Honoring Broward’s top athletes and coaches
Lindsey Garcia has been a dominant force in the nationally ranked Coral Springs Charter softball team’s lineup since she was an eighth-grader.
Genovea Johnson was a force on the basketball court and the gridiron.
Vernon Carey Jr. is one of, if not the most decorated boys’ basketball player to make his way through Broward County.
And Desmond Dorceus was not only an individual winner in at the state track and field championships last month, but he also played a big role in leading his school to its first playoff win in more than 50 years.
The talented quartet of elite senior athletes earned Athlete of the Year honors Tuesday morning at the Miami Herald’s All-Broward County Athletic Awards at the Signature Grand in Davie. Their awards capped off an event celebrating another immensely successful year of high school sports in Broward, one that has seen 17 team state titles and numerous individual titles make their way back to the county with five more teams in baseball and softball still alive in the playoffs.
The event, sponsored by Miami Orthopedics and Sports Medicine Baptist Health South Florida, the Orange Bowl and Miami Super Bowl 2020 Host Committee, drew an audience of about 900 who watched the top athletes and coaches in 17 sports get recognized for their achievements this season.
Garcia has once again been a menace at the plate as Coral Springs Charter looks to tie the state record with a fifth consecutive state softball championship. The infielder is batting .577 with 10 home runs, 42 RBI and 52 runs scored as the Panthers (27-1) prepare for their Class 5A state semifinal matchup with Hernando in Vero Beach on Thursday. For her career, Garcia has a career .444 batting average with 23 home runs, 149 RBI and 155 runs scored.
Johnson averaged a double-double during the basketball season as a key cog for Dillard’s Class 7A state championship run that ended a three-year drought. Shortly afterward, she was the quarterback for her school’s flag football team that reached the Class 1A state finals — the only team from Miami-Dade or Broward to play for a flag football championship.
Carey was a centerpiece of University School’s second consecutive Class 5A state championship run and led his team to a second consecutive national championship appearance. The McDonald’s All-American and Duke signee averaged 23 points and 8 rebounds per game.
Dorceus, who is heading to Air Force with his brother Demetris, first made his mark this year on the football field and helped the Fort Lauderdale Flying L’s do something they hadn’t done since the 1960s — win a playoff game. The menacing defensive lineman racked up 61 tackles, 24 tackles for loss, 19 sacks and six fumble recoveries this year. This spring, he won the discus and finished sixth in the shotput at the Class 4A state championships.
St. Thomas Aquinas, with state titles in girls’ volleyball and girls’ track and field, a baseball postseason run still in the making, state runner-up finishes in football and girls’ basketball and a host of other teams making it to the playoffs, swept the All-Sports Awards for Class 9A-7A teams. American Heritage won the overall and girls’ All-Sports Award for Classes 6A-1A, while Cardinal Gibbons won the boys’ All-Sports Award for the division behind its state championship in football, third-place finish in wrestling and ongoing baseball postseason run.
Cardinal Gibbons’ Matt DuBuc won the Male Sports Overall Coach of the Year Award after leading the Chiefs to their first ever state football championship despite starting the year 0-2 and playing without star quarterback Nik Scalzo for the bulk of their playoff run.
St. Thomas Aquinas’ Lisa Zielinski won the Girls Sports Overall Coach of the Year Award after leading the Raiders back to the Class 8A state championship despite having to deal with families issues during the end of the postseason run while her son was in the hospital.
The Miami Herald also honored Fort Lauderdale boys’ soccer coach Maurhino Snipes with the annual Leo Suarez/Walter Krietsch Courage Award after he and his Flying L’s team rallied together following the death of Snipes’ brother, Carlon, in a plane crash last May. The honor is given to individuals in the high school sports community who exhibit extraordinary courage in the face of adversity.
Steve Strand, who has been the St. Thomas Aquinas boys’ basketball coach for the past 23 years and served in the Raiders’ athletic department for 42 years, received the Herald’s Lifetime Achievement Award.