Tigers roar to state championship

Posted on 15 March 2018 by LeslieM

By Gary Curreri

With as much time as Blanche Ely basketball coach Melvin Randall spends in Lakeland, maybe he should consider getting a condo there.

The Tigers coach led his boys’ basketball team to their fifth title in seven seasons as they cruised past Jacksonville Creekside, 77-54 in the Florida High School Athletic Association’s Class 8A state championship on Saturday night at the RP Funding Center in Lakeland.

Randall, who has won a state-record eight basketball championships, six at Blanche Ely and two at neighboring Deerfield Beach, said this championship is even sweeter than when the squad went undefeated in 2015.

There was adversity this time around, dealing with a number of setbacks early in the season — namely an 18-point loss to University School.

We took a couple of beatings along the way, which is okay, but growth came in and helped us to get to where we are now,” said Randall. “We were inconsistent in the beginning of the season because they weren’t used to playing with one another and, as the season went on, they understood how to play with one another.”

Randall is 16-1 in the state final four and 8-0 in championship games.

The Tigers finished the season at 24-8. They had two starters back from last year’s team in Joshua Scott and Michael Forrest.

Scott, a junior forward, led the Tigers with 26 points and six rebounds. He was a perfect 7 of 7 from the field and 12 of 14 from the free-throw line. Forrest, a senior guard, had 21 points and helped Blanche Ely win 13 of their final 14 games of the season. Senior guard Anthony Byrd added 14 points.

It’s been an amazing journey,” said Forrest, who struck from distance with a game-high 4 three-pointers. “We won state my sophomore year and came back to win again this year.

With all the things (Coach Randall) does for us, this the only way we can give back to him – just winning the state championship for him.”

We play for Mr. Randall, and I do what I have to do to win,” said Scott, who also had 26 points in the team’s semifinal win.

Added Forrest: “Last year was very disappointing. I really wanted to win two in a row and get that third ring, so I think it motivated us this year.

I thought we would go pretty far this year,” Forrest said. “The intensity was better this year. I think we really played better defense too.

Forrest said going into his senior year was both “fun, but kind of scary too.”

I wanted to go out winning a state tournament,” Forrest said. “(This journey) has been a lot of hard work. A lot of long hours, just being in the gym with Mr. Randall and the other coaches who have helped me become who I am today.”

Comments Off on Tigers roar to state championship

Bucks win regional semifinal

Posted on 01 March 2018 by LeslieM

By Gary Curreri

Deerfield Beach High School boys’ basketball coach Kenny Brown switched his team to a zone defense and the Bucks were in a zone in taking out the state’s second-ranked Class 9A team in Coral Springs, 73-60 on Tuesday night.

Senior Lutelson Jerome led four players in double figures for the Bucks with 19 points in the Class 9A regional semifinal at Coral Springs High. Jonathan Lemy and Hansley Senatus had 12 points each, while Michael Johnson added 11 in a winning effort.

Deerfield Beach (22-8) will travel to play Wellington in the regional final on Friday night. The Wolverines, who lost in the state semifinals last year to the eventual state champion, Osceola, are 29-0 this year.

We held some things back in the first three games,” said Bucks coach Kenny Brown, whose team entered the game as the eighth-ranked team by MaxPreps in Class 9A. “We weren’t going to do certain things. We just stuck to the basics. We decided to do some things tonight that we felt would work against them.

Tonight, we decided to play a zone (defense) and we knew they weren’t going to be prepared for that because we hadn’t done it before,” Brown continued. “They thought we were going to play man-to-man the whole game…we just played some 1-3-1 (zone) and never played man-to-man the whole night.”

Coral Springs (22-7) had defeated Deerfield three times during the season winning 61-55 in OT in the first meeting and then 60-54 in the second. The Colts, the second-ranked team in Class 9A and 8th ranked overall, then topped the Bucks 71-56 for the district championship.

Deerfield opened up an early 12-2 lead before the host Colts clawed back to tie the game at 30-30 on a lay-up by Deante Moore. The Bucks’ Hansley Senatus drained a 3-point basket at the buzzer as the Bucks took a 33-30 lead at the intermission.

Deerfield Beach used an 18-11 run in the third quarter to break open a close game and the Colts were unable to recover.

Coral Springs was led by Moore who scored 11 of his game-high 21 points in the fourth quarter, but the Colts were unable to recover from an 18-11 run in the third quarter that stretched the lead to double digits. The Colts, who won the state title in 2016, led just once in the first half as Jelani Heard opened a 2-0 lead with two free throws.

It was a rematch of last year’s regional semifinal won by Coral Springs, 47-44. Deerfield Beach reached the state semifinals in 2013 when it fell to eventual champion Haggerty, 57-54.

This is huge for these kids,” Brown added. “I have a lot of kids who this is their first year on varsity and this has been a year where they learned on the fly. We have had some ups and downs because of their youth, but they learned from it and they played a lot better tonight.”

Tigers rally past Dwyer, 65-50

Michael Forrest scored a game-high 38 points as Blanche Ely blew past Dwyer, 65-50, in the Class 8A regional semifinal in Palm Beach Gardens on Tuesday night.

Tigers coach Melvin Randall said Forrest has been the key to the team’s success down the stretch.

He is finally getting it that he is the leader,” said Randall, whose Tigers (21-8) will host McArthur on Friday in the Class 8A regional finals. “We don’t go anywhere without him.”

The win was the Tigers’ fourth straight year where they ended the Panthers’ season in the playoffs. Dwyer (26-2) saw its 13-game win streak come to an end. The team’s only other setback came on Jan. 9 to University School, 66-62.

Joshua Scott added 11 points on the night for Blanche Ely, which won four state titles in a five-year span from 2012-16. The Tigers, who won back-to-back championships in 2015 and 2016, were upset in their bid at a three-peat last year when it fell to Palm Beach Lakes in the regional semifinals.

Forrest scored 14 first-quarter points to stake the Tigers to 11-point lead after eight minutes and stretched the margin to 38-22 at the intermission. Dwyer made a late run, but it wasn’t enough.

Comments Off on Bucks win regional semifinal

JV Knights win SACC Title

Posted on 22 February 2018 by LeslieM

The HCA Junior Varsity boys’ basketball team won the SACC Tournament recently with a 63-61 victory over Westminster Academy. (L to R) top row: James Nichols, Sean Julien, Bryce Everette, Brady Tiedemann, Darryl Carney, Pasha Szklany, Coach Luke Still; (bottom row): Nick Vaccaro, Mike Giourgas, Jimmy Good, Kolton Wik, Lor Louis, Josh Gray. Submitted photo

By Gary Curreri

The Highlands Christian Academy junior varsity boys basketball team got a little revenge as it captured the South Atlantic Coast Conference (SACC) championship with a 63-61 victory over Westminster Academy.

The Knights finished 15-8 this season and avenged its overtime loss to Westminster last year. Highlands Christian finished 15-3 last year.

I could not be prouder of our guys,” said Coach Luke Still, whose team also won the Sheridan Hills JV Invitational a week ago by defeating Boca Christian and then Sheridan Hills. “Going into this season we knew we had lost some talented guys from the previous year; however, this team was full of guys who were determined and not afraid to put in hard work.”

The top-seeded Westminster Academy squad advanced to the championship game with a 59-57 win over fourth-seeded Berean Christian, while second seeded Highlands edged third-seeded Jupiter Christian, 47-46, to move on. That win also avenged a two-point defeat to Jupiter Christian earlier this year.

In the opening game against Jupiter Christian, James Nichols led the Knights with 13 points, while Jimmy Good added 12 including 3 three-pointers.

In the championship game against the Lions, Nichols led the team again with 16 points, while Kolton Wik added 15 and Good had 13. The Knights had seven baskets from long distance that game with Wik and Good both hitting 3 each.

As a first-year student and player at Highlands, I knew this would be the right fit for me,” said Nichols, 14, of Deerfield Beach. “I enjoyed how Coach Luke prepared us in practices for the games. We worked really hard as a team and were able to accomplish our goal of winning the SACC Championship.”

The Knights were tied at 61 when Lor Louis got fouled with one second left on the clock. He hit both free throws to seal the Championship.  He finished the game with 5 points and had 8 points in the semis against Jupiter.

Just getting into the championship game was success for me, but our team was determined,” Still added. “After posting our best half the entire season, we let the lead slip in the fourth quarter. Westminster always plays hard, and had tied the game, with one second left on the clock, Lor Louis was fouled and knocked down both free throws. What a moment, for our team, for Lor who has worked incredibly hard to improve his game, and for our school.

To win the SACC on our home floor and the first win in over eight years,” he added. “As a coach, you desire to see young men improve on the court, but, more importantly, to see them grow in character and integrity as young men. It was such an honor to coach this incredible group of guys this season.”


Comments Off on JV Knights win SACC Title

Tigers reach state; finish 4th in semifinals

Posted on 15 February 2018 by LeslieM

By Gary Curreri

Blanche Ely senior cheerleader Makya Harvard couldn’t have been happier with her team’s performance this season as they reached the FHSAA Class 2A state semifinals.

Harvard, 17, of Pompano Beach, finished her fourth year on varsity and third year on the competition team. Even though the team doesn’t have captains, Harvard is one of the leaders on the squad.

I have to make sure everyone is okay physically and emotionally,” said Harvard, who has been a cheerleader since age 4. “I also make sure everyone is on time and able to do what they are supposed to do. The best part for me? When I hit the mat and do what I do.”

More than 50 teams and 800 athletes from Broward, Palm and Miami-Dade counties competed in the Region 4 competition at Coral Springs High School. The top two teams in each division with a raw score of 70 or better earned an automatic entry into the state finals. A qualifying score of 60 or better earned the team a spot in the state semifinals at the Exactech Arena at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center on the campus of the University of Florida.

The Tigers finished ninth in the Large Non-Tumbling division and qualified for the state semifinals. They finished fourth at the state competition during those semifinals and failed to reach the finals at state.

There is an excitement knowing what I am doing, that people want to participate and I am making others happy…” Harvard said. “That’s what cheerleading is about, cheering people up.”

She said the hardest part about the sport is getting fans excited when a team is losing. She said the football season was very difficult.

That happened a lot this year; but, being a leader, you can’t let your emotions get the best of you,” she said. “I have to show my teammates and cheer everyone else up.”

How will that help down the road?

I think knowing that I can put my emotions aside in things that are important to me, and being a leader and taking charge, will help me when I get out in the real world and [with] a real job,” she said. “When I first came in my freshman year, we weren’t too good, and each and every year, we have progressed … We have unity and we go out together now. We have become one big family.”

Harvard said she was relieved that the team qualified for state this season.

It just shows that all of those long nights paid off,” she said. “Even though there were times when our fliers had injuries, we just pushed through.”

Deerfield Beach placed 10th at the regional competition in the Small Non-Tumbling Division and Pompano Beach finished ninth in the Medium Non-Tumbling Division as both squads failed to advance to state.

Comments Off on Tigers reach state; finish 4th in semifinals

Weber wins club championship

Posted on 31 January 2018 by LeslieM

By Gary Curreri

Marianne Weber fired a three-day total of 249 to win the Pompano Beach Women’s Golf Association Club Championship. Weber won the 3-day Low Gross tournament that was played Jan. 23, 25 and 26 defeating last year’s club champion, Mimi Denoma, by 13 strokes.

Nancy Rack won the B Flight with a 264 total, while Janet Tomchik shot 270 to finish as runner-up. In the C Flight, Vonnie O’Keefe (279) edged runner-up Kathy Dunn (289) for top honors. Alberta Bove carded a 316 to win the D Flight over Roseanna Nixon, who finished with a 321.

Charity beach volleyball event set

The Embrace Life Children’s Foundation has teamed up with Dig the Beach Volleyball to host a charity beach volleyball Pro/Am Tournament slated for next weekend on Deerfield Beach. Proceeds are going to the Salah Children’s Hospital at Broward Health.

The event, to be held on Feb. 10-11, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. will feature two days of competition. Saturday will include Men’s/Women’s Doubles for both professional and amateur players, while Sunday will include Junior Boys/Girls 12-18 and Co-Ed Doubles. The event will be held at 310 N. Ocean Blvd.

Several community sponsors have already joined, including Jersey Mike’s Subs and Harmless Harvest Coconut Water, who will feed and hydrate the players on Saturday. Other local businesses supporting the event are Rox Volleyball as a Title Sponsor, Pediatrix, Island Water Sports, Hypower Electric and International Union of Police Associations. Registration deadline is Feb. 9.

For player and sponsor information, visit www.embracelifechildrensfoundation.com or call Ben Koos at 954-608-2779.

Dillard tops Ely in 4-0 thriller

Dillard’s Bryce Oliver scored a game-high 25 points, including a key free throw down the stretch to help the Panthers escape with a 78-72 victory in four overtimes over visiting Blanche Ely.

Oliver scored all of his points in the second half and overtime as the Panthers improved to 9-7.

Deshawn Bartley had two free throws with 2:39 remaining in the final overtime to give the Panthers a 73-70 lead that it never relinquished. Bartley, who had seven points in the four overtimes, finished with 22 points, while teammate Seth Coddington chipped in with 11 points.

Blanche Ely guard Michael Forrest buried a 3-pointer at buzzer for a 39-36 lead heading into what was expected in the fourth and final quarter of the game. He scored 16 of his team’s final 18 points in regulation and finished with 22 points after going scoreless in the first half.

The Tigers (15-7) also got strong performances from Joshua Scott (20 points) and Calvin McCutcheon had 19 points.

Comments Off on Weber wins club championship

Bucks looking strong under new coach

Posted on 25 January 2018 by LeslieM

By Gary Curreri

The Deerfield Beach High School girls basketball team looks poised to make a deep run in the playoffs this season under new coach Tami Vaughn.

She has also coached at Boyd Anderson, Pompano Beach, Northeast and was an assistant at Florida Atlantic University (2006-07). She also played overseas in Europe (England, Spain and Ireland).

They are very disciplined and work together as a team,” said Vaughn, who still has former coach Portia Williams on the staff. Williams stepped down from her head coaching duties due to health issues.

I enjoy coaching this group of girls. We are trying to rebuild the tradition here,” said Vaughn, whose fiancé is Jevon Glenn, the varsity football coach. “We also have Shuteamia Brayboy on the staff and she won state here. She is able to tell the girls what it means to be a Lady Buck and coach Williams is still here. The tradition is big here with girls basketball and I am very honored to be a part of it.

I was an assistant for three years and this is my first year as head coach,” Vaughn said. “We have everyone back from last year.”

One of the returners is sophomore guard DenAsia Mitchell, who tore her anterior cruciate ligament at the end of the last season and has helped the team get off to an 18-2 start, including key wins over District rival Douglas High School.

Losing her last year was very tough because we had some high expectations,” Vaughn said. “With her going out with the ACL, it put a damper on things. This year, with her back, we are on a roll. We are excited.”

Vaughn said they play more as a team this year and they have been listening more.

I think we can make a run for it if everybody stays healthy and we are praying that everybody stays healthy,” Vaughn said. “We need to play in bubble wrap. Beating Douglas this year shows they are ready and they are focused. Everything we have been doing is helping us for down the road.”

Vaughn said Ashley Shell and Mitchell have been two of the catalysts this season and said a pleasant surprise has been freshman Aaliyah Reid.

She’s been a rebounding machine,” Vaughn said.

Altieri takes fourth at nationals

Deerfield Beach’s Lucas Altieri, a member of the Florida Panthers Figure Skating Club, recently took fourth in the Novice Men’s Division at the 2018 Prudential U.S. Figure Skating National competition in San Jose, Calif. Altieri, 16, a North Broward Prep School sophomore, had hoped for a first place finish. He was fifth last year.

I skated my best so I am happy with it,” Altieri said. “When I first started, I wanted to be a speed skater and there is not much of that in Florida, so the coaches told me to try figure (skating) and I really liked it.

On the ice, I love it when I am skating really fast and it is fun when you are landing all of your jumps really well and you know everyone is watching you,” he said. “It is awesome. When you fall, you just get back up. I do get really frustrated, but I try and think that if I reach my goals, it will be worth it. If not, I will have other chances to do well.”

Comments Off on Bucks looking strong under new coach

Tornadoes show improvement on court

Posted on 18 January 2018 by LeslieM

By Gary Curreri

The first thing on Pompano Beach High School boys’ basketball coach James Stone’s bucket list was to win a game.


The Tornadoes were coming off an 0-21 (2016-17) season and lost the final game in the 2015-16 season when they finished 5-16. Pompano Beach dropped their first eight games of the 2017-18 campaign before a 72-65 victory against host Plantation on Dec. 14 snapped a 30-game losing streak. The team was 5-16 and 4-16 the two years prior to that.

My biggest priority was to get a win after they went 0-21 last year,” said Stone, who moved up from the junior varsity team after a year with the Tornadoes and a year at Coral Springs Charter School. It is his first varsity head coaching job.

I told them to act like we won before (after beating Plantation) so we got on the bus and we had one guy, Conrad (Bennett), he’s a sophomore so he was about to cry,” Stone said. “He was on the team last year and he said, ‘coach that was my first win as a Pompano basketball player.’ It was a big moment for me to get him his first win.”

Pompano Beach (4-9) defeated a team from Australia in the Deerfield Beach Holiday Tournament in an exhibition game and that has sparked the team to back-to-back wins over Cardinal Gibbons (60-56) and Coconut Creek (57-55). Pompano Beach travels to play at Hallandale on Friday night at 7:30 p.m.

That was a big tournament for us because last year they didn’t win a game,” Stone said. “This was a good confidence builder for them this year. It was a great experience for us to play against a team from Australia.”

Stone said he has a junior oriented team, with eight juniors and three seniors. Senior Andre Francis leads the team with 16 points and 10 rebounds a game and Stone also said he’s received solid play from the following juniors — Cedric Camper, Braxton McMillon, Takobe Clark, Brandon Peets and Tristen Anderson.

Stone said the team is buying into his philosophy.

They keep their composure,” Stone said. “They are a very composed group of guys. They don’t get rattled when they go down.”

There has been little adjustment in becoming head coach.

There really hasn’t been too much of an adjustment since most of these guys came up with me from the JV,” Stone said. “The transitions are easy since they already knew the system. The ones who played on the varsity last year, those are the ones that had to buy into the system.”

Knowing that all but three players will return next year has Stone excited.

Having the core coming back is great,” Stone said. “I wanted this to be a building year and next year I would have had my guys together for three years, so next year I am looking to turn it around. I want to go far in the district and make the (BCAA) Big 8 tournament.

They can be a great team,” Stone continued. “Sometimes they get into the ‘I’ basketball and they want to be the guy to carry the team and I tell them it is a team sport. If I can get them to focus on team and play hard and fight for all 32 minutes, we’ll be alright.”

Comments Off on Tornadoes show improvement on court

Tigers roar to title

Posted on 04 January 2018 by LeslieM

By Gary Curreri

Blanche Ely’s boys’ basketball team roared to the championship in the Under Armour Challenge bracket at the 28th annual Kreul Classic at Coral Springs City Gymnasium.

The Tigers topped Leflore (Mobile, AL) 66-48 in the championship game as it finally strung together two solid efforts on both sides of the court.

You play with five individuals on the court,” said Blanche Ely coach Melvin Randall. “If you have those five kids coming on the court together with one fist and delivering that punch you can do some things. Tonight, they were able to put it together. We still have some things to work on, but we are getting better.”

Randall hadn’t been pleased with his team’s effort earlier in the year.

But the Tigers (10-5) put things together on both ends of the court Monday night en route to whipping Leflore, of Mobile, AL, 66-48 in the championship game of the Under Armour Challenge bracket at the 28th annual Kreul Classic at Coral Springs City Gym.

In the beginning of the season, he (Randall) wasn’t happy,” said Ely senior guard Michael Forrest, who was named the MVP of the bracket. “He said that we would always quit on him. He put us to the challenge. We accepted the challenge and we stepped up. We played hard. we played as a team.”

Forrest finished with 19 points and Anthony Byrd Jr. added 14 for the Tigers (7-3), winners of four straight after starting 3-3.

Ely led only 16-15 after one quarter, but broke the game open after that.

The (defensive) pressure gives us more energy to get stops,” Forrest said, “and, as we get more stops, we get easy buckets.”

Baseball showcase

The South Florida Baseball School and STEALTH are teaming together for the Phenom Recruiting Showcase event on Jan. 6 at Highlands Christian Academy, 501 NE 48 St., Pompano Beach.

The event will be held from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. There will be a pro-style workout with evaluations and the cost to register is $150.

Confirmed schools that will be in attendance include Barry, ASA, Broward, Felician, Florida National, Hillsborough Community College, Palm Beach Atlantic, St. Thomas (NY) and more.

To register, go to www.Phenomrecruiting.com. For more information, call 973-295-5409.

Wallace Field House opening

Highlands Christian Academy baseball coach Bruce Charlebois and the South Florida Baseball School, based at the Pompano Beach campus, will hold a grand opening of the Wallace Field House from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Jan. 13.

The field house is a 5,000 sq. ft. indoor baseball and softball training facility complete with a Raw Juice and Smoothie Bar, as well as dugout seating and a waiting area with TVs.

The grand opening will include self-guided tours of the facility, demonstrations, guest speakers, music, food and more.

Comments Off on Tigers roar to title

Bucks win Kreul title

Posted on 28 December 2017 by LeslieM

By Gary Curreri

Bracket MVP Victor Robinson scored 10 points to help lead Deerfield Beach to a 57-45 victory over McArthur for the BCAA Challenge championship in the 28th annual Kreul Classic basketball tournament at the Coral Springs Gymnasium.

Robinson, a junior, was helped by junior Faizon Francis, who also scored 10 points in the win for the Bucks (7-3) in the championship contest.

We’ve been getting better,” said Deerfield coach Kenny Brown, who has won four straight. “The strength of the team is our numbers.”

The Bucks are off to a 7-3 start and were slated to play Naples in a tournament game last night, which was unavailable as of press time.

Senior captain Lutelson Jerome is averaging 10.3 points per game and 6.3 rebounds a game, while Robinson is knocking down an average of 10.1 points per game and 8.0 rebounds a game.

Even though the Bucks have lost three games, they have all been within single digits – losing to Palm Beach Lakes, 60-55, and then Coral Springs twice, 61-55, in overtime and 60-54 just four days later. Coral Springs leads the District 11-9A race with a 6-0 record, while the Bucks are 4-2 and tied with Taravella.

Altieri competing at Nationals

Deerfield Beach’s Lucas Altieri is competing among the top skaters in the country this week at the 2018 Prudential U.S. Figure Skating Championships in San Jose, Calif. from Dec. 29 – January 7, 2018.

Altieri, 16, a sophomore at North Broward Prep School, is looking to win the Novice Men’s Division. He is a member of the Coral Springs-based Panthers Figure Skating Club.

Three other members of the club will join him at Nationals, including Coral Springs’ Sophia Chouinard (Novice Ladies) and Senior Division skaters — Coral Springs’ Andrew Torgashev and Franchesca Chiera, who are also hoping for spots on the U.S. Olympic Team.

Nationals, it’s the biggest event, so I really want to skate great there,” said Altieri, who finished fifth in the same division last year. “Nationals is pretty big for me. It is not like it is the only thing in my life, but it is definitely a huge part of it. I spend a lot of time skating and thinking about it.”

Altieri punched his ticket by finishing in the top four at U.S. Figure Skating’s Eastern Sectionals in Boxborough, Massachusetts in November. Only 12 skaters from all over the U.S. qualify for Nationals in each discipline.

Altieri, who finished third in the Novice Men’s Division at the Sectional event, has skated for almost six years and said he is looking for his best performance of the season.

He certainly puts in the time, skating from 5 to 6:30 a.m. every day.

This season has been okay,” he said. “I haven’t broken out yet. I haven’t skated great yet. I am hoping to skate my best programs possible at Nationals. I want to finish first.”

Comments Off on Bucks win Kreul title

Spirito shines on the links

Posted on 21 December 2017 by LeslieM

By Gary Curreri

At 86 years of age, Pompano Beach’s Carlo Spirito is showing no signs of slowing down. In fact, like a fine wine, he seems to be getting better with age.

Earlier this year, Spirito was the 2017 Club Masters Champion for the Pompano Beach Men’s Golf Association and he followed that up by picking up his fourth career hole-in-one recently on the third hole of the Greg Norman Signature Pines Course at the Pompano Beach Municipal Golf Course.

It ran about 145-yards,” said Spirito, who captured the C Flight championship that day in the individual class play, odd holes minus ½ handicap, with a 24.5 total. “It is a tricky little hole with water on the left and the pin was in the back. I hit a 6-iron with a nice draw on the ball and it was coming in towards the hole. I saw it hit the green and roll up towards the pin, but I never saw it go in.”

The guys I was playing with said, ‘it’s in, it’s in the hole,” he continued. “I couldn’t believe it. It is always exciting when you get a hole-in-one.”

The first hole-in-one for Spirito came in 1985 at the Cape Cod Country Club in Massachusetts where he aced the Par-3, 150-yard fifth hole. The second one came in 1988 at the White Mountain Country Club in New Hampshire where he negotiated the Par-3, 5th-hole, 175-yard distance with a 5-wood. His third ace was in 2002 where he needed just one shot on the 125-yard, third hole at the Oriole Golf and Tennis Club in Margate.

Spirito was proud of winning the Master’s title at the club.

I was really excited to win the men’s championship,” Spirito said. “You play and you play, and you play, and you never expect it to happen. I just happened to have a couple of good weeks. The putts were falling and you wind up with a low score, and you end up winning. I was surprised. I never expected to do it. There are a lot of good golfers.”

Spirito said he has won tournaments throughout his career, but it was nice to win one as he approaches 90 years of age. He started playing golf at the age of 25, so six decades longer and he is still at it.

I have never won one alone,” he continued. “It was always with a foursome or a twosome or something like that.”

Since turning 86 in October, he has shot his age or better eight times.

It is very exciting because when I do it, I call my son (Steven) in Rhode Island and say, ‘guess what? I shot my age today,’” Spirito said with a laugh. “He will ask me what tees am I playing from and I say, what’s the difference?”

Spirito said the longevity on the course comes from being in good shape. He carries a 22-handicap from the senior tees at the course.

Up until they put the Pines course in about three years ago, I would walk every time I played,” said Spirito, who plays three times a week. “My son will come down next month for a week or so and we will play everyday. He is a really good golfer.”

How long does he plan to keep at it?

Until I am in the 100s or so,” Spirito said. “I like it because it is good exercise and something to do.

There is good camaraderie and it is challenging. Of course, you always have a little side bet here and there.”

I think getting a hole-in-one is always more exciting,” Spirito said. “I’ve been playing for 60 years and I only have four of them. Winning a tournament, or something like that, I have done many times…shooting my age will be exciting. The older I get the easier it will be. When I am down in the 80s like that, I feel good about it.”

Comments Off on Spirito shines on the links

Advertise Here
Advertise Here

front page