By Sharon Robb
FORT LAUDERDALE, October 22, 2019–Pine Crest will begin its state title quest on Wednesday when the Panthers make their debut in the District 11-2A Swimming and Diving Championships at Coral Springs Aquatic Complex Michael Lohberg Pool of Champions.
The road to the high school state meet begins with the district competition. The last time the Panthers won a state title was 1987 for the boys and 1990 for the girls.
The 2A timed final meet begins at noon for the swimming and 1 p.m. for the diving.
Defending 11-2A champion is Riviera Beach Suncoast. The Chargers won the girls title with 493 points and boys title with 481 points. American Heritage Plantation, the host school on Wednesday, was runnerup in both categories.
Pine Crest is a heavy favorite to sweep the boys and girls team titles. The Panther girls, led by Julia Podkoscielny and Andrea Santander, finished the regular season at 10-1 and boys team, led by Joshua Hanks and Will Taner, finished 9-2. Pine Crest is coming off a victory in the inaugural Palm League Conference Championships.
In addition to Pine Crest and Suncoast, other teams in the field are Coral Springs Charter, Cardinal Gibbons, Dreyfoos School of the Arts, Pompano Beach and Archbishop McCarthy.
The District 12-2A meet is also on Wednesday at Gulliver Prep. The swimming is 9 a.m. and diving is 4 p.m. Host Gulliver Prep is defending boys and girls district champion. Somerset Academy, featuring South Florida Aquatic Club swimmers including Diego Nazario-Vazquez, Kaitlyn Barrios, Sabrina Osorio, Sofia Osorio and Enrique Rodriguez, is among teams competing.
The Class 1A competition is Friday at Nova Southeastern Aquatic Center at 10 a.m. for both the swimming and diving.
With defending champion Pine Crest out of the picture, host NSU University School is the favorite to win its first district championship.
In addition to host NSU University School, other teams in the field are Calvary Christian, South Florida Heat, Sagemont, Westminster Academy, Chaminade-Madonna, North Broward Prep and Posnack JCC.
The FHSAA will not release any final district results until the weekend when all official results are submitted to the state’s governing body.
The top two finishers in each event from each district meet as well as the next overall best times at-large for a field of 24 from the remaining best times among top 16 finishers in the district meets will move on to regions.
For relays, the district champion advances plus the next overall best times at-large for a field of 16 from the remaining best times among eight finishers.
In diving, the top two in each district plus 18 at-large spots from the divers who placed in the top 16 in district meets. All divers must meet the minimum qualifying score of 280 points in the district meet.
The 4A and 3A meets are scheduled for Oct. 28-Nov. 2, when the bulk of SOFLO swimmers will compete.
Sharon Robb can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org