Columbus on Wednesday will host an event that is believed to be a first for Florida — outdoor high school wrestling.
The Explorers will take on two-time defending state champion South Dade in what is being billed as “Wrestling Under the Stars.”
The event starts at 6 p.m. (JV) and continues at 7 for the varsity.
“I’ve been coaching wrestling since 1965, the first year the sport was sanctioned by the state,” Columbus coach Jim Husk said, “and I’ve never seen this done in Florida.”
Husk borrowed the outdoor idea from other high schools and colleges that have used the promotion in places such as Iowa, Minnesota and New York.
The idea also borrows from the National Hockey League’s highly successful “Winter Classic.”
There’s just one problem with Wednesday’s promotion — forecasts show a 90 percent chance of at least some thunderstorms.
Columbus assistant athletic director Butch Staiano said the event will move inside, to the Explorers gym, should it rain.
Given that Carol City’s baseball team had a 0-15 record last year and the fact that nearly all the Chiefs players show up on tryout day without previous experience in the sport, it’s almost a minor miracle that two of coach Randy Rodriguez’s kids have earned college scholarships.
But that’s what happened — second baseman Ayeobele Randolph and third baseman James Falmer will sign Saturday with Morris College, an NAIA program based in Sumter, South Carolina.
They are the first two Carol City baseball signees in 10 years.
Falmer, a 5-9, 145-pound senior who will be an outfielder at Morris, had never played baseball before January 2015. In fact, he only tried out for baseball “to keep my body active” until football season started.
His plans changed, however, when he fell in love with baseball.
He started 2015 on the JV, but he ended the year as the leading hitter on the varsity, batting .294.
Rodriguez, who is set to start his third season at Carol City, gives partial credit for the scholarship success stories to the All Star Warehouse Baseball Academy, where he serves as recruiting coordinator.
The All Star Warehouse is an indoor facility in Miami Gardens where instructors give lessons and provide video analysis, showing a player’s bat speed and angle, for example.
Former Carol City and FIU baseball player Paul Barrios opened the facility one year ago, and on Saturday seven of the organization’s graduates — including Randolph and Falmer — will sign scholarship papers.
Of the seven, former Norland and current North Broward Prep catcher Dillon Belle-View is the only Division I signee. He will sign with Nicholls State. The other players set to sign are all pitchers: Michael Blanco (Barry University); David Lara (Lindsey Wilson College); Manny Montealegra (ASA College, New York); and Luis Machado (ASA College, New York).
Former Miami Country Day basketball standout Michelle Berry is having a superb freshman season, leading Cal State Fullerton in scoring and rebounding. On Nov. 13, the 6-2 wing scored 38 points against Portland State, smashing the Cal State Fullerton scoring record for a freshman.
Berry also had a 16-rebound game and a five-steal game and was featured recently in the Orange County Register. The lengthy story talked about how this is just her third year of playing organized basketball and also mentioned that she lost her father to colon cancer when she was in the eighth grade.