Pompano baseball team enjoys stellar season

Posted on 26 May 2016 by LeslieM

By Gary Curreri

In two seasons under coach Joe Giummule’s watch, the Pompano Beach High School baseball team has flourished.

The Tornadoes (20-9) were coming off three straight losing seasons following a 13-6 season in 2010-11 under George Petik before Giummule recorded a 14-10 campaign last year and a 20-win season this year. It won the District 14-5A title, in the process snapping a 45-year drought.

I’d be lying if I said that was exactly how I wrote it up,” said Giummule, whose team reached the Class 5A regional final this season where it fell 9-3 to Monsignor Pace. “I knew we had talent, and a strong senior group returning. Our pitching was extremely young with little varsity experience from the previous year, so we weren’t sure how that was going to go.”

Entering the year, the Tornadoes had only reached the postseason three times in school history. The team last won the Class 2A district title in 1971 when it fell 4-0 to Miami Beach in the regional playoff.

The team won its only postseason contest in 2012 when it defeated Jensen Beach, 6-2, in the Class 5A regional quarterfinal only to lose to eventual state champ American Heritage, 6-3, in the semifinals. Pompano Beach advanced to the regional quarterfinal in 2013, but lost to Jensen Beach in the first round of the playoffs. Ironically, the team has posted back-to-back two victory seasons those two years.

I would argue that our district is the toughest in the state of Florida,” said Giummule, who compiled a record of 70-38 at Coral Glades and 59-51 at South Broward before moving over to Pompano Beach. “It is definitely the toughest region in the state of Florida. There would be no days off and we had some great and very talented arms, but inexperienced at the varsity level.”

Giummule said the turning point in the season came on March 17 when it trailed host Pine Crest 9-0 in the fifth inning and the Panthers had a runner on third that would have ended the game with the 10-run mercy rule if he had scored. The Tornadoes had lost to Pine Crest 8-0 just 10 days earlier.

We came back 11-10 and that secured our season,” he said. “We were able to lock up the three seed with that win. Parents were leaving the game and it was on the road. We beat one team with a winning record year and I thought we were headed in the right direction.”

Giummule, 40, of Coral Springs, was pleased that his team was also able to get by Cardinal Gibbons, who beaten the Tornadoes every year since 2003. Pompano beat the Chiefs three times this season. He was able to beat District favorite Somerset twice this season.

The Tornadoes, who graduate six seniors, including three every day starters, will have to replace Bobby Aseere, Nick Marcantonio, and Vinny Costello. Right handed hurler Peyton Trautman, who went 7-0, also graduates.

Our district was so tough, that we could have lost every game,” Giummule said. “The kid that pitched against us in the regional final is going to be drafted by MLB in one of top three rounds. He was throwing 95 miles-an-hour. Our goal every year moving forward is to win a district championship. It is baseball and anybody can beat anybody in that sport.”

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FLICKS: Ma Ma, Weiner & PBS Memorial Day Concert

Posted on 26 May 2016 by LeslieM

By “Cinema” Dave

http://cinemadave.livejournal.com

With The Voice and Dancing with the Stars ending their respective seasons this week, only the NBA Basketball and NHL Hockey playoffs are providing reality television competition. Alice Through the Looking Glass and X-Men: Apocalypse will fill the big screens this weekend; however, two distinct and intimate movies are opening tomorrow with less promotion: the documentary Weiner and the Spanish movie Ma Ma.

Penelope Cruz gives a charismatic, truthful and fully naked performance as Magda, the protagonist of Ma Ma. In fact, the actress is seen topless receiving a routine breast examination. When the gynecologist (Asier Etxeandia ) orders more tests, we learn that Magda has cancer in her right breast.

Magda accepts the results with courage; she is busy dealing with the recent separation from her husband while taking her son, Dani (Teo Planell) to soccer matches. Between bus rides to her chemotherapy treatments, Magda meets Arturo (Luis Tosar), a man of constant sorrow.

With such a plot synopsis, Ma Ma might seem like a stereotypical Spanish melodrama. However, writer/director Julio Medem has created a movie that promotes the culture of life. These dark themes are offset by beautiful cinematography and Penelope Cruz’s life-affirming performance. This beautiful actress allows herself to look weather-beaten; yet, her eyes radiate a spiritual value beyond the physical.

Former New York Congressman Anthony Weiner deserves no award, as witnessed in the documentary Weiner, which also opens tomorrow in local cinemas.

Anthony Weiner was disgraced when he Tweeted a sexually explicit photo of himself to an adult female Twitter follower. The Tweet went viral, scandal ensued and Weiner resigned from Congress.

Perhaps the scandal would have faded as a political footnote, but he decided to run for Mayor of New York. Inviting a documentary camera crew along with him, Weiner faces additional political bombshells as more is revealed about his repeated exhibitionist behavior. Weiner is a case study of political narcissism, with cameos from Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

If today’s political climate is too depressing to watch, take time to watch the PBS National Memorial Day Concert hosted by Joe Mantegna and Gary Sinise. It features entertainment provided by The Beach Boys, Trace Adkins and Renée Fleming, who gladly play second fiddle to the American Military Veterans. Thank a Veteran this Memorial Day Weekend!

 

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CLERGY CORNER: The power of words

Posted on 26 May 2016 by LeslieM

This election cycle has produced an ongoing war of words between opposing candidates. And while it is not a new phenomenon in the contest to attain a political office, the growth of Twitter and other social media platforms has increased the exposure that candidates and their words normally receive. In this season, the demeaning and destructive tone of political rhetoric has resounded among both of the dominant parties of this country. Many are beginning to lament that what ought to be a contest of ideas has degraded to carefully crafted attacks intended to destroy one’s opponent.

In his observation of human life and behavior, King Solomon concluded that “death and life are in the power of the tongue” (Proverbs 18:21). There is a power inherent in words to set or change the course of a person’s life and destiny. Our earliest awareness of this is during childhood, when kind words spoken to us make us feel good about ourselves whereas harsh words create hurt, fear, or sadness. The old expression “sticks and stones may break my bones but names can never harm me” was not true at all. Name calling, especially among children and the emotionally fragile, can inflict grievous psychological and spiritual injury. Consider the effect that bullying has on young people who felt trapped, and who gave in to despair.

We must be careful to monitor what we say in conversation with each other. Even as adults we are not immune to the effects of positive or negative discourse. An ill-timed word can quickly create an argument, but a well-placed word can just as soon quiet a verbal tempest. What we say is important, and how we say it is even more so. Our thought life is affected primarily by the words that we hear or read throughout our lives, and we communicate chiefly through our speech and conversations. How much easier would it be for us to live together if we were more encouraging, helpful, and kind with our words?

Jesus taught that we will be called into account for the things that we say. In Matthew 12:36-37 He stated, “But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

It is true that the intense emotions of our particular circumstances can often be the stimulus for hasty speech and unplanned outbursts, but a well-managed demeanor is a characteristic of mature individuals. Constantly apologizing for words that were spoken can be indicative of a problem that one should seek help in correcting. Those who excuse their harsh and critical language may discover that their words will return to haunt them one day.

Perhaps this is why King David demonstrated an awareness of the power of words in some of his psalms. He advised, “Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking lies” in Psalm 34:13. And he prayed that God would approve of his conversations in Psalm 19:14, “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.” That sounds like good practice and a good petition for all of us to mimic and employ in our interaction with each other. Choose your words carefully for they have power to bring about both good and bad.

Bishop Patrick L. Kelly is the pastor of Cathedral Church of God, 365 S. Dixie Hwy., Deerfield Beach, FL 33441, 954-427-0302.

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Locals fare well at state track meet

Posted on 19 May 2016 by LeslieM

sports051916By Gary Curreri

With 13 athletes competing at the recent Florida High School Athletic Association Class 1A state track and field championships at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Highlands Christian Academy coach Jared Ebenhack couldn’t have been more pleased with the outcome.

Junior Sara Carroll, who is also a standout soccer player for the school and has already committed to play soccer at FIT, won the Class 1A girls high jump, clearing 5.40 ft. She captured six total medals at the state meet this year as she placed fourth in the 100-meter hurdles (15.74); 7th in the 300-meter hurdles; and third in the triple jump (35-7.50). She scored 32 of her team’s 40 points in the meet.

Other top 10 finishes for Highlands included 8th grader Sydney Blackburn, who took ninth in the shot put (32-04), senior Christopher Julien placed 7th in the 100-meter dash, while sophomore Ryan Szklany was 8th in the 1,600 meters (4:41.11) and fourth in the 3,200 (9:47.04).

It was also a bittersweet moment for Ebenhack, who will be relocating his family to Lancaster, CA, on June 3. [He just was honored at Rotary Club, See Pg. 12 of the printed Observer newspaper].

I loved it at Highlands, and parting is bittersweet,” Ebenhack said. “It is very difficult. I know that it is the best thing to do for my family; but I’m definitely torn.”

Considering what an awesome team our girls will have for years to come,” added Ebenhack, who coached most of the middle school runners as elementary students for the past three years, “and considering all the great times I’ve with Ryan Szklany, especially these past four years – especially our Saturday morning long runs down A1A – it is very difficult.”

Ebenhack credited coaches Marc Veynovich and Brenda Montgomery-King for their efforts in the team’s success, especially given the fact the team doesn’t have a permanent track at the school.

Marc was the head coach for the past three years, and I was his assistant, and was in charge of the designing and executing of the distance and sprint programs. This year, he had a lot on his plate and could only come to practice once a week, but he focused a lot on the pole vaulters and high jumpers during that time. Brenda was our throws coach, and two of her athletes qualified for state in the shot and discus, one girl and one boy,” said Ebenhack.

Ely High School senior Thomas Geddis, of Pompano Beach, placed fourth in the Class 3A state finals in the 200-meter dash (22.13) and was a member of the fourth place 4×100 relay with Pierre Dupuy, Arthur Forrest and Rodger Wright (41.95) and the sixth place 4×400 relay (3:21.85) with Tremaine Brown, Roderic Wilson, and Devonte Findlay.

Geddis, 19, is headed to the University of Cincinnati on a football scholarship. Geddis, along with some other standout athletes, helped the Tigers to district and regional titles this season and a fourth place in the state competition. He said he can’t wait to start his new chapter at Cincinnati.

The pressure was tough this year with my being a senior,” Geddis said. “I had a lot of freshmen and underclassmen looking up to me that I had to carry as a team. I was the leader of the 4×100 and the 4×400 and just a captain period, so I had to push them to be comfortable and go out there, have fun, give everything and leave it all on the track.

These four years have been wonderful and meant everything to me,” Geddis added. “It was one of the best track programs I could have come to. We have outstanding coaches and it is a brotherhood and a sisterhood. We come together as one big family.”

Findlay, 18, also a Pompano Beach senior, said he is still searching for a school and hopes his track performance will help earn him a scholarship to college.

I love the sport a lot and I am just keeping busy now,” said Findlay, who overcame an injury this season to reach state. “It was frustrating to sit out, but I did all of my therapy and it was great to make it to states.”

The Tigers’ Roderic Wilson was fifth in the 800 meters (1:58.25), while junior Donnell Grant was eighth in the 110-meter hurdles. Findlay was fifth in the 300-meter hurdles (39.31). Senior Robert Williams was 10th in the discus with a 140-08 throw, while fellow Tigers’ senior Jamie Kennedy took 9th in both the long jump (21-10.50) and the triple jump (44-00.50). Blanche Ely finished fourth in the state competition.

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FLICKS: Pelé: Birth of a Legend & Money Monster

Posted on 19 May 2016 by LeslieM

By “Cinema” Dave

http://cinemadave.livejournal.com

When the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil begin in three months, the country’s greatest sports hero, Pelé, could come out of retirement and be involved. It’s been almost four decades since he kicked his last soccer ball in a Cosmos/Santos exhibition game in New Jersey, yet Pelé’s legendary shadow stands tall. Opening tomorrow in limited release, Pelé: Birth of a Legend provides a taste of Pelé’s acrobatic performances on the soccer field.

The film opens with Pelé entering the World Cup stadium in Sweden, circa 1958 at only 17 years old. The film flashes back to Pelé’s rough and tumble childhood in Brazil, where his friends steal peanuts to buy soccer balls. By playing soccer in the streets, Pelé’s talent is noticed by school coaches. The rags to riches story begins.

Pelé: Birth of a Legend is a simple story. The strength of this film is the visualization on the big screen. Given that his best goals were preserved in grainy photography or kinescope tubes, this film uses contemporary cinematography to convey the athlete’s greatness. Soccer fans and families will appreciate this fine film.

Two of my favorite movie subjects are “monsters” and “money.” Therefore, I was one of the few people to see Money Monster last week. Many of the narrative surprises were revealed in the trailers and television commercials, so it is no big spoiler to reveal that a Wall Street mastermind is the cause of all George Clooney and Julia Roberts’ problems.

Clooney portrays The Money Monster, a hyperactive television financial advisor, like Jim Cramer from MSNBC. After making a bad pick on a stock, a gunman from Queens County enters the studio and holds the Money Monster hostage. Julia Roberts is the director who calls the shots from behind the scenes without even getting her hair messed up.

Despite numerous plot holes and obvious Bernie Sanders political bias, Money Monster contains many humorous moments, mostly at the expense of George Clooney’s character. Actress Jodie Foster directs this satirical flick, which was easily influenced by 1970s political thrillers like Network and The Parallax View. Save your money on Money Monster, this film will probably be in regular rotation on television by October.

There are some good movies on the big screen at the moment, including The Jungle Book and Captain America: Civil War. However, if you are a sports fan, find Pelé: Birth of a Legend.

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CLERGY CORNER: Give me some passion

Posted on 19 May 2016 by LeslieM

Joshua 24:2 And Joshua said unto all the people: “Thus said the LORD, the God of Israel: Your fathers dwelt of old time beyond the River, even Terah, the father of Abraham, and the father of Nahor; and they served other gods.”

Why does Joshua begin admonishing the people with the observation of how morally degraded our ancestors were? Besides, which of our ancestors worshiped idols? Abraham smashed the idols and embraced Monotheism! True, it took Abraham some time until he discovered that the idols were futile. But why would we make mention of that at this point?

The answer is powerful. Joshua is not simply describing our disgraceful past, “In the beginning our fathers served idols; but now the Omnipresent One has brought us close to His service.” Rather, Joshua is explaining why indeed G-d brought us close to His service. “In the beginning our fathers served idols”— and that is why “now the Omnipresent One has brought us close to His service.” Had our fathers not worshiped idols, G-d could have never brought us close to Him.

What indeed was the difference between our grandfather Terach and our father Abraham? If Abraham rationally realized that the statutes of his father were nothing but lifeless, stone images, and that the universe must have a transcendental designer and creator, why could his father not understand this?

The foundations of Judaism do not require blind faith. They are rational. To assume that a house was built by contractor, not by mistake as a result of an avalanche randomly combining the bricks, is not irrational. To accept that an infinite and brilliant world has a designer who is mindful is rational. To accept that quintillions of atoms, structured in a way to create all the matter around us, were organized by intent is not foolish. To observe billions of units of DNA embedded in a single cell of a tiny organism and assume someone organized them is as irrational as thinking that a computer program consisting of three billion organized codes was randomly compiled by error. And remember, DNA does not create a computer program; it is the source of life.

If so, why is it that some are like Abraham — they will reject the deities of the time and embrace truth, while others will be like Terach, continue to stick to old, comfortable irrational notions?

The answer is “In the beginning our fathers served idols”— and that is why “now the Omnipresent One has brought us close to His service.” Abraham worshipped idols! That is the key. He took faith seriously. He craved to know the truth. He was idealistically searching to find what is at the core of life. He served idols with passion, and deep commitment, believing that they constitute the answer to the question of life.

His father Terach was not searching for truth, only for comfort. The god statues provided a fine business and he would not be disturbed by philosophical questions.

Do you care for truth or not? That makes all the difference. Our forefathers worshipped idols. They passionately believed this was “it.” When they found the real G-d, they channeled their passion toward truth.

But if you are a person who does not worship anybody or anything — only your own needs and comforts at any moment, then even if you understand the truth about the universe, it makes little difference.

Rabbi Tzvi Dechter is the Director of Chabad of North Broward Beaches. New location coming soon. For all upcoming events please visit www.JewishLHP.com.

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Deerfield Beach Bison kickoff

Posted on 12 May 2016 by LeslieM

sports051216By Rachel Galvin

May 7 was the kickoff for the Deerfield Beach Bison football team’s registration. Over 100 kids came out to run drills, featuring hurdles, knock-away dummies, ladders and halfback pads, during the Miami Dolphins Jr. Training Camp. The first 50 kids to sign up received free registration. Former players were on-hand, as well as current player Lousaka Polite. Cheerleaders Paige and Kristan taught Bison cheerleaders a cheer and gave them an opportunity to do a dance. Former Florida Atlantic University Head Coach Howard Schnellenberger even made an appearance to speak to the kids.

Following the festivities, kids could pick up information from Beauty Anatomy Institute (a cosmetology and wellness school) and get a pair of free sunglasses. FAU gave out some goodies and each child got a Deerfield Beach Bison bag.

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FLICKS: The Man Who Knew Infinity, Papa Hemingway in Cuba

Posted on 12 May 2016 by LeslieM

By “Cinema” Dave

http://cinemadave.livejournal.com

The Big Bang Theory reaches its 10th season finale this evening. Much like Frasier, The Big Bang Theory does not talk down to their audiences with its references more often found in the halls of academia. The Man Who Knew Infinity would feel comfortable hanging out with the likes of Sheldon Cooper and Frasier Crane.

Based on the real life of mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan (Dev Patel), The Man who Knew Infinity is a biopic about an Indian who earns admittance to the University of Cambridge in England. Due to colonialism, Ramanujan confronts racism from academic circles.

Seeing Ramanujan’s potential, tenured professor G.H. Hardy (Jeremy Irons) takes the Indian genius under his wing. His formulas and proofs earn Ramanujan an international reputation during World War I. Unfortunately, his health deteriorates as his mathematical discoveries begin to change the world.

For those who are not academically-inclined, The Man Who Knew Infinity will be a dull film to watch. Yet, the performances and relationship between Patel and Irons keep this film interesting and honest. Sheldon Cooper and Frasier Crane would love it.

Being advertised as “the first Hollywood Film made in Cuba,” Papa Hemingway in Cuba has been lingering in local cinemas. This biopic details Ernest Hemingway’s (Adrian Sparks) final years in Cuba before Fidel Castro took over the island.

Despite some gorgeous cinematography and memorable one-liners, the film looks amateurish. With a muddled narrative, the acting and the editing feel out of sync.

Can’t get enough of Cuban landscapes? Look for Three Days in Havana, which premiered at last year’s Ft. Lauderdale International Film Festival and is available for streaming on Amazon.com. Gil Bellows (who co-directed with Tony Pantages) stars as an insurance salesman who gets caught in comic noir intrigue.

Papa Hemingway in Cuba and Three Days in Havana, which used many of the same locations, are sure to sell many cruises from South Florida to Cuba.

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CLERGY CORNER: The way a child should go

Posted on 12 May 2016 by LeslieM

I dare say that my role as a pastor for students and their families is considerably more challenging than my previous one as an airline captain. That’s not to downplay the demands of the airline profession — trust me, it’s intense. It’s just that when you find yourself embedded in the clouds, with no land in sight, the instrumentation, airport technology and air traffic control perform exactly as they’re designed to: guiding the plane safely, under zero visibility, to the runway. And, let me tell you, when you break out of the cloud deck at 50 ft. above the runway while hauling toward the Earth at roughly 150 miles per hour, it’s exhilarating … but, predictable … quite the opposite from children and teens.

There is the messy business of being called to “Train up a child in the way [they] should go” so that when they are older, “[they] will not depart from itProverbs 22:6. That begs the question: In which way should they go?

Dr. Seuss has a few suggestions, as do the authors of Nurture Shock, Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman. They set out to identify a list of “supertraits” hoping children with a firm grasp of “gratitude, honesty, empathy [and] fairness” would become “good children” in which problems such as “stealing, feeling bored or distressed, excluding others, early sexual activity and succumbing to peer pressure” would essentially “bounce off them just as easily as bullets bounced off Superman.” What they discovered though, through copious amounts of research, is that these “supertraits” can’t be relied upon to act as “moral Kevlar.”

In this absence of a predictable outcome, control has become our new idol. In the documentary Trophy Kids, one parent of a 9-year-old shares his belief about the goal of parenting: “Get [your] kid to buy into your dream and to your ambition, that’s the key.” Another parent with twin 14-year-old boys informed them that their identity is in playing tennis, and that her will for them, for which she’s made a covenant with God on their behalf, is that they become tennis superstars.

Maybe the aforementioned parents teeter on the extreme, but a new generation of controlling parents has materialized called “Helicopter Parents.” Dr. Tim Elmore in his book Generation iY: Our Last Chance to Save Their Future says this of Helicopter Parents: “These hovering ‘helicopters’ can be controlling and obsessive in their efforts to ensure that everything goes well for their children and that no negative incident affects their self-esteem or their prospects.” Little do these parents understand that, because of their actions, their child isn’t learning the ability to fail and persevere. The “hovering” parent is “[preparing] the path for the child instead of the child for the path.”

In Scripture, time and time again, God prepares the individual for the path, not the other way around. Take David for example. Battling Goliath wasn’t his first altercation. In 1 Samuel 17:33 we see that David “has been a warrior from his youth”— going all commando against lions and bears (“Oh my!” says every parent). Prior to the big match-up, Saul offered up his armor to David, which he declined, knowing it wasn’t needed. (How many times do we try to put our identity — that we rationalize as “armor” or “protection”— on the children under our care?) Later, we see that David “ran quickly toward the battle…1 Samuel 17:48, signifying his eagerness and trust in the Lord, slinging the stone, which had the same take-down force of a .45 caliber pistol, into the forehead of the towering infantryman armed with a spear — talk about your classic bringing a knife to a gun fight — “… thus David prevailed over the Philistine1 Samuel 17:50.

In David’s story, we see God’s design for the way a child should go — to prevail. They are to be equipped through undergoing challenging experiences, yes, struggles that reveal a true relationship with their Father, creating in them a secure understanding of their identity — who God has ordained them to become. From there, we can trust (in God) that they will eagerly take up their calling and accomplish — prevail in — His work, not ours.

C.J. Wetzler is the NextGen pastor at First Baptist Church of Deerfield Beach. Before transitioning into full-time ministry, CJ was a commercial airline captain and high school leadership and science teacher. For questions or comments, he can be reached at cj@deerfieldfirst.com.

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Highlands, Blanche Ely win titles

Posted on 05 May 2016 by LeslieM

sports050516By Gary Curreri

Blanche Ely and Highlands Christian Academy raced to their respective regional track championships last week.

For Highlands Christian, it was the first regional track championship in school history, and, defeated defending state champion Westminster Academy. The Knights boys and girls teams will send 15 state qualifiers in 20 events.

Highlands Christian’s Ryan Szklany was a double winner as he captured the 1,600 (4:31.23) and 3,200-meter runs (10:04.18) in the Region 4-1A meet. Highlands Boys placed first with 113 points over defending state champs Westminster Academy, who finished at 88.

Highlands Christian runners that placed second included Hunter Walton (800), Delimar Martina (high jump), Scott Bush (pole vault), Chris Julien (100). Placing third for Highlands was Kenny Armstrong (shot put and discus) and Jake Petersen (110 and 300 hurdles).

On the girls’ side, Sara Carroll won four events (high jump, triple jump, 100 and 300 hurdles). Abby Simpson placed third in the 300 hurdles, while Sydney Blackburn placed third in both the shot and the discus. Highlands girls placed third (72 points) behind South Florida Heat (133 points) and Westminster Christian School (Miami) (98.5 points).

I am very proud of both the boys and the girls,” said Highlands Christian coach Jarod Ebenhack. “We knew at the end of last year that our boys would be as strong if not stronger than Westminster coming into the season, but we also knew that the athletes at Westminster are seasoned competitors and champions who would not be easy to beat.

We conditioned hard all year long to make this a reality and we faced some adversity,” added Ebenhack, who lost their top 400-meter runner, Steven Ludwig, to a collapsed lung, and then Elijah Kerr to a broken foot the weekend before regionals. “Those two represented a large amount of points to our team. The team took on the challenge of filling the holes left by the loss of these two senior leaders. Our field events, in particular, rose to the challenge, and scored more points than I was expecting.”

Host Blanche Ely ran away with the boys’ crown in the Region 4-3A meet as it finished with 118-1/2 points. The Tigers’ boys’ 4×800-meter relay set the tone early, as Sueil Foucha, James Walker, Syvenson Noel and Roderic Wilson ran an 8:02.11.

I’ve got a lot of 12th-graders that really worked hard to get to this point,” said Blanche Ely coach Anthony Jordan. “Last year a few that got to state, they got to state and didn’t do anything. This year they are focused on winning it.”

Blanche Ely senior Jacee Simon won the high jump with a leap of 6 ft., 6 in., while University of Cincinnati football signee, senior Thomas Geddis, won the 200 in 21.54. Ely senior Arthur Forrest placed second in the 100 with a time of 10.88, while Wilson also took second in the 800 (1:56.57).

The top four competitors in each event qualified for the state meet, set for May 6-7 at IMG Academy in Bradenton.

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