Pompano Senior gets sixth ace

Posted on 26 February 2015 by L.Moore

sports022615By Gary Curreri

Joe Patchen wouldn’t have it any other way.

The 88-year-old Pompano Beach man plays golf three times a week and doesn’t plan on stopping soon.

Patchen is still pretty good at his craft because he recently used his 6-iron and recorded his sixth hole-in-one on the Par-3, 134-yard 15th hole at the Pines Course at the Pompano Municipal Golf Course.

This one was nice because of the six hole-in-ones I have. This was only the second one that I saw go in the hole,” added Patchen, who was playing in a Pompano Beach Men’s Golf Association tournament and picked up a second place finish with a net score of 67. “It bounced twice and went in. I was feeling good that day.”

Patchen, who plays on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, said he enjoys both the camaraderie with the other golfers and the competition. He said he called his hole-in-one.

I was talking to my playing partner and said it was about time one of us got a hole-in-one and I did,” Patchen said. “It was exciting because we had just talked about it.”

Patchen began playing in New York when he was 12 and hasn’t stopped. His last hole-in-one came three years ago.

I have been caddying and playing golf,” Patchen said. “I play three days a week. I love golf because it is a challenge. Every single day is different. Every single shot is different. It is not the same thing day after day after day. I never know what is going to be happening that day.”

Patchen said his singular shot was a lucky one.

I think it’s luck,” Patchen said. “We all throw the whole ball at the hole and for it to go in that little hole, I think it is luck. When you figure how many years I have been playing, 76 years … I must have thrown a million shots at those holes and only got six of them.”

Patchen believes he has a lot of golf left. He idolizes Jack Nicklaus, who he said was the best golfer he ever saw.

I am going to keep going until I can’t play anymore,” Patchen said. “I look forward to it. I get up at 5 in the morning and have my coffee and breakfast, and go out and play golf. I just like the game. Now that I am retired, I play it a lot. I play in all kinds of weather, but I can be a little particular. If it is raining, I don’t go out. If it is cold, I don’t go out.”

Ely in Final Four

Blanche Ely’s boys’ basketball team will hope to end its season on a high note – a perfect one at that.

The Tigers remained undefeated at 26-0 and are ranked 6th nationally. Blanche Ely advanced to Thursday’s Class 7A state semifinal against North Port at the Lakeland Center with a 79-65 victory over Miami Central. A victory will mean a third state championship in four years. It would also mark the first undefeated season for the Tigers basketball program.

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Ely remains unbeaten

Posted on 19 February 2015 by L.Moore

sports021915By Gary Curreri

So much for déjà vu. For the first half of Tuesday night’s regional semifinal game against Dwyer, it looked like history was going to repeat itself as the visiting Panthers took a 35-26 halftime advantage against the host Blanche Ely boys basketball team.

That was until Ely, ranked No. 7 in the nation in the USA Today Super 25 Expert Rankings, outscored the visitors 49-21 in the second half, including 26-11 in the fourth quarter, and roared to a 75-56 win in the Class 7A regional semifinal and advance to the regional final on Saturday against Miami Central.

The Tigers ran off 27 consecutive wins in the 2009- 2010 season before Dwyer ended the Tigers’ season with a 70-57 victory in the regional semifinal. It was something that Blanche Ely coach Melvin Randall didn’t let his team forget.

This was a personal game, very personal,” said Randall, whose team improved to 25-0 with the win. “I briefly mentioned it to them, but I didn’t have to use it as a motivational tool.”

Therrell Gosier led the way with a game-high 17 points, while LaQuincy Rideau and Diandre Wilson each had 16 points, and Javon Heastie added 12 points in the win for the Tigers, who are hoping to win its third state championship in four years.

The pressure feels like the Coach K situation of trying to win that 1,000th game,” said Randall, referring to Duke University coach Mike Krzyzewski, who recently became the first D-1 college coach to win 1,000 career games. Randall has compiled a 499-141 career coaching record and is in his 14th year at the school and 21st overall. “Knowing where we are and how high we are ranked … with a target on your back, you know it is going to get harder and harder, especially during the playoffs.”

My thing is I have to keep my kids very humble and focused, and also hungry,” Randall said. “With the exception of Cardinal Gibbons, we have been winning our games by double digits and we just have to take it gameby- game.”

Randall won state titles in 1997 with Deerfield (Class 5A) and his win in 1999 (Class 6A) came at the expense of his current school Ely, 77-69. After moving over to Ely, Randall won state titles in 2007 (Class 6A), 2012 (Class 7A) and 2013 (Class 7A).

We have to have a sense of urgency and also increase the level of intensity,” Randall said. “We’ll be fine.”

The Tigers finished 21-5 last season, including four losses to Boyd Anderson and once to Cardinal Gibbons in the Big 8. Blanche Ely lost in regional semifinal to Boyd Anderson last season, 61-54. Randall said it would be special to run the table for the school’s first undefeated season and a state title.

It is all these kids,” Randall said. “They are working hard and they are training. They are hungry and, as a result, they are getting these little benefits from these games that we are playing.

We can run the table,” he added. “I don’t think they realize they have already made history in being ranked as high as they are and I believe that is the highest ranking in the history of Broward County, if I am not mistaken. We still want to get to Lakeland, and we want to go undefeated. We can’t turn back.”

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Bucks look to contend for District title

Posted on 12 February 2015 by L.Moore

By Bryan Hursh

Striking out on last season’s goals, the Boys’ Varsity baseball team looks to fix the mistakes that led them to a 4-17 season. Losing key players LHP Johnny Grassi and 2nd Baseman Aaron Johnson, the Bucks are looking to bounce back from a tough season with veteran pitching and new transfers Freshmen Andrew Galinat, Junior Kyle Galinat and Senior Donny V. the Bucks’ look to contend for their first district title since 2004.

We lost a key arm in the rotation last season, but we believe that with our new rotation we can fill the gaps and keep a lot of games close this season.” said Senior Captain Kyle Miller.

With the right mindset and attitude, and when we all play together we can accomplish great things this season,” said Junior Catcher Trent Youstein. “We need to take it one game at a time and close it out.”

Built with young talent and experienced pitching, the Bucks look to gain some early momentum and use it to propel them through the season, the coaching staff is optimistic of a successful season.

With the right moves, these boys can accomplish great things. All they have to do is just buy in,” said Vincent Tozzi, athletic director.

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Pompano Middle falls in county semifinals

Posted on 05 February 2015 by L.Moore

sports020515By Gary Curreri

Pompano Beach Middle School boys basketball coach Leonard Fudge had hoped for more.

The fourth-year coach fell for the second consecutive year to the eventual Broward County Middle School champion in the county semifinals.

They fought all year,” said Fudge, whose team finished 13-2 this year. They lost to Millennium last year in the county semifinals. “We were inexperienced. We had one sixth grader and all eighth graders who had never played basketball before. They were fighters. They just wanted it.”

Pompano Beach came all the way back from an eight-point deficit with one minute to go to force overtime, but eventually fell to Lauderdale Lakes, 39-35, in overtime. Khristopher Bogle had 11 points in the game before fouling out in the first minute of overtime. His buzzer-beating basket tied the game and forced overtime.

That was really hard losing Khris,” Fudge said. “My big kid, Joshua Noel Saint, came off the bench after having a rough start and he really turned it around. I am very proud of them. I couldn’t ask for anything more. They exceeded my expectations.”

Eighth grader Joshua Scott had eight points, while eight grader Brandon Peets and seventh grader Jordan Bennett each had five points.

After the fourth game of the season, when the team got off to a 4-0 start and defeated Lyons Creek Middle School, Fudge believed his team had a shot at making a run deep into the playoffs.

It was a total rebuilding year,” Fudge said. “The kids fought hard and they believed they could do it all year long. They really did.”

The best part of the season was the work they put in,” Fudge added. “The guys dedicated themselves all year long. Every day they came to practice and worked. They really did.”

Ely remains undefeated

Blanche Ely’s boys’ basketball team remained undefeated with a 69-63 victory over previously unbeaten Cardinal Gibbons in the Broward County Big 8 tournament recently at Fort Lauderdale High School.

Both teams entered the game undefeated and nationally ranked and the game see-sawed back and forth until the Tigers (22-0) closed out the contest with a 6-0 run for the win for its fifth Big 8 title and fourth over the past six years. It also avenged a loss to the Chiefs (25-1) in last year’s final.

Laquincy Rideau led Ely with 18 points as all five starters scored in double figures.

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Annunziata finishes 5th at U.S. Nationals

Posted on 29 January 2015 by L.Moore

sports012915By Gary Curreri

Lara Annunziata is all smiles following her strong performance at the 2015 Prudential U.S. Figure Skating Championships recently in Greensboro, NC.

Annunziata, 11, of Pompano Beach, took fifth place in the Intermediate Ladies Division. She was in fourth place following her short program and took sixth in her long program to finish fifth place overall. She was hoping for a Top 5 finish entering the competition and that’s exactly what she got.

I enjoyed the experience and the other skaters I competed against were very good,” she said. “I was happy to place in the Top 5 in the nation. I skated my best, but competition was tough,” said Annunziata, who also gets good grades in school.

Annunziata plans to move up a level to the Novice Division next year and said the experience at nationals would be beneficial to her in her future.

This experience will only help me get better,” she said. “I was the youngest in this competition and I competed with girls that had been there longer than me and who were older. It was my first experience at Nationals, and it was an incredible experience!”

It capped another solid effort by the Florida Panthers Figure Skating Club member, who also placed third in the regional and fourth in the sectionals to earn her trip to nationals.

I really don’t think of anything when I am out on the ice,” said Annunziata, a Shepherd of the Coast sixth grader. “I kind of go with the fl ow. I clear my mind. It is really important to go to sectionals in my first time at this level.”

She joined teammates Sophia Chouinard, who won the national title in Juvenile Girls, and T.J. Nyman, who won the national crown in the Intermediate Men’s Division.

Bucks win district soccer title

Deerfield Beach’s Romilaire Ambroise scored the goahead goal just three minutes into the second half and the Bucks held on for a 3-2 victory over Monarch for the District 12-5A championship at West Boca High School last week.

The Bucks (19-2-4) will host Palm Beach Central in the Class 5A regional quarterfinal on Thursday at 7 p.m.

The Bucks, which lost the district title game as well as the regional quarterfinal last season, won their third district championship under head coach Frantz Edouard.

We are a more organized and disciplined team defensively this season,” said Edouard, who lost the district title game as well as the regional quarterfinal last season. It was Edouard’s third district title at the school. “We were able to put a lot of pressure on them.”

Theodore Stanley scored twice within the first 10 minutes of the game to take Deerfield Beach to a 2-0 advantage. Monarch battled back to tie the game before Ambroise gave the Bucks the lead for good — just one minute after Monarch’s Rodrigo DaSilva equalized.

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Stone leads Lions

Posted on 22 January 2015 by L.Moore

sports012215By Gary Curreri

What a difference a few years makes.

After being cut from the middle school team as an eighth-grader at Zion Lutheran, senior Keith Stone is making up for lost time.

The 6’8”, 230 lb. senior who averaged 28 points and six rebounds last season has the Lions primed for another postseason run. Zion Lutheran entered the week at 15-5 with narrow defeats to Cardinal Gibbons, Dillard, First Academy (Orlando), and Spring Valley and Dreher (both Columbia, SC).

When I got cut from middle school, I really didn’t feel like doing it then, and coach Francis (Bornelous) came and got me,” Stone, 17, of Deerfield Beach, said. “I worked real hard, spent the summer with him. He helped me out. He trained me every day for free, so I owe him the world. Look at me today. I am just doing my thing, getting better at basketball and learning the game.”

Stone, who played goalkeeper in a recreational soccer league and baseball before giving basketball a try when he enrolled at Zion Lutheran, has come full circle. He recently signed a national letter of intent to play basketball at the University of Florida next fall. His future college coach, Billy Donovan, was in attendance watching Stone play at the Kreul Classic holiday tournament in Coral Springs.

My old coach who cut me was proud of me and didn’t know I would turn out this way,” said Stone. “It helped me because it is the way my work ethic is set up. I like to work and I ain’t scared to work.”

It was hard in the beginning for Stone, who chose University of Florida over South Carolina, Virginia Commonwealth University, Virginia Tech and Alabama. Stone is rated a four-star prospect and the nation’s 100th best (No. 9 in Florida) prospect for 2015 by ESPN and a three-star (No. 127 overall) by Rivals.

At first, I didn’t want to play basketball anymore,” Stone said. “I didn’t want to do nothing. I stayed home, played my video games and just sulked. Then, I thought to myself that this man (Bornelous) wanted me to become better in basketball and I might as well take that chance because I didn’t get that chance in middle school. I went with him.”

Stone believes he has improved in his ball handling and stretching the defense in the last couple of years. He can step out and knock down 3s. He also believes his supporting cast is better.

Our team is much better this year,” Stone said. “We have been, as a whole, since our 9th grade year. We all know each other. We all love each other and, since we are together almost every day, the communication is great on the court.”

Zion Lutheran boys’ basketball coach John Guion said the Kreul Classic helped his team.

We had three great tests,” Guion said. “We played different kinds of teams and I just think it does a great job preparing us for what we are going to see in the playoffs and down the road.

The whole key right now for us is to continue to get better,” Guion added. “We continue to see different things so we are continually learning from those mistakes that we make and the success that we have. We had a considerable amount of success this weekend.”

Guion said the team has also shown that it has more than Stone.

Coming in, we know we have Brandon Bornelous ,who is a great shooter, and we know we have Keith, who is a dynamic weapon,” Guion said. “I wasn’t sure what the others around him were going to do. The best thing that I have seen is that we have a lot of people stepping up like Kevin Dailey, Rashad Witty and Edwin Louis. This is just a better collective team than we had last year. They are really good with each other.”

Stone is looking forward to the future.

Winning state this year would be the icing on the cake,” Stone said. “I’d love to finish out my senior season with a state ring and then I head off to Florida.”

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Tigers hope for undefeated season, state title

Posted on 15 January 2015 by L.Moore

sports011515By Gary Curreri

Blanche Ely High School senior Therell Gosier is headed to the University of Miami next year to play football. He still has a few items to cross off his bucket list before he graduates.

Gosier, 19, of Pompano Beach, is hoping to keep the Tigers boys’ basketball team on track for an undefeated season. Blanche Ely entered this week’s action at 15-0.

I knew we would be this good, but I didn’t think we’d be this good early,” said the 6-7, 210-lb. center. “We still have a couple of kinks we still have to work out.

We are trying to do something special,” added Gosier, who averages 14.6 points and 8.5 rebounds a game. “We have a chance to be the first Blanche Ely team to go undefeated and win state this year so mainly that’s our goal to go to state and try to be undefeated. That’s our little edge going into every game.”

Gosier, a two-sport athlete at the school, welcomes the pressure of being undefeated.

It helps us a lot having a target on our back because we know we have to bring it every night,” Gosier said. “Everyone wants to be that first team to knock us off and give us that first ‘L’. So we bring it every game to make sure that no team gives us that first loss.”

Blanche Ely coach Melvin Randall is in his 21st year, including the past 14 at Ely. Randall won state titles in 1997 with Deerfield (Class 5A) and his win in 1999 (Class 6A) came at the expense of his current school Ely, 77-69. After moving over to Ely, Randall won state titles in 2007 (Class 6A), 2012 (Class 7A) and 2013 (Class 7A).

Randall, who has compiled a 489-141 record at the school during that 14-year span, believes this year’s team could be one of the best ever.

This is a special team,” Randall said. “Definitely at the guard play, I haven’t had a team with strong guard play in a while. I have had some good guards, but, with this team, you are talking about four or five that I can put out there. I have the flexibility to do that with this team.”

Randall said the team has played well since the summer when they showed promise during AAU play.

They played on the AAU teams and they did great on the AAU circuit,” Randall said. “Now we have come together and we are keeping it family based.”

Even though the team graduated Lance Tejada (East Carolina) and Josh Floyd (Florida State College at Jacksonville) and Richard Lee went back to Northeast High School, the Tigers have still found a way to win. The team benefited from senior guard senior LaQuincy Rideau, a transfer from Palm Beach Lakes, who lives with his aunt in Pompano Beach.

Senior Javon Heastie, along with juniors Mark Houston and Trevor Goodrum, have all stepped up their games, according to Randall.

The Tigers finished 21-5 last season, i n c l u d i n g four losses to Boyd Anderson and once to Cardinal Gibbons in the Big 8. The team has been undefeated during the season before as it ran off 27 consecutive wins until it lost to Dwyer 70-57 in the regional semifinal in the 2009-2010 season.

We are all coming together,” Randall said. “From the outside looking in, the fans and the spectators, we know we are not there yet. We still have a ways to go. We are better off now than we were a couple of weeks ago. We are still having problems with the rotation. I think they have been rotating well. These people have to understand to see those hard traps and to shift and rotate players. I think, once we get that down pat, it is going to prove that it will be pretty hard for a team to score easily.”

Gosier hopes the team finishes the year the way they started.

I t would be great,” Gosier said. “We would go down in history as probably the best basketball team ever to play at Blanche Ely. Going undefeated and winning states would be a great feeling.”

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Marshall defeats NIU in inaugural Boca Bowl, 52-23

Posted on 08 January 2015 by L.Moore

sports010815Photos by Jim Wilson

Rakeem Cato performed as advertised Tuesday night, Dec. 23, leading Marshall to a resounding 52-23 shellacking of Northern Illinois in the inaugural Boca Raton Bowl.

Cato completed 25 of 37 passes for 281 yards and three touchdowns, and the Thundering Herd handed NIU its third consecutive bowl defeat.

That’s what great quarterbacks do, they put it on the dime,” NIU coach Rod Carey said. “He did and we didn’t get it out. We had a chance to battle for those balls and get ‘em out and make them line up again.”

Marshall (13-1) flirted with a perfect regular-season record. Marshall’s lone defeat — 67-66 to Western Kentucky in double overtime came on Nov. 28.

One game isn’t going to take away what a great season we had,” Carey said. “We just won the fourth MAC championship in school history … the third in four years. And they can’t take that away from this senior class.” Marshall receiver Tommy Shuler caught 18 of Cato’s passes for 185 yards and a touchdown.

Cato did a good job of making plays when he needed to,” NIU cornerback Dechane Durante said. “They were just staying on the field and wearing our defense down. Quick throws … gashing us up the gut. He did a good job.”

The Huskies’ big failure was not taking advantage of red-zone opportunities, settling for three field goals from freshman Christian Hagan. NIU quarterback Drew Hare was off his game, completing 15 of 27 passes for 225 yards and one touchdown. He was sacked three times. “We have to do a better job of protecting Drew, and that’s on us,” tackle Ryan Brown said. NIU took a 7-0 lead with 7 minutes, 33 seconds left in the first quarter on a 19-yard pass from Hare to Juwan Brescacin. Marshall’s Deandre Reaves returned the ensuing kickoff 93 yards for the tying touchdown.

Cato scored a go-ahead touchdown from 5 yards out to make it 14-7 after the first quarter. NIU missed a scoring opportunity when Hagan missed a 32-yard field-goal attempt wide right. Marshall extended its lead to 17-7 when Justin Haig booted a 28-yarder. At the end of a 64-yard drive, NIU had to settle for a 19-yard Hagan field goal. A 2-yard TD run by Marshall’s Devon Johnson made it 24-10. Hagan’s second field goal of the night, this one from 30 yards, pulled NIU within 24-13 at the half.

NIU recovered an onside kick to start the second half but could not convert a first down on a fourth-down run by Cameron Stingily. “I thought we ran the ball well at times, but not when we needed to,” Carey said. “There were a lot of tears. There’s a lot of heartache in there. And that’s because these guys care. And they poured their whole selves into this thing. But when the dust settles, the first thing they are going to think of is MAC championships and things like that they have been a part of.”

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Knights hope to go deep in postseason

Posted on 01 January 2015 by L.Moore

sports010115aBy Gary Curreri

Sixth-year Highlands Christian Academy girls soccer coach Shelly Wik knew there was no way to go but up after last year’s 2-15 campaign.

I knew we were going to have a little bit better of a team this year than last year because I have 10 seniors on the team and most of them had played before,” said Wik, whose team is 8-5-2, having quadrupled last year’s win total, and looks forward to playing in the District 13-1A tournament on Jan. 13.

Our underclassmen are all new,” Wik said. “Of the remaining seven players, I have six of them who had never played before. It is definitely more promising. I have won districts in the past; my second year coaching, and this year’s team is just as good as that team.”

The Knights will face tough district opposition in Westminster Academy, Coral Springs Christian and South Florida Heat.

Wik’s fortunes this year at the school have come from the addition of senior Keisha Nahr and sophomore Sara Carroll.

To win districts,” Wik said. “We will have to play so much better as a team. Our seniors and some of our key players are going to have to step up. We are getting there. We are getting better and better.”

Wik’s daughter, Kealey, is a senior captain on the squad despite limited experience. She is an outstanding volleyball player.

We definitely have more heart, said Wik, 17, of Lighthouse Point. “As a team, we have more skill and that always helps. We have gotten a lot better. We had new people who came and they are amazing and that always helps. From the first practice, we were always playing with the team and everyone was trying their best.”

She said transitioning from volleyball to soccer took an adjustment.

It is very different going from hands all of the time to just playing with my feet,” Wik said, “but I kick the ball pretty far so that is always good.”

Sophomore Sara Carroll, 15, of Coral Springs, said there is a big difference between high school soccer and club soccer.

In high school, you have a lot more kicking and running,” Carroll said. “It is fun to represent your school. There is pride. We definitely play more as a team the girls who are still here and we have a few new ones that help out a lot.”

Carroll said there is work to do; however, her teammates are willing to learn.

We have a lot of girls on the team who have never played before, so they take any advice,” Carroll said. “We have a pretty hard district, but I think we can get through if we put our minds to it. It is going to take hard work, people showing up on time to practice and fewer injuries.”

Senior newcomer Keisha Nahr, 18, of Boca Raton, has also provided a lift since moving to Florida in August. She played for the Curacao U20 National team when she was 15.

I love it,” Nahr said. “The players are great. Everyone works well on the field and, at the end, we all enjoy it. I think we have a pretty good team here. Every team has something they have to work on. At this point in the season, we have done some wins that were pretty much impossible last year, and I think this year we have a good chance to win districts and maybe regionals.”

sports010115bLocal diver wins state title

Pompano Beach High School sophomore Carly Ehrlich overcame a nearly 30-point deficit on her final three dives to capture the Class 2A girls’ 1-meter diving competition at the Sailfish Splashpark Aquatic Athletics Center in Stuart recently.

The 15-year-old Ehrlich scored 432.20 points to win the girls’ 1-meter diving competition as she overtook Megan Galbreath, a junior from Cape Coral High School, who placed second with 425.80 points.

There are just no words to describe it,” said Ehrlich, who finished fourth at the state meet as a freshman. “I was going into one of the last rounds behind one of my good friends Megan (Galbreath) and, to come out with the win, I have never been so happy in my life. It was amazing.”

Ehrlich, who lives in Ft. Lauderdale, has trained with the Pine Crest Diving team for the past five years. She entered the state competition confident of winning a medal.

I did think I had a chance to win due to the fact that the girls who beat me last year (Stanton High School’s Carol Gerhardt and Elizabeth Tillo) were seniors, but I knew I really had to be on my game that day to win.”

Ehrlich has won two district titles and a regional crown previously; however, this was her best finish ever. She also became the school’s first state champion in any sport since 1974.

A win like this is definitely a boost to my confidence,” Ehrlich said. “It also makes me determined to win the next two years.”

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Pompano finishes 10th in Winter swim championships

Posted on 25 December 2014 by L.Moore

sports122414By Gary Curreri

Since Pompano Beach Piranhas head swim coach Jesse Vassallo arrived three years ago, the USA Swim program has shown steady progress in major swim meets.

Vassallo, who brought 25 athletes to the recent 24th annual Speedo Winter Championships at Plantation Aquatic Complex, was pleased as his program finally reached the Top 10.

We wanted to get in the top 10 this year,” said Vassallo, of the meet that hosted a record 1,382 competitors representing 75 teams from around the country, as well as internationally and from South Florida. “The kids all swam and we got about 70 percent of the kids into the finals.”

The Pompano Beach Piranhas placed 10th overall in the combined standings with 522.20 points. It was eighth in the men’s team standings with 303.50 points and 12th in the women’s standings with 219 points.

This is the fourth year that Pompano Beach has been a USA swim program, and it was Vassallo’s third year heading the program.

We went from 33rd to 19th to 13th before this year,” Vassallo said. “We didn’t bring any bonuses. These are guys who made their cuts. I am excited because it has taken time.”

Vassallo said development of the program has been noticeable.

This is a lot more competitive than the rec swimming they had before I got there,” Vassallo said. “This is more serious swimming than where they were with recreational. You would come and go as you please and, to be here, you are pretty much swimming every day. Here, it is a big commitment. It is a pretty tough level. I have a very solid core group of swimmers.”

Oakland Park’s Raphael Santos, 12, a Sunrise Middle 6th grader, trains twice a day for four hours.

It’s pretty fun,” Santos said. “I am good at it and my friends are here. This is pretty important because you get to show how good you are. I want to go pretty far, maybe the Olympics. It is going to take hard training … I don’t get nervous because I know I am going to score (in my event).”

The South Florida Aquatic Club (SOFLO) won its second consecutive Winter Championships with a combined total of 2,097 points to easily outdistance runner-up Azura Florida Aquatics (1,412 points) and the Pine Crest Swim Team (1,240 points). They were the only teams to top the 1,000-point mark.

Top finishers for the Pompano Beach Piranhas included: No. 5 — Victoria Miyamoto (14-year-old women); No. 8 — Sloan Sizemore (14-yearold women); No. 8 — Fatimah Westbrook (15-16 year-old women); No. 15 — Jake Schulte (10-Under men); No. 13 — Emilio Barrantes (11-year-old men); No. 13 — Raphael Santos (12-yearold men); No. 7 — Mattheus Santos (13-year-old men); No. 5 — (tie) Tyler Zuyus (14-year-old men) and No. 21 — Victor Vassallo (17 & Over men)

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