Highlands wins four titles in elementary, junior high divisions

Posted on 18 December 2014 by L.Moore

sports121814By Gary Curreri

Highlands Christian Academy (HCA) showed there is reason to be optimistic as two elementary school and two junior high programs finished on top in their respective leagues.

Daniel Copeland Del Toro and David Jesus each scored a goal as the Knights Elementary School soccer team defeated defending league champion St. Paul Lutheran, 2-0, in the Elementary Soccer League (ESL) championship game to finish the season at 7-1-1. Cameron Brooks earned the shutout.

The 2014 Elementary Soccer League consisted of Abundant Life, Highlands Christian, Sagemont, St. Paul and Trinity.

The Knights of Highlands Christian defeated all the schools during the season except their long-time rival, the Falcons of St. Paul. The first meeting between the two teams ended in an exciting 4-4 tie. The second meeting was for the League Shield and for home field advantage in the playoffs. The two teams battled throughout the regular time with a score of 1-1. After the overtime play, the result was the same, and St. Paul eventually prevailed in penalty kicks.

The Knights defeated the Falcons with a score of 2-0 earning the Champions for the second time of the Elementary Soccer League.

The Junior High School volleyball team ended the year at 11-5 and swept Westminster Academy (WA), 25-20; 25-20 in the finals to take the South Atlantic Coast Conference (SACC) title.

The Junior High volleyball team of Highlands Christian Academy had a great season,” said Coach Shannon Ratzlaff. “With some big wins over Boca Christian and The King’s Academy, the girls improved significantly throughout the course of the season. It was nice to play WA in the championship game this year as they defeated us for last year’s SACC Championship.”

Knights’ eighth-grader Aiyana Garcia had 12 service points in the second game of the championship to seal the win.

The Junior High School football team completed a perfect season by winning all six of its games, while the HCA Elementary School volleyball team downed Sheridan Hills to win the SACC Championship. The team finished 6-2.

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FAU ends with loss to Old Dominion

Posted on 11 December 2014 by L.Moore

sports121114Finished season 3-9, 6th Conference USA

By Jacob Shendell

Old Dominion defeated Florida Atlantic University (FAU) in the final minutes last Saturday on a 27-yard field goal 31-28. Much like FAU’s other losses this year, they could do nothing but watch as Old Dominion held onto the ball for the last five minutes of the game, much like four of the other games the Owls played this season.

FAU recognized 19 players in a pre-game ceremony who were playing their final game at FAU Stadium.

In the midst of what looks to be another failure of a season, the Owls did land a $16 million donation from Richard Schmidt to help build a new athletic facility to boost the football program, and, hopefully, propel them to the next level.

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Smith signs with FAU

Posted on 04 December 2014 by L.Moore

sports120414By Gary Curreri

Kaitlyn Smith won’t be far from home when it comes to playing collegiate sports. The Highlands Christian Academy senior will be playing just 6 miles up Interstate-95 from the school’s campus.

Smith, 18, a Ft. Lauderdale native who lives in Deerfield Beach, will play sand volleyball for Florida Atlantic University (FAU). Smith has been at Highlands Christian Academy for 12 1/2 years.

I have been playing sand volleyball for five years,” Smith said. “One of my friends (Kealey Wik) asked me to play one time and I have loved it ever since. She is an inspiration to me.”

Smith said she loves how the sport keeps her in shape and how it is a beautiful atmosphere on the beach.

I have made a lot of relationships and it presents both mental and physical challenges, which have made me strong and who I am today,” Smith said. “Winning is important to me, but how you get there is what matters. When I play, I worry about how I play, how I can help improve my partner and my game. I also make sure that I supply good sportsmanship.”

She also plays for the Tribe indoor volleyball club and DVA Sand volleyball. She played in the Junior Olympics in California and competed in the High Performance All-Star program in Deerfield Beach.

Smith carries a 4.0 gradepoint- average and is dual enrolled at FAU. She selected the Boca Raton school over four other schools, including Stetson, Florida Gulf Coast, University of Florida (UF) and the University of Central Florida. She visited all of the schools except for UF. She plans to study criminology and math.

I chose FAU because it is close, a great school and [has] incredible coaching,” Smith said. “Head coach Capri (Grotowski), and her assistants Kendra (Van Zwieten) and Tammy (Pelski), are a few of the best there is … so, who wouldn’t chose FAU?”

Smith said she was pleased with the Knights indoor volleyball season. The team finished 16-9. She finished with 13 kills, 75 service points, 27 assists and 718 digs. Smith is the No. 1 ranked libero in the state, according to MaxPreps, and is ranked No. 65 in the nation.

We had a great season,” Smith said. “Even though we didn’t finish how we planned, I learned a lot. As always, I kept my skills up while I was away from the sand.”

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Ondo wins first flight Women’s Amateur Golf

Posted on 27 November 2014 by L.Moore

sports112714By Gary Curreri

Deerfield Beach’s Karen Ondo has only played in the Broward Women’s Amateur Golf Tournament a handful of times; however, she is happy she did this year as she and 65 other women braved the miserable weather at the recent tournament at Jacaranda Golf Club in Plantation.

Ondo, 66, won First Flight of the tournament with a twoday total of 158. She was also the top low net player in her Flight with a 5-under par, 138. The First Flight played shorter distances than the Championship Flight. Plantation’s Ann Fulginiti, 61, captured the Champ i o n s h i p Flight when she carded a two-day total of 162.

I never keep track of my score,” Ondo said. “I know if I am doing okay or not doing okay. To me, it is the course and me. I think it is a challenge. I love it.”

Ondo, who was previously VP of Communications for Broward Health and now consults in health industry, didn’t play last year. She wasn’t sure if she was going to play this year, as she was a last minute entrant as she drove two straight days from her North Carolina summer home to make the tournament.

I had no expectations,” Ondo said. “I was surprised when I saw the scoreboard (after the first day). I was shocked. My strength is my putting, my driver and my irons so it really set up nice for me.”

Ondo has been playing golf for 19 years. She said there was too much business being done on the golf course and wanted to be good enough to play in the charity tournaments so she took lessons and told her boss at the time (Richard Schirey) that she was going to hit the links.

I said I am playing in this tournament and he said, ‘you don’t play golf’ and I said, ‘yes I do.’ So he made me go out and play with him and I beat him on the front nine of Inverrary and he said, ‘I think you can play golf.’ He bought me a windbreaker that day,” she said. “I’m happy about winning this,” Ondo said. “I’m great. It’s great the way the tournament turned out. It was iffy for me to even sign up because I knew we were just getting back from North Carolina. When I saw the weather today, I thought maybe they’d call it and just tell us to go eat lunch. The weather actually was better today than it was the first day.”

sports112714-bPompano Beach High School’s girls volleyball team came up short in its bid for a Class 5A state title when it fell in the regional finals to visiting Merritt Island, 25-18, 25-17, 16-25, 26-24.

Despite the loss, it was the farthest the Tornadoes had ever gone in a season following previous losses in the regional semifinals, including last season to Cardinal Gibbons (25-17, 25-18, 25-22, 25- 15). Pompano Beach defeated rival Cardinal Gibbons three times this season en route to a 23-7 mark.

I told them to be proud of what we accomplished,” said Pompano Beach coach William Strachan. “It was a good year. They (Merritt Island) just outhustled us.”

Pompano Beach junior Cassidy Bonito led the Tornadoes with 24 digs, 23 assists and 13 kills, while Casey Calhoun added 27 digs and 23 assists.

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Ely falls 21-13 in regional playoff game

Posted on 20 November 2014 by L.Moore

sports112014By Gary Curreri

Blanche Ely first year football coach Nakia Jenkins left the field Friday night following his team’s Class 7A regional quarterfinal loss to Atlantic convinced he had the better team.

The problem was Atlantic is moving on in the postseason following the 21-13 win and the Tigers will have to wait another year to see if it can reach the same heights it did in 2002 when it won the Class 5A state championship and finished the year 14-1.

Jenkins, the school’s sixth coach since 2006, cited the team’s inexperience as a key factor in the loss. The Tigers have only won more than seven games three times since former coach Steve Davis left the school and went to Plantation in 2003.

I’ve been telling my guys all season that you guys have to make the best of every opportunity and dropped balls killed us again,” Jenkins said. “Dropped balls and blown opportunities … Early in the game we are down in the red zone and we don’t capitalize … just miscues and it shows that we are a young team. We learn from experience and I am proud of them. We will just get ready for next year.”

Atlantic High junior quarterback Edwin Hernandez threw two touchdowns within a 2-minute and 48 second span of the third quarter to give the Eagles (9-2) the victory. Hernandez tossed touchdown passes of 19 yards to Markinson Ripert and 30 yards to Lamar Washington to stake the Eagles to a 14-0 lead.

Blanche Ely (6-5) cut the deficit in half to 14-7 on an 8-yard scamper by Teddrick Moffett with 11:49 left in the game; however, the Eagles wasted little time in answering as Davan Cleckley returned the ensuing kickoff 80 yards for a 21-7 lead.

Blanche Ely closed the gap to 21-13 on a 23-yard scoring pass from Moffett to Laderrick Smith with 2:19 remaining in the game, but the Tigers couldn’t tie the contest after it got the ball back with just 45 seconds left on its own 9-yard line.

Blanche Ely also had a chance to take the lead at 3-0 with 8:15 remaining in the third quarter when Carmeley Charite’s 30-yard field goal attempt was wide right. Demeterice Bellamy finished the game with 11 carries for 54 yards for the Tigers, while Laderrick Smith caught 5 passes for 94 yards.

Atlantic won the contest despite committing 18 penalties for 187 yards that nearly wiped out its 260 yards of offense in the game.

Jenkins’ team featured 80 percent of its roster with players in their first year on varsity. Three of the team’s five losses came in the closing minutes to Deerfield Beach, Miami Northwestern and Plantation.

We just got to learn how to finish ball games, man,” Jenkins said. “It shows. We had opportunities. We should have beaten this team tonight, hands down. We just didn’t capitalize on the opportunities that we had and that has haunted us all year. We’ll take it. We’ll learn from it and just get ready for next year.”

Jenkins said the most important thing the team should bring away from the season is to play a complete game.

They need to learn to play four quarters,” Jenkins said. “They need to learn to fight through adversity. They need to learn from mistakes. Dropped balls killed us all year and we probably had seven to eight dropped balls tonight and that could have helped us. We got away with it early in the season, but playing a good, solid team like that which runs the ball well and chews up a lot of clock, that’s what happens.”

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Annunziata headed to sectional skating event

Posted on 30 October 2014 by L.Moore

sports103014By Gary Curreri

Pompano Beach’s Lara Annunziata recently placed third in the Ladies Final and qualified for the 2015 Eastern Sectional Figure Skating Championships, which will be held in Raleigh, NC from Nov. 19-23.

It marked the second consecutive year that Annunziata, 11, a Shepherd of the Coast sixth grader, finished third at the regional competition. Annunziata was one of 29 skaters from the Panthers Figure Skating Club (PFSC) that went to competition.

I am happy I made it to sectionals again,” said Annunziata, who moved up to a higher division this year. “It’s a little longer program and has an extra jump. It is a little more tiring.”

Annunziata said it is important to make eye contact with the judges and the sectional qualification is a culmination of her hard work throughout the year.

I really don’t think of anything when I am out on the ice,” she said. “I kind of go with the flow. I clear my mind. It is really important to go to sectionals in my first time at this level.”

Deerfield Beach’s Rachel Metzner placed 11th in the Novice Ladies Division. The 15-year-old North Broward Prep sophomore also moved up a division this year and has been skating for the past nine years.

I love everything about it,” Metzner said. “It is the way I feel on the ice. It is indescribable. I really enjoy being out on the ice. I feel free. I can do whatever I want. My friends always ask me why I do a sport that takes so much time. My answer is because I love it and it is what I want to do. I want to continue on with it in the future.”

When she first started, she had no idea it was going to morph into what it has become.

I first started taking group lessons with my friend because she was having a birthday party and I did Stanley C. Classes here,” Metzner recalled. “When I finished, I cried because I didn’t want to get off the ice so my mom signed me up for private lessons.”

She is pleased with the effort she has put into the sport. This was her fifth trip to regionals and she made it to the finals in juvenile two years ago.

I am most proud of all of the obstacles I have overcome,” Metzner said. “I have had a lot of injuries. I have had knee injuries, a broken collarbone, torn rotator cuff, collapsed lung and, right now, I have a cracked rib cage.

For me, it is cool to see how I have been able to come back from all of my injuries and still compete,” Metzner added. “I still stay motivated, which I think is really important. When I was injured, it was really hard for me for me to do. I sat at home and got ahead in my homework and got to see my friends. I wasn’t happy. My life felt incomplete when I wasn’t on the ice. I am happy I am back.”

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Tornadoes playing well

Posted on 23 October 2014 by L.Moore

sports102314By Gary Curreri

Pompano Beach High School girls’ volleyball team coach William Strachan said the only opponent that can knock off the Tornadoes is themselves.

Pompano Beach (20-5) will look to win its fourth district championship on Thursday, when his team takes on Cardinal Gibbons (17-6) in the District 16-5A championship at 6 p.m.

To win states, we have to take care of the ball,” Strachan said. “In volleyball, you have to do two things — one is to make your serves, [the other is} to get that first contact on serves. We have to execute. I believe the girls, especially the seniors, are stepping up at the right time.”

Pompano Beach dropped the Broward County Athletic Association (BCAA) girls’ volleyball championship last Saturday to St. Thomas Aquinas in the title game, 25-21, 23-25, 25-20, 25-18 at Cardinal Gibbons High School.

I felt pretty happy about the BCAA Final,” said Strachan. “I am glad we are playing at a high level. We missed some serves down the road and St. Thomas capitalized on it. I told them our service team had to do better than their servers and that wasn’t the case in that match.”

Heading into districts, Pompano Beach ended Cypress Bay’s bid of an undefeated season and then dropped two tough matches to St. Thomas Aquinas. The Tornados have also played Chaminade, Pine Crest, Calvary Christian, Cardinal Gibbons, and Jupiter.

It prepares us,” Strachan added. “If you look at our schedule all year, we basically handpicked the top teams in South Florida to play. Playing Cypress Bay or St. Thomas is just another game for us. It’s good because if you play the top teams you hope you improve. You find out what you need to work on and right now I think we are playing at a very high level.”

The team’s losses were to St. Thomas (twice), Pine Crest, Chaminade and Jupiter.

In our losses, it is just that our team will make an error and the other team capitalizes on it and goes on a run,” Strachan said. “I think that the only team that can beat us, really, is ourselves.”

Junior Cassidy Bonito transferred from West Broward and has helped the team.

In the past, Pompano Beach has had sisters Nina and Stephanie Pellitteri (FSU), Brittany Pellitteri (FAU) and Savannah Davis (FIU) who have contributed; however this year’s squad has a different dynamic.

This is the first year where we have two big middles, where, in years past, we have always been staying on the outsides,” Strachan said. “I felt good this year because we have Paige (Alsten) in the middle and I think she is the best middle in the county. Our second middle Jasmine (Souverein-Reisert), even though she doesn’t have the touches or the experience, she is 6-ft. 4-in. and that makes her a factor.

We have Nikki (Esposito) and Tara (Brannen) on the outsides and they are good players,” Strachan said. “Both of my setters like to hit too, so that is helpful. Our worst opponent is ourselves sometimes. We have to execute and play at a top level. If we do that, we’ll win. We have got to work better on finishing strong and we’ll do that in the next week or two. If we can execute, I don’t think there is a team that will beat us.”

Alsten, a senior middle blocker and the team’s most dominant hitter, is committed to Webber College in Georgia. Esposito, a senior outside hitter, is committed to play sand volleyball at FSU. Other top players for the Tornados include Casey Calhoun (senior setter), Cassidy Bonito (junior setter), Tara Brannen (junior outside hitter), Cori Smothers (junior libero).

HOOPS FOR A CURE

The City of Pompano Beach and Blanche Ely High School are going to duke it out on the court in a Hoops For a Cure Basketball Challenge to raise funds for Breast Cancer Awareness Month next Wednesday, [Oct. 29] at 5 p.m. in the school’s gym.

As part of the city’s wellness program, employees from Pompano’s public works and utilities departments formed a Hoops For Health basketball team that has been playing basketball every week after hours as part of the wellness initiative.

They challenged the Blanche Ely High School varsity basketball team, teachers and staff to a basketball competition to raise awareness for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Both teams will be wearing pink for the game.

Pompano Beach Mayor Lamar Fisher will take part in the basketball game for this worthy cause.

The Blanche Ely High School Marching Band, teachers and city employees will also be in attendance to cheer on their team and show their support.

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Plantation’s last second win spoils Tigers’ hoopla

Posted on 16 October 2014 by L.Moore

sports101614By Gary Curreri

For the third time this season, host Blanche Ely had a bad taste of déjà vu.

It was the first home game for the Tigers after spending the first five weeks on the road. It also marked the debut of a new, state-of-the-art scoreboard that was donated by 2008 Ely grad Patrick Peterson, now with the Arizona Cardinals, former head coach William Facteau and other community leaders.

The product on the field was competitive, but, for the third time this season, Blanche Ely let a late lead slip away and lost in the closing minute of the contest.

Maurquice Flowers rushed for 114 yards and two touchdowns, including a 2-yard run, with 57 seconds remaining, to propel Plantation to a 31-23 victory over Blanche Ely in a non-district game last Friday night that also marked the return of former Tigers coach Steve Davis.

Davis, who spent 10 years at Blanche Ely and won the Class 5A state title at the school in 2002, won for the second consecutive season at his former school. He is 2-2 in regular season games, not including a kickoff classic win during that span. Plantation won 32-26 last season.

Flowers’ second score capped an 8-play, 93-yard drive to hand the Tigers its third loss in the closing minute this season. It also dropped games to Deerfield Beach and Miami Northwestern in the waning seconds earlier this year. Flowers and Antwuan Haynes each broke the century mark on the ground for the Colonels (4-2). Haynes finished with 101 yards on 14 carries.

That’s really cool,” Davis said of the scoreboard. “I am a big time Ely guy. I spent a lot of years here. I really think the new scoreboard and all of the other stuff is well deserved. Hopefully, it was a little distraction for them. This was a real important game. It is not a district game, but ,when you look at the power rankings for Broward County, it lets you know where you stand.”

Blanche Ely (2-4) christened its new $100,000 scoreboard on a 38-yard field goal by Carmeley Charite with 3 minutes left in the first quarter to take a 3-0 lead.

Plantation took the ensuing kickoff and marched 80 yards in nine plays to take a 7-3 lead on a 4-yard scoring toss from Archie Banton to Yvon St. Louis with 22 seconds remaining in the first quarter.

Blanche Ely, which also debuted new uniforms, capitalized on an interception by Terrance Henley to grab a 10-7 lead on a 5-yard scoring run by Demeterice Bellamy with 2:54 remaining in the first half. The Colonels took the lead shortly before halftime when Banton broke three tackles and bulled in from 10-yards out on a quarterback keeper.

The Tigers capitalized on another turnover deep in Plantation territory and converted it into another score. Zackery Purdue found Therrell Gosier for a 13-yard scoring play with 2:30 left in the third quarter for a 17-14 lead.

Plantation took the ensuing kickoff and moved 80 yards in 11 plays capped by a 7-yard scoring run by Flowers for a 21-17 lead. The Tigers answered on a 33-yard scoring toss from Perdue to Thomas Geddis to seize a 23-21 lead before the visiting Colonels battled back.

I think we had to eliminate the big play because Ely is a big play team,” Davis added. “We were able to control the ground game and the corner backs played well. I think a win over a good team like Ely will really catapult our season tonight. We have to keep moving forward.”

Blanche Ely coach Nakia Jenkins admitted his team is young, but needs to play four quarters of football.

We need to learn to finish,” said Jenkins, who is in his first year at the school as head coach. “We should be easily 5-1 right now. We have to put teams away early. It is definitely motivation. I tell these guys all of the time they don’t know how good they can be. We are going to be really good once we put it all together.”

If he were doling out mid-season grades, Jenkins said he would give his team a C-plus.

We are very young,” Jenkins said. “We are about 80 percent of our JV team from last year. We are get- ting better. Hopefully, at the back end of the season, we can put a lot of things together … We have to keep building and stay healthy. We have to get them together, rally, work on technique and we are at the back end of the season … and get district champs. We just have to take it one game at a time.”

Blanche Ely Athletic Director Andrea Johnson was thrilled with the new scoreboard.

It is really cool,” Johnson said. “It really goes with the state-of-the-art field that we have here. The community fought really hard to get it. They just beat the ground getting the donations so we could have this for our school, for our kids and for our community.

Patrick Peterson and Bill Facteau were the major donors,” Johnson added. “The installation took a week. It’s amazing. The capabilities it has, the clarity of the screen … it is a wonderful addition to the stadium. We are still working out the kinks and figuring out all of the wonderful technology, but we will be able to show replays, advertisements and a lot of other cool stuff. We have cameras and all of that.”

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Bucks’ keep playoff hopes alive

Posted on 09 October 2014 by L.Moore

sports100914By Jacob Shendell

Deerfield Beach comes out on top defeating Taravella High School, winning their first District 11-8A game to the score of 14-7 last Thursday night.

Both teams needed a district win — Deerfield (3-3) coming off of a 24-21 loss to Coral Springs High School and Taravella (1-4) with a 45-7 win over Coral Glades High School the week before.

Deerfield came out guns blazing. Quarterback Jefftey Joseph, combined with offensive weapons Antonio Cartagena and Giavante Evans, marched down the field to the Taravella 20-yard line before running into trouble. Deerfield Beach fumbled the ball with the Trojans recovering it on the 3rd down, having no gain, stopped after the fumble.

Deerfield stopped the Trojans on their drive, forcing them to punt the ball on 4th down, starting their drive at their own 36 yard-line. Kobe Farrish led the drive, carrying the ball on five of the six plays. He ended the drive with a 1-yard gain; he punched into the end zone to give the Bucks the lead 7-0 with 2:15 left in the 1st quarter.

Taravella responded right back with a touchdown in the second quarter with an 80-yard drive by Tyler Hunter tying the game up 7-7. The tie was short lived as the Bucks’ WR Antonio Cartagena caught a huge pass from Joseph running it down the field for an 80-yard touchdown play to put the Bucks’ up 14-7 to close out the third quarter.

In the beginning of the fourth quarter, the Trojans were making a huge effort toward the Deerfield Beach end zone only to be stopped by a lightning delay on the Deerfield Beach 21-yard line. Play resumed 40 minutes after the delay. Deerfield stopped the Trojans on 3rd down at the end of the drive.

The score remained the same throughout the rest of the game. Deerfield won 14-7.

Tomorrow night, Deerfield is in Sunrise playing Piper High School (2-3). The last time these two teams met was on the Deerfield Beach Homecoming night, where Piper lost (53-8).

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Beach tennis event draws 84 competitors

Posted on 02 October 2014 by L.Moore

Chelsea Hall (Sarasota), left, and her partner Michelle Guidicessi (Tampa), reached the final of the Women’s A Division in the tournament where they lost to Miramar residents Sofia Ponce and Marisela Sardinas. Photo by Gary Curreri

Chelsea Hall (Sarasota), left, and her partner Michelle Guidicessi (Tampa), reached the final of the Women’s A Division in the tournament where they lost to Miramar residents Sofia Ponce and Marisela Sardinas. Photo by Gary Curreri

By Gary Curreri

Adrienne Cerra knows what it is like to put on a successful beach tennis event and she also found her way onto the winner’s podium at the September Beach Tennis G-4 Tournament on Pompano Beach Sept. 21.

Cerra, the International Federation of Beach Tennis- USA president, teamed with Miramar’s Christy Garzon to win the Women’s Pro Division of the tournament with a win over teenagers Megan Horwitz (Pembroke Pines) and Erika Ponce (Miramar).

The tournament featured 84 players who competed in Men’s and Women’s Doubles, Mixed Doubles and Juniors Doubles (12 and under) in both pro and amateur divisions.

The IFBT-USA held a World Cup Triple Crown tournament during the summer that featured top players from all over the U.S.A., as well as Brazil, Italy, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Aruba, Peru, Columbia and Germany, who represented their countries.

They will hold a tournament nearly every month all along Florida, in addition to tournaments throughout the United States in California, St. Louis, New York and internationally in Barcelona, Cancun

and Puerto Rico. Cerra said the sport is continuing to grow and that more and more children are starting to play. This event served as a warm-up for a G-1 tournament in Cancun, Mexico. It was more of a local one so there were medals and ranking points.

We try and do one every month, so it is a monthly event,” Cerra said. “It is called a Grade 4, which is pretty much a local tournament. A G-3 tournament gets more people from out of the town. A G-2 is more of a national and a G-1 is an international tournament. These local tournaments are a way for us to introduce the sport. Some people come by out of curiosity, or they heard of it and they come out to play.”

Cerra said they also have free weekly practices at the beach to help introduce the sport to players.

There are beginners and we also leave a court for people to try and come out and play with us,” Cerra said. “We give people paddles and balls and we will demo the sport. They can try it and, if they like it, they are welcome to play. They can play right away. The learning curve is pretty small. We are always there every weekend, and then, once a month, we try and have a local tournament.”

Miramar residents Sofia Ponce and Marisela Sardinas captured the Women’s A Division with a win over Chelsea Hall (Sarasota) and her partner Michelle Guidicessi (Tampa). Ponce, who picked up her first ever win on the beach, said she likes the competitive attitude and camaraderie among the players.

It is nice because you can still be friends with someone knowing that they have given you their A game,” Ponce said. “I know my friends would not like it if I didn’t give them my all in my game. It is a sign of respect. If they beat me, they beat me fair and square. It is more passion and competitiveness and always trying to improve and get better.”

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