Linebacker Deeb helps Heritage on diamond


Last week’s best performances


Gianlucca Massa, Christopher Morin and Scott Plutt won at singles and Morin and Plutt teamed up for a No. 2 doubles victory to help the Cypress Bay boys’ tennis team win its second consecutive Class 4A state title.


Rachelle Serafini, St. Thomas Aquinas, girls’ lacrosse: Serafini had four goals and two assists to lead the Raiders (12-4) over Pine Crest 13-8 in the District 14 championship game.

Andrew James, Westminster Academy, boys’ track: The sophomore won the 200 meters and 400 meters at the Region 4-1A championships.

Jacob Melton, Coral Glades, baseball: Melton went 3 for 3 with two runs and three RBI as the Jaguars held off West Broward 9-8.

Adanaca Brown, Upperroom Christian, girls’ track: Brown won the 100 hurdles, 300 hurdles and long jump at the Region 4-1A championships.

Khadeeja Dooling, American Heritage, girls’ track: Dooling won the 100 hurdles and 300 hurdles to help the reigning Class 2A state champion Patriots defend their Region 4-2A title.

Jake Albo and Chris Tasker, Sagemont, boys’ tennis: Albo defended his Class 1A state individual title and Tasker won his first state title to help the Lions claim their second state team title in the past three seasons.

Caroline Israels, Westminster Academy, girls’ water polo: Israels had 12 goals, three assists and three steals to lead the Lions over Douglas 21-5 for the District 9 title.

Andrew Gomez-Rivera, Pine Crest, weightlifting: Gomez-Rivera won a Class 1A state title in the 154-pound weight division.

Roger Pettingell, Calvary Christian, boys’ track: Pettingell led the 400- and 1,600-meter relay teams to victory and finished second in the 400 to help the Eagles’ boys team clinch the Region 4-1A title, their first region title in school history.

Daeshon Gordon and Deron, Boyd Anderson, boys’ track: The Gordon twins each won a pair of hurdles titles to lead the Cobras to a sweep of the District 11-4A crown.

Brian Mahan, Northeast, boys’ water polo: The freshman scored the game-winning goal with 10 seconds left to help the Hurricanes (7-5) rally for a 9-8 victory over Westminster Academy in the District 9 title game.

Joe Figueroa, Archbishop McCarthy, boys’ volleyball: Figueroa had 16 service points and 35 assists to lead the Mavericks over West Broward in four sets.

Amanda Graboski, North Broward Prep, flag football: Graboski threw for two touchdowns and 105 yards to lead the Eagles over Boynton Beach 13-0.

Sarah Maloney, Cypress Bay, softball: The Lightning ace scattered three hits and struck out 13 to help the Cypree Bay (17-5) beat Western 2-0 for the District 12-8A title.

David Omsky and Ryan Khan, University School, boys’ tennis: Omsky and Khan teamed up for a Class 2A state doubles title.


Special to The Miami Herald

With a 3.8 grade-point average and a football scholarship to Notre Dame, Michael Deeb’s high school career already has been phenomenally successful.

The only thing missing is a state championship — and the senior still has a chance to remedy that next month.

After taking a two-year hiatus from baseball, Deeb is back on the diamond, and he bats cleanup for a 20-2 American Heritage team that is ranked fifth in the nation by Baseball America, 12th by USA Today and 13th by Maxpreps.

“Mike is a natural baseball player,” Heritage coach Bruce Aven said of Deeb, who started playing the sport when he was 4 years old. “It’s not like we had to teach him a stance.”

A 6-2, 240-pound linebacker in football, Deeb casts an intimidating shadow at the plate. The Patriots, who are defending state champions in Class 5A, have numerous talented hitters, including catcher Zach Collins, who is a University of Miami recruit and a pro prospect.

Yet Deeb, despite being away from the game for those 24 months, is hitting .435 and leads his team with 25 RBI, averaging more than one per every two at-bats. Making his numbers even more amazing is the fact that Deeb joined the team after the first game of the season and only after he was sure playing baseball would not interfere with his training for football.

“Because he had been away from baseball for a while, we started him at the bottom of our lineup,” Aven said. “But he has a knack for RBI, so we kept moving him up.

“Our first three hitters, [Brandon] Diaz, Collins and [Danny] Zardon, are almost always on base. So Mike gets a lot of RBI chances.”

Deeb is used exclusively as a designated hitter. Not having to play the field cuts down on his baseball preparation and thus allows him more time to train for football.

Aven believes that if Deeb played baseball year-round, he would have way more than the one home run he has hit so far.

“He has crazy power, but his main priority is making contact and driving in runs,” Aven said. “If you watch him taking batting practice, you will see him drop balls into the next neighborhood.”

Deeb said he has never spoken to Notre Dame’s baseball coach and is focused on just playing football for the Fighting Irish.

In fact, he visited Notre Dame this past weekend to watch the football spring game, and he will start taking summer classes in South Bend in mid-June.

Still, he left the door open a crack for baseball.

“I’ve got to get ready to play college football at a big BCS program,” he said. “But I’m a competitor, and I’m open to all things. I’d love to play baseball if the opportunity presented itself.”

In the meantime, Deeb is busy with schoolwork, baseball and football training.

In addition, he is taking part in a fundraiser in honor of the late Andrea Lucas, a 17-year-old Heritage classmate who battled cystic fibrosis before dying two months ago.

His role in the April 28 fundraiser at the Heritage auditorium will be to sing a song by One Direction.

“That was her favorite band,” Deeb said.

Deeb and the Heritage baseball team start district playoffs Tuesday with a game against heavy underdog Hallandale (2-11).

If all goes as Heritage fans hope, Deeb and his senior teammates will enjoy an unforgettable week in late May, including graduation day on the 19th and the state final in Fort Myers on the 23rd.

“[Winning state] is the only goal,” said Deeb, who has never made it past the regional finals in football. “Getting that ring would be the perfect way for me to go off to South Bend.”


An unfortunate time-frame loophole surrounding a grades transfer has cost Westminster Academy rising long sprinter Denise Spann a shot at state track gold.

Spann, a sophomore, was home schooled through Atlantic Technical School, but a semester overlap involving the schools resulted in Spann’s grades being transferred past the deadline and Spann left out of postseason competition.

While the FHSAA granted Spann eligibility to compete on the sub-varsity level during the regular season, a subsequent appeal to include state qualifying meets was denied.

“From my understanding, Denise’s semester at Atlantic ended after the semester started at Westminster,” said Lions coach Doria Yeaman-Rickel. “She was not allowed to change schools because she would not be getting her grades. It is just a sad situation all around. Denise is upset and her teammates are upset, too. She is just a great athlete with a great team spirit.”

Spann’s camp contends the unique circumstances in this matter left her at a disadvantage and should have resulted in the FHSAA granting the appeal.

Had Spann been granted postseason eligibility, she would have been the District 15-1A No. 1 seed in the 200 and 400, No. 2 seed in the 100 and pivotal leg on the Lions’ 400-meter relay team.

Spann’s last official competition came at the Holy Trinity Elite Classic in Melbourne on March 29 when she won the 400 in 58.26.

“This is my second year sitting out a regional meet,” Spann said. “It’s very disappointing. I am just waiting on next year to come. That will be my premier year once again.”



• West Broward d. American Heritage 25-18, 25-13, 21-25, 20-25, 15-5: Greg Holodak 17 digs, block, 16 kills, 15 points, 2 aces. Tyler Gordon 17 kills, 10 points, 16 digs, 2 blocks. Kevin Patterson 21 digs. AHP 5-7.



District 11-8A quarterfinals at Coral Glades: South Plantation vs. Taravella, 5; Piper vs. Coral Springs, 7

District 15-7A semifinal at Monarch: Boyd Anderson vs. Northeast, 4

District 15-6A quarterfinal at Archbishop McCarthy: Fort Lauderdale vs. Stranahan, 6

District 16-5A semifinals at American Heritage: Dillard vs. Pompano Beach, 4; Hallandale vs. American Heritage, 7

District 13-4A semifinals at Broward College: Somerset-Coral Springs Charter winner vs. Cardinal Gibbons-Pine Crest winner, 4; University School vs. Chaminade-North Broward Prep winner, 7:30

District 14-3A semifinals at Highlands Christian: Calvary Christian vs. Highlands Christian, 4; Coral Springs Christian vs. Westminster-Sagemont winner, 7


Palm Bch. Grdns. at Cardinal Gibbons, 4:30

Piper at Miramar, 4:30

Flanagan at Taravella, 4:30


State play-in at Fort Lauderdale: Riviera Beach Suncoast vs. St. Thomas Aquinas, 6

State play-in: Cypress Bay at Boca Raton St. Andrews, 5:30

State play-in at Nova: Northeast vs. Cooper City, 7:30


State play-in at Fort Lauderdale: Riv. Bch. Suncoast vs. St. Thomas Aquinas, 4:30

State play-in: Cypress Bay at St. Andrews, 4

State play-in at Nova: Westminster Academy vs. Cooper City, 6


First round state play-in: Douglas at Pine Crest, 5

First round state play-in: St. Thomas Aquinas at Archbishop McCarthy, 2


First round state play-in: Douglas at South Plantation, 7

First round state play-in: St. Thomas Aquinas at Tavernier Coral Shores, 5


District 25 semifinals at Deerfield Beach: North Broward Prep vs. Deerfield Beach, 5; Monarch vs. Douglas, 7

District 26 semifinals at Coral Glades: Creek vs. Coral Glades, 5; Taravella vs. Northeast, 7

District 28 final at South Broward: 6

District 29 semifinals at Western: Miramar vs. Cooper City, 4:30; Nova vs. Western, 6

District 30 semifinals at Cypress Bay: Pines Chrtr. vs. Everglades, 5; CB vs. McCarthy, 7

Read more Broward High Schools stories from the Miami Herald

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