BASKETBALL STAR’S SCORING, SCORES RECOGNITION

By Jessica Wasserstein and Brittany Wasserstein
 
Led by senior Jessica Barrios with an 11-4 record, the Lady Hi-Tides basketball team currently holds a guarenteed spot for playoffs. 
Barrios leads District 6A in scoring, with 27.4 points a game, and was named “athlete of the week” back-to-back weeks by the Miami Herald. In those two weeks combined, she averaged 113 points, 35 assists, and 30 steals.

“I had no idea I scored so much,” Barrios said. “I was just doing whatever I needed to do in that moment.”

Jacob Shaw, varsity girls’ basketball coach, explains this type of individual performance is truly a rare sight. “The way she has been playing lately is amazing,” Shaw said. “You only get a player like this once every ten years.” 

 
Barrios practices on an entirely different level than the rest of her team, Shaw explains. “All you guys see us do is run stairs but you guys do not understand the extra effort and commitment Barrios has dedicated,” Shaw said. “She stays with me practicing and working out with me in my own gym.” 
 
According to Barrios, she will practice, on average, a total of four hours a day.
 
“She’s confident and she expresses herself very well,” Ivy Swanes, sophomore captain, said. “She’s captain for a reason and I’m glad to have played with her.”
 
Born in Venezuela and playing basketball since the age of four, Barrios moved to Spain at the age of 13 where she continued sharpening her basketball skills. She then moved to the U.S. when she was 16.  
 

Barrios explains, as a child, she was active in a variety of sports. “In second grade I played soccer, basketball, did karate, and swimming,” she said. “I had to pick one sport and I picked basketball because I was sure it was the sport I loved.”
Barrios has attracted attention from collegiate basketball teams, being recruited by Harvard, Yale, New Jersey Institute of Technology, Marshall University and Davidson College.
 
“It’s like a balloon of expectations that gets bigger with every offer,” Barrios said. “And that only gives me more gas to work even harder for my dream.”         
 
Barrios is gratified for the oppurtunity to go to college for her passion, basketball, and for academics. She plans on studying engineering at whichever college she attends.

“Right now, I hope to contribute to my team as much as possible,” Barrios said. “Whatever my future comes out to be, I’m just enjoying the process and having a lot fun.”

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DIVING FOR GOLD

By Joselyn Garcia
 
Making three and-a-half back flips with a smooth landing, better known as the 3 1/2 pike, is just one dive that has Beach High senior Francisco “Hunter” Becerra on his way to the 2012 Olympics.

“There is no stopping what he is capable of,” Sunday Lewandowski, diving coach, said. “He is throwing tricks that are at the top of the top. He has no fear at every level of competition”

At the young age of thirteen Becerra placed third at the USA Junior Diving Region 7 Competition. Becerra has competed in diving competitions throughout high school, never finishing lower than first place in his three years at Districts. As a junior, he placed first at States and was named the number two high school diver in the country by USA Diving. However, due to injury, Becerra was unable to defend his title this year, finishing third.   

Hunter fell victim to a sprained right foot, putting his diving asirations on hold. “I basically iced my foot and was not able to walk for a couple of days.”  In addition to the sprain, Hunter explained he decided to take some time off to bring up his GPA. “I made up all of my work and my grades are back on track,” he said. 

For Becerra, diving is not only a school-based activity but a family one as well. “My dad was also a diver and therefore influenced me to dive at an early age of 8,” he said. Becerra’s family continues to motivate him and show their support by attending his meets.  

In preparation for difficult dives, Hunter modifies his state of mind. “I do get nervous some times. I am human,  but I tell myself I can beat him [the opposition]. I can do this. I can’t mess up,” Becerra explained.

Becerra’s talent and professional mindset has colleges lined up to recruit him for scholarships. “I want to go to either the University of Miami, University of Florida, or the University of Texas, because I do not like the cold weather, and would prefer to stay in the Southern region.”

In addition to diving at the collegiate level, Becerra still has his ultimate goal at heart.

“I have worked really hard to make it where I am today in the sport of diving, and I am determined to dive for the USA at the Olympics in 2012.”

CLASS OF ’58 SET TO PRESENT NEW TROPHY CASES

By Aaron Groff

With roughly $7,000 leftover from their 50-year reunion celebration, the Beach High class of 1958 agreed to use the extra funds for brand-new trophy cases to display the school’s athletic acheivements.

Miami Beach Senior High has a long history of success in all fields of competition. However, the trophies have gone unnoticed for the past four years, since the old autidorium was demolished in 2005. “They have been hidden away in safe keeping,” said Edgar Botto, Athletic Director.

Stanley Schwartz, class of 1958, recently met with Principal Rosann Sidener to discuss possible uses for the extra money. Together, Sidener and Schwartz deemed new trophy cases a necessity.

Next to the two six-foot by 50-inch trophy cases purchased by Botto, two plaques will read “Honoring Miami Beach Senior High Acheivement through the Years. Donated by the Beach High class of 1958.”

The formal dedication of the new gym, along with the presentation of the cases and plaques by members of the class of ’58, is on hold pending the arrival of school banners displaying the Beach High alma mater.

DOUBLE TEAM

donnieg712

By Joselyn Garcia

 Whether he is crushing unsuspecting receivers or jumping over inferior defenders, Beach High senior Donnie Gaitor has proved himself to be an outstanding two-sport athlete. His tremendous ability in both football and basketball has made him the captain of both teams, and he is well on his way to a bright future in either sport.

Football appealed to Gaitor at an early age. “It was my first love,” he said. He joined the Beach High football team his sophomore year and has become a team leader, playing safety for the Hi-Tides.

Gaitor’s basketball calling came in middle school when his Physical Education teacher recommended that Beach High take a look at him.

 “From there on, the sky was the limit,” Gaitor said.

He has been an outstanding member of the Beach High team since sophomore year. Like the football team, the basketball team is led by Gaitor’s presence. Gaitor has averaged eleven points and eleven rebounds per game this season.

With the help of Beach High basketball coach Diego Garcia, Gaitor believes he h s improved tremendously. “Coach Garcia helped me develop a shot. I used to shoot from my chest up with two hands,” he explained. “I had to put my right hand behind myback, and I had to do everything with my left, on and off the court. Eat with my left, write with my left; soon it became a habit and I got used to it.”

As for football, Coach Ralph Jimenez improved Gaitor’s speed and leg work. “[Jimenez] would make me come out with the parachute and run down the field,” he said.

Being the captain of both teams has required much responsibility. “I feel like I had to be a leader, talk for everybody and be that last voice so everybody can be motivated and get inspired, stated Gaitor, who adds that he has to be “there if anybody needs me.”

Next year, Gaitor hopes to bring his football talents to Marshall University. “I talked to the  oach, he is a great guy”, Gaitor said.

As the class of 2009 graduates, Donnie wants to be remembered as “a solid, loving, double athlete who was just real cool, try’s to put a smile on  our face, and someone you could come up to and talk to.”

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA WINS NCAA FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP

By Aaron Groff

For the second time in three years, the city of Gainesville celebrated as the Florida Gators brought home the crystal trophy signifying their victory at the BCS National Championship Game. The Gators defeated the then numberone team in the country, the Oklahoma Sooners, 24-14, in a game consisting of what few expected, defense.

The 2008 Sooners, led by Heisman Trophywinning quarterback Sam Bradford, are considered by many to be the most prolific offense in NCAA football history. They set numerous records including an unheard- of five straight games with at least sixty points. The Gators featured an offense led by former Heisman winner Tim Tebow, and played just one game in which they did not win by over ten points (a one-point loss to Mississippi).

In the championship, it was the speed of Florida’s defense, not offense, which brought an abrupt stop to the big-play Sooners, proving once more that offense sells tickets, but defense wins championships. In what is considered to be two of the game’s biggest plays,  he Gators defense twice ended Oklahoma drives while backed up in their own end zone. Those two goal line stands, “really shifted the momentum of the game,” junior Daniel Peterson said.

All eleven defensive starters will return in 2009, and if experience means anything at all, they should only improve off this season’s success.

Also returning is Tebow, who is already being considered one of the best college quarterbacks of all time. As a freshman, Tebow served as the Gators’ energizing catalyst, helping them win the BCS Championship. “He’s a beast,” stated Peterson. “He brings the X-Factor.”

 However, last season, Tebow was the centerpiece of a young team still working through its growing pains. Now that their running backs and defense have matured, those pains seemed to have eased up as Tebow carried the team to the National Championship once again.

Of course, all teams’ success starts with the coach. The Gators’ coaching staff, led by Head Coach Urban Meyer, has done a magnificent job recruiting high school  alent to play football at Florida.

Watch for the Gators to be a powerhouse once again next year as they hope to cement their dynasty by winning their third title in four years.

THE LOWEST SCORE

peterson2

By, Joselyn Garcia

No one has a lower scorethan junior Daniel Peterson. That is the goal of golf.

Transferring from MAST Academy after his freshmen year, Peterson has been a boost to the Beach High golf team. His impressive play as the team number one starter has led the team to a 7-1 record this year, earning a trip to district play. At Districts, Peterson shot a 79, indicating the number of shots taken to get his ball in all 18 holes, and placed fifth individually out of over thirty golfers. His score also helped Beach place third as a team to advance to Regional competition.

“I was okay by tying for fifth place but I know I could have done better,” he said. “Next time I am determined to win.”

Peterson’s role model is Beach High teacher and golf coach, Michael Perez. “I think he is a great coach; he’s always telling us how to get better and gives us good tips, and he’s really good with the mental game,” Peterson explained. “He tells us that if we hit a bad shot to not worry about it and to go on to the next hole. He’s really  atient and does not get mad at us.” Coach Perez has been instructing Daniel for two years, but has been the team’s coach for almost ten.

Not only is Peterson the team’s most proficient player, he is also the team’s emotional leader. Teammate David Reinfeld, a junior, is motivated by Peterson’s determination and humor. “He is always determined to get the lowest score. He’s a funny guy, jokes around a lot,” said Reinfeld. Peterson first gained an interest in golf at the age of six, the time when most kids were first learning how to ride a bike. “My dad took me out to the golf course and he showed me how to hit the ball,” he said.

Peterson’s favorite golfer is PGA pro, David Toms. “He’s the underdog and has always done well. No one expected him to win much but he’s just a great player,” Peterson explained. Toms has inspired Peterson to persevere and try his best.

“Everyone thinks [golf] is a boring sport, or some people don’t even consider it a sport – but if you practice and you’re good at it, it’s so much fun,” said Peterson. “It’s the best feeling to have a low score.”

FALL SPORTS WRAP-UP

football-homecoming

PHOTO COURTESY OF MIGUEL FLORES

By Aaron Groff

The Beach High football team was as hyped up as they’ve been in a long time, coming off a two-win improvement from their winless 2006 season. This season, new Head Coach Ralph Jimenez is trying to build a sense of team discipline and a strong work ethic that has led Beach to a 3-7 record.

Last year, Jimenez was the offensive coordinator at G. Holmes Braddock, where he helped build the team into district champions. He hoped to push the Hi-Tides “as far as these kids can achieve,” surpassing their win total from last year and improving for the second straight season.

In the team’s Homecoming game on November 7, they suffered a narrow defeat from Miami Springs.

The swimming team, coached by Charles Pilamunga, Sunday Lewandowski, and Erin McCunniff, placed fourth in Districts and sent five athletes to Regionals last season. “This team has the potential to do very well,” Pilamunga declared before this season.

After the regular season, the boys and girls teams had identical 4-6 records, and in district competition,  he girl’s placed second while the boy’s placed fifth. Diver Hunter Becerra, a junior, cleaned up in Districts, Regionals, and States, placing first for diving at all three. Carlotta Fiodoro, a junior, represented the girls, and finished first in the backstroke at Regionals and fifth at States. Fiodoro’s times at Regionals also qualified her as an All-American.

According to Coach Michael Perez, last year’s golf team a d v a n c e d to Regionals for the first time in fifteen years. This year, they made it two in a row, f i n i s h i n g the regular season with a 7- 1 record.

The cross-country team, coached by Juan Camarotti and David Reese, is coming off of a successful season for the boys’ and girls’ teams. Reese’s goals were for the athletes “to show up every day” and that “everyone who starts, finish.” The teams did not live up to last season’s standards, but after a slow start, the boys had a “sudden rejuvenation,” according Reese. He recognized junior Marcell Machado, sophomores Ulysses Galvez, Brian Lomba di and Mark Zavalla, and senior Kyle Rego as the team’s most impressive runners. Like last year, only one cross-country runner, junior Rachael Grosz, advanced to Districts and Regionals.

The Volleyball team, coached by Lynn Tenniswood-Camarotti, is coming off a strong 2007 season, as well, where they finished 10-8-2. This year, the team shot off to a 3-0-3 start, before finishing with a 7-7 record and heading to Districts.

“The team really has come a long way this season,” said Tenniswood. “They are now playing at an extremely competitive level!”

T h e b o w l i n g team is c o a c h e d by Alberto Muhtar, b o y s , and Peter K r a u s , girls. This s e a s o n , the girls have an outstanding 9-1 record while the boys were not as superb. “[The girls team] have done a tremendous job,” claimed Kraus, who recognized juniors Nicole Perry, Margot Ryan, and Stephanie Hidalgo.