The Lady Canes then defeated W. R. Thomas Middle School 47-17 in the first round of the playoffs. G.W. Carver Middle School beat them 37-17 in the second round.
Hammocks finished 7-1.
The talented team features Cassandra Iglesias, Lisbeth Garcia, Denica Jones, Rachel Brant, Esmeralda Del Rio, Samantha Polanco, Natasha Polanco, Valentina Velez, K’lia McIntyre, Andrea Nieto, Kelly Nguyen, Natalia Pineda, Kaesha Wooley and Samantha Almeida. The coach is Richard Reed.
North Miami’s Jose “The Thing” Valenzuela, a promising amateur boxer, is rising through the ranks at a rapid pace. With just three years in the sport, the 16-year-old has already achieved success because of his hard work and keeping off the streets.
Valenzuela won the Florida PAL Championships, 2012 Junior Olympic Golden Gloves and the 2012 Southeast Junior Olympics regionals. He is currently training to represent Florida in the 2012 Junior Olympics national championships in Alabama.
Miami’s Eric Hechtman won the men’s singles championship at the US Open Playoffs-Florida Tournament. He defeated former No.174-ranked ATP player Ryler DeHeart in the finals 6-4, 7-5 at the Henry L. McMullen Tennis Complex in Clearwater.
“My biggest key was trying not to drop a set going into the final, because I knew I needed something left in the tank for Ryler,” said the 28-year-old Hechtman, born and raised in Miami.
Hechtman, the junior tennis director at Royal Palm Tennis Club in Pinecrest, said he was too busy coaching to train coming into the event, but said, “I feel that I have a chance [at the national event], if I train.”
Hechtman beat Florida Gulf Coast University sophomore Tianyu Bao 6-4, 7-5 in the semifinals, and in the quarterfinals topped Florida State University sophomore Dominic Cotrone 6-1, 7-6 (7-4). DeHeart gained the final by upsetting No.1 seed and former NCAA doubles champion Jeff Dadamo 6-4, 6-4 in the semis.
“The US Open Playoffs idea is awesome,” Hechtman said. “If someone were to come out of the playoffs and then qualify for the US Open, what a storyline that would be.”
Hechtman will represent USTA Florida at the US Open National Playoffs at Yale University in New Haven. The winner earns a wildcard into the US Open Qualifying Tournament, the week before the US Open.
In his teen years, Hechtman helped lead Sunset High School to three state titles. He was a four-time Miami Herald All-Dade selection and a Miami Herald Scholar Athlete finalist.
As the No.3 recruited player in the nation heading into college, Hechtman opted for the University of Miami where he was the Hurricanes’ team captain three years. He still holds the school’s record for most all-time wins. He has also served as hitting partner for tour players such as Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Venus and Serena Williams.
Orange Bowl honorees
Natalie Concepcion and Darrius Albury-Williams each received a $2,500 scholarship during the Orange Bowl Impact and Excellence (O.B.I.E.) Awards, presented by Blue Cross and Blue Shield’s Florida Blue and supported by Publix Super Markets at the Broward County Convention Center in Fort Lauderdale.
They were two of six South Florida high school student athletes awarded scholarships.
Concepcion, a John A. Ferguson High School graduate, competed in basketball, cross-country and track & field. A member of a district and region championship team, she won a district title in the long jump and was a district runner-up in the 800. She placed first in the 800 and 3,200 relay at the GMACs.