Cardinal Gibbons’ 6-3 high flier Stefan Duvier is jumping straight from the kettle-boiler atmosphere of the boys’ basketball playoffs into a heated race for state high-jump gold.
After his dream for a basketball state championship ended with Gibbons losing in the 5A regional semifinals Tuesday, Duvier hopes a victory at the Louie Bing Classic at Traz Powell Stadium in Miami on Saturday will launch his bid for a state high-jump title.
Best known for his pogo stick-like jumping ability and highlight-reel dunks on the basketball court, Duvier said the extra offseason work on his technique and mental focus has put his confidence at an all-time high.
“I feel I’m as good as anybody jumping,” Duvier said. “I don’t label myself as a basketball player jumping. When track season starts, I’m a high jumper. I’m looking to dominate the entire year and finish first at states.”
Duvier said he has moved on from the disappointment of the Class 3A state finals last season when he came in as a co-favorite with a personal-best 6-4, only to no-height. That the winning height was 6-2 made the setback sting that much more.
“It was real disappointing, but you have to come back stronger,” Duvier said. “No-heighting just motivated me this year to work harder and get back at it. To not only place, but get first.”
Gibbons track coach Jeremiah Whitfield, who convinced Duvier to try out for the high jump after witnessing his high-flying exploits on the basketball court, believes high jump is Duvier’s ticket to stardom.
“From Stefan’s first year he couldn’t clear 5-4 to clearing 6-4 last year,” Whitfield said. “... This season he can go 6-6, 6-8, if not higher. I think he finally realizes that track is his sport. Whoever signs Stefan for the high jump will get a steal.”
Fort Lauderdale’s Reggie Nixon, one of the most popular and engaging figures in the Broward boys’ basketball coaching fraternity, has stepped down after six years at the helm.
Nixon, who played under legendary Dillard coach Butch Ingram, announced his decision to the Flying’s L’s administration Thursday, citing a desire to further his education.
Nixon left open the possibility of a return to the sidelines once he has achieved his educational goals.
“This is a tough decision, but I have to do what’s best for me,” Nixon said. “I think it’s time. It was a great experience at Fort Lauderdale, especially networking with the other coaches.”
The Flying L’s finished 12-10 after losing to Blanche Ely in the District 14-7A semifinals.
BOYS’ LACROSSNorth Broward Prep 6, Coral Springs Charter 2: Cardinal Gibbons 9, LaSalle 3:
Archbishop McCarthy 14, Dillard 1: Flanagan 3, Columbus 1:
GIRLS’ TENNISCardinal Gibbons 4, American Heritage 3: Singles Doubles Archbishop McCarthy 6, Coral Springs Charter 1:
BOYS’ TENNISCardinal Gibbons 2, American Heritage 5: Singles Doubles Archbishop McCarthy 5, Coral Springs Charter 2:
GIRLS’ WATER POLOWestminster Academy 17, Cardinal Gibbons 1:
BOYS’ WATER POLOCardinal Gibbons 19, Westminster Academy 12: