Fall Teams Sweep Districts for the First Time in School History


The swim team hoisting their District Championship trophies (via Michael Lyn)

This fall, for the first time in Pine Crest history, every fall sports team in the Florida High School Athletic Association won the District Championship. The boys’ and girls’ golf, swimming, and cross country teams and the girl’s volleyball team have all been incredible thus far, their successes being encapsulated by fantastic performances at Districts. Athletic Director Jeff Johnson put it best, saying, “It has been a tremendous fall sports season and the credit goes to our outstanding student-athletes and our dedicated coaches.  Pine Crest Athletics is complimenting our school’s excellent academic reputation, and I’m extremely proud of our programs.”

The boys’ cross country team posing after their win at Districts. (via Paul Baur)

The boys’ and girls’ cross country teams both performed extremely well at Districts last Friday. This was the Boys’ 8th consecutive District Championship and the Girls’ 6th in a row. On the boys’ side, three runners placed in the top nine. Gaby Ortega, Jabari Owens, Famous Rhodes, Matt Jordan, and Jack Rizzo all ran impressive times to seal the victory. Gaby Ortega, after coming in third place individually, shared his thoughts saying, “We were coming into this race pretty nervous because we had graduated our top five runners, and we heard that the other teams were thinking this could be the year that they could win. Our boys’ team had won Districts seven times in a row, so we couldn’t let anyone break that streak. Our guys really stepped up and pushed themselves to win. Next week we have Regionals, and we know we have to push harder than before and really show everyone how bad we want to advance to States.

The girls’ cross country team dominated at Districts, with six PC runners finishing as the top six in the meet. (via Paul Baur)

The girls’ cross country team was absolutely dominant. Tsion Yared, Maya Beleznay, Emily Faulhaber, Amanda, Schwartz, Lorrie Axelrod, and Sierra Stocker placed 1-6 in the district individually, and the girl’s team ended with a perfect score. Reflecting on the race and anticipating what is ahead, Tsion, who placed first in the District individually, said, “The cross country team was challenged at Districts, as the course was very muddy due to the rain. Next Friday at Tradewinds Park, both the girls and boys will be competing at Regionals. Our region is one of the most competitive in the state, so definitely come out to watch a good race!”

The swimmers put on an amazing performance at Districts as well. This was the girls’ team’s 5th consecutive District title. This year, they won six individual events and all three relays, with great performances coming from Andrea Stander, Hannah Brigin, Rachel Botting, Marissa Brannan. The boys’ swept the diving competition, with Kevin Mendez and Lyle Hayes-Macaluso placing first and second. Nicholas Vale, Matthew Petreski, and Nico Ferrara also won their individual events. Nico shared his thoughts, saying, “Overall, we accomplished what we wanted to at Districts. We went in trying to win and get set up well for regionals. We’re looking to win regionals on both the guys and girls sides, even though it will be more competitive. Our end game is placing high at States, and by just looking at the way we’re swimming, States can’t come fast enough.” The team will compete in Regionals this Friday, October 27th.

The boys’ golf team celebrating their Districts win. (via Karl Nitowski)

Both the boys’ and girls’ golf teams succeeded thrived at Districts.  On his experience, senior Avi Sharma said, “It was a close match, but we managed to pull through at the end.  I had a great time playing, and it felt good taking home the District Title for the third time.”  I spoke with girls’ golf captain Rhea Kumar as well who said, “I am really proud of our team because this is the first time in a couple of years that we have won the District Championship. The underclassmen really stepped up this year to help us succeed and have really developed the right skills to lead the team next year.” The future looks bright for PC golf.


The girl’s volleyball team triumphed to win the District Championship. (via Grace Luciano, senior)

The girl’s volleyball team has dominated all season long, posting a 13-1 regular season record. On October 20th, the Panthers defeated Chaminade-Madonna to clinch the District Championship. This Wednesday, they won their first regional matchup against Monsignor Pace in three quick sets, 25-9, 25-7, and 25-4, advancing to the Regional Semifinal.  They hope to keep their momentum going next Wednesday, when they will play Chaminade-Madonna again at home in the Regional Semifinal.

Before this year, seven District titles were the most ever won in a season. This year, the Panthers are already at seven, and it is still October. We wish each team the best of luck at Regionals and States and hope that the winter and spring teams can emulate the fall teams’ success. It’s a great time to be a PC Panther.