Of all the teams who brought back state championships to Broward County this spring, few did it in as impressive fashion as Ally Muraskin.
A junior from Coral Springs Charter, Muraskin led the Panthers to their second consecutive state softball title by tossing a no-hitter in the semifinal before blasting a two-run double to the fence to help win the championship game.
Moments after the gold medal was placed around her neck and she had taken a selfie with the trophy and her teammates, Muraskin was already looking ahead.
“We’re coming back next year, and I’m going to end my career and leave everyone with three rings,’’ she said.
“It’s already in my mind.”
Muraskin and Coral Springs Charter weren’t the only Broward team celebrating in Vero Beach that day and weren’t the only Broward team to bring home a championship this spring season.
Nine teams went into the first week of May with a championship, with Stoneman Douglas and Archbishop McCarthy set to play at the baseball championships in Fort Myers.
Not long after Coral Springs Charter celebrated its title, American Heritage came out and took quick care of Panama City’s Arnold to win the Class 6A title with a 12-2 win cut short by the mercy rule.
American Heritage junior Sydney Grobman, batting third with runners on, destroyed a pitch, sending it high over the left-field fence and crashing into temporary aluminum bleachers. That homer gave the Patriots a 3-0 lead, and they never looked back as they won the school’s seventh state championship under coach Marty Cooper, which is tops in Broward history.
“When you come out real strong like that,” Cooper said, “it makes things a lot easier all around.”
Although the Patriots and Cooper have plenty of experience celebrating state championships, the boys’ volleyball team from Archbishop McCarthy — despite being Broward’s best year after year — never got to do so until this spring.
The Mavericks went to Fort Myers and beat Killian in five sets, with coach Karen Frank lifting the championship trophy as high as she could as her team surrounded her to celebrate.
Yeah, the Mavericks got the hang of it pretty quickly.
“Three of these players have started for me for the past four years and this was theirs and all these kids’ dream,” said Frank, the only coach in the 14-year history of the sport at McCarthy.
Another first-time champion came in baseball as Calvary Christian made the most of its first trip to the finals by rolling to its first championship by outscoring its two opponents in Fort Myers by an 18-2 score.
Douglas went to the state finals for the first time in its 23-year history after beating Jupiter in the regional finals, while McCarthy was trying to win its sixth title in seven seasons.
“From the beginning of the year, we all connected, it was like a family,” senior Max Guzman said. “We all came out here and worked hard to go win something. We all had a goal from the beginning of the year to win a ring.”
In lacrosse, St. Thomas Aquinas bounced back from losing in the 2015 finals to winning its first title in the sport by beating previously unbeaten Ponte Vedra 13-11, as it became the 19th sport at the school to win a state championship.
“I’m honored to coach them,’’ coach Terry Crowley said afterward. “This is a great group, and they stay focused the whole year.”
Broward County teams weren’t just impressive at the state level in the team sports but were strong in the individual events as well.
The Sagemont boys’ tennis team won the Class 1A team title while Cypress Bay swept the team titles in Class 4A. Individually, Zachary Ebenfeld and Jordan Skalet of American Heritage won the Class 2A doubles title.
At the state track meet in Bradenton, American Heritage led the large Broward County contingent and won the Class 2A boys’ title as the Patriots’ 63 points were 21 better than runner-up Cocoa. Heritage won in coach Greg Barnes’ second year.
The Northeast girls finished second to state power Miami Northwestern in Class 3A.
“This was the mission coming in from the beginning,” Barnes said. “A lot of people were behind this success that came so quickly.”