When it comes to high school golf in South Florida, the American Heritage Patriots are currently top-of-the-line, on a separate echelon that hovers above the competitors.
Theyre good, and they know theyre good.
Picture the Miami Hurricanes football teams of the 1980s, put them on a golf course, and you get the 2012 American Heritage golf team.
The boys walk the course with swagger, like they own it, and the girls strut around sporting their flamboyant and splashy black and gold shorts sponsored by Loudmouth, the same brand that John Daly wears.
Tuesday at the Region 8-1A finals at Grand Palms Country Club, the Patriots backed it all up the boys outlasted Cardinal Gibbons by one stroke, 290-291, and the girls dominated play with a team score of 278, 37 strokes better than runner-up Ransom Everglades. Both punched their ticket to states.
The girls team has now reached the state tournament every year since 2005, and the boys have made three consecutive trips and have been there 13 of the past 14 years.
They work harder than most schools. They sacrifice more than most schools, boys golf coach Brandt Moser said. They enjoy the team concept, so they like coming out here under the pressure of team competition. They approach it different than most schools.
All five of American Heritages girls scored in the top six. Leading the way was junior Jamie Freedman, who shot a 4-under-par 67.
We all have fun. We all understand each other. Were like sisters, said Freedman, whose 67 also would have beaten any boy competing in the regional final. We all practice together. I think we all make each other better because we all try to beat each other all the time.
In total, American Heritage had five golfers shoot under par three girls and two boys.
On the boys side, Patriot Kristian Caparros was one of three golfers, along with teammate Jorge Garcia and Cardinal Gibbons Sean Smothers, to card a 69. It took two playoff holes to settle it, but Caparros, the sophomore, bested both in the playoff.
I didnt have any bogeys, Caparros said. I had a really solid round. I just stayed patient and kept making pars and a couple of birdies here and there.
Heritage now shifts its focus to the state championships, Oct. 30-31 at Mission Inn Resort and Club in Howey-in-the-Hills.
The Cardinal Gibbons boys and Ransom girls will be joining them as the top two teams in each regional advance to states.
Individually, Westminster Academys Ashley Malinchak (68) will advance in girls play along with 12-year-old eighth grader Tanya Eathakotti of Carrollton, who shot a 78 and beat out Pine Crests Sam Haubenstock in a tiebreaker.
Boys who will advance to states as individuals are Gullivers Anthony Infante and University Schools Jonah Wasserstrom.
• Boys ResultsAmerican Heritage 290, Cardinal Gibbons 291, University School 306, Archbishop McCarthy 320, TERRA 364, Chaminade 380, Miami Country Day 419 (at Grand Palms CC, par 71): Kristian Caparros (AH) 69, Sean Smothers (CG) 69, Jorge Garcia (AH) 69, Alex Lutz (CG) 71, Will Hart (CG) 72, Anthony Infante (GUL) 73, Jonah Wasserstrom (US) 73, Robert Geibel (AH) 73, Ray Boone (GUL) 74, Tyler St. Philip (AMC) 74.
• Girls Results American Heritage 278, Ransom Everglades 315, Carrollton 328, Archbishop McCarthy 340, Gulliver 353, Pine Crest 373, Cardinal Gibbons 477 (at Grand Palms CC, par 71): Jamie Freedman (AH) 67, Ashley Malinchak (WA) 68, Alejandra Merchan (AH) 69, Marissa Messana (AH) 69, Andreina Merchan (AH) 73, Clauia De Antonio (AH) 74, Tanya Eathakotti (CAR) 78, Sam Haubenstock (PC) 78, Carolina Garrett (RE) 78, Alex Hamilton (RE) 79, Katie Hanley (RE) 79, Chloe Horton (RE) 79.