By Gary Curreri
While there were heavy hearts at the recent South Florida International Water Polo Tournament, the event went off without a hitch.
“It was a great event,” said South Florida Water Polo head coach Michael Goldenberg, whose organization hosted the 15th annual event from Feb. 17-19 at two pools — Pompano Beach Aquatic Center and the Coral Springs Aquatic Complex. “As usual because nothing less than that is expected.”
The South Florida water polo community was reeling with the losses of Stefano Dioguardi and Andre Williams, both long-time members of the SFWP (South Florida Water Polo Club).
Dioguardi passed away in July after a year-long battle with Cancer, while Williams was killed in the motorcycle accident in December.
“This year has been a tough year for the club with the loss of the two players,” Goldenberg said. “We dedicated this year’s tournament to raising funds for the Forzastefano Foundation in memory of Stefano and for a sea turtles rescue and preservation foundation in memory of Andre.”
The 15th annual South Florida Water Polo International Tournament attracted 22 clubs from nine countries (Bahamas, Barbados, Canada, Georgia, Hungary, Peru, Puerto Rico, Trinidad and Tobago and the USA.
The USA representatives included teams from five states (California, Florida, New York, Missouri and Washington DC). This marked the first year the event was split between two pools in two different cities.
The South Florida Water Polo Club (1998 birth year) boys defeated Gigantes de Carolina (Puerto Rico) in Championship game, 10-5, while the South Florida Water Polo Club (2001 birth year) boys edged the Encantada Water Polo (Puerto Rico) in Championship game, 8-7.
In the 1998 girls, Hialeah (Miami) took first, while Gigantes de Carolina (PR) was second and South Florida Water Polo Club took third. In the 2003 Coed division, Coronado (California), won the events.
“I have to send ‘a great thank you’ to all athletes and parents of South Florida Water Polo Club for volunteering their time and soul to hosting this event,” Goldenberg said. “Without them, the success would not be possible.”
For more information on the Forza Stefano Charitable Foundation, visit www.forzastefano.org.
Defending State Champ Colts Top Bucks
The Deerfield Beach High School boys’ basketball team was less than a minute away from ending the season of the defending Class 9A state champions.
With 51 ticks on the clock left and leading by four in the Region 3-9A semifinals, the visiting Bucks had Coral Springs on the ropes.
Jelani Heard converted a couple of free throws and Wilvens Fleurizard closed out the game with the final four points of the night with a steal and lay-up with two seconds left to give Coral Springs a 47-44 victory.
The Colts, which defeated Deerfield in the district championship after losing both regular season games to the Bucks, went on to fall to Wellington in the regional final.