Winter Sports Recap
February 1, 2016
With a team consisting of only three seniors, the boys basketball team went into the season with uncertainty, in regards to how they would perform. After opening the season with a 14 point loss to Champagnat Catholic, the team, led by Coach Rick Landera, responded with back to back victories against Florida Christian Patriots and Homestead; the wins were, however, followed by consecutive losses to Felix Varela, Coral Reef and Columbus. The Panthers subsequently went 3-11 in the next 14 games, mainly struggling during winter break. With six games left on the schedule, coach Landera stepped down from his position due to family reasons. Under new head coach Kristopher Macrohon, the team finished the season 1-5, the lone victory coming against district rival South Dade Buccaneers in their last game. The main contributors throughout the course of the season were junior captain Jayden Hardaway (12.1 ppg) and sophomore Tavian Percy (12.7 ppg). The team finished with an overall record of 6-17 (4-8 district).
“We had a bit of a down season and fell short of our pre-season expectations,” junior forward Jonathan Roth said. “We expected to make a run for the district title, but weren’t able to. I expect for us to bounce back from this down season with a winning record next year, winning districts, and making a run for the state title.”
After losing three senior captains at the end of the 2014-2015 season, the girls basketball team entered the season with a slightly younger and inexperienced team. In order to match their impressive 15-9 overall record from last year, Coach Lisa Naninga needed some of her players to step up. The team opened the season with a 2-2 record, with wins against Homestead and Coral Reef and losses to Felix Varela and Gulliver Prep. After the average start, the Lady Panthers finished the season with a .333 win percentage, going 5-10. A big step back from last year, the statistics show all the difference. Last year, the team scored 43.1 points per game and shot 29% from the field. This year, the team scored 27.1 points per game and shot 26%. The main contributors throughout the season were sophomores Kiley Kross (7.5 ppg, 2.0 rpg) and Ashley Palmer (3.9 ppg, 3.0 rpg).
“This year was kind of a rebuilding year for us because we had a lot of new varsity players,” junior Catherine Miyazaki said. “We didn’t do as well as we hoped but I think we will be a lot stronger next year.”
The boys soccer team got off to a quick start on the season, shutting out defending district champion Felix Varela 2-0. After the great start, the team kept it rolling with a record of 3-0-1 in its next four games, not suffering its first district loss until November 20th against Ferguson. Senior captain Christian Araujo led the team in goals with 20, as he was a major key in decisive victories against district opponents South Dade and Coral Reef. Although their road to postseason success was diminished in a early season 3-1 loss to district rival Ferguson, the team (11-5-1) definitely saw improvement from last year when they finished 5-11. A major key to their success was consistent defensive pressure, as they only allowed 19 goals throughout the season, while scoring 43.
“This season was by far our best Palmetto soccer team in a very long time. We finished in 2nd place during the regular season with the team that scored the most goals,” senior captain Christian Araujo said. “Next year is going to be tough for the team because they are losing ten seniors and most of them started this year. They’re going to have to have players to step up.”
Coming off a year that ended with an 11-5-2 record, expectations were high for the girls soccer team entering this season. It is safe to say that they certainly met, and definitely exceeded these expectations. Scoring 133 goals in total and only allowing 10, the girls dominated on both sides of the field. In their first three games alone, the team outscored its opponents 28-0, not allowing a goal until November 5th against Killian, a game that they still commanded, winning 8-1. Although the season ended unfortunately for the Panthers, on penalty kicks in the regional final against Lourdes Academy, the team still finished with an impressive 20-1 record.
“We had such an incredible season this year, I’m so proud of everyone for the bond we built,” senior forward Ava Gruener said. “Even though it would’ve been great to go to states, it was nice to see the growth and team camaraderie that came from our hard work. Even though we are losing eight seniors, I expect the team to carry on the legacy that we built next year.”
The Palmetto Boy’s wrestling team experienced some inconsistency and difficulty throughout the 2015-2016 season, mainly due to its loss of experienced players and new head coach. Replacing drafting teacher David Soderholm, Coach Charles Singleton led the team this season, after serving as assistant coach last year. Singleton previously held coaching positions at Hialeah High School and Coral Reef High School. The team lost some of its top performing wrestlers from last year, including Brandon Morales and Mel Moss. Moss was ranked the number one wrestler in the state preseason and finished fifth overall in states. Hope for next season will primarily ride on the shoulders of juniors Carlos Flores, William Berrows, and James Findley.
“We continue to improve as a team each practice while making adjustments to new changes,” junior wrestler Carlos Flores said. “I expect next year to be a much better year for the team.”