Author Archives: aarong2010

DOUBLE TEAM

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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.”

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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

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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

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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.

POOR, HUNGRY, DETERMINED

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STEPHANIE ALDANA/BEACHCOMBER

By Joselyn Garcia

Ralph Jimenez has replaced Judd Hayes as head coach of the Hi-Tide football team for the 2008-2009 season. Jimenez was previously the offensive coordinator at G. Holmes Braddock Senior High where he helped lead the team to its first district title in school history.

“I felt that [football] was my calling,” Jimenez said. “[I am] trying to have an impact on young people’s lives, as I was impacted growing up.”

Jimenez is implementing a new concept of having no team captain, so he can determine which players get to play each game based on their level of focus, work ethic, and discipline throughout practice.

“My goals for the season are to try to get these kids to think positive, work together, and become the most disciplined team in Dade County,” Jimenez declared. He believes that without discipline, a person cannot achieve anything in life. According to middle linebacker Hafitd Trejos, a sophomore, the team’s motto is ‘PHD’ – poor, hungry, determined.

Despite the boost of discipline, the Hi-Tides face a shortage  f players and lack of size and speed. “We don’t have a huge number of kids that participate in the football program and therefore we don’t have very much depth,” Jimenez explained. “If an individual gets injured, there’s really no one there to fill and step up to their position.” To overcome the deficit of players, Jimenez trains his players to be the smartest on the field.

The team is hungry to build upon last year’s twowins, the first in years of Beach High football. Over the course of the summer, Jimenez had them practice seven weeks straight, for three hours a day. Now that school has started, their practices have been shortened to a still rigorous, two and a half hours.

Currently the Hi-Tides are 1-1. “Just come, watch us, and see for yourself,” said left tackle offense player Enrique Almaraz. “It’s a new year, new coach, new players, new game.”

‘CANES OPEN AT DOLPHIN STADIUM

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AARON GROFF/BEACHCOMBER

C-A-N-E-S, CANES!: Now that the Orange Bowl has been demolished, the Hurricanes have made Dolphin Stadium their new home. 

By Aaron Groff

For the next 25 years, the University of Miami Hurricanes’ football team will call Dolphin Stadium their home. For the first time in over 70 years, the Hurricanes played a home game outside of the legendary Orange Bowl on August 28 defeating the sub-par Charleston Southern team 52-7.

T h e Orange Bowl was a holy m o n u m e n t for Hurricane fans all over the country. Its demolition in May 2008 was a sad moment for the many supporters of the University of Miami.

“The Orange Bowl is the ‘Canes’ home,” said junior Lauren Tighe. “Any other stadium is not the same.”

The feel of the new stadium did not give many of its attendees the same chills that they felt at the Orange Bowl. “The atmosphere was different,” Tighe said, referring to the overwhelming aura of a stadium that now hosts the Dolphins, Marlins, and the Hurricanes.

Also missing was the giant football helmet that used to unleash a thick, white fog as the Hurricanes traditionally entered the Orange Bowl.

Not all fans disapprove of the move. Dolphin Stadiu  is an obvious upgrade in terms of facilities, parking, and overall cleanliness. After attending the inaugural game, Coach Judd Hayes, in great favor of the switch, compared the two stadiums as “night and day… It’s like comparing a plush hotel to a Holiday Inn.” Hayes remembers a time when rain water from the drainage pipes would drip onto fans below at the Orange Bowl.

Attendance for the first game in Dolphin Stadium was not quite impressive. Only 48,119 of the 76,500 seats were filled, a disappointing turnout for a game this historic. Just six years ago, in a game against rival Florida State, the Orange Bowl held a crowd almost 10,000 people over its capacity of 73,000.

One reason for the poor attendance at the opener could be that the Orange Bowl, in historic Little Havana, was much more accessible to students at the University of Miami than Dolphin Stadium near the Broward County line. The Orange Bowl was a mere Metrorail ride away from the campus while Dolphin Stadium can take up to an hour to get to dep nding on traffic.

“My grandfather won’t even go to the games anymore because it’s too far,” declared Tighe. Students at the university can travel to games shuttles provided by the school. “The students here are fans, so we’re going to support our school r e g a r d l e s s of how far we have to drive,” said U n i v e r s i t y of Miami student Scott Woolf.

The Hurricanes’ new confines certainly do not live up to the pedigree of the Orange Bowl, with its history of five Super Bowls, the College Football Orange Bowl Classic, and the NFL Pro Bowl. The Hurricanes will have to make their own history in Dolphins Stadium if the fans are to follow.

‘Cane fans may take a long time adjusting to watching their team play in their new Dolphins Stadium home, but if the Hurricanes become a championship contender, they are more likely to give it a chance.

TOP TENNIS PLAYERS TRAVEL TO STATES

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By Joshua B. Dermer

After winning the tennis district doubles championship, the Lady Hi-Tides top two starters, sophomore Gabriela Palacios and junior Claudia Llanes, were defeated in the state tournament in Orlando on April 20, losing 6- 3, 7-2 to Sarasota High.

“For the most part, I gave it my all,” claimed Llanes, but both players thought they could have done better. Next year they expect to return to state competition with better results.

According to Palacios, “Claudia is a good player at heart, but she lets the pressure get to her and the people get inside her head, which is her only flaw.”

“It was a good experience for her to see what kind of pressure she is going to be under, and to learn that she is going to have to control that pressure,” said Coach Toni Harmony. “They saw the cream of the crop, how far they were from it, and what they have to do to become a part of that cream.”

Harmony has high hopes for the duo and plans to work them hard next year. “We are going to give them a summer conditioning schedule and have t e girls participate in other preseason sports,” she said.

Palacios, who also competed in the singles contest, lost to Douglas High 6-4, 6-2. “She gave it her all,” said Harmony. “She really worked very hard.”

“Last year I had harder competition in districts,” Palacios said. She joked that the hardest part of states was not playing the matches, but rather, “Claudia’s nightly snoring.”