Recognize South Florida

Updated: March 26, 2009, 3:56 PM ET
ESPN RISE Magazine

Baseball - Nova


Expectations are always high at Nova. Coach Pat McQuaid has led the Titans for more than three decades, and the stadium bears his name. The team won back-to-back state championships in 2004 and 2005 and has frequently been ranked among the nation's top teams. The Titans even appeared in a nationally televised commercial for Dick's Sporting Goods this winter. And in a season where most of the big boppers return from a squad that advanced to the regional finals in 2008, there's reason to be optimistic. Miami recruit Michael Broad, a senior shortstop/reliever, has been one of South Florida's best hitters the last two seasons and batted .389 with nine home runs and 47 RBIs last year. Brent Zimmerman, a Virginia Techbound 3B/RHP, went 5-2 last year and hit a team-high .439. Kerry Doane, a slick-fielding second baseman and pitcher who has signed with East Tennessee State, was 5-1 and hit .347. Doane and senior 1B/P Patrick Morse  a Belmont Abbey recruit who went 8-2 last year  will start for the Titans, while Zimmerman and Broad will likely finish. Junior Timmy Remes is an experienced catcher who batted .310 last year, and his work behind the plate will be pivotal for a team whose pitching remains a question mark. "We're probably a little bit pitching light," McQuaid concedes. "If we have an Achilles' heel right now, it's 'Do we have enough pitching when we get into the big games?'"At the very least, they'll have tradition behind them.

Girls' Basketball - Miami Norland


Carla Harris-Curry's teams had come awfully close in her 11-year tenure at Norland, but until this winter the Vikings had never gone all the way. Indeed, Norland had never won a title in girls' basketball, despite being Dade's winningest program over the past 23 years. But with a 27-25 victory over Lake Mary in the Class 6A championship, seniors Tamika Guz and Leeza Burdgess and junior Cleandra Roberts helped put that past behind them and took home the title to cap a 32-0 season.

Boys' Track - Monsignor Pace


The Spartans finished 12 points behind state champ Godby last year and are ready to make another run at the Class 2A title this spring. In 2008, senior Derrick Hopkins won the 200, finished second in the 100 and teamed with classmates Kayvon Webster, Sterling Griffin and Jeffrey Allen to take home the 4x100 relay title. Griffin was also second in the 400. Junior DeAndre Johnson, who placed in both the discus and shot put at state last year, should contend for titles in both throwing events this spring.

Softball - Naples


Last year, junior ace Jaclyn Traina sparkled as Naples handed Pembroke Pines Charter  rated the nation's top team at the time  its only loss to claim the Class 4A state title. But now it's the Golden Eagles, winners of 12 state titles in coach Robert Iamurri's 24 years, who again have the bull's-eye on their backs. Naples entered the season ranked third in the ESPN RISE FAB 50. In addition to Traina, a University of Alabama commit who posted a 0.35 ERA last season, the Eagles return second baseman Ryan Iamurri and an experienced outfield.

BREAK OUT TEAMS

BOYS' LACROSSE  ST. THOMAS AQUINAS Juniors Cole Millican and Bryce and Alex Samartino were two wins away from a title in 2008. GIRLS' TRACK  JACKSON The team didn't finish in the Top 50 last year. Expect frosh phenom Robin Reynolds to change that. BOYS' TENNIS  COOPER CITY Philipe Pierre-Antoine (senior) and brother Ruben (junior) lead a loaded Cowboys team. GIRLS' LACROSSE  PINE CREST The Panthers nearly upset state finalist Park Vista in the play-in game last April.