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.”

STUDENTS WIN REGIONAL ROWING REGATTA

PHOTO COURTESY OF BRETT ROSENFELD

THE RACE IS ON: Girls’ varsity-quad crew approaches the finish line in Tampa.

By Joselyn Garcia

The Miami Beach Rowing Club won gold medals at the Southeast Regional Championship Regatta on May 10 and 11 at the Tampa By-Pass Canal. Beach High students competed alongside teammates from Nautilus and local private schools against over 1,200 rowers from 40 teams.

Beach High freshmen Amanda Epstein and Nicole Campbell formed one half of the winning girls’ novice-four crew, which finished the 1,850 meter race in 7 minutes and 37 seconds.

“I felt proud, and like I was on top of the world,” said Campbell. “Rowing is a very big commitment. It requires training everyday in the gym and on the water – training your body and your mind to breathe and move with others as if you were one.”

In addition to the girls’ novice-four, Epstein and Campbell took the bronze medal in the girls’ varsity-quad crew. “The difference [between the four and the quad races] is in the boats. The four is a sweeping boat which means there is one oar per rower. And the quad is a sculling boat which means each rower has two oars,” said Epstei .

“It was amazing to place in a varsity division as freshman b e c a u s e y o u ’ r e competing with rowers that have a lot more experience,” she said. “ G e t t i n g the bronze medal was just the cherry on  top to an a m a z i n g weekend.”

The boys had an unexpected win against rowers from the Tallahassee-based Capital City rowing team in the junior-varsity eight race, an event in which each individual rows with one oar.

“They were laughing at us in the start,” said Beach High freshman Stephan Sardi, noting that his mother and coaches were crying with joy as the boat crossed the finish line. “Winning was great,” he said, “and it felt really good being champions again.”

 “We were able to put to the test all of [our] hard work,” said coach Simon Ponce. “Moreover, it was incredible to the athletes as well because they saw the fruits of their work and dedication.”

“We’re like a second family. We’re all friends – we all hang out on the weekends,” said Epstein. “We see each other almost every day. We all feel th  same things, and we can talk about our same interests.”

In the end, Epstein, Campbell, and Sardi all agreed on one thing, “Athletes row and everyone else just plays games.”

The Miami Beach Rowing Club is currently recruiting females to join the team.

ATHLETE OF THE MONTH

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BY JOSELYN GARCIA

Name: Alberto Bazan

Grade: Senior

 Sport: Basketball

“I try to get really involved, try to do my best, and try to come out victorious.”

The Miami Herald recently recognized Beach High senior, Alberto Bazan, as an outstanding student athlete in their All Miami- Dade Basketball Boys team segment.

“I’ve been playing four years of basketball for Beach High, and [this recognition has] been one of my greatest accomplishments,” he said.

 Bazan and the other 17 All-Dade performers were split up into three teams of six. He was placed on the 6A-5A third team. “I actually thought he would be on the second team, but if our team would have had a better year, he could be good enough to be on the first team,” Coach Diego Garcia said. “The problem is they put the first team as the teams that have the most wins.” The Hi-Tides’ record this year was 14 wins and 11 losses.

Before joining the Beach High squad, Bazan regularly played basketball but was not part of an organized team. He soon realized he had talent when he was recruited to the varsity team his freshman year.

“He made himself into probably one of the best three pointers I ever coached, something that  hen he first got here, he couldn’t do at all,” Garcia said.

In the Hi-Tides 44-42 away-victory over Northwestern Senior High on January 25, Bazan made the winning basket with six seconds to spare, propelling the Hi-Tides into the playoffs.

“That is something I’ll never forget,” said Garcia.

“It’s been ups and downs throughout my four years,” Bazan explained. “Last year everyone was on a different page. Now, this year, we brought it together and we played how we were supposed to play.” Bazan improved his game from an average of eight points to an average of 19.5.

The Miami Herald also recognized Cedric Bellamy, Donnie Gaitor, Diego Gutierrez, and Alejandro Rabelo as honorable mentions for the All Miami-Dade Team.

SPRING SPORTS WRAP-UP

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By Aaron Groff

Miami Beach Senior High sports fans have something to cheer about after an outstanding spring season. Many teams improved and all but two posted a winning record. Multiple teams won district titles and a few athletes went on to represent Beach High at the state level.

The most successful of sports teams throughout the season was the girls’ tennis team. Coached by Toni Harmony, they earned a 9-1 record and became district champions.

“I’m ecstatic,” declared Harmony. “I don’t think I could’ve asked the girls to give any more than they gave. When you’re giving 100, 110 percent, what more can you ask?”

The team’s season ended just one game short of qualifying for the state tournament, with a loss to Krop, the now threetime defending state champions. However, sophomore Gabriela Palacios made it to states in individual competition and was joined by her partner, junior Claudia Llanes, in doubles.

Coached by Jonathan Nelson, and led by junior Thibault Villeneuve, the boys’ tennis team made it to districts with a 6-3  ecord. Villeneuve captured the district singles championship, automatically advancing to state competition. Beach High also took second place in singles and doubles.

“Last year we didn’t win anything in the district,” Coach Nelson explained. But according to him, this year the team is “older, wiser, and… more experienced.”

The girls’ Water Polo team had a strong year as well. With a record of 18-7, the girls’ team made it to districts where they defeated Miami High and Miami Country Day to become district champions. Unfortunately, they lost to perennial powerhouse, Gulliver, in the first round at regionals. Gulliver, who recently won their 200th straight match, went on to take the state title.

The boys’ Water Polo team finished with a record of 8- 11, a slight dip from last year, but, a few one point losses stopped them from having a winning season. They entered districts as the number three seed, but lost in the first round.

The Beach High Track Team made a good showing at districts, where the boys’ team p aced third overall and the girls came in sixth. Individually, Beach had some stand outs as seniors Alexander Madden, Andrew Bass, and junior Gamal Jadue came in first, third, and fourth respectively in pole vaulting. Senior Rashad King placed second in the discus throw and third in shot-put. Sophomore Rachel Grosz came in fourth in the 1600 meter run. Senior Patrick Brennan also came in fourth in the boys’ 1600 meter run and the 3200 meter run.

These six athletes advanced to the regional competition, where in dominating fashion, Beach High took home first place twice, as Bass and Madden tied for first, advancing to states.

“They both cleared 13 feet and both had the same amount of scratches,” joked pole vaulting coach David Shanoskie. Bass with a 5th place finish at states, goes on to nationals, while Madden, finishing in 9th, came up one spot short.

PERFECTION OF ’72 DOLPHINS REMAINS UNMATCHED

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By Aaron Groff

The members of the 1972 Miami Dolphins can once again celebrate their record as the only undefeated team in NFL history. Every year the team gathers and drinks champagne as the last undefeated team loses. The Patriots’ near-flawless 08 season might have made them sweat this year, but they were finally able to pop the corks and rejoice standing alone in the record books.

The New England Patriots’ quest for perfection came up short in Super Bowl XLII. After winning their irst 18 games, the Patriots lost when it counted, with a 14-17 defeat to New York. Giants quarterback Eli Manning showed ice water in his veins, capping an eighty-three yard drive with a touchdown pass to Plaxico Burress with only thirty-five seconds left. The touchdown sealed the deal for the improbable Giants win, and removed the zero from the loss column of New England’s record.

Fans on both sides are left to argue which is a greater single-season achievement: the Dolphins’ 17-0 record, including a Super Bowl win, or the Patriots’ 18-0 run 2nd Super Bowl loss?

Back in 1972, the NFL regular season was only 14 games, so counting the Dolphins’ playoff and Super Bowl wins, the team had a 17-0 record. In 1978, the NFL extended its regular season to 16 games, requiring a team to win a total of 19 in order to achieve perfection. This season, the New England Patriots won their first 18 games, topping the 17 won by the Miami Dolphins, but ended up losing the ultimate prize, a championship.

The 2008 Patriots are not the only team to go 18-1. The 1984 San Francisco 49ers and 1985 Chicago Bears also reached this mark. The 49ers and Bears though, lost their one game in the regular season and ended up winning the Championship.

For the Patriots and their fans, it is hard to view this season as anything but a failure. Unlike the ‘72 Dolphins, ‘84 49ers, and ‘85 Bears, the ‘08 Patriots simply did not finish on top. In the end, it is the Super Bowl that matters and the Pats just couldn’t pull through. For the ‘72 Dolphins, the sweetness of victory tastes a lot like, well, champagne.