MAST Academy is experiencing growing pains, but there is a silver lining that comes along with the frustrating construction and equally disastrous schedule fiasco. This year MAST students were graced with not one, but two new sports teams: cross country and golf.
The MAST cross country team was born when senior Arturo Toro approached Advanced Placement United States History teacher, Guillermo Pena, with the interest of forming a cross country team. Sign up sheets that circulated got over 40 names. Over the summer, the team had practices every day except Sunday, a schedule that continues through the year.
Cross country is currently the only sport in MAST with a Junior Varsity team. The Junior Varsity team includes everyone who did not make the Varsity team.
Pena, who considers himself an avid runner and has run one marathon and one triathlon in the five years that he has been running, has high expectations for his team, especially for the girls. The girls varsity team is led by senior Jonathan Roberts and some of its strongest runners include senior Samantha Schneider, junior Elizabeth Ray and sophomore Hannah Waxman.
The captain of the boys team is Arturo Toro, and some of their strongest runners are sophomore Nicholas Cummings and freshman Robert Zoeller.
“It always starts with something small, and then it grows into something bigger,” Cummings said when asked about his interest in cross country. This year, Cummings hopes that the team gives it their best and tries as hard as they can to succeed.
The other new addition to the Makos athletic department is the golf team. Coached by physical fitness instructor Ruth Gutierrez, the golf team is a “fresh young team,” according to Gutierrez, that shows great potential. The team’s home course is the local Crandon Park, where they had their first meet on September 2 against Miami Senior High School.
The team is small; the boys team has five players and an alternate, but the girls team only filled three of the five available spots.
When asked if having a really small team would pose a challenge, junior Lucas Pizzutti, the manager of the golf team, said, “Smaller groups are easier to work with and focus on what each player needs to improve on.”
Gutierrez said that the reason for the lack of interest in the golf team was because of lack of communication. The team information was posted on the MAST Academy website over the summer, but not many people saw it. Other students found out about the team after school had begun and showed interest in joining the team, but the roster had already been made.
“Requirements are much more than in say, basketball. Golf is not a popular sport because you need to live near a golf club and be able to afford membership and equipment, not to mention time for training,” Pizzutti said. He hopes that this year’s golf team will set the foundation for future teams.
The golf team was born out of MAST’s need for new sports teams and parental requests for it. The MAST Academy sports department was looking to expand their sports teams, but “the budget did not expand,” Athletic Director Kimberly Eidenire said. Because golf is an inexpensive sport for MAST to maintain because Crandon Golf Park has offered the use of their golf course, a golf team fit the needs and budget of MAST Academy.
Both the golf and cross country teams are wonderful additions to the Makos family and hope to accomplish much in the years to come.