It was a sad day indeed Tuesday afternoon when the final out was recorded in what otherwise would have normally been a completely off-the-radar girls’ softball game.
But when Archbishop Curley/Notre Dame’s Armani Nelfort grounded out to first base to end the game and a 17-0 loss to Marathon was in the books, it marked the end of 63 years of athletics at the high school as it was the final athletic event played on the school’s campus.
In the wake of years of dwindling enrollment and financial struggles and the enticement of property values going way up with the development of the Midtown area, the Archdiocese announced last fall that the school would close its doors at the end of the school year. The bulldozers and wrecking balls will come in this summer to make room for a new development.
Just 24 hours earlier, the baseball team hosted Miami Country Day in its final game ever to be played at the school while also closing out a 38-year career for Jerry Yeash as coach of the Knights.
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If if were a Disney movie, perhaps the script would’ve been an underdog 3-17 Curley team upsetting MCD, but there would be no such scenarios on this day as the Knights took an early 3-2 lead but eventually fell 11-4.
“A very sad day for all of us and I will miss it a lot,” said Yeash who is by far the longest-tenured baseball coach in Miami-Dade County at the same school. “I’m grateful that I got to coach my two sons here [Michael, 2005-08, and Tony, 2010-13] and also had the honor of coaching a lot of other terrific kids along the way.”
Walk into the ACND gym and look for championship banners and the first thing you realize is that this is no St. Thomas Aquinas.
The school opened its doors in the fall of 1953 and includes a short list of famous athletic alumni. But the only team state championships the school ever recorded was when Blaine Willenborg led the boys’ tennis team to back-to-back state titles in 1977-78. Willenborg went on to modest success as a pro, reaching as high as No. 50 worldwide in 1984 and No. 13 in doubles play in 1988.
Close calls came three times in 1967, 1984 and 1986 when the wrestling team, boys’ soccer team and boys’ golf team all came in with state runner-up finishes, respectively. The boys basketball team made it to the state final four twice in 1967 and 1986.
Three-time Daytona 500 winner Bobby Allison was a Curley grad back in the 1950s as was University of Miami quarterback Fran Curci, who was also the UM head coach for two seasons, 1971-72. Dudley Hart was a Class of ’86 grad who led the golf team to its state runner-up finish and went on to a successful 20-year career on the PGA Tour, winning twice in 1995 and 2004.
Greg Magner arrived at the school in 1990 and would spend the next quarter of a century as the school’s athletic director and football coach. He was second only to Belen Jesuit’s Rich Stuart in terms of longest tenured coach in Miami-Dade County at the same school and was just inducted into the ACND Hall of Fame along with Yeash two weeks ago.
Magner will be the football coach at Hialeah Gardens next season.
“The good Lord put me here to serve and be a positive presence, and I love the kids and families that I have worked with through the years, treating them like my own family,” said Magner who found a new job at Hialeah Gardens and will take over next season as the football program’s new coach. “What I always talked about more than anything is that athletics is the hidden curriculum. Kids volunteer their time so the coach truly has the platform toward the development of a young person’s character. It was never about championships here. It was about doing things the right way, even when nobody was necessarily looking.”
▪ Miami Country Day School 11, Archbishop Curley 4: Connor Goodman (MCD) 2-2, 2 RBI; Griffin Sennett (MCD) 2-3, 3 R; Kian Andersen (MCD) 2 R; Austin Pollak 2 RBI. WP: Jordan Sale. LP: Lopez.
▪ HSBN March Madness Shootout in Pompano: Southwest 3, Coral Springs 2: Eddie Sierra 2-3, 2 RBI; Kike Aparicio 1-2, 2B; Ryan Acosta 5 IP, 0 ER, 5 K. WP: Erick Orbeta.
▪ HSBN March Madness Shootout at Monsignor Pace: Southwest 6, Miami Christian 0: Erick Orbeta 3-4, 2 RBI; Jorge Tejeda 2-4, RBI. WP: Kike Aparicio 6 IP, 0 R, 0 BB, 5 K.
▪ Mingo Bay Classic in South Carolina: Somerset Academy-Pembroke Pines 11, Ocean Lakes-Virginia 4: Xavier Moronta 3-4, 2B, BB, 4 RBI. WP: Ryan Cabarcas (2-2) 5 IP, 4 R, 3 ER, 4 H, 0 BB, 4 K. LP: Nate Clement. SOM 13-5.
▪ Mingo Bay Classic in South Carolina: Somerset Academy-Pembroke Pines 10, Aynor-South Carolina 2: Xavier Moronta: 1-3, HR, BB, 2 R, 3 RBI; Max Baldaccini 2-3, HR, 3 RBI. WP: Juan Teixeira (6-0) 5 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 4 K. LP: Seth Ward. SOM 12-5.
▪ Blazer Bash Spring Break Tournament in Las Vegas: Palo Verde-Nevada 8, SLAM Academy 3: Christian Hermosilla (S) 2-4, RBI; Kevin Figueredo (S) 1-3, R, RBI.
▪ Blazer Bash Spring Break Tournament in Las Vegas: Chatsworth-Los Angeles 8, SLAM Academy 2: Luis Garcia (S) 2-3, RBI.
▪ Florida League High School Invitational in Sanford: Pine Crest 8, Taravella 4: Jared DeFaria 3-3, 2B, BB, 3 RBI; Michael Rothenberg 1B, 2B, RBI; Jordan Schulefand 2 1B, 2 R: Jacob Singer 1B, 2 R, RBI. WP: Sam Wurth 4 2 /3 IP, 0 R, 3 H, 1 BB, 2K. PC 11-6.
▪ Belen 12, Cardinal Gibbons 2: CJ Vazquez 3-3, HR, 4 RBI, 3R; Jon Barditch 3-4; 3 RBI, 2 R; Erick Wilson 2-3, 3 R; Joshua Salandy 1-2, HR. WP: Michael Cabeza CG, 2 H, 4 K. BEL 12-5-1.
▪ Archbishop Carroll 15, Marathon 0: Rey Gonce 2-3, 2B, 3 R, 2 RBI; Jonathan Leon 2-2, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI; Christian Fernandez 4-4, HR (grand slam), 5 RBI; Alex Perez 1-2, R, 2 RBI. WP: Sal Lorenzo CG, 1 H, 7 K. AC 16-2.
▪ Gulliver 8, Western 7: Raymond Gil 2-4, HR 2 RBI; Jacob Marcos 2-3, 2 RBI. WP: Raymond Gil (1-0) 3 IP, 0 R 1 H. GULL 12-6.
▪ Coral Glades 7, University School 6: Jack Schmidt 2-4, R, RBI; Cole Standifer 2-4, R, 3 SB.
▪ Miami Country Day School 8, Coral Shores 2: Connor Goodman 3-4, 4 RBI. Jordan Sale 3-4, 2 R; Griffin Sennett 2 R. WP: Jorden Gross (4-2) CG, 5K. LP: Jose Lima.
▪ Cardinal Gibbons d. St. Thomas Aquinas 25-13, 25-20, 25-21: JT Martin (CG) 9 kills, 2 digs, 4 blocks, 1 assist, 4 aces, 8 service points; Reece Kramer (CG) 12 kills, 3 digs, 2 blocks, 4 aces, 9 service points; Paul Donnelly (STA) 8 kills, 2 blocks, 2 service points; Tyler Howard (STA) 4 blocks, 2 kills. STA 11-7.
▪ Killian d. Florida Christian 25-18, 25-7, 25-11: Daniel Pupiro 8 K, 3 Aces; Jomar Mondestin 8 K, 3 B; Ryan Ollie 6 K, 3 B, 3 Aces.