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.
All Florida Gulf Coast star forward Sherwood Brown has done since walking on as a freshman is skyrocketed to Atlantic Sun Conference Player of the Year and led the Eagles’ improbable run to the Sweet 16.
College recruiting sites and scouts whiffed big time on Brown then and appear to be doing the same four years later with Blanche Ely’s Darrion Allen and Hialeah Gardens’ Adrian Gonzalez.
Even with three combined state titles between them and a body of work worthy of a college scholarship, Allen and Gonzalez remain unsigned.
Both seniors hope an impressive showing at the RMF Magazine Best of the Best Unsigned Senior Showcase at Cardinal Gibbons High School on Saturday gets them off the recruiting board.
“There is nothing more I could have done to get a Division I scholarship,” Gonzalez said. “I don’t know where I’m going yet, but I’m not frustrated. It’s not where you start, it’s where you end.”
Gonzalez’s résumé should speak for itself. A long 6-5 wing, Gonzalez averaged 18 points and 6.7 rebounds as a junior to lead the Gladiators to their first state basketball title, then 25 points and eight rebounds as a senior, despite constant double teams.
Already at a decided advantage as a lefty, Gonzalez gave opponents fits with his perpetual movement and ever-expanding scoring arsenal.
Other notables scheduled to compete include Miami American’s 6-3 Prince Foster, Pines Charter’s 6-7 Justin Satchell, Miami Norland’s 6-6 Maljhum McCrea, University School point guard Mikon Hewitt and Gibbons’ shooting ace Ryan Andino.
Allen averaged 10 points and five rebounds in helping lead MaxPreps No. 9 Ely (27-1) to its second consecutive Class 7A state title, but those numbers don’t tell the whole story.
Ely coach Melvin Randall called Allen’s number against Deerfield Beach, the No. 2 team in 8A for most of the season, and the 6-3 Allen unleashed the freakish athletic ability of a high division one talent.
Allen went for a career-high 27 points to spark a 72-60 victory.
“I think about what I could have averaged at other schools a couple times, but I’m just happy we won states again,” Allen said. “ I think I’m a Division I player. I can’t do anything about it. All I know is I’m going to use this as motivation. I love to prove people wrong.”
KISSIMMEE KLASSIC — CORAL REEF 13, PINE CASTLE 3 (5)
WP: Dayna Wilson (9-2). LP: K. Bitterman. Top performers: Carsyn Gordon 3-4, 5 RBI. Sarah Ortiz 1-3, HR, 2 RBI. Cristina Colli 1-3, 3 RBI. Michelle Ryan 2-3, RBI, 2 runs. CR 14-2
LATE THURSDAY — KISSIMMEE KLASSIC — CORAL REEF 11, FROSTPROOF 1 (6)
WP: Michelle Mesa 5-0. LP: K. Noris. Top performers: Kylan Becker 4-4, 2 RBI, 3 runs. Carsyn Gordon 2-4, 2 RBI, 2 runs. Denver Keller 1-4, HR, 2 RBI. Alex Garcia 1-2, 2 RBI. CR 13-2
Selective Recruiting/Sir Pizza Invitational - Championship at University of Miami: 7:30
R.M.F. Magazine unsigned senior showcase - Cardinal Gibbons, 3 p.m.
Columbus at Ransom Everglades, 1