Mendez wins Woodson title; sets sights on state

Posted on 05 October 2017 by LeslieM

By Gary Curreri

Lighthouse Point’s Kevin Mendez is looking for a repeat performance at state.

After sitting out the beginning of this season with an injury, it appears that the eighth-grader at Pine Crest School in Ft. Lauderdale is prepared to defend his Class 1A state diving championship.

Mendez, 14, recently showed he is going to be a state contender after winning the boys 1-meter diving title at the 54th annual Woodson Invitational at the Pine Crest School pool with a total score of 497.95 after sitting the first six weeks of the season with a broken thumb.

This helps a lot confidence-wise because I had the broken thumb and just came back (from the injury,” said Mendez, who had three top 8 finishes, including second in the 1-meter diving event at the national championships this summer, despite a fractured finger. I have only been diving four days, so to do this well was unexpected. It will boost my confidence a lot. I was pretty happy.”

His efforts helped Pine Crest take second in the team race with 229 points at the meet. Perennial Class 1A state champion Jacksonville Bolles, winners of 26 consecutive state titles, won both the boys’ and girls’ titles.

Mendez is hopeful of retaining his gold medal at the state meet at the Sailfish Splash Waterpark, Aquatic Athletics Center in Stuart on Nov. 4.

There is zero pressure on me to win a state title because it is unexpected being young,” Mendez said. “Nobody expects you to win, so you just go in there and do your thing. I am used to it.

I have won a couple of national championships so I am used to the pressure,” Mendez continued. “I would say my favorite board (event) is the 1-meter.”

He got his start in diving when he was taking swimming lessons, spotted the diving board and asked if he could give it a whirl. It was 10 years ago, and Mendez said he has loved diving ever since.

You just adapt to it,” Mendez said. “It is kind of scary at first. Like anything, the more you do it, the more you get used to it.”

Since he won the high school title last year, he knows what to expect.

 “I think I have a chance of winning states again,” Mendez said. “I am going to try my best and do my best. I think I have a good shot.”

Bucks cruise past Taravella

Deerfield Beach High School’s football team grounded out an easy 50-6 victory over visiting Taravella last week. 

The Bucks totaled 507 yards rushing, with three players running for more than 125 yards each – Jakari Norwood (141 yards and two TDs), Jerome Neal (140 yards, TD) and Jaylan Knighton (125 yards). The Bucks (3-1) travel to St. Thomas Aquinas this Friday for a huge non-district game.

Tigers tamed in defeat

Auburn commit Shaun Shivers rushed for 146 yards and two touchdowns, all in the first half, to lead Chaminade-Madonna to a 44-0 win over Blanche Ely in a non-district game, Monday at Blanche Ely.

Shivers scored on two of his five carries for the game with scoring runs of 79 and 55 yards. Quarterback Daelen Menard also accounted for a pair of scores, finishing 4 of 6 for 123 yards. The Lions (3-2) scored on their first three possessions, with their first two scoring drives taking just one play each.

Blanche Ely slipped to 2-3 with the loss.

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