Aquinas softball seniors hope they will be crying tears of joy


Last week’s best performances

 Kendall Ellis won her fourth consecutive 400 meters title and anchored the 1,600 meter relay team to a state record 3:41.01 as the St. Thomas Aquinas girls’ track team won its second consecutive Class 4A state title, its 10th overall for second all-time.

Andrew James finished third in the 100 and 200, second in the 400 and anchored the runner-up 1,600 meter relay team and Terrel Phillips won the high jump to lead the Westminster Academy boys’ track team to the Class 1A state title.

Ryan Crozier went 1-2 in the discus and shot put, Rasheed Tatham had an upset victory in the 400 meters and freshman Trevon Grimes went 1-4 in the 300 hurdles and 110 hurdles as the St. Thomas Aquinas boys’ track team won the FHSAA Class 4A state title, its sixth state title under coach Alex Armenteros.


Felix Rivera-Vega , McArthur, boys’ volleyball: Rivera-Vega had 30 kills, 13 points and four blocks to lead the Mustangs over South Broward in the District 11 championship game.

Jake Miednik, Douglas, baseball: Miednik scattered two hits in five innings of relief to earn the win as the Eagles rallied for a 6-5 victory over Cooper City in the Class 8A regional quarterfinals.

Maddie Gott and Emily Hill, Cypress Bay, softball: Hill drove in Gott with the winning run in the top of the 11 inning as the Lightning (21-6) beat Park Vista 6-4 in the Class 8A regional finals.

Kimani Rushing, Hallandale, girls’ track: Rushing went 1-2 in the 300 hurdles and 100 hurdles and led the winning 1,600 relay team as the Chargers fell one point short (66-65) of winning the Class 2A state title.

Meghan King, St. Thomas Aquinas, softball: The star left-hander threw a two-hitter and struck out 16 to lead the Raiders (28-2) to a 2-0 victory over Dwyer (21-9) in the Class 7A regional finals.

Alexa Rivera, Archbishop McCarthy, flag football: Rivera’s touchdown in the second quarter held up as the Mavericks (11-4) upset Everglades 24-0 in a first round play in game.

Gavin Robinson, Taravella, baseball: Robinson’s RBI single held up as the Trojans beat Cypress Bay 2-0 in the Class 8A regional quarterfinals.

Daeshon Gordon, Northeast, girls’ track: The LSU commit swept the 100 hurdles and 300 hurdles and anchored the runner-up 1,600 relay team at the Class 4A state championship.

Shomar Thomas, Chaminade, baseball: Thomas allowed one earned run and struck out six in seven innings to get the win in a 3-1 victory over Pope John Paul II in the 4A regional quarterfinals.

Julia Montgomery, Pine Crest, girls’ track: Montgomery won the 1,600, was second in the 3,200 and anchored the runner-up 3,200 relay team as the Panthers took third at the 2A state finals.

Alexa Cruz, St. Thomas Aquinas, girls’ track: Cruz won the 3,200, anchored the 3,200 relay team to an upset victory and finished fourth in the 1,600 to help the Raiders win the Class 4A state title.

Gentry Fortuno, Flanagan, baseball: Fortuno picked up the victory as the Falcons beat Miami Beach 2-1 in the Class 8A regional quarterfinals.

Camora Sanders, Northeast, girls’ track: Camora went 1-2 in the discus and shot put at the Class 4A state finals.

Claire Blount, Pines Charter, softball: Blount went 3 for 4 with a RBI and three runs to lead the Jaguars over Doral Academy 11-1 in the Class 6A regional finals.

Diamond Spaulding, St. Thomas Aquinas, girls’ track: Spaulding finished second in the 200 and ran on the winning 400-meter relay and 1,600 meter relay teams at the Class 4A state finals.

Andre Ewers, Piper, boys’ track: Ewers was second in the 100 and 200 at the Class 4A state finals.

Ashley Belans, American Heritage, softball: Belans went 4 for 5 with a home run and three doubles to lead the Patriots (23-6) over Eustis 12-1 in the Class 5A regional finals.

Gino Brown Jr., Chaminade, boys’ track: Brown won the Class 2A state triple jump title.


Gwen Svekis is already planning on crying Thursday afternoon when she practices with her St. Thomas Aquinas softball teammates on campus for the final time.

The senior catcher hopes to be crying Saturday as well — during a second consecutive state championship celebration.

“It’s always so sad at the end of the year,” Svekis said. “I’m a very emotional person. I cried at Senior Night, cried at our last game here. I'm going to cry again Thursday. I can't stand the thought of leaving this team.”

Svekis and the Raiders head to the state final four for Friday’s semifinal against Cantonment Tate at the Dodgertown complex in Vero Beach.

A win over Tate would likely bring a rematch of last year’s state semifinal against Harmony and top-end pitcher Aleisha Ocasio. Svekis scored in the bottom of the ninth to lift Aquinas to a 1-0 win over Harmony last year after Ocasio struck out 11.

Aquinas (28-2) has won three state titles in its fast-pitch softball history. Svekis would like to be the second team to win back-to-back titles, matching the championship runs of 2002 and 2003.

It would be a huge send off to a talented senior class. All nine seniors plan to play in college next year with Svekis headed to Oregon and pitcher Meghan King off to Maryland.

“Last year we won for the first time in 10 years and those teams won back-to-back,” said Svekis, one of seven seniors in the starting lineup. “Winning two straight would definitely be big for us and the school.”

Aquinas coach Bryan Baucom wasn’t very happy after last week’s 2-0 regional final win at Palm Beach Gardens Dwyer as the Raiders scored twice in the top of the first and then did little else offensively.

The Raiders have lost two games this year, both losses — one to American Heritage, the other to Lake City Columbia — by 1-0 scores.

If Aquinas can score some runs, that fourth state title could be coming back south to Fort Lauderdale.

“We feel good about things, they’ve practiced good and know what is ahead of them,” said Baucom, in his 20th season as softball coach at Aquinas.

“We’re pretty lucky here to have a great group of kids. When it’s over — win or lose — it’s going to be tough to lose them. They went through some heartbreak the first two years then got the ultimate feeling last year. And now they have the opportunity to do that again. It's exciting.”


•  Cardinal Gibbons: Baseball — Nick Ferngren has committed to Rhodes University; Boys’ soccer — Nicholas Ketchum has signed with Bryant University; Girls’ soccer — The Coast Guard Academy will be home to Baylee Kennedy, and Tais Salles is going to Regis College; Basketball — Diamond Williams has signed with Johnson and Wales, and Josh Charles has committed to Thiel College; Football — Caine Foster and Jaylen Robinson will go on to play at Ave Maria, Trevor Osceola has signed with Kentucky Christian, Preston Seiler with Villanova, Trevor Martin with Greensboro and Rocky Miyares has committed to Concordia; Girls’ volleyball — Shay Faber will attend Marymount, and Graciella Molinari will go to Regis College; Boys’ lacrosse — Matt Sandelier will play at Dominican College; Track and field — Stephan Duvivier is off to Tufts; Wrestling — North Carolina State will be home to twins Jamal and Jamel Morris, and Anthony Vazquez has signed with Pittsburgh.

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