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Highlands sweeps elementary schools titles

Posted on 14 February 2013 by LeslieM

Pages 09-16By Gary Curreri

Highlands Christian Academy’s boys and girls’ elementary school teams swept through the South Atlantic Coast Conference (SACC) and captured the championships in their respective divisions. Sydney Blackburn scored eight points for the Knights, who defeated Zion Lutheran in the championship game, 22- 14, and finished the year with a record of 4-3.

Jason Thomforhde scored 15, while Ben Middlebrooks added 13 for Highlands Christian Academy, which defeated Coral Springs Christian in the championship game, 45-35. The Knights defeated Zion Lutheran in the semifinal, 33- 16, to advance to the final. Highlands Christian finished the season at 11-2.

The South Atlantic Coast Conference is composed of six teams – including Highlands Christian, Zion Lutheran, Coral Springs Christian, Sheridan Hills Christian, Hollywood Christian and Westminster Academy. Not all these teams had elementary programs, but may have junior high or junior varsity divisions.

Highlands Christian Academy offers several elementary sports for the fourth and fifth graders.

In the fall, there is an elementary volleyball team and elementary soccer team. Highlands Christian also won the volleyball and soccer championships back in October.

“In the winter, we have elementary basketball for the girls and then also the boys,” said Jim Good, who is the Highlands Christian Academy Athletic Director and Boys Varsity Basketball coach. “I’m so glad to be a part of a school that supports us having an elementary athletic program. It gives the kids the opportunity to compete against other schools and enjoy all the benefits that team sports have to offer.”

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Grappler looking to make state

Posted on 27 December 2012 by LeslieM

By Gary Curreri

Deerfield Beach High senior Biko Lobban is looking to reach the state wrestling tournament for the first time.

Lobban, 18, of Margate, lost in his last match at regionals last year and narrowly missed qualifying for the state event. “Right now, I want to be state champion,” said Lobban, who will wrestle in the 152lb. division. “I was one match away from going to state last year and it is still with me. I still picture it in my head all of the time. It motivated me a lot for this year.”

“Whether I am at practice, in the gym or on the treadmill working out, I go to practice every day,” Lobban added. “If it is not practice, I am at home refining my skills doing whatever I can do.”

Lobban has been wrestling since his freshman year and knows that a slight mistake on the mat could cost him.

“All of the emotions start pouring in,” Lobban said. “You think, ‘how did I let that happen? I saw that coming, why couldn’t I stop it?’ When time is running out, it can go either way. If you get that pin, it is the best feeling in the world.” Lobban said he likes the challenge the sport presents. He knows that practice makes him better.

“I like that I can get on the mat and actually see my skills getting better and bettering myself,” Lobban said. “I like the one-on-one aspect that the sport provides. When I get on the mat, everything else is blocked out. It is just that person and me. I love wrestling people who are better than me because it helps me better myself. It’s a great feeling.” Being this is his senior year, Lobban said there is a lot of pressure.

“The younger wrestlers, the rookies, are looking up to me, and at the same time, I am refining my skills too.”

Lobban said. “I know I have a lot of competition this year. I have to keep wrestling and try my best.”

Lobban, who is also a member of the Deerfield Beach- BSO PAL wrestling team, said the best feeling is when the referee raises your arm after winning a match.

“It is the greatest feeling when the referee raises my hand,” Lobban said. “You are thinking, ‘wow I actually did it! I did what I had to do to win.’”


Simply soccer coming to town

One week after Santa Claus hit Pompano Beach, Simply Soccer returns to hold a soccer camp from Jan. 2-4, 2013.

Registration is being held at the Pompano Beach Civic Center. The soccer camp is for boys and girls, ages 5-14, of all skill levels, who are taught a variety of soccer skills from dribbling to shooting. There are three sessions each day ranging from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.; extended hours are from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.; a Tiny Tot program for kids ages 5 and 6 is from 9 a.m. to noon.

Campers must bring a soccer ball, swimsuit, shin guards, water bottle and lunch. For more information, call the city of Pompano Parks and Recreation Dept. at 954-786-4119 or 954-786-4111.


Stuart wins President’s Cup

Janet Stuart was recently named the 2012 President’s Cup Champion for the Pompano Beach Women’s Golf Association.

Stuart finished with the best two out of three rounds as she carded a low net score of 138.

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Pompano Beach volleyball takes district title

Posted on 31 October 2012 by LeslieM

By Gary Curreri

Pompano Beach girls volleyball coach William Strachan wasn’t sure what to expect out of his team this season after losing five starters to graduation.

The Tornadoes finished 21- 4 last season as it lost to Jensen Beach in the regional semifinals, and Strachan knew his team would have to develop quickly to have a shot at the post season.

“Coming into the year, I thought we would take our licks this year, but we are playing well,” said Strachan, who is in his fifth year at the school. “We are relatively young. We have two seniors on the team and the rest are underclassmen. We graduated six seniors last year, but it was most of our offense. We lost a couple of all-county players.”

It didn’t stop Pompano Beach from capturing its second consecutive district championship as Paige Alsten had 21 kills and 13 points in the District 16-5A championship win over Mourning High School on Oct. 29.

The Tornadoes (17-7) polished off Mourning in relatively quick fashion as it won in three games – 25-19, 25- 12, and 25-17. Pompano Beach was slated to play Riviera Beach Suncoast on Wednesday night in the Class 5A regional quarterfinals.

“It was just a matter of fine tuning the discipline,” Strachan said. “We have a lot of beach talent. We are like a pipeline to college beach volleyball. We are making up in athleticism. There is a difference between the indoor and outdoor game, but our ball control skill is there.”

Pompano Beach senior Savannah Davis has committed to FIU’s sand program, which will make its debut this spring. She will join another pair of Tornadoes’ graduates who have gone on to play beach volleyball in college.

The Pellitteri sisters, sophomore Stephanie and freshman Kristina, went on to Florida State, where they helped the Seminoles finish third in the nation last season. Younger sister Brittney Pellitteri, a junior at Pompano Beach, is likely headed to a college sand volleyball program as well.

The team has also received strong play from sophomore Casey Calhoun and freshman Cori Smothers this season.

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Bucks still looking for first win

Posted on 26 September 2012 by LeslieM

By Gary Curreri

Deerfield Beach football coach Alan Jackson said before last Thursday’s District 11-8A opener against Taravella that his team was still learning and trying to find out who they were.

With a talented group of juniors and underclassmen, Jackson’s team battled back twice from double-digit deficits only to fall 42-35 in overtime. While they found out a little bit more about themselves, this year’s team is still searching for its first victory of the year after three losses.

“We are still young and have a lot of juniors on this team,” said Jackson, who is in his second year at the school. The Bucks are coming off back-toback losing seasons and failed to make the postseason last year. “Our 2014 team should be pretty good.”

Trailing 14-0 after Taravella scored on its first two possessions of the game, Deerfield Beach roared back with 18 unanswered points to take an 18-14 halftime lead as Aeron McNeal scored on a 35-yard run and Kris Rosales added a 40-yard field goal to pull within 14-10 with 10:20 remaining in the second quarter.

McNeal finished the game with 11 carries for 172 yards.

DeerfieldBeach(0-3,0-0) took its first lead of the game on a 9- yard scoring pass from Levin to Justin Morgan before Humphries scored twice to stake the Trojans to a 28-18 lead.

The Bucks opened the fourth quarter scoring 17 points to jump back in front following a safety and Brandon Powell caught back-to-back, 22 yard TD passes from Levin to grab a 35-28 lead with 4:36 left in the game.

Taravella tied the game at 35-35 with 2:02 remaining on an 8-yard TD pass from Jerome to Robert Miller and won it in overtime on another Jerome TD pass.

“They are coming along,” Jackson said. “I am pleased with what we are doing. We are motivated. They wanted to make the playoffs this year. The 2014 kids wanted to make a statement this year. They don’t want to wait. That’s our motto. Let’s not wait until we are seniors; let’s do it now. That’s the kind of model we are in this year.”

Jackson said, despite the team’s record, there is more continuity this year because they have been in the system for a year. He believes they can still make the playoffs.

“We want to do the now,” Jackson said. “We have to be better now and can’t wait until later. We need to mature a little bit more. We have to cut down on all of the small, little mistakes and get tougher up front and offensively. We have two great backs, but we have to be consistent.”

Jackson said the team is counting on juniors Brandon Powell, LaJavious Thompson and senior Mike Gilbert, as well as junior Tyler Sayles, senior Royus Amos and Orlando transfer senior Aaron Williams.


Tigers roar, roll past Cougars

Blanche Ely’s Nelson Ervin passed for 227 yards and five touchdowns as Blanche Ely cruised past Coconut Creek, 55-6, in the District 14-7A opener on Friday night. The Tigers (3-1, 1-0) took an early 28-0 lead behind the efforts of Ervin, who completed three touchdown passes in the opening period. Running back James Butler added two first half scores as the Tigers took a 49-6 lead into halftime.

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Sharks bite competition, win World Series title

Posted on 20 September 2012 by LeslieM

By Gary Curreri

The Deerfield Beach Sharks 11-Under girls softball team can call itself the World Champions after going through the United States Specialty Sports Association’s (USSSA) World Series undefeated Walt Disney’s Wide World of Sports recently.

Taylor Cochrane scored the lone run in the second inning and Brandi Antonio and Cochrane then shut the door with outstanding pitching by scattering seven hits as the Sharks blanked the Texas Hustle, 1-0, in the championship game.

The Sharks, who were limited to six hits in the championship game, managed to score their run after Cochrane reached on an error, stole second and moved to third on a wild pitch before scoring on an Alexa Ares hit to centerfield. It was the second victory in as many tries against the Hustle, which was the highest scoring team in the tournament. The Sharks won an elimination game against the team from the Lone Star state, 9-1, two games earlier.

“Our girls really showed what they were made of at the World Series,” said Sharks manager Karla Antonio. “They really pulled together as a team. Our hitting was great in some of the games; yet, in others, we needed our defense and pitching to step up in order to win.”

The Sharks rattled off six consecutive wins before facing off in the semifinal game against their interstate rival and defending World Series Champions, the Orlando Aftershock.

The Sharks had played Orlando six times previously since 2010 and had lost all six games by narrow margins. In the pivotal game of the tournament, Brandi Antonio held the Aftershock to no earned runs for five innings. Jordyn Griffith came in as a relief pitcher and sealed the deal against the Aftershock. Brooke Antonio and Chelsea Brown also turned in key defensive plays in the 2-1 win.

Nova Southeastern University women’s softball coach, Lesa Bonee, has been working with the USSSA team since 2009, and her coaching role has significantly expanded since. She works consistently to improve the girls’ hitting and makes time to give weekly private lessons to many of the athletes. Since working with Bonee, the team as a whole has shown great improvement in their overall performance and attitude.

Antonio said Bonee “makes things fun.” Bonee has had the NSU softball team serve as role models to the young players. The college players have helped provide softball instruction to the Sharks, as well as participated in fun, team-building activities such as tie-dying T-Shirts, pumpkin carving and even having a pie throwing contest at coach Bonee’s expense.

“Coach Dawn Boothe (former Head Coach at Deerfield Beach High School) worked with the team’s defense this season and really turned things around for us,” said manager Antonio. “Ryan Rogge (former Western Kentucky University pitching star) worked with our pitchers.”

“Their hard work throughout the year in all aspects of the game is what gave them the edge in the championship,” manager Antonio added. “I am extremely proud of this group of girls. They had a goal of winning the World Series this year and they made it happen!”

The World Series MVPs for the Sharks were Taylor Cochrane and Brandi Antonio (pitching), while Sami Restrepo was the Tournament MVP.

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Dolphins win 11th consecutive swim title

Posted on 12 September 2012 by LeslieM

By Gary Curreri

While the Deerfield Beach Dolphins swim coaches spend each day of the South Florida Recreational Swim League Summer Championships dressing up in costumes for fun, it is serious business when it comes to the meet.

The Deerfield Beach Dolphins Swim Team won its 11th consecutive championship and 14th overall as it racked up 1,454 combined points to take the Large Division title South Florida Recreational Swim League Summer Championships recently at the Coral Springs Aquatic Complex.

Deerfield Beach swim coach Rafael DaSilva, who brought a league-high 124 swimmers to the championships, understandably was pleased with the performance.

“We did a great job with the returning swimmers on our team,” said DaSilva, who is in his seventh year with the program. “We didn’t set any records this year, but we also lost some key swimmers on our relays. We had some close swims among our own swimmers and went 1-2 or 1-2-3. Our main motto is to have fun whatever we do.”

There are 150 swimmers in program and DaSilva said they were hit by the economy and were down a number of swimmers compared to a few years back.

“We had a number of kids that we brought up from the noncompetitive and pre-competitive groups who are now on the fully competitiveteams,” DaSilvasaid. “They are really coming out of their shell and, with the work they are doing, are really improvingtheirtimes… theirstrokes.

We have a lot of new surprises.” DaSilva and his coaches dressed as zombies the first day, Ninja Turtles the second and “Where’s Waldo” characters on the final day.

“Some of the kids were questioning it,” DaSilva said with a laugh. “They thought we were Santa Claus. I want them to have fun, and, if we put a smile on their face, that is all we want to do.” Deerfield Beach Dolphins’ Tayme Thomas won the Boys 50-yard butterfly event and was on two winning relays. He said it was important because it was likely his last meet in the league. His family is moving to Titusville in October or November, he said.

“It is something you have to put the work into,” said Thomas, 13, an 8th grader at Boca Middle School. He’s been swimming since he was 7. “In other sports you can be good and get away with it, but in swimming, you have to put in all of the work. It just makes it better when you win. This meet is a big deal because it is the last one of the year and everybody is here.”

There are three seasons in the South Florida Recreational Swim League – Summer (May to Aug.); Winter (Sept. to Dec.) and Spring (Jan. to April). There is a three-week break between each season; the league is in its 25th year.

SFRSL chairman Chris Hoch said there were 19 teams that featured 1,000 swimmersthis summer. He believes the numbers will grow with it being an Olympic year.

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Edwards wins prestigious camp award

Posted on 30 August 2012 by LeslieM

By Gary Curreri

Lighthouse Point’s Delaney Edwards enjoyed a stellar high school tennis season last year at Cardinal Gibbons and continued that torrid pace at the IMG Academy in Bradenton this past summer.

Edwards, 15, who will be a sophomore with the Broward Virtual School this year, trains locally at the Rineberg Tennis Training (RTT) Academy based in Deerfield Beach. She began playing tennis at age 4 and has had the same coach, Dave Rineberg, since she was 6.

“I have a full-time coach (Dave Rineberg) at home so IMG is just a good change once in a while,” Edwards said. “I like the competition they offer with all the international kids, and I also enjoy using their gym and the fitness program.”

Edwards was recently named the Gatorade “G Standout Award”/IMG Academy Athlete of the Week for tennis. This is a prestigious award handed out during IMG’s summer camp season to an athlete who displays heart, hustle and soul, exhibiting a true desire to reach their true athletic potential.

All IMG Bollettieri Tennis camps feature a core tennis academy program that is progressive and builds on each day and week by incorporating the “Bollettieri Method” aimed at individual improvement.

“I was happy when I got the award because it showed that my hard work there was noticed,” said Edwards, who returned last year after taking a year off because she was burned out. “It also represented a start for a comeback.”

Edwards said her best memory from her high school season was when she decided to join the Chiefs during mid season.

“It was a turning point for me because I wanted to get back to playing matches,” said Edwards, who teamed with Kristin Wiley to finish second in the state high school tourney in doubles last year. “It was also great to come back to school after states with a silver medal.”

Edwards’ immediate goals are to regain a top national ranking in the Girls 18s and earn some good results in upcoming tournaments. She doesn’t plan to return to high school tennis this season.

“I am hoping to play a few ITF tournaments, as well as two pro circuit events in September,” said Edwards, who also works with Dave Remple at RTT. “I haven’t really thought about my future goals since I just recommitted to tennis so, for now, I take it day by day … my coach always says ‘never look back, enjoy the moment, and always move forward.’”

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Pompano wins state lifeguard title

Posted on 15 August 2012 by LeslieM

By Gary Curreri

Gwen Bencie made the most out of her first year in the Deerfield Beach Ocean Rescue Junior Lifeguard program.

Bencie, 11, of Deerfield Beach, had spent her previous two years as a junior lifeguard with the Ft. Lauderdale program before moving to her hometown program.

She won the Girls C Division beach flags title, as well as the paddleboard championship, and placed third in the surf swim division in the second annual Florida State Junior Lifeguard Championships in Ft. Lauderdale recently.

“It is the first time I actually won beach flags,” said Bencie, who will be a Deerfield Beach Middle School sixth grader in the fall. “I was actually surprised, but really excited too. I never won beach flags before and the girls were really fast. I like junior life guarding because it is actually a lot of fun.”

Bencie said paddleboard is her favorite event. She’s captured nationals, regionals and states.

“Junior Life guarding has made me a stronger paddler and stronger in beach flags,” Bencie said. “It has also helped me learn about the water. They teach you how to rescue people.

Mike Brown, who heads the Deerfield Beach program, said the junior lifeguards get to see the other lifeguards from the other beaches and they may know them from school.

“We are proud to represent Deerfield and there is a lot of camaraderie there,” said Brown, who has been with the city for 15 years and headed up the program as its coach for the past six years. “A lot of kids, especially the ones who have never been a part of a team, accomplished something.”

Pompano Beach won the team competition with 1,240 points, while Ft. Lauderdale was second with 810 points. Hollywood and Deerfield Beach were third and fourth with 455 and 360 points, respectively, in the competition that featured nearly 150 competitors recently.

Other local double winners included Pompano Beach’s Sloan Sizemore (Run-Swim- Run, surf swim, Girls B Division); Pompano Beach’s Shane Shulte (Paddleboard, Run-Swim-Run, Boys C Division); Pompano Beach’s Kelly Shulte (Paddleboard, Surf-Swim, Boys B Division).

Individual winners included Pompano Beach’s Julia Schulte (beach flags, A Division); Glenis Carlson (beach flags, B Division); Pompano Beach’s Konnor Katzmark (Paddleboard, Boys A Division); Pompano Beach’s Race Wilhate (Run- Swim-Run, Boys B Division); Pompano Beach’s Clayton Adkins (Run-Swim- Run, Boys A Division).

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Zion finishes national runner-up

Posted on 18 April 2012 by LeslieM

Pictured (L-R) (back row): Assistant Coach Joseph Harrigan, Nash Williams, Justin Nobles, Chris Judge, Brogenskee Polynice, Jephthe St Fleur, Jordan Strowbridge, Brandon Bornelus, Assistant Coach Scott Rosado, head coach Francis Bornelus; (front row): Coulton Yanulevich, Joshua Forde, Noah Rosado, Adrian Johnson, Preston Piltoff. Submitted photo.

By Gary Curreri

While the Zion Lutheran Middle School boys’ basketball team may not have come home with the gold from the recent National Lutheran Basketball Tournament in Indiana, the Lions turned heads and made some history in the process.

Eighth graders Brandon Bornelus and Brogenskee Polynice were selected to the All Tournament Team after helping the Lions to a runner-up finish in the weeklong, 32-team tournament at Valparaiso University in Indiana. Zion Lutheran was the lone boys’ school to have two members of its squad named to the All-Tournament team.

Zion Lutheran, which placed 12th in last year’s national tournament, opened this year’s event with a 50-41 victory over St. John, S. Euclid, Ohio and followed that up with three consecutive one-point victories to reach the championship game against Our Redeemer from Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, where it dropped a 54-39 decision.

Francis Bornelus was the team’s head coach and was assisted by Scott Rosado and Joseph Harrigan. The coaches nicknamed the players, The Cardiac Kids, following their narrow, lastsecond victories. Bornelus hit two game-winning baskets for the Lions.

“The kids were really, really super resilient and executed late game situations pretty well,” said John Guion, the school’s director of basketball operations and the assistant athletic director.

He is also the head varsity basketball coach. The team had lost in the state finals to St. Paul of Boca Raton, 48-47, last month.

“Chris Judge was huge for us,” Guion added. “He was a kid who didn’t have more than 10 points all year in a game and he had 16 in one of the games. Chris was so impressive. He just stepped up at the right place at the right time. He was huge for us. Polynice averaged a doubledouble for us in every game and Preston Piltoff hit a key 3-pointer in just about every game.”

Zion Lutheran also defeated Pilgrim (Green Bay, Wisconsin), 33-32, Shepherd of the Hills (San Antonio, Texas), 48-47, and Salem (Orange, California), 43-42, to advance to the title game.

“Honestly going into the tournament, we weren’t sure where we stacked up,” Guion said. “We knew we had a pretty good team. We were second in the state of Florida and we knew that St. Paul (Boca Raton) was strong. As soon as we got the first win, it just snowballed from there.

“The kids treated it as a business trip,” Guion said. “It wasn’t about having fun, it was about accomplishing something.”

Guion said the team lost in the final to a better team, but said the players handled the adversity very well and showed good sportsmanship.

“It was disappointing to lose in the final initially, but when they realized how they had come a long way,” Guion said, “it was a good result. There isn’t too much to be disappointed about. They did a great job of competing.”

Guion said it bodes well for the future of Zion Lutheran. The Lions varsity team finished the season at 16-6, but suffered a first-round loss in the district tournament.

“I expect these kids to move up and help the varsity next year,” Guion said. “Those kids that moved up from last year were pretty good players and helped my team as freshmen. Hopefully, that success works its way to me.”

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Apocalypse strikes for national crown

Posted on 29 March 2012 by LeslieM

Rylee Hage

By Gary Curreri

Craig Miller wonders if there is anything his semi-pro flag football team Apocalypse can’t accomplish.

The seven-man, Pompano Beach-based team recently won the United States Flag and Touch Football League national championship in Kissimmee by defeating a pair of former national titleholders from New Orleans.

Apocalypse defeated Quick-strike (2008 champs), 30-27, and the Untouchables (2005 and 2010 champs), 36-20, for the title. Both teams were from New Orleans.

“This USFTL national title was our biggest win because the league rules are different and difficult for us, and it was the last title we had not won,” said player/coach Miller, who lives in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea.

“To be honest, our feelings, after the victory, were more relief than elation. This opportunity only comes once a year, and the stress is off-the-chart.”

Apocalypse, a semi-pro flag football team based in Pompano Beach, has finally added a national crown to its collection of titles. (Back row, L-R): Brad Corliss, Terrance “TB” Bunting, Bernard Summerall, Seneca Evans, James Panuindo, David “DJ” Brooks, John Wassmer, Brian Baer, Howard “Bud” Lewis; (Front row, L-R): Darrin “Tony” Walton, Reggie Haugabook, Coach Craig Miller, Derrick “Hollywood” Brown, Quinton McLendon. Submitted photo

Apocalypse was led by a pair of quarterbacks – Brian Baer of Parkland and Brad Corliss of Davie; rusher/center Derrick Brown of Tamarac; and wide receiver Quinton McClendon of Deerfield Beach. All of these players were named USFTL All-Americans.

Apocalypse tied the all-time state record set by Palace Saloon of Tallahassee in the 1980s with four consecutive A Division FFFL State Championships with its win last year and has already begun its quest for an unprecedented fifth crown in June.

Miller said the team has been so potent that it has had to cut former NFL players from its squad. The national title completed an “Apocalyptic” six-month head-to-head sweep of all national championships for the past seven years.

“We’ve had former NFL players with Division I College National Championship rings who we had to cut from our roster – including a Raider, Titan and Dolphin,” Miller said. “We had NFL receiver Chad “Ocho Cinco” Johnson on our roster for some local tournaments … He became a “shut-down” corner who saved a game for us in the Willis McGahee (Miami) tournament, which we won.”

The Pompano Beach-based team is slated to play in three more tournaments before the state tournament in Brevard (June 23-24). It will play in Palm Beach (April 14-15), Cocoa Beach (May 19-20) and in Ft. Myers (June 2-3).

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