My guess is you can look at this two different ways.
After spending nearly two decades being annually ranked in the top 10 of the Miami Herald’s Miami-Dade County All-Sports rankings, a down trend that started two years ago and officially reached a nose dive last year appeared to level off last week. The Herald released its 2012-13 All-Sports rankings and, while you had to go all the way down 21 spots in a row of 32 schools to find Miami Springs Senior High School, one could take a little solace in that it was at least one notch above last year’s lowest-ever place of 22nd. The good old “glass half empty or half full” routine, if you will.
After dropping out of the top 10 two years ago in slipping to 14th, the folks at Golden Hawkland could not have been delighted last year to see the ’11-12 edition slip to 22.
With a heavy emphasis placed on the “major” sports — football, basketball, baseball, softball and soccer — it didn’t help that the football team turned in a 1-9 season. But perhaps the biggest contributing factor may have been the fact that for the second year in a row, the swimming for both boys and girls, cross country for both boys and girls, and bowling programs were not fielded. They bit the proverbial “budget cut” dust when they were canceled two summers ago.
Throw in the fact that neither the boys and girls water polo programs won a single match (0-11) and perhaps the fact that there was any movement upward can be taken as encouraging. Like we said, “half full?”
There were still plenty of success stories involving sports at Springs this past school year and at the head of the class were the girls soccer and softball programs.
Led by Ale Salazar and Sofia De la Puente, the girls soccer team advanced all the way to the regional final before a three-hour road trip north resulted in a tough 4-0 loss to Melbourne that kept them one win shy of advancing to state.
Melbourne at least validated Springs’ loss by winning twice more the following weekend and capturing the Class 4A state championship.
Salazar and De la Puente were named to Miami Herald’s first-team All-County squad and were honored at Herald’s annual awards banquet at Parrot Jungle on Watson Island on May 22.
The softball team also enjoyed major regular season success as the Lady Hawks rolled to an 18-3 record, highlighted by a 3-0 shutout of Palmetto on Feb. 8, marking Springs’ first-ever win over the Panthers, long considered a county power. On Feb. 28, another watershed event took place when long-time head coach Charlie Green became the first Miami-Dade County public school coach to reach the 400-win mark when the Hawks downed Ferguson, 11-0.
Unfortunately, all of those great moments got watered down on April 24 when the Springs girls fell to Goleman for the third time in the same season, 6-5 in a district semifinal playoff game, ending their season and marking the first time in eight years they did not qualify for the regional playoffs.
Nevertheless, that didn’t negate an outstanding season-long individual performance by junior pitcher Geneva Santos, whose 0.55 ERA was the lowest in the county while she also hit .520 at the plate. Predictably, when the Herald announced its first team for softball, pitcher Santos’ name was on the list, marking her second straight year of making first team after the Springs softball program had gone 15 years prior to that without anyone making it.