players who will begin their college careers in the coming months.

The golfers will be playing on a beautiful par-72 course designed by pro golf legend Greg Norman.

Registration for the tournament is now open to all golfers ages 9-18. Golfers must be registered members of the USSSA Tour in order to participate in the tournament.

Tour registration is free and can be completed at The tournament entry fee for golfers in the Boys and Girls 12-14 and 15-18 divisions is $300. The entry fee for the Boys and Girls 9-11 divisions is $175.

For more information, contact Robert Boudreaux at (337) 278-8431 or

Red Mule Labor Day 5K

BROOKSVILLE – The 32nd annual Red Mule Runners Labor Day McKethan Lake 5K takes place Aug. 24 at McKethan Lake, starting at 8 a.m.

Awards will be given to overall male and female, masters male and female, grandmaster male and female, three deep in each age division and five deep in ages 14-19. Corporate sponsorship opportunities for race T-shirts are also available.

Race-day registration starts at 6:30 a.m. The 5K entry fee is $20 or $25 on race day. Multi-colored T-Shirts will be guaranteed to all preregistered runners. Registration is available online at

For more information, contact Ken Dent at (352) 382-4870, (352) 476-4736 or

The Ridge Ladies’ Golf Invitational seeking sponsors

RIDGE MANOR – The Ridge Ladies’ Invitational Golf Tournament, held at The Ridge Golf Club (formerly Ridge Manor Oaks and Whispering Oaks) on Feb. 24, is seeking sponsors.

Hole sponsors, paying $50 per hole, will have their company name posted at one (or more) of the 18 holes, or a banner can be provided to hang in the clubhouse. All sponsors will be listed in the program for the event.

For more information, contact Betty O’Brien at The Ridge, (352) 608-4800 or

Sheriff’s Office Bowling Extravaganza

SPRING HILL – The Hernando County Sheriff’s Office Youth Education Services, Inc. will be hosting its 13th annual Hernando County Sheriff’s Office Youth Education Services Bowling Extravaganza on Saturday at Spring Hill Lanes.

Registration will begin at noon, and the bowling starts promptly at 1 p.m.

Teams or individual bowlers are invited to participate, and the event is seeking lane sponsorships or prize donations.

Proceeds from the tournament will support the following programs: Sheriff’s Summer R.O.A.R. (Respect Others And YouRself) Day Camps, the Richard Buckingham Community Service Scholarship, and the “In honor of Richard B. Nugent” Community Service Scholarship.

These programs are funded through contributions from citizens and local businesses.

For more information, contact the Sheriff’s Office’s Community Outreach Section at (352) 754-6830 Ext. 53660. A printable registration form is also available at

Tampa-St. Pete area to host USTA Play Days

Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas counties in Florida’s Region 3 will be rolling out a number of USTA Florida Tennis Play Days for kids of all ages this summer.

Online registration is now open for 12 Play Days that will be held in St. Petersburg and Tampa, with the first 25 kids registered for each event receiving a free tennis bag tag. The Play Days will feature prizes, music, games and more.

Events are open to all children (age divisions are limited at some events), with a $5 fee for USTA members, and $10 for non-USTA members.

Hillsborough County events include: Hunter’s Green Country Club, 8-18s age divisions, Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.; Tampa Tennis Club at Hillsborough Community College, 8-12s divisions only, July 27 from 1 to 3 p.m.; and Sandra Freedman Tennis Complex, 8-under division only, Aug. 17 from 10 a.m. to noon.

Registration is limited, so register early at

Pasco and Pinellas events include: Countryside Country Club, 8-12s divisions only, Friday from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.; Innisbrook, 8-14s divisions only, July 27 from 9 to 11 a.m.; New Port Richey Recreation Center, 12-18 divisions only, Aug. 3 from 9 to 11 a.m.; St. Pete Beach-Lazarillo Park, 8-10s divisions only, Aug. 3 from 10 a.m. to noon; and Madeira Beach Recreation Center, 8-12s divisions only, Aug. 24 from 10 a.m. to noon.

Registration is limited, so register early at

USTA Play Days provide kids of all skill levels with the opportunity to experience tennis in a social and fun setting. The events are open to the public with an emphasis placed on family participation, effort and sportsmanship. Information will also be available on 10 and Under Tennis, Jr. Team Tennis leagues, other local play opportunities, and special free USTA memberships for qualifying participants.

For kids age 10 and under the events will feature the USTA 10 and Under Tennis format, which allows smaller children to emulate adult play on smaller court sizes, with racquet sizes that fit their hands, foam and low-compression balls, and a simple scoring system, all adjusted to ease kids into the sport. Similar mini-tennis formats have long been popular in Europe, where current stars such as Roger Federer first learned the game with age-adjusted racquets, balls and court sizes. For more advanced players the event will feature full-court play.

For more information, visit the USTA Florida Region 3 Facebook page at

The First Tee of Brooksville

BROOKSVILLE – The First Tee of Brooksville golf program is underway this summer.

Classes for the TARGet level, where beginning golfers ages 5-6 learn the fundamentals of the game, take place at The Quarry Golf Course on Friday, plus July 26, and Aug. 2, from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. Cost is $10 per class.

Classes for the PLAYer and PAR levels take place at Southern Hills Plantation Club, July 22-25 (all ages).

These classes are held from 9:30 a.m. to noon. The cost is $60 per week.

PLAYer Level is all participants new to The First Tee program, ages 7-17. PAR Level is all current participants of The First Tee program, ages 9-17.

Preregistration is required and limited space per week is available. Volunteers are needed.

For more information, visit – Departments – First Tee, or contact Tiffany Taylor at (352) 540-3835 or

HCRD holding camps this summer

BROOKSVILLE – The Hernando County Recreation Department will host a variety of sports camps throughout the summer months.

Basketball camp: Enjoy one of the most requested camps with several weeks to choose from. The camp, for ages 8-14, will take place at Powell Middle School July 22-25 and Aug. 5-8, as well as Challenger K-8 July 8-11.

Times for all dates are 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., plus 7:30 to 9 a.m. and 3 to 4 p.m. at an additional cost.

The cost is $65 per week, with before and after care available at an additional $10.

This camp is conducted by Marion and Michael Jones. Marion Jones is a former Hernando High standout who went on to play at St. Leo University. Michael Jones is currently an assistant coach for men’s basketball at Pasco-Hernando Community College, where he played his college ball. Joined by Calvin Brown, all have coached many middle and high school teams. Learn the fundamentals of the game, drills and skills, followed by scrimmage games.

Sports camp: Enjoy a variety of indoor and outdoor sports activities, including basketball, flag football, tennis, dodgeball, kickball and more. Campers will spend each day learning the rules and playing the games of the most common sports they love to participate in.

The camp, for ages 8-14, takes place at Powell Middle School July 29-Aug. 1, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., plus 7:30 to 9 a.m. and 3 to 4 p.m. at an additional cost.

The cost is $65 per week, with before and after care available at an additional $10.

Obtain registration forms at or visit the HCRD office. There is a one-time $10 registration fee due at the time of registration for all above camps, in addition to payment for the first week of camp you are registering for.

Tony “Red” Morrison Baseball Camp: Tony Morrison was drafted by the New York Yankees in the fifth round of the 1987 MLB June Amateur Draft. Participants will learn hitting, fielding, pitching, catching, baserunning, bunting and throwing.

The camp, for ages 7-12, is geared to campers who have prior playing experience in youth baseball. It will be held at Anderson Snow Sports Complex, Aug. 12-16, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The cost is $100 per week, with limited spaces available.

Campers need to bring gloves, cleats, bat and helmets, along with lunch, water bottle and sunscreen.

Registration must be done through the HCRD office, not available at Looper Sports Connection.

For more information on all camps, call the HCRD at (352) 754-4031.

Powell Middle School sets football camp

SPRING HILL – The Football Agility and Conditioning Camp will take place July 22-25, from 9 to 11 a.m. at the Powell football field. The camp is open to all county middle school students.

Those who attend will gain a physical advantage at football tryouts. This camp will help with becoming heat tolerant for the season, and with cardiovascular endurance, along with strength and agility as they relate to football. This is not a skills camp.

Transportation will not be provided. Participants should only drink water at home before camp starts every day. No dairy. Water will be available to students at all times during camp. Open water policy is strictly adhered to.

The camp cost is $50 per participant and $25 for each sibling.

Must have completed FHSAA sports paperwork, a copy of the birth certificate, insurance card and a completed registration form. Forms can be obtained at

For more information, contact Coach Ron Blackwell at (352) 797-7095 ext 227 or

Nature Coast basketball skills camps

BROOKSVILLE – Nature Coast Technical High School will be holding boys and girls basketball skills camps this summer, for players age 5 to those entering seventh grade.

The final camp will take place July 22-25, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., at the Nature Coast gym. Players and coaches will be at the NCT gym at 8 a.m. for camper drop off.

The cost is $75 per camper. The camp instructor will be David Pisarcik, a former college basketball standout at Armstrong Atlantic State University and current head boys basketball coach at Nature Coast. The camps will also include Nature Coast varsity boys basketball players to give individual instruction to campers.

The camp will consist of individual and group instruction on basic fundamentals of basketball, which include: basic and advanced ball-handling skills; fundamentals on shooting and passing; individual defense; team defense; daily contests and prizes; team competitions (3v3, 5v5); infamous pickle shot; 3-point, free throw and hot shot competitions; and trophies and awards.

For more information or to confirm your spot, call Pisarcik at (727) 385-2194.

Firearms safety classes

BROOKSVILLE – The Hernando Sportsman’s Club is offering several firearms safety classes over the next few months.

The class dates include Saturday, plus Aug. 7, Aug. 17, and Sept. 4. A special “ladies only” firearms safety course will be held Sept. 21.

All classes are from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Hernando Sportsman’s Club, 16121 Commercial Way.

The course covers lessons about the basics of firearms safety around the home; intro to pistol safety, parts and operation; intro to ammo and the fundamentals of pistol shooting; intro to pistol shooting from the seated and standing position; and intro to pistol cleaning and storage.

The classes include instruction, live-fire training on the range and a lunch break. All materials and equipment needed for the class and live-fire training is provided to students, including the use of a firearm, ammo, earplugs and eye protection.

The cost is $60. Successful completion of this class also provides required documentation to apply for a Florida concealed carry permit if desired.

Pre-registration is required. Please call (352) 597-9931 to pre-register.

For information on the club, visit

Spring Hill Lanes Kids Camp

SPRING HILL – Spring Hill Lanes’ Kids Camp will be held for eight weeks this summer, allowing children ages 5-16 of all skill levels to have fun and learn how to bowl.

The camp will take place Wednesdays, through July 31, and Saturdays, through July 27, from 10:30 a.m. to noon.

The cost is $10 per week. Included is a choice of bowling ball, bag and shoes, free on-lane instruction, free T-shirt, open bowling for $1.50 per game, and an instructional video on Wednesdays.

For more information or to sign up, call Spring Hill Lanes at (352) 683-7272.

Tennis camp and classes

SPRING HILL – Ace Performance Tennis is offering Quick Start Drills Mondays from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. at Delta Woods Park.

The cost is $10.00 per class. Drills and games are designed for beginning players using the USTA-approved strategies for 60-foot court players.

Learn to play tennis quickly with age- and size-appropriate equipment and modified courts.

Additionally, Ace Performance Tennis is offering a Ladies Night Out, Mondays from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Delta Woods Park.

The cost is $10 per class. Women of beginning and intermediate skill levels will learn to play in a fun social setting.

For more information on the camp and classes, contact John or Louise Downey at (352) 666-0658 or