With a 5.47 weighted grade-point average, Palmetto tennis standout Danny Trainor is academically blessed and certainly smart enough to know it could have been a lot worse.
On a recent New Year’s Day — just a few minutes after the clock had run out on 2011 — Trainor’s mother and some other family members were in their Palmetto Bay home when a fire broke out in the garage.
“We think there were some fireworks like sparklers that weren’t cleaned up right,” said Trainor, who was in San Francisco with his father at the time. “Luckily, our neighbor saw smoke coming out of the house, and he warned my mother.”
No one was hurt, but the effects of the fire had spread through the air conditioner, damaging the entire house.
“The house was a total loss,” said Trainor, whose family has yet to return to their home and have been living in a rented house ever since.
It’s not the first time the family has been displaced. In 2005, the Trainors had to find other housing after Hurricane Katrina blew through their home.
Trainor, though, has handled the adversity well. He has rotated between No. 1 and No. 2 singles for Palmetto and has also played No. 1 doubles.
His Palmetto team should sail through the districts beginning Monday, but will be the underdogs to favored Coral Gables in the regionals April 9-11.
Trainor, a junior, comes from good tennis stock. His mother, Ana, played at FIU. His brother, P.J., was a co-captain on Palmetto’s 2012 team and is now at Swarthmore College, just outside of Philadelphia.
Although he hasn’t picked a college yet, Trainor is interested in Duke, Brown, Davidson and Amherst. Among the majors he is considering are mathematics, statistics and physics.
Dade Christian senior Winter Rodriguez, who owns the school records in the 100- and 300-meter hurdles, has already earned three medals at the state championships the past two years.
But Rodriguez, a 5-6 guard in basketball, has decided to quit track, according to Dade Christian track coach Doreen Mercer, who disagrees with that decision.
“Basketball is her passion, not track,” Mercer said. “If she practiced track 10 times in each of the past two years, that’s probably a lot.
“But her opportunities for a scholarship are far greater in track than basketball. The coach at Georgia Tech said Winter would make a great heptathlete. I wish she would take a track scholarship and then walk on for basketball.”
Besides Georgia Tech, Rodriguez has received track recruiting interest from Notre Dame, Alabama, Navy and others.
Rodriguez won a pair of bronze medals in 2011. Last year, she got a bronze in the 300-meter hurdles and slipped to sixth in the 100-meter hurdles.
“She’s a great kid,” Mercer said. “We all love her.”
• Kendrick Gutierrez, a senior first baseman for American’s baseball team, is the son of the Patriots’ coach, Ricky Gutierrez, a former shortstop who played 12 years in the major leagues. Kendrick hit .350 with two homers as a junior.
• South Dade senior catcher Shane Castro hit .320 last season. He is the son of former University of Miami catcher Frank Castro, who is an assistant on the South Dade coaching staff.