It's a wrap for 2015 in the sports, outdoor world

Tina Harbuck
Destin's Jack White prepares to lift 145 pounds in the clean and jerk during the first-ever Beauty and the Beast Power Lifting Championships at Destin Middle School in February. He did five pounds better than the other schools in the Boys 154 division to finish in first place. He did 160 on the bench press.

From big fish hitting the docks, teams winning, fish closures and the loss of loved ones, Destin had a 2015 to remember.

• The year started on a sad note when the fishermen lost one of its own, Andrew Gillingham. Gillingham, 29-year-old deckhand, died in early January.

“He was valuable to have on the back deck, because of his personality and he knew his way around the boat,” said Capt. Gary Jarvis of the Backdown 2

• 12-year-old Madison Tenore shot her first-ever hole in one on Jan. 25 at the Rocky Bayou Golf Course. She was playing the course as part of the Emerald Coast Junior Golf Tournament.

• In early February, Destin Little League Association had nearly 300 youth registered to play ball.

“This is the most we’ve had in about five years,” said Amber Hill, vice president of the Destin Little League Association.

The majority of the kids were in T-ball division with 10 teams ready to play.

• More than 125 middle schoolers from around the county participated in the first-ever Beauty and the Beast Power Lifting Championship at Destin Middle School at the end of February. Destin boys and girls took first place overall in the competition.

• L.W. Burroughs of IntraCoastal Experience pulled in a 7.09-pound sheepshead to take first place in the first-ever Sheepshead Shootout held out of The Ships Chandler in early March.

• A proposal of a 70-day red snapper season in state waters got a nod from local recreational fishermen during a Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission public workshop in Destin.

• On March 16, the crew aboard the Full Pull landed the first cobia of the season, a 54.6-pounder, reeled in by Harri Hotti.

“You catch one cobia and your life changes,” said Hotti, of Finland.

• Dawn Kincaid pulled in a 64.7-pound cobia, the first in the Cobia World Championships at Harbor Docks, while fishing aboard the Papi.

• Sixteen-year-old Aaron Rausch of Indiana hauled in an 82.4-pound amberjack while fishing with Capt. Robert Hill on the Twilight.

“I didn’t know if I was going to get it in the boat or if the pole was going to break,” said Rausch.

• Just days later, the crew aboard the Huntress with Capt. Mike Graef landed a whopper of a king mackerel. Steve Briley of Chicago reeled in a 57-pounder.

• On Easter Sunday, while most were hunting for eggs, Capt. Billy Teems on the Fish-N-Teem and his crew pulled in a 670.2-pound Mako shark.

• Cobia tournaments abound in the Spring in Destin. Out of the 82 fish weighed during the 15th annual Hog’s Breath Cobia Shootout, the largest was a 79.7-pounder caught by Johnathon Hartsfield on the Country Girl.

Mike Moulton and the crew aboard the Overdose of Destin took top honors in the Miller Lite Cobia Invitational at AJ’s Seafood and Oyster Bar with an 84.65-pounder.

First overall in the Flathead Classic at Boshamps Seafood and Oyster House was Su Haven with an 86.5-pounder caught aboard the Long Weekend.

Greg Oswalt on the Sweet Caroline placed first in the Red Stripe Final F’Ling at AJ’s with a 59.05 pound cobia.

• Charter boat captains got good news the last of April when the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration Fisheries put a stamp of approval on a 44-day red snapper season in federal waters starting June 1.

• For the fourth time in five years, the Destin Middle School boys golf team captured the Okaloosa County Championship, winning by a sixstroke margin over second place Ruckel of Niceville. Destin’s No. 1 player, Parker Milam, proved his positioning, firing an even par 35 to lead. The Destin girls team finished in second place.

• Both the girls and boys Destin Marlin tennis teams placed in the Okaloosa County tournament. The Destin girls placed second, while the boys claimed third.

• June 1 marked the first day of red snapper season for charter boats — a 44-day season in federal waters.

• After two days of golf in 90 degree weather, Drew Armacost emerged as the winner of the annual Indian Bayou Men’s Club Championship. He shot a 76 both days for a 152 final earning him the title of Club Champion.

• In mid-June, the crew fishing aboard the Phoenix with Capt. Scott Robson pulled in an 835-pound hammerhead shark that measured 13.6-feet long.

• The Destin 6-8 All-Stars came up short, 22-16, to Niceville in the championship game of the District 1 Maching Pitch Baseball Tournament at Dalton Threadgill Little League Park in Destin.

• Four blue marlin took center stage in the 13th annual Emerald Coast Blue Marlin Classic at Baytowne Marina at Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort. The Cotton Patch set a new tournament record with a 899.6-pounder that measured 134 ½ inches.

• Bob “Philly Dog” Mawson hauled in a 66-pound gag grouper while fishing aboard the Stelluna with Capt. Judah Barbee on opening day of grouper season.

“That’s a once in a lifetime catch,” Mawson said.

• In mid-July Destin lost one of it’s long-time boat captains, Olin Marler, at the age of 80.

Marler began his career as a fishing captain in 1965 when he purchased his first boat.

Over the years, Marler’s operation expanded from charter boat fishing to party boats, dolphin cruises and other boating ventures. At its peak in 2005, Olin Marler Charters had nine fishing boats and two dolphin cruisers.

• Daniel Griffin tackles the job of head football coach at Destin Middle School.

• Tiger Scheyd, a former Destin Dolphin and Fort Walton Beach Viking, walked on at LSU and made the football team.

• Josh Schweizer and Tyler Cook of Bent Rod Outfitters snatched a 412.8-pound, 11-foot-5 gator on the Choctawhatchee Bay the end of August.

• In September, Andy Hollister on the Loose Hook’r took first place in the Harbor Docks Summer Open King Mackerel Tournament with a 48.45-pounder.

The Loose Hook’r also had the winner in the Fudpucker’s Summer Slam, a 41.12-pound king mackerel.

• After waiting for almost six hours for the scales to open, Lynn Usrey, for the second year in a row, was the first to weigh in a fish — kicking off the 67th annual Destin Fishing Rodeo. Usrey weighed in a 6.2-pound redfish.

The Rodeo saw some big fish hit the scales during the month. Joseph Semeraro of Tennessee hauled in a 112-pound white marlin for spot on the rodeo leader board. He was fishing aboard the Un Reel with Capt. Paul Dale Wagner.

Capt. Ben O’Connor on the Fifth Amendment weighed in a 217.4-pound hammerhead shark.

And the last fish of the rodeo was a 50.6-pound grouper on the Lady Em with Capt. Mike Eller. Dave Boudreau’s grouper took first in the Extended Voyage category.

Capt. Reid Phillips of the Destin Princess was named Party Boat Captain of the Year and Mike Graef of the Huntress was named Charter Boat Captain of the Year.

• In early November, the Destin Middle School girls cross country team took top honors in the Florida Youth Running Association Middle School State Championship in Lakeland.

“Our team has consistently shown exceptional dedication and effort all season,” said Coach Tina Barron.

• Bryan Melnuk was the first to cross the finish line in the first-ever LuLu’s Marlin 5K.

• More than 75 golfers teed it up in the annual Emerald Coast Pro-Am at Indian Bayou Golf and Country Club.

• Destin lost another good captain, David “Catfish” Knight of the Cover Girl, passed away on Nov. 30. He was one of the first captains to run small boat bay fishing trips.

• Destin’s Tyler Cohen, a senior at Fort Walton Beach High School, was named the high school male scholastic recipient of the Northwest Florida All Sports Association in December.