Doral Academy came on strong at the finish to capture the Class 3A boys’ swimming state championship on Friday in Stuart.
The six boys on Doral’s team didn’t win any individual gold medals, but they piled up points in the relay races, which are worth double points.
“That’s how we won,” senior Luis Llenin said of the relays.
Doral won gold in the 200-yard freestyle relay and silver in both the 200 medley relay and the 400 freestyle relay.
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With two races remaining, Belen Jesuit led Doral by five points.
Doral moved ahead with points from senior Joseph Perez after he finished sixth in the 100 breaststroke.
The Firebirds then cinched the school’s first state title in any sport with a second-place finish in the 400 freestyle relay.
Belen, meanwhile, was disqualified from that race when their anchor-leg swimmer jumped too soon.
“I feel like Herb Brooks after the ‘Miracle On Ice’,” Doral coach Cathy Silveira said. “We came here with no expectations and believing we didn’t have a chance.”
Apparently, she forgot to tell that to her team.
Senior Alex Arrieta said he told his teammates, “If you want it bad enough, it can happen.”
Arrieta said he and his teammates were also motivated by a friendly rivalry with Belen’s team — which won the state title in 2013.
“We train with them and support them, but we really wanted to beat them,” Llenin said.
Belen junior Juan Ramirez won the 100 breaststroke for his first gold medal and sophomore Aitor Fungairino won gold in the 200 I.M. and silver in the 200freestyle.
In the girls’ competition, For Lauderdale was the highest local team at 12th; Doral finished 15th.
Region 4-3A semifinal: WPB Oxbridge 32, Chaminade-Madonna 24: The Thunderwolves’ first state playoff game was quite memorable as Travis Homer rushed for 215 yards and added a 51-yard touchdown reception.
The Thunderwolves (9-2) jumped out to the early lead when Homer scored on a 33-yard run. The Lions answered on their first play from scrimmage when quarterback Kole Stealy hit Xavier Willian's for a 76-yard touchdown. Oxbridge regained the lead when quarterback Angelo Navaroli scored a 7-yard run making 13-7 because of a blocked extra point.
Chaminade running back Shaun Shiver, who rushed for over 1,000 yards this year, began to take over. Shiver scored touchdowns on consecutive possessions springing the Lions 21-13 lead. Shiver had 92 yards in the first half alone.
Midway through the second quarter the Thunderwolves had allowed more points than they had in all but one game this year.
Oxbridge did take positive energy into halftime closing the second quarter with 9 unanswered points - on a 51-yard reception by Homer and a 36-yard field goal by Noah Singer - giving them a 22-21 lead.
"I was really happy with the way we closed the first half," Socha said. "We went in at halftime and made some adjustments and talked about weathering the storm."
In the second half, the dominant Oxbridge defense showed up. The Thunderwolves never relinquished the lead and gave up only a field goal during the last two quarters.
"Our defense has been great all year, again hats off to them for the way they competed and grinded this one out," Socha said.
With the outcome still in doubt and Ixridge facing a 3rd-and-goal from their own 6, Navaroli hit tight end AJ Garson fir the game-clinching touchdown. The Oxbridge defense forced a turnover on down on the ensuing Lion drive sealing the win.
"That was a lot of fun, we did a good job of fighting it I'm really proud of our football after we hung in there and then gritted it out."
The Thunderwolves advance to face rival Delray-American Heritage next week the Class 3A regional final.
▪ Region 4-7A quarterfinal: WPB Dwyer 16, Blanche Ely 14: Defensive back Kenih Lovely came up with two key interceptions, including the game-clincher, and senior kicker Patrick Trepcos delivered the game-winning field goal to lead host Dwyer (10-1) and into a semifinal against St. Thomas Aquinas.
A 37-yard field goal by Trepcos with 8:26 remaining gave Dwyer the lead for good, but it took Lovely’s second interception of the game with 1:34 remaining to secure the win against an upset-minded Ely team which played much better than its 2-9 record suggests. Lovely also had an interception deep in Dwyer territory that stopped an Ely drive in the second quarter.
Ely grabbed its first lead of the game when the Tigers tackled Jakari Moses in the end zone for a safety midway through the third. That 14-13 lead held up until Trepcos booted his game-winning field goal. Ely missed wide right on a potential go-ahead 34-yard field goal with 4:10 remaining.
Dwyer took the opening kickoff and marched 59 yards to the end zone, with Moses culminating the drive with a 3-yard touchdown run to give the Panthers a 7-0. Moses accounted for 39 yards rushing on the scoring drive that consumed five minutes of the clock.
It took Ely only 12 seconds to answer the score. Quarterback Zack Perdue connected with Thomas Gattis on an 80-yard touchdown pass on the Tigers’ first play from scrimmage. The kick was no good, so Dwyer clung to a 7-6 lead.
Moses found the end zone again on Dwyer’s next possession, snagging a 17-yard touchdown pass from Toddy Centeio to give the Panthers a 13-6 lead.
Ely pulled to within one point again just before halftime when Jeremy Taylor caught a 9-yard touchdown pass from Perdue. The Tigers again missed the PAT kick and Dwyer took a 13-12 lead to the locker room.
Moses had 110 yards rushing and receiving combined in the first half. Ely’s defense kept him in check the second half, however, and he finished with 83 yards rushing.
Dwyer’s offense sorely missed two starting wide receivers – Isiah Johnson and Oyeh Lurry-Davis – who did not play because of disciplinary reasons stemming from last week’s loss to Atlantic in the final game of the regular season.
“We were a little depleted at some positions, and we were just trying to put some pieces together,” Dwyer coach Jack Daniels said. “This was a team win.”
▪ Friday’s other score — Region 4-4A semifinal: Belle Glades Glades Central 61, Gulliver 33
▪ Thursday’s playoff scores — Region 4-4A semifinal: Booker T. Washington 41, University School 18; Region 4-4A quarterfinal: Coral Gables 35, Hialeah 0. Gold Coast Conference championship: Archbishop McCarthy 28, Key West 20.
▪ Saturday’s game — Southeast Football Conference championship at Pompano Beach High: Calvary Christian v. Coral Springs Charter, 7
Sagemont announced Friday it has hired former Major Leaguer and American High coach Ricky Gutierrez to coach its baseball team.
Gutierrez led American to a state title in 2014, a state runner-up finish in 2010 and a state semifinal appearance in 2013.
Gutierrez spent 12 seasons playing in the majors for six different teams.
ANDRE C. FERNANDEZ
Belen announced the signing of three of its baseball players to colleges on Friday as Christian Del Castillo is off to Seton Hall, Pablo Arevalo signed with Barry and Albert Maury signed with Tulane.
Jackson 1 Mourning 1: Carlos Chirinos (Jax) and Jonathan Dri (Mour) goal each. Mour 3-0-2; Jax 5-0-1.
Ferguson 3, Varela 1: Rafael Gomez, Holman Rios and Marco Meola goal each. Fer 6-0-0.
Homestead 2, South Dade 0: Ruben Dimas and Reynaldo Hernandez goal each. Home 2-2-0.
Ransom Everglades 2, Mater Lakes 0: Andrew Geraghty and Michael Colonna goal each. RE 5-0.
Monarch 2, Taravella 1: Isaac Bertho 2 goals; Miguel Mendoza goal. Mon 4-1-1, Tara 1-4-1.
Palmer Trinity 2, St. Brendan 2: Vitor Pagano (PT) and Nicholas Montana (PT) goal each.
TERRA 1, Sunset 1: Joseph Vega (T) goal. T 1-2-2.
Gulliver 8, Coral Shores 0: Gabriel Almeida 3 goals; Santiago Burgos 2 goals; Sebastian Hernandez goal. Gul 3-0.
Belen 5, Mater 1: Frankie de la Camara 3 goals; Alex Parehk and Cláudio Laratelli goal each. Bel 5-0-1.
Miami Beach 2, Miami High 0: Dennis Ortega and Lucas Arellano goal each. MB 3-0-1.
Killian 1, Palmetto 1: Richard Larrieux (K) goal. Kil 2-0-2.
Riviera 7, Miami Charter 1: Harrison Brown, Stefano Marconi and Thanasi Naos 2 goals each.
Ransom Everglades 2, Mater Lakes 0: Jacquelyn Kirk and Tiffany McBrayer goal each. RE 4-2.
Westminster Academy 2, Coral Springs Charter 0: Kathryn Ford and Lexi Gonzalez goal each. WA 2-0.
North Broward 2, Berkeley 1: Morgan Sherman 2 goals. NB 6-2-1.
Mourning 2, Jackson 0: Jacklyn Reisman 2 goals.
LaSalle 8, Somerset 0: Karina Santin 3 goals; Stephanie Cuan and Flor Baldassini 2 goals each; Nicole Gaviria goal.
Posnack 8, Hebrew Academy 0: Hannah Sekoff 3 goals; Carly Rosner, Nikki Tashof, Nikki Chussid, Ashley Brandwein and Maya Shearhouse goal each. Pos 3-2.
Coral Reef 12, Homestead 0: Montana Ligman 4 goals; Alexa Marrero 3 goals; Hannah Cividanes and Christina Velazquez goal each. CR 6-1.
Varela 5, Southridge 0: Harley Garcia 4 goals; Chelsea Schwartman goal.
Gulliver 62, Sagemont 35 — Sage: S.Jones 2, Spencer 6, G.Jones 13, Booker 6, Prudent 7, Lopez 3. Gul (1-1): Ra.Kaiser 2, Pyatt 9, Pinder 10, Kunkel 24, Jim 8, Hall 5, Thomas 6. Half: Gul 23-13. 3-pointers: Booker 2, G.Jones, Lopez. Rebounds: Thomas 20. Assists: Kunkel 7. Steals: Pinder 5.
St. Brendan 64, LaSalle 36 — StB: Dominguez 6, Prieto 18, Padro 11, Alonso 5, Barrial 6, Sanchez 18. LaS: Yanes 4, Triay 2, Benavides 4, Xiques 9, De Leon 6, Cruz 11. Half: StB 23-14. 3-pointers: Dominguez, Prieto 4, Alonso, Barrial 2, Sanchez 3. Rebounds: Padro 12. Assists: Sanchez 7.