Winter sports wrap-up

Dynasties, newcomers among six state championship teams

 

a1fernandez@MiamiHerald.com

On the soccer field, basketball court and on the wrestling mat, Miami-Dade County teams successfully brought home state championships this past winter.

Six teams overall were crowned as the best in their classifications with some continuing ongoing dynasties and others experiencing that championship feeling for the first time.

One such perennial powerhouse was Norland, which won its third consecutive state championship in boys’ basketball and fifth in the past nine seasons.

Led by senior guard and Florida Gulf Coast commitment Zachary Johnson, the Vikings joined Miami High as the only Dade schools to win that many titles in such a short span and only the third county school along with Miami High and Northwest Christian to win three in a row.

But the big story at Miami High this season was the girls’ basketball team.

Miami High, a school with 18 state championships in boys’ basketball, garnered national attention after its girls’ squad won its first state title since 2005.

The Stings were dominant nearly from start to finish led by senior guard Amanda Mendoza and highly recruited junior center Beatrice Mompremier, compiling a 31-1 record that earned them a top 20 national ranking and an invitation to the Dick’s Sporting Goods National Invitational in New York.

Miami High wasn’t the only big winner in the sport.

A year after coming up a win short of the crown, Miami Country Day’s girls swept through a tough schedule all the way to the Class 3A state title. The Spartans celebrated the school’s first state title in any sport. Senior guard Danielle Minott, a Syracuse signee, led a talented group that was also among the best in the nation.

On the wrestling mats, South Dade had a bounceback season and reclaimed its lofty status as the county’s top program by winning its ninth state championship.

The Bucs had three state champions — Ozzy Lugo, Patricio Lugo and Isaiah Crosby and Dade wrestlers brought home six overall — Franco Valdez (Southwest), Matt Kirkland (Monsignor Pace) and Daniel Leon (North Miami).

Columbus won its first state championship in a team sport in more than a decade when its soccer team completed a thrilling run to the Class 5A boys’ soccer title.

The Explorers won each of their three regional playoff games in overtime and capped the championship march with a penalty kick shootout victory over Boca Raton in the state final.

Gulliver bounced back from a heartbreaking state runner-up finish last season with its own run to the Class 2A state soccer title. The Raiders overpowered Pensacola Catholic and Orlando Bishop Moore at state by a combined score of 14-2 on route to their fifth state championship.

Read more Miami-Dade High Schools stories from the Miami Herald

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