Pompano reaches state for first time in school history

Posted on 25 May 2017 by LeslieM

By Gary Curreri

First, came the final out on a strikeout by Pompano Beach High School junior Trevor Kniskern. Then there was the perfectly executed back flip by the 5 ft., 11 in., 170-pounder off the mound, followed by the dog pile and pure pandemonium.

Kniskern, a Pepperdine University commit, helped the Tornadoes (24-3) to their 11th consecutive victory and its first appearance at the Class 5A state tournament in school history as he tossed a 3-hit, complete game 9-0 Region 4-5A finals win over host Monsignor Pace (24-6) on Tuesday night.

Kniskern struck out six and improved to 11-0 on the season, and avenged a regional final loss to Pace last season.

Pompano Beach coach Joe Giummule said the victory was huge for the program.

Last year was the first time in 55 years, since the school won a district championship, and Pace dog piled on our field after they won the regional final, and today we got to return the favor,” Giummule said. “I don’t think it matters who you are or what team, the wins are all huge when you get to go to states.”

Monsignor Pace, winners of five state titles, lost in the Class 5A state championship game last season, 1-0 in nine innings to Jacksonville Bolles, Pompano’s next opponent. The Tornadoes will play play Bolles in the state semifinals on May 31 at 10 a.m. at Centurylink Sports Complex in Fort Myers.

After four scoreless innings, Pompano Beach junior Christopher Ajello doubled with one out, Kniskern followed with a single and junior Chase Costello pounced on a 0-1 pitch from Pace starter Manuel Rodriguez for a three-run home run to center to stake the Tornadoes to a 3-0 lead.

Pompano Beach extended the lead to 4-0 on a bases-loaded walk to Costello and then padded the lead to 7-0 on a three-run fielding error on senior Austin Carney’s fly ball to center-left in the sixth and junior Michael Schuler added an exclamation point, with a two-run single. Ajello led the way by going 2-for-2 with two runs, while junior Matt Stephenson was 2-for-4.

We made the plays and they didn’t,” Giummule added. “We have relied on pitching and defense and from 1 to 20 the kids have all bought in. This may not be the most talented team I have ever coached, but it has the best chemistry.”

The win was the first in four regional games as a coach for Giummule, who lost last year as a head coach and also fell in 2002 as an assistant coach with Deerfield Beach and in 2001 as an assistant at Taravella. He reached the state tournament in 1994 with Coconut Creek, but lost to Sarasota.

If we can continue to get pitching and defense I think we have a shot,” Giummule said, “that’s what wins championships.”

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Tornadoes march on with 8-4 win

Posted on 18 May 2017 by LeslieM

By Gary Curreri

When the Pompano Beach High School baseball team kicked off the season, coach Joe Giummule believed his team was good enough to return to the Class 3A regional championship.

The team was ousted 9-3 by Monsignor Pace last year in the Regional championship game, and Giummuli is hoping that history doesn’t repeat itself. With an 8-4 win over Cardinal Gibbons in the Region 4-5A semifinal game on Tuesday, Pompano and Pace are on a collision course set for Tuesday in Miami.

They are really a talented team,” said Pompano Beach coach Joe Giummule, who is chasing his first regional title in four tries. This is his second attempt at Pompano. He was an assistant at Deerfield Beach (2002) and Taravella (2001) when those squads reached the regional finals.

 Starting pitcher Trevor Kniskern got the win for the Tornadoes against Cardinal Gibbons as he went six innings and gave up just one walk and two hits while fanning 10 Chiefs’ batters.

The right-handed junior also helped his own cause with a two-out double and scored on a Chase Costello single. Costello, who ended the day 2 for 3 with three RBIs, came around to score on an Austin Carney base hit.

 Pompano Beach added a pair of runs in the third, fourth and sixth. Costello, Mike Schuler and Chris Ajello had two hits each. Ajello also scored three times.

We just wanted to put the pressure on their defense,” said head coach Joe Giummuli, in his third year at Pompano. “We wanted to get things moving.”

Now, his team sets its sights on its second straight regional final game, against host Miami Pace next Tuesday at 7 p.m.

Pompano Beach (26-3) has outscored the opposition 193-69 this season and takes on a Spartans (26-5-1) team equally as dangerous as they have outscored its opponents 314-116. Pace knocked Highlands Christian out of the regional finals last season.

Highlands Christian falls

Daniel Malay led Highlands Christian Academy with a two-run home run in the Region 4-3A final contest, while going 1-2 at the plate for the Knights in a 6-5 loss to Archbishop Carroll.

The Knights, which led 5-0 in the game, allowed six runs in the bottom of the fourth and fifth innings, ended the season at 10-13. Archbishop Carroll improved to 26-2 with the won.

 

PBMGA seeks members

Pompano Beach Men’s Golf Association welcomes new members of all playing levels to their Wednesday tournaments. Dues are $35 per year. Wednesday tournament greens fees are discounted. They alternate playing the Pines and Palms Courses.  There is a prize pool fee of $5 when you participate in the weekly tournament.  Additional information may be found on the website at http://www.pbmga.com.

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Anderson takes first in regional all-around

Posted on 04 May 2017 by LeslieM

By Gary Curreri

Lighthouse Point’s Taylor Anderson is showing Michigan State University that they made a good choice in offering her a full gymnastics scholarship.

The problem is that the Spartans still have to wait two years for her services. Anderson, a Level 10 gymnast at American Twisters in Coconut Creek, had a good showing in three of her four events at the Region 8 Level 10 championships where she finished first in the All-Around (37.275).

The 16-year-old was first in the bars (9.600), tied for first in the beam (9.400) and tied for third in the floor (9.350) at the Regional competition at the Kidsport Gymnastics Academy in Burlington, North Carolina that featured 495 gymnasts in both Level 9 and Level 10.

Anderson also tied for 18th in the vault (8.925). Her efforts on bars and beam tied her personal bests for the events.

Gymnastics means a lot to me because I do it so much and I have done it my whole life,” said Anderson, a sophomore at Cardinal Gibbons High School in Fort Lauderdale.

I love doing all of the flips and having fun…just being able to do what gymnastics is,” Anderson added. “It is just a crazy feeling knowing what to do and how do it.”

Anderson, who gave her verbal commitment to Michigan State University, earlier in the school year, also had a strong showing at the prestigious Tim Rand Invitational competition at the Greater Ft. Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center. The meet attracted 1,300 competitors.

In placing second in the all-around (37.525), Anderson won the bars (9.675); placed second in the beam (9.400); tied for fifth on the floor (9.300) and was seventh in the vault (9.150).

Admittedly, it is like a job with a 6-day, 30+ hours a week commitment.

It is really tough, but it pays off,” Anderson said. “You have to think about the outcome of it and what is going to happen in the future.”

Taylor comes in the gym everyday and works really hard for her goals and their aspirations,” said American Twisters coach Christina Ramirez.

Highlands advances 11 to state track meet

Highlands Christian Academy Sydney Blackburn won the shot put (35-08) and placed second in the discus with a throw of 120-08.00 at the Region 4-1A competition at Westminster Academy last week.

Freshman Ciara Huntley was second in the triple jump (30-07.50) and junior Sasha Graham placed third in the 400-meter dash (1:02.25) to qualify for the girls state championships. Highlands Academy was sixth in the meet with 48.25 points.

After placing fourth in the 1,600-meter run (4:44.16), junior Ryan Szklany battled back to win the boys 3,200-meter run (10:09.64).

Highlands Christian senior Josiah Ritzer was second in the boys discus (121-11), and third in the shot put (42-10.25) and senior Jake Peterson was third in the boys 110-meter hurdles (16.47). Senior Herman Robinson was fourth in the shot put (41-07.75) and freshman Alex Villas was fourth in the triple jump (38-10.50).

The Knights qualified three athletes in the pole vault taking second, third and fourth: Sophomores Chanz Miller (12-00), Kyle Coulson (11-06.25) and junior Scott Bush (10-11.75). The boys were fourth in the meet with 67 points.

The state championships are this weekend at IMG Academy Stadium in Bradenton.

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Pompano swim team takes 11th in Senior Swim champs

Posted on 27 April 2017 by LeslieM

By Gary Curreri

The Pompano Beach Piranhas recently took 11th overall in the Florida Gold Coast Senior Championships at the Academic Village Swimming Pool.

Pompano Beach coach Jesse Vassallo brought 19 swimmers to the three-day meet and scored 449.50 points overall. The men’s team tallied 344.50 to finish 10th in that division, while the women scored 105 points, which was good enough for 17th overall.

We hoped to do that,” said Vassallo, who cited a Top-12 finish at the meet. The host South Florida Aquatic Club (SOFLO) won the combined team title with 2,748 points. The team also captured the men’s title.

We are a small team compared to the rest,” Vassallo said. “It adds up to the relays, a point here and a point there. There are three seasons in a year and we came to this meet not rested. We didn’t stop training. We kept training and we came in tired, but we did better that I expected. I had a kid (Tyler Zuyus) win high point without being shaved.”

Zuyus, 16, a junior at Ft. Lauderdale High School, is expecting to be the top swimmer at his school. He is also a Ft. Lauderdale resident.

Meets like this help me prepare for bigger meets,” said Zuyus. “This is a marking point for where I want to be and where I am at so I know how to train for it. Sometimes we go into it not shaved or tapered and this was one of those times.”

He was pleased with winning the high point award.

It is really an accomplishment for me to do this,” Zuyus said. “I wasn’t expecting to win the high point. It shows that I am able to do well under all of the pressure. Going back-to-back with all of those races … it is a confidence booster. My high school season was great and it was the first time I place individually. Unfortunately, our relays didn’t do so well. It’s okay. We will get them next year!”

Zuyus was runner-up for the high point award at the Winter Championships. He said he is now looking forward to swimming the summer season.

I am going to sleep,” said Zuyus, who swam nine total events individually and five relays. “I haven’t slept in a couple days. I was really happy with my 200 back because I dropped two seconds and every other race was close to my personal best time.”

The team’s performance also came off a solid effort at the Junior Olympic competition a couple of weeks earlier.

At the JOs,” Vassallo said, “we were a very small group. We only brought eight swimmers. Rafael Santos won three events, and Lilia Blanco also swam really well. She is only nine, but she came in third three times and scored in every event she swam in the 10-Under competition.”

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Szklany, Blackburn looking for state titles

Posted on 19 April 2017 by LeslieM

By Gary Curreri

Highlands Christian Academy (HCA) junior Ryan Szklany is looking to take his track career to new heights so it is fitting he is hoping for a career in aerospace.

Szklany won the 1,600-meter run (4:55.03) and the 3,200 (10:33.66) at the recent District 13-1A competition to help the Knights to a runner-up finish behind host King’s Academy of West Palm Beach. The Highlands girls won the District 13-1A competition with 190 points.

Szklany’s season-best time of 4:27.49 in the 1,600-meters is the second fastest in the state this year. He also has run a 9:34.08 clocking in the 3,200, which is also second fastest in the Class 1A state rankings this year. He has recently competed to the UF Pepsi Florida Relays, where he finished third in a large field

It would be amazing if I could attend Embry Riddle Aeronautic University because of their world-class aeronautic and aerospace programs,” said the 17-year-old Szklany, of Lighthouse Point who has been at Highlands for 13 years. “Texas A&M also has a very good aerospace engineering program as well as a nationally-ranked track and field program.”

His motivation?

What keeps me focused on improving is my dream of running on a college scholarship; glorifying God, who gave me my abilities; and impacting people around me,” Szklany said.

Highlands Christian Academy coach Marc Veynovich called it is a pleasure to coach Szklany, who has participated in track since the 6th grade and ran a 5:05 in the 1,600-meter run his first year.

Ryan has always responded well to coaching advice and approaches every practice with a desire to push himself to the next level,” Veynovich said. “He also brings this ‘can do’ attitude to his academic life, maintaining over a 4.3 GPA while taking honors and college level classes.

I know that whatever Ryan decides to do in the future, this approach to life will make him successful. Any college would be lucky to have him!”

Sydney Blackburn, only a freshman, won the shot put with a 34-05 throw and also captured the discus title with a 122-02 throw at the district competition. She is the second-ranked shot putter in the state at 35.86 feet and her throw of 127.95 is tops in the state in discus.

Blackburn got her start in track in 2014 with Highlands Christian while participating on the HCA Middle School Track and Field team. She holds the school record in both events and also qualified for the Junior Olympics in 2015 (USATF) and in 2016 (AAU).

I strive for perfection and hope to not only assist my team but personally challenge myself on and off the field,” said Blackburn, who hopes to attend Oregon State University or the University of Florida to obtain a Bachelor of Science in Education (Literature) and be a member of their T&F team. She is also gunning for the 2020 Olympics.

Other Highlands athletes to capture top honors in their events in the district competition included 8th graders Bianca Francis in the triple jump (32-02.75) and Abby Simpson in the 100-meter hurdles (18.93). Freshman Alex Villas won the long jump (18-07.25), while sophomores Chanz Miller captured the boys’ pole vault (11-06.25), and Jamie Sims won the girls pole vault (6-02.75).

The next step for the Highlands athletes is the regional competition at Westminster Academy on April 28 at 1 p.m.

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Bucks hoping for playoffs

Posted on 05 April 2017 by LeslieM

By Gary Curreri

Entering the 2017 season, Deerfield Beach High girls flag football coach Cam Thomas had high hopes and expectations for his squad.

The Bucks were coming off an 8-5 season and first round District 11-2A playoff defeat to Coral Springs. The team graduated 12 players from that team, including five key starters.

We have gone through a little bit of a rebuilding year,” said Thomas, whose team is 2-5 this year and has two difficult match-ups coming up – this week against Coral Glades and the Douglas after spring break next week. “We can still make the (District) playoffs as the fourth seed if we win those two games.”

Thomas, who had taken his team to Orlando to play the likes of Dr. Phillips and Port Orange Spruce Creek in two of the past three years, said a lack of funds prevented him from making the trip this year. He said every matchup this season was one they looked forward to.

We didn’t want to overlook anybody,” Thomas said.

Thomas said the team has received solid play from returners Taylor Brown (Sr., RB/rusher/CB), Lyndaziah Roberts (Jr., athlete), Eryuan Nesbitt (Sr., LB/TE) and promising newcomers such as Shavon Andrews (Sr., QB/LB), Jasna Mason (Sr., WR/CB), Kim Lawson (Soph., CB/RB), Rebecca Nakad (Soph., athlete) and Camellia Robinson (Soph., rusher).

Lyndaziah has had a great season,” Thomas said. “She has eight interceptions this year and has 300 yards receiving and one touchdown. She’s been a varsity player since her freshman year.”

The Bucks have been slowed by inconsistent quarterback play, according to Thomas. He said that Nakad has stepped in and done well since making a change recently with their signal callers.

It wasn’t what we thought it was going to be this year, especially on the varsity level,” Thomas said. “Rebecca has done well at quarterback since she stepped in. It is a learning experience for her since she is a soccer player. She is trying to take control of the quarterback situation right now.”

If we are going to beat Coral Glades and Douglas, Rebecca is going to have to play mistake-free football,” Thomas said. “She doesn’t have to play a great game. She just has to eliminate the minor mistakes. The top four of seven make it to the playoffs.”

Thomas said the biggest obstacle to overcome was the graduation of the 12 seniors from a year ago.

That was a huge hit because five or six were from our basketball team from last year,” Thomas said. “Just having those types of athletes, it is hard to replace them.

That is the success that South Broward is having right now because of their athletes came from their girls basketball team. There is a lot of learning that is going on with us this year. I think this is a rebuilding year for us; and next year, with the JV and the girls we have returning, we will have a good season.”

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Tornadoes Top McArthur In Jamboree

Posted on 30 March 2017 by LeslieM

By Gary Curreri

Pompano Beach High School kicked off the season with a 7-6 victory over McArthur in the Girls Flag Football Jamboree at Baptist Health Training Facility in the Miami Dolphins training facility at Nova Southeastern University.

Senior wide receiver and cornerback Kayla Bryant returned a punt 55 yards for the game-winning score in the jamboree.

Kayla is a two-way star,” said Tornadoes coach Johnathan Firth. “She ran back the game-winning punt in the Dolphins Jamboree and had three catches for over 100 yards and a touchdown in another game and had an interception.

Outside of football,” Firth continued, “she is even more special as one of the top ranking students in the JROTC program and committed to joining the military right after graduation.”

Coming off consecutive 1-8 campaigns the past two seasons, Firth said there is room for optimism.

I think the one thing that describes this team is tenacity,” he said. “Flag football is new to many of these girls entering high school and mistakes are going to happen as they learn, but the one thing we preach and that can’t be taught is to give 110 percent and be aggressive on every play.

He said there are two underclassmen – sophomore Ayanna Williams and freshman Brianna Caffro – that have stood out for them and should help the team this season.

Ayanna is playing flag football for the first time at the high school level,” Firth said. “She has already established herself as solid lockdown defender in coverage and a solid receiving target for our QB.

Brianna is our starting varsity QB after playing in city leagues around Pompano and playing middle school flag at Crystal Lake,” Firth said. “Once she catches up to the speed at this level we could become very dangerous.”

Other returning varsity players include Melanie Chacon, Stephanie Chiquiza, Ty’anna Stevenson, Taylor Curry, Jada Howden, Paris Colbert, and Renee Innocent.

While we are still a very young team, we have a lot of experience within that youth and have improved each year,” Firth said. “You always want to measure yourself against the best and see just how much your players have grown.

Miami Dolphins Youth Programs, in partnership with the Broward County Athletic Association (BCAA) and the Greater Miami Athletic Conference (GMAC), recently hosted the event, which featured 25 high school girls flag football teams from the South Florida area. The jamboree followed an earlier clinic on that educated the high school ladies on football skills. The event also received cooperation from nearby Broward College.

This event continues to grow throughout the years,” said Miami Dolphins Senior Director of Youth Programs Twan Russell, “and we’re proud to teach these young ladies the proper skills they need both on and off the field to advance the game and their journeys.”

The goal of the event is to promote high school football. The Miami Dolphins Youth Programs’ mission is to emphasize the importance of education, physical fitness and positive choices for kids in a safe and fun environment. The Miami Dolphins Youth Programs’ vision is to prepare the next generation of leaders in staying physically active through our Junior Training Camps (JTC), Youth Football Clinics and Youth Football Camps in the South Florida Community.

Deerfield Beach also played in the event; however the Bucks came up short falling to Miami Southridge, 9-0.

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Davis takes over at Blanche Ely

Posted on 23 March 2017 by LeslieM

By Gary Curreri

Always looking for a challenge, Coral Springs’ Calvin Davis believes he has found one as he was recently named the new football coach at Blanche Ely.

This is a great opportunity to lead a very good storied program,” said the 38-year-old Davis. “They have a rich tradition, so they always have great athletes.”

Davis, who most recently worked as offensive coordinator at Deerfield Beach, led nearby Monarch High to a 26-8 record with two playoff appearances and a district title during his three years with the Knights.

We are going to try to implement some of the same things we did at Monarch,” Davis said. “We will run a fast tempo offense. We will have a flying around, aggressive defense. We just want to score a lot of points and we want to do it fast.”

We will probably run a no-huddle, spread offense,” Davis continued. “We are going to try and score as fast as we can.”

Davis was at his alma mater Deerfield Beach the past two years as offensive coordinator where he helped lead the Bucks to district titles under coach Jevon Glenn. Deerfield Beach reached its first state semifinal since 2007 last season.

Davis succeeds Carl Wilburn, who was in the job less than a year after the Tigers went 3-6 and missed the playoffs for the third time since 1999. Nakia Jenkins coached Blanche Ely’s football team for two years before stepping down after the 2015 season, when the Tigers went 2-9 but still made the playoffs.

The school and I had a meeting a couple of weeks ago,” Davis said. “It was a mutual interest and I think both parties understood what they were looking for. Ely wanted to get back to prominence, and I was just looking for a better situation.”

They have always had great players, so you know what you are getting into,” Davis added. “It is all about changing the culture there and getting the athletes to stay there and not leave.”

He is looking forward to working with the community and knows the task will be difficult because of the high expectations that come with the territory.

We are going to embrace the community and winning helps a lot,” Davis said. “We are going to invite the community in to see how we are doing things so they are comfortable.”

Davis becomes the Tigers’ ninth coach in 14 seasons since Steve Davis (no relation) left the program in 2003 – one year after guiding Blanche Ely to its first and only state title in 2002. Calvin Davis said he is always open to college coaching opportunities. However, he said the Ely job was one he couldn’t pass up. Davis is a history teacher and is well aware of the history at the school.

I think if I go in and do the things the right way, the kids will come back,” Davis said. “We want them to come back home and play for their community.”

His first head-coaching experience came at the now-defunct Zion Lutheran School in Deerfield Beach where he went 8-2 and 7-3. He also served as offensive coordinator at Coconut Creek, Ft. Lauderdale and Deerfield Beach High School.

Davis said he is a better coach than when he started at Zion Lutheran.

You can’t beat experience, and that taught me a lot,” Davis said. “It taught me a lot about coaching. It taught me about interacting with administration and parents. I think I learned a lot from the first opportunity and used that the second time.”

Davis, who begins practice on April 24, returns eight players on defense and two to three on offense. They will play in a three-team district that also includes St. Thomas Aquinas and Ft. Lauderdale.

We respect every opponent and we fear no one,” Davis said. “We like our chances. I guarantee we make the playoffs this year and, if everyone buys into what we are trying to do, we can go pretty far.”

Pro-Beach Soccer Returns

The 2nd annual Beach Soccer Tournament is returning to Pompano Beach on April 1-2.

The South Florida Youth Soccer Association continues to offer the event to promote the sport of beach soccer to its members and all those wanting to participate. Registration is available at http://proambeachsoccer.bonzidev.com/home.php.

For more information, email info@proambeachsoccer.net or call 415-308-0603.

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Denoma Wins PBWGA Club Title

Posted on 16 March 2017 by LeslieM

By Gary Curreri

Pompano Beach’s Mimi Denoma recently won the Pompano Beach Women’s Golf Association’s Club Championship for 2017.

Denoma carded a 3-day total of 243 to edge out three-time club champion, Marianne Webber, who carded a 3-day total of 254. Denoma’s effort was even surprising to her.

It was absolutely remarkable,” said Denoma, who carded three 81s in her tournament debut. “It was definitely a surprise. That’s the best I have played and my scoring was lower than it normally is.

My putting was consistently good and I was also consistent off the tee,” said Denoma, who carries a 12-handicap. “I finished well on the green. I had a lot of good recovery shots. I was very steady.”

Denoma said she was pleased with the tournament officials and the club in making it a memorable event. She received roses, champagne glasses and will receive her trophy on Tuesday at the course.

Everyone was very supportive,” said Denoma, who was paired with Webber on the final round at the Palms Course. The women split the first two days between the Palms and Pines courses. “It was wonderful. We all cheer for each other. It was a phenomenal group and a remarkable experience.”

Tiebreakers decided the winners in the Second and Third Flights as Georgie Wright won the Second Flight over Debi Ladig after posting a three-day total of 269, while Kathy Dunn captured the Third Flight with a 303 over Patti Van Zandt.

Roseanna Nixon fired a 309 to top Patty Davis, who carded a three-day total of 321 in winning the Fourth Flight.

Junior lifeguard registration starts Monday

Registration for Juniors and Grommets will be open starting Monday, March 20 at the Pompano Aquatic Center.

There will be four, two-week Sessions for Juniors (ages 9 to 17): The first session will be June 12 to June 23, while the second session will be from June 26 to July 7. There will be no camp on July 5, however camp will be held on July 4.

Session II is the ‘Competition Camp’ that is open to all Juniors,” said Nemia Schulte, President of the Pompano Beach Junior Lifeguard Association.

It will be more hard core than the other camps as this is designed to train those who plan to compete at the United States Lifeguard Association (USLA) competitions.”

The other two sessions will run from July 10-21 (Session III) and July 24-Aug. 4 (Session IV).

There will be four, one-week Sessions for Grommets (ages 7 to 8): Session I is June 19 to June 23; Session II is June 26 to June 30; Session III is from July 17 to July 21 and Session IV is July 31 to August 4.

The registration and camp session fees will remain the same as last year at $150 for residents, and $200 for non-residents (for Junior Lifeguard) and $75 for residents and $100 for non-residents (for Grommets Program).

Schulte said all 2016 Juniors would not need to re-take the swim tests unless they are going from the Grommet program to the Junior Lifeguard Program. All Grommets will need to take the swim tests and swim tests will also begin on March 20 at the Pompano Aquatic Complex during pool hours.

For more information contact Schulte at nemia2000@aol.com.

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Water Polo event attracts 22 teams

Posted on 02 March 2017 by LeslieM

By Gary Curreri

While there were heavy hearts at the recent South Florida International Water Polo Tournament, the event went off without a hitch.

It was a great event,” said South Florida Water Polo head coach Michael Goldenberg, whose organization hosted the 15th annual event from Feb. 17-19 at two pools — Pompano Beach Aquatic Center and the Coral Springs Aquatic Complex. “As usual because nothing less than that is expected.”

The South Florida water polo community was reeling with the losses of Stefano Dioguardi and Andre Williams, both long-time members of the SFWP (South Florida Water Polo Club).

Dioguardi passed away in July after a year-long battle with Cancer, while Williams was killed in the motorcycle accident in December.

This year has been a tough year for the club with the loss of the two players,” Goldenberg said. “We dedicated this year’s tournament to raising funds for the Forzastefano Foundation in memory of Stefano and for a sea turtles rescue and preservation foundation in memory of Andre.”

The 15th annual South Florida Water Polo International Tournament attracted 22 clubs from nine countries (Bahamas, Barbados, Canada, Georgia, Hungary, Peru, Puerto Rico, Trinidad and Tobago and the USA.

The USA representatives included teams from five states (California, Florida, New York, Missouri and Washington DC). This marked the first year the event was split between two pools in two different cities.

The South Florida Water Polo Club (1998 birth year) boys defeated Gigantes de Carolina (Puerto Rico) in Championship game, 10-5, while the South Florida Water Polo Club (2001 birth year) boys edged the Encantada Water Polo (Puerto Rico) in Championship game, 8-7.

In the 1998 girls, Hialeah (Miami) took first, while Gigantes de Carolina (PR) was second and South Florida Water Polo Club took third. In the 2003 Coed division, Coronado (California), won the events.

I have to send ‘a great thank you’ to all athletes and parents of South Florida Water Polo Club for volunteering their time and soul to hosting this event,” Goldenberg said. “Without them, the success would not be possible.”

For more information on the Forza Stefano Charitable Foundation, visit www.forzastefano.org.

Defending State Champ Colts Top Bucks

The Deerfield Beach High School boys’ basketball team was less than a minute away from ending the season of the defending Class 9A state champions.

With 51 ticks on the clock left and leading by four in the Region 3-9A semifinals, the visiting Bucks had Coral Springs on the ropes.

Jelani Heard converted a couple of free throws and Wilvens Fleurizard closed out the game with the final four points of the night with a steal and lay-up with two seconds left to give Coral Springs a 47-44 victory.

The Colts, which defeated Deerfield in the district championship after losing both regular season games to the Bucks, went on to fall to Wellington in the regional final.

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