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Belen, St. Brendan, Gibbons athletes win state titles

Belen also wins in cross country, five schools still competing in football playoffs

Belen swimmers Andres Wong, Hugo Marin, Hector Paz, Aitor Fungairino, Javier Saumell, and Ignacio Aguilar pose with their coach, Kirk Peppas.

Photographer: Victor Arrieta

Belen swimmers Andres Wong, Hugo Marin, Hector Paz, Aitor Fungairino, Javier Saumell, and Ignacio Aguilar pose with their coach, Kirk Peppas.

MIAMI | Belen Jesuit’s Aitor Fungairino, St. Brendan’s Irvin Hoost and Cardinal Gibbons’ Savannah Yates each won individual titles during the fall sports season to represent the Archdiocese of Miami.

Belen also won the boys cross country state title. (See accompanying story) The Wolverines also finished fifth in the state in boys swimming.

St. Thomas Aquinas’ girls volleyball team had its string of consecutive state titles derailed, and Southwest Ranches’ Archbishop Edward McCarthy returned to the region finals.

Belen senior Aitor Fungairino won the 200 free with an All American time of 1.34.89, two-tenths of a second off the state record.

Photographer: Victor Arrieta

Belen senior Aitor Fungairino won the 200 free with an All American time of 1.34.89, two-tenths of a second off the state record.


Boys swimming

Belen Jesuit rode two titles by Aitor Fungairino to a fifth-place finish in the Class 3A FHSAA Boys Swimming Finals at Sailfish Splashpark Aquatic Athletics Center in Stuart. The Wolverines took fifth with 110 points, trailing the 320 points of champion Tallahassee Chiles.

Fungairino defended his two individual titles from 2016. He won the boys 500 freestyle in 4:25.73. He also won his second consecutive 200 freestyle title in 1:34.89, while teammate Andres Wong was fourth in 1:41.75. Wong was also second in the 100 freestyle in 47.45.

Belen also took third in the 200 freestyle relay in 1:26.75.

St. Brendan’s Irvin Hoost won the 50-yard freestyle to help St. Brendan finish 20th with 35 points in the Class 2A state swim meet. Irvin won with a 20.86-second time, beating the 21.22 of Andrew Garcia of Mourning. Hoost also took fourth in the 100-yard freestyle in 46.04.

Gibbons’ Hudson Coldren took second in the boys 1-meter diving with a 454.25 score.

In the Class 4A meet, St. Thomas finished 13th overall with 67 points, while Christopher Columbus was 19th with 37.

Carlos Vasquez led St. Thomas by finishing third in the 100 butterfly in 49.71 seconds and eighth in the 200 freestyle in 1:43.72. Teammate Juan Zapata took seventh in the 200 individual medley in 1:55.28.

Columbus’ Brandon Vives was fourth in the 100 butterfly in 50.24 and fifth in the 200 IM in 1:53.62.


Girls swimming

Gibbons used two top-2 finishes by junior Savannah Yates to take 20th in the Class 2A girls swimming and diving finals with 37 points.

Yates won the 100-yard breaststroke in a time of 1 minute, 5.92 seconds. Yates led at the first turn, then had to hold off Lincoln Park’s Kayla Glennon at the last second.

Calling the 100 breaststroke her favorite event, she said she faced a lot of pressure being ranked first, and the night-time finals also raises every athlete’s level. But she relied on her training, especially for the last 10-15 yards.

“I felt confident, because I train really hard,” Yates said. “The last 50 (yards) I needed it, especially the last 10-15 yards. I really went as fast as I could and pushed through the pain. (Glennon) was pretty close.”

Yates felt that she could build on a second-place finish in the 2016 100 breaststroke after the previous champ graduated. “I was thinking that the whole year,” Yates said.

The Gibbons junior almost made it a double, finishing second in the 50 freestyle in 24.05. In that race, she battled Plantation American Heritage’s Catherine Cooper stroke for stroke before Cooper won in 23.53.

Yates said only perfection wins the 50 freestyle, so she focused on physically and mentally competing. “We were pretty close,” Yates said. “At the end, she got ahead of me. I could see her next to me. My parents told me they didn’t know who won.”

As her junior year evolves into senior year, Yates is reaching out to a lot of colleges. She’s traded correspondence with Georgetown, Harvard, University of Nevada and University of Chicago, to name a few.

But she also hopes to end her high school career as a four-year qualifier and potentially win both the 100 breaststroke and 50 freestyle. For the second consecutive year, Yates finished second behind a senior. She hopes to use that same mind-set in the 50 freestyle that carried her to 100-breaststroke victory.

“Next year I definitely want to keep the first in 100 breaststroke, and I’d like to win the 50 freestyle,” she said. “From this meet, I can learn that I have to have more confidence when I’m going into the races and try to not be as nervous.”

In the 1A finals, Immaculata-LaSalle tied for 20th with 29 points. Gaby Antonini had LaSalle’s best finish, taking ninth in the 100 backstroke in 57.32.


Cross country

In the Class 4A FHSAA Boys Cross Country Finals, St. Thomas finished third overall with 157 points. Oviedo won the team race with 99 points. Columbus took sixth with 250 points.

Sarasota’s Benjamin Hartvigsen outdueled Columbus’ Deshay Fernandes to win the individual 4A race. Hartvigsen won in 15:39.70, Fernandes was second in 15:43.99. St. Thomas’ Nicholas Rischar finished just outside that duel, taking fifth in 15:53.37.

In the girls 4A race, Our Lady of Lourdes took fifth with 191 points. Winter Park won the team title with 136. St. Thomas was seventh with 249.

St. Thomas’ Bridget Alex led archdiocesan runners, finishing 10th in 18:48.75. Alana Mar Batista finished 25th in 19:30.40 to lead Lourdes.

In the Class 2A boys race, Thomas Rodriguez represented Archbishop McCarthy as a solo runner, taking 21st in 16:33.82. In the Class 2A girls race, Gibbons finished eighth overall with 294 points. Fort Lauderdale Pine Crest took first place with 33 points, finishing four runners in the top seven. Gillian Gulley led the Mavericks, finishing 55th in 20:19.17.



St. Thomas advanced to the Class 8A state semifinals but for the first time since the 2013 season the Raiders were derailed in the state semifinals. Venice swept the Raiders 25-21, 25-22, 25-17. St. Thomas had won titles in 2014-16 but ran into a team with whom the Raiders had some history. The last time the Raiders met Venice in the playoffs was in the 2012 final, also won by Venice.

St. Brendan advanced to the Class 7A region final for the second consecutive year. They lost to Jensen Beach 25-18, 25-16, 25-20 in the Region 4-7A final. The Sabres won District 16-7A, then routed Miami Norland 3-0 and Terra Environment 3-0 to reach the region final.

Archbishop McCarthy collided again with two-time defending champ Orlando Bishop Moore. Despite having the match on McCarthy’s home court, Bishop Moore won 25-17, 25-27, 26-24, 25-15. The Mavericks won District 16, then beat Port St. Lucie 3-0 and Suncoast 3-1 to reach the region final.

Hollywood Chaminade-Madonna and Miami Msgr. Edward Pace both finished runners-up in their Class 5A districts. After finishing second in District 13-5A, Chaminade beat Miami Mater Lakes 3-0 before losing to Fort Lauderdale Pine Crest 3-1. Pine Crest also beat District 14-5A runner-up Msgr. Pace 3-0.

Our Lady of Lourdes finished as District 15-9A runner-up and lost in the first round to Coral Reef 19-25, 25-21, 25-20, 25-21.


Boys golf

St. Thomas’ boys finished fourth in the Class 3A boys golf championships with a 46-over-par score of 622. Naples Gulf Coast used a second-day 305 to pass Day 1 leader St. Thomas to win the team title with 615. The Raiders led after Day 1 posting four scores in the 70s. On Day 2, the team managed only two scores in the 70s, while Gulf Coast had four players in the 70s each day.

Raiders sophomore Brett Thomas finished tied for second in the Class 3A individual race with a 4-over 146. He opened with a 1-under 70 on Friday, then shot 76 on Saturday. Lake Minneola’s Jonathan Yaun won with a 2-under 142. St. Thomas teammate D.J. Francey tied for 20th with two sub-80 rounds.

In the Class 2A finals, Archbishop McCarthy finished 11th with a two-day 707 result. Justin Lilly finished 42nd in the individual race by shooting 22-over 166 over two days, posting the Mavericks’ best score in the opening round with a 79.


Girls golf

Archbishop McCarthy finished second in the Class 2A girls golf championships at Mission Inn Resort and Club in Howey-in-the-Hills. Senior Casey Sommer and sophomore Taylor Roberts each posted sub-80 rounds both days as the Mavericks counted three rounds in the 70s each day. After a first-day 79, Sommer shot a 2-over 74 to finish ninth in the individual race at 9-over 153. Roberts matched Sommer’s first-day 79 and shot 75 in Day 2 to finish tied for 10th at 10-over 154.



The Archdiocese of Miami has several teams still alive in the football playoffs.

Columbus earned the top seed in Region 4-8A. The Explorers routed Homestead 50-0 in the first round. Belen earned the third seed in Region 4-8A but lost to Miami Southridge 35-14 in the first round.

St. Thomas, seeking its fourth consecutive state title, earned the top seed in Region 4-7A. The Raiders routed South Miami 56-0 in the first round.

Gibbons earned the sixth seed in Region 4-5A and upset Orlando Jones 43-30 in the first round.

Pace earned the fourth seed in Region 4-4A and beat Key West 31-7 in the first round.

Chaminade-Madonna, a state finalist from 2016, earned the top seed in Region 4-3A and routed Delray Beach American Heritage 38-0.

Information for this report was gleaned from Florida High School Athletic Association resources.

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