VALDOSTA -- Looking for something to do this weekend? There's probably a sports event in the area which can solve your sports fix.

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Much of the attention will be focused on The Complex at Valdosta State, when the American Taekwondo Association will have a Class A tournament beginning at 9 a.m. Saturday.

The ATA website (www.ataonline.com) lists just four Class A tournaments in 2003, in addition to the national and world championships (June 9-15 in Little Rock, Ark.).

This is the second of two national Class A tournaments this month, as competitors prepare for the Spring Nationals March 12-15 in Las Vegas, Nev.

Because it's so close to the nationals, the Valdosta tournament is drawing many high-ranking taekwondo masters -- including Grand Master Soon Ho Lee, who's been touring the area since Tuesday -- and competitors from across the nation.

Tournament officials expect 1,200-1,500 competitors of all ages and skill levels to compete in three events -- forms, sparring and weapons.

Senior Master Scott Stauffer is a seventh-degree black belt and chief instructor for the local ATA Black Belt Academy.

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Youth baseball has gotten off to an early start this month, with the South Georgia Volcanoes hosting the second event today through Sunday at Lake Laurie.

The tournament is a USSSA World Series qualifier, and will feature four 13-under teams and 10 12-under teams.

Play beginst at 6 p.m. today and will be conducted on four fields at the Boys and Girls Club facility. Games continue at 9 a.m. Saturday with the championship rounds starting at 9 a.m. Sunday. Championship games are set for around 1 p.m. Sunday.

The tournament features Valdosta-area teams and clubs from Florida, Georgia and Alabama. Valdosta teams include Jud West's Team Valdosta, Robert Shipman's Valdosta Rangers, Juan Alonso's Valdosta Hurricanes and the host South Georgia Volcanoes, whose head coach, Kevin Wagner, was called up for military service and is now overseas.

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Area basketball and wrestling teams will be playing for region championships Saturday.

In Valdosta, Region 1-A basketball teams will play for region titles and seedings in next week's state tournament at Lowndes High. Both Clinch County teams and Echols' girls are among those who have advanced.

In addition, Region 1-AAAAA teams play at Coffee High in Douglas and Region 2-AA teams play at Pierce County High in Blackshear.

In wrestling, Valdosta High is hosting the Region 1-AAAAA and Cook High the Region 1-AA individual tournaments all day Saturday. Competition begins at Valdosta High at 10 a.m., with the finals around 5 p.m. Wrestling begins at Cook High at 9:30 a.m.

The top four individuals in each of 14 weight classes advance to the state tournaments next Friday and Saturday -- Class AAAAA at the Macon Centroplex, Class AA at Union Grove.

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Valdosta State's sports teams will also be busy -- mostly away from home.

The baseball Blazers will host St. Leo at 2 p.m. Saturday and Edward Waters in a 2 p.m. doubleheader Sunday.

The basketball teams continue their fight to qualify for the Gulf South Conference tournament with games at league-leading Alabama-Huntsville. The women will tip off at 6 p.m., the men at 8 p.m. (radio: WVGA-FM 105.9).

Softball finishes play in the Gulf South crossover round-robin in Pensacola, Fla. After two games today (vs. Henderson State and Central Arkansas), the Lady Blazers play Delta Saturday at 1 p.m. Saturday.

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Another spring sports begins Saturday, with Lowndes High's soccer teams playing in Thomas County's preseason jamboree at the TCCHS football stadium.

Lowndes' girls will play three mini-matches -- vs. Cairo at 10:45 a.m., TCC at 12:15 and Bainbridge at 1 p.m.

Lowndes' boys begin play at 5:45 p.m. vs. Cairo, followed by a 7:15 match against TCC and an 8 p.m. contest with Bainbridge.

The 2003 season opens Tuesday, with both Lowndes teams playing at Coffee in Region 1-AAAAA play (5:30 p.m.). Valdosta High's teams host Berrien at 5 p.m. Tuesday.

Both Lowndes teams advanced to the second round of the state Cl





ass AAAAA tournament last May.

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