High School Sports

Accomplished senior trio, freshman phenom honored at All-Dade Awards

All-Dade athletes of the year, from left, Symone Mason of Southridge, Nikkia Benitez of Westminster Christian, Michael Colonna of Ransom Everglades and Don Chaney Jr. of Belen are honored at Jungle Island on Tuesday.
All-Dade athletes of the year, from left, Symone Mason of Southridge, Nikkia Benitez of Westminster Christian, Michael Colonna of Ransom Everglades and Don Chaney Jr. of Belen are honored at Jungle Island on Tuesday. Bryan Cereijo

For Ransom Everglades’ Michael Colonna, Westminster Christian’s Nikkia Benitez and Southridge’s Symone Mason, Tuesday morning marked the end of their high school sports journeys.

But for Belen Jesuit freshman Don Chaney Jr., the 2016-17 high school year was only the beginning.

Chaney, a state champion in track and field and a versatile all-purpose athlete who led Belen Jesuit’s football team to a district championship, was one of the four Athletes of the Year honored by The Miami Herald at its annual Miami-Dade Athletic Awards breakfast.

The event held at Jungle Island near downtown Miami and sponsored by Miami Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Institute Baptist Health South Florida and The Orange Bowl drew a crowd of 1,265.

Chaney played seven positions on Belen’s football team this past season and won a state high jump championship this past spring.

Chaney became the second Athlete of the Year recipient for Belen and first since runner Guillermo Echarte won it in 2007-08. Chaney, a 5-11, 175-pound athlete who projects as a running back in college, already has five FBS offers.

“All the opportunities I’ve had this year were amazing, and I just thank God,” Chaney said. “The biggest thing I always take from my dad and my family is to stay humble. That’s what kept me motivated.”

Chaney wasn’t the only big winner for Belen at Tuesday’s event as the Herald honored longtime Belen football coach Rich Stuart with its Lifetime Achievement Award. Stuart was promoted to the school’s middle school athletic director recently and leaves the Wolverines’ football program as the coach with the most wins in Miami-Dade County history.

Retiring Killian athletic director Kenny Floyd and volleyball coach Clinton Reid, who also won the overall Coach of the Year and Boys’ Volleyball Coach of the Year awards, also received Lifetime Achievement Awards. Reid, who coached for 22 seasons in Dade, led Killian to its first state title in the sport earlier this month.

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Miami Herald sportswriter Bill Daley presents Miami Killian Volleyball Coach Clinton Reid with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Miami Herald Miami-Dade Student Athletic Awards Ceremony on Tues., May 23, 2017. Reid also won Miami-Dade Coach of the Year. Bryan Cereijo Bryan Cereijo

Colonna won the Class 6A-1A Boys’ Athlete of the Year for the second consecutive season. Colonna, who starred for Ransom Everglades in football, soccer and volleyball, became the eighth repeat winner of the award since its inception in 1957 and joined Carol City’s Ricky Jean-Francois, Booker T. Washington’s Brandon Harris and Westminster Christian’s David Thompson as the only boys to win back-to-back.

“I have to credit the seniors and everyone who came before me,” said Colonna, who will play volleyball next year at the New Jersey Institute of Technology. “The teams I was on this year were fantastic, and I developed amazing friendships and brothers for life.”

Mason, who holds the nation’s fastest high school time in the 100 meters in track this year, won Class 9A-7A Female Athlete of the Year honors. She capped her career with three state championships, winning the 100, 200 and 400 and is headed to the University of Miami.

Mason, who helped her squad win its first state team title since 2008, is the first athlete from Southridge to win the award since James Head after the 2000-01 season. Mason is the first girls winner since Cindy Bethel in 1996-97.

Benitez, a senior, became the second female Athlete of the Year from Westminster Christian and first since Sylvia Hernandez won it in 2013-14. As a dominant 5-11 outside hitter, Benitez led the Warriors to a state championship in volleyball this past fall — their second in four years.

Benitez, a University of South Florida signee for volleyball, also played basketball and was an accomplished outfielder in softball. Benitez, who also won Class 6A-2A Girls’ Volleyball Player of the Year honors, helped Westminster pull the championship double and claim a softball title last week.

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Miami Herald sportswriter Bill Daley presents Westminster Volleyball Coach Julia Doan with the Miami-Dade Coach of the Year Award at the Miami Herald Miami-Dade Student Athletic Awards Ceremony on Tues., May 23, 2017. Bryan Cereijo Bryan Cereijo

Benitez’s volleyball coach at Westminster, Julie Doan, was named the overall Female Sports Coach of the Year. Doan, whose father, Scott, coached the Warriors’ softball team to a state title, has led Westminster to a pair of state titles in the past five years and five state appearances.

Propelled by those championships, Westminster Christian won the Class 6A-1A Girls’ Major Sports Trophy, awarded for excellence in five sports — volleyball, basketball, track and field, soccer and softball. Monsignor Pace won the 6A-1A Boys’ Major Trophy.

Ferguson, which advanced to state in volleyball and basketball, won the Class 9A-7A version of the award. Southridge, which won its first state football title since 1993, claimed the Boys’ 9A-7A Major Sports Trophy. Palmetto secured the Class 9A-7A All-Sports Trophy, awarded for overall excellence in every sport. Gulliver, which won state championships in boys’ and girls’ swimming, secured the Class 6A-1A All-Sports Trophy.

2016-17 MIAMI HERALD ALL-DADE AWARDS WINNERS

OVERALL AWARDS

9A-7A Male Athlete of the Year: Don Chaney, Belen (football, track and field)

Other finalists: Tyrese Cooper, Norland (track and field); Zach Dawson, South Miami (basketball); Trajan Bandy, Columbus (football, track and field); Josh Jobe, Columbus (football, track and field); Kyron Taylor, South Dade (football, wrestling); Joshua Collins, Belen (cross-country, track).

6A-1A Male Athlete of the Year: Michael Colonna, Ransom Everglades (football, soccer, volleyball).

Other finalists: Jeter Downs, Monsignor Pace (baseball); Tyquan Thornton, Booker T. Washington (football, track and field); Miguel Cancel, Gulliver (swimming and diving); Daniel Richardson, Booker T. Washington (football, track).

9A-7A Female Athlete of the Year: Symone Mason, Southridge (track and field).

Other finalists: Michelle Cuervo, Ferguson (volleyball); Diamond Celestine, Hialeah (basketball, flag football); Katie Burge, Palmetto (golf, softball); Angela Chapman, Ferguson (bowling, badminton); Rayquelle Berry, Coral Reef (soccer, track)

6A-1A Girls’ Athlete of the Year: Nikkia Benitez, Westminster Christian (volleyball, basketball, softball).

Other finalists: Debbie Ajagbe, Ransom Everglades (track and field, volleyball); Natalie Varela, Gulliver (cross-country, track); Channise Lewis, Miami Country Day (basketball); Brianna Gomez, Miami Springs (soccer, softball); Kyla Valls, Ransom Everglades (swimming).

Male Sports Coach of the Year: Clinton Reid, Killian volleyball

Other finalists: Vic Balmeceda, South Dade wrestling; Aubrey Hill, Carol City football; Billy Rolle, Southridge football; Darryl Elmore, Northwestern track and field; Eric Lefebvre, Ransom water polo

Female Sports Coach of the Year: Julie Doan, Westminster Christian volleyball

Other finalists: Ochiel Swaby, Miami Country Day basketball; Carmen Jackson, Northwestern track and field; Erin McCray, Southridge track and field; Scott Doan, Westminster Christian softball.

Boys’ scholar athlete: Kyle Dickson, Coral Reef

Girls’ scholar athlete: Kyla Valls, Ransom Everglades

SPECIAL AWARDS

Lifetime Achievement Awards: Kenny Floyd, Killian athletic director; Clinton Reid, Killian volleyball coach; Rich Stuart, Belen football coach.

Leo Suarez/Walter Krietsch Courage Awards: Saul Tejada, Jr., Braddock wrestler; Peter Prins, Riviera Prep swimming coach

ALL-SPORTS

Class 9A-7A All-Sports: Palmetto

Class 9A-7A Boys’ Major: Southridge

Class 9A-7A Girls’ Major: Ferguson

Class 6A-1A All-Sports: Gulliver

Class 6A-1A Boys’ Major: Monsignor Pace

Class 6A-1A Girls’ Major: Westminster Christian

FALL SPORTS

CROSS-COUNTRY

Boys’ Runner of the Year: Joshua Collins, Belen Jesuit

Boys’ Coach of the Year: Frankie Ruiz, Belen Jesuit

Girls’ Co-Runners of the Year: Valerie Lastra, Mater Academy AND Natalie Varela, Gulliver Prep

Girls’ Coach of the Year: Rebecca Michalak, Lourdes

GIRLS’ VOLLEYBALL

9A-7A Player of the Year: Michelle Cuervo, Ferguson

9A-7A Coach of the Year: Greg Shanower, Ferguson

5A-2A Player of the Year: Nikkia Benitez, Westminster Christian

5A-2A Coach of the Year: Julie Doan, Westminster Christian

SWIMMING AND DIVING

Boys’ Swimmer of the Year: Miguel Cancel, Gulliver

Boys’ Coach of the Year: Chris George, Gulliver

Girls’ Co-Swimmers of the Year: Emily Cordovi, Gulliver AND Kyla Valls, Ransom Everglades

Girls’ Coach of the Year: Chris George, Gulliver

GOLFBoys’ Golfer of the Year: Cole Castro, South Dade

Boys’ Coach of the Year: Mike Marinelli, Columbus

Girls’ Golfer of the Year: Tanya Eathakotti, Carrollton

Girls’ Coach of the Year: Eric Salomatoff, Ransom Everglades

BOWLING

Boys’ Bowler of the Year: Igar Rodriguez, Miami Christian

Boys’ Coach of the Year: Amado Yaniz, Miami Christian

Girls’ Bowler of the Year: Patricia Velasco, Braddock

Girls’ Coach of the Year: Wendy Ferreiro, Braddock

FOOTBALL

8A-6A Offensive Player of the Year: Chatarius "Tutu" Atwell, Northwestern

8A-6A Defensive Player of the Year: Dimitri Prophete, Southridge

8A-6A Co-Coaches of the Year: Billy Rolle, Southridge AND Aubrey Hill, Carol City

5A-IND Offensive Player of the Year: Daniel Richardson, Booker T. Washington

5A-IND Defensive Player of the Year: Jaquan Beaver, Booker T. Washington

5A-IND Coach of the Year: Dennis Marroquin, Champagnat Catholic

WINTER SPORTS

COMPETITIVE CHEERLEADING

Coach of the Year: Arlene Suarez, St. Brendan

WRESTLING

Co-Wrestlers of the Year: Bretli Reyna, South Dade; Chei Hill, South Dade; Kyron Taylor, South Dade

Coach of the Year: Vic Balmeceda, South Dade

SOCCER

5A-4A Boys’ Player of the Year: Felipe Ospina, Doral Academy

5A-4A Boys’ Coach of the Year: Pamela McDonald, Doral Academy

3A-1A Boys’ Player of the Year: Wold Damintas, Edison

3A-1A Boys’ Coach of the Year: Richard Jobson, La Salle

5A-4A Girls’ Player of the Year: Natalie Silberman, Lourdes

5A-4A Girls’ Coach of the Year: Ramiro Vengoechea, Lourdes

3A-1A Girls’ Player of the Year: Brianna Gomez, Miami Springs

3A-1A Girls’ Coach of the Year: Eric Vasquez, Carrollton

BASKETBALL

9A-7A Boys’ Player of the Year: Ezacuras Dawson III, South Miami

9A-7A Boys’ Coach of the Year: Raynald Benoit, North Miami

5A-2A Boys’ Player of the Year: Felipe Haase, Miami Christian

5A-2A Boys’ Coach of the Year: Juan Cardona, Miami Christian

9A-7A Girls’ Player of the Year: Natalia Pineda, Ferguson

9A-7A Girls’ Coach of the Year: Gabriel Lazo, Ferguson

5A-2A Girls’ Player of the Year: Channise Lewis, Miami Country Day

5A-2A Girls’ Coach of the Year: Ochiel Swaby, Miami Country Day

SPRING SPORTS

LACROSSE

Boys’ Player of the Year: Robert Fernandez, Belen Jesuit

Boys’ Coach of the Year: Jake Koch, Palmetto

Girls’ Player of the Year: Erin Bakes, Ransom Everglades

Girls’ Coach of the Year: Bridgette Laskey, Ransom Everglades

FLAG FOOTBALL

Player of the Year: Brittany Julius, Edison

Coach of the Year: Vince Hall, Edison

BADMINTON

Boys’ Player of the Year: Brian Bangoy, Reagan

Girls’ Player of the Year: Alyssa Moore, Goleman

Co-Coaches of the Year: Karen Harper, Killian AND David Zarco, Palmetto

WATER POLO

Boys’ Player of the Year: Jason Gould, Ransom Everglades

Boys’ Coach of the Year: Eric Lefebvre, Ransom Everglades

Girls’ Player of the Year: Paola Dominguez-Castro, Hialeah

Girls’ Coach of the Year: Alexander Donis, Hialeah

BOYS’ VOLLEYBALL

Player of the Year: Jomar Mondestin, Killian

Coach of the Year: Clinton Reid, Killian

TENNIS

Boys’ Player of the Year: Andre Libnic, Gulliver

Boys’ Co-Coaches of the Year: J.D. Barbosa, Belen Jesuit AND Peter Lehmann, Ransom Everglades

Girls’ Player of the Year: Ysabel Gonzalez-Rico, Gulliver

Girls’ Co-Coaches of the Year: Kenichiro Maehama and Freddy Azucey, Krop

TRACK AND FIELD

Boys’ Athlete of the Year: Tyrese Cooper, Norland

Boys’ Coach of the Year: Darryl Elmore, Northwestern

Girls’ Athlete of the Year: Symone Mason, Southridge

Girls’ Co-Coaches of the Year: Erin McCray, Southridge AND Carmen Jackson, Northwestern

SOFTBALL

9A-7A Pitcher of the Year: Brittney Barczak, Palmetto

9A-7A Player of the Year: Lauren Margolis, Palmetto

9A-7A Coach of the Year: Emilio Exposito, Palmetto

6A-2A Co-Pitchers of the Year: Lilly Barlow, Gulliver AND Brooklyn Maguire, Westminster Christian

6A-2A Player of the Year: Victoria Perez, Palmetto

6A-2A Coach of the Year: Scott Doan, Westminster Christian

BASEBALL

9A-7A Pitcher of the Year: Danny San Pedro, Columbus

9A-7A Player of the Year: Jose Garcia, Doral Academy

9A-7A Coach of the Year: Danny Smith, Palmetto

6A-2A Pitcher of the Year: Owen Almeida, Palmer Trinity

6A-2A Player of the Year: Jeter Downs, Monsignor Pace

6A-2A Coach of the Year: Andy Blanco, Archbishop Carroll

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