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August 29, 2014 By:
Maccabi Medals Abound for Philly Teen Athletes
Young athletes from Team Philadelphia returned from the 2014 JCC Maccabi Games with quite a collection of medals to show for their teamwork.
Altogether, the Philadelphia delegation counted more than 50 team and individual medals following competitions in Detroit and Cherry Hill, N.J. According to delegation head Marti Berk, the team broke nine Maccabi track and field records.
The Philly teens also won several “midot medals,” given to those seen as going “above and beyond, both in sport and personally,” Berk said. In a way, she said, these were almost better than the gold, silver and bronze medals because “they represent the values of respect, kindness and compassion.”
The JCC Maccabi Games, which happen annually in North America for 13-16 year-olds and feature teams representing a city, rather than a country, were founded in 1982. There are usually three or four host cities every year.
The games returned to the Delaware Valley for the first time since Philadelphia hosted in 2011 as the Jewish community of South Jersey and more specifically, the Katz JCC in Cherry Hill, hosted one set of games during the week of Aug. 10-14. Competitions were also held in Boca Raton, Fla., that week. The following week of Aug. 17-21, more Maccabi athletic competition as well as the JCC Artsfest took place in Detroit.
In South Jersey, more than 1,200 teens representing 30 delegations from the East Coast, Midwest, Rocky Mountains and California, as well as Israel, Mexico and Great Britain, competed in baseball, basketball, swimming, soccer, table tennis, tennis, track and field, lacrosse and dance.
Some of the highlights of those games happened during the 16-and-under basketball competitions. Ten girls basketball teams began round-robin play on Aug. 11. The field was comprised of nine teams from throughout the United States and one team from southern Israel. Due to the summer conflict with Gaza in Israel, the Israeli team was unable to get together to practice for a month preceding the tournament. They appeared rusty as they lost easily to the Philadelphia team.
Israel, however, showed a great ability to aclimatize and went on to win its next three games, joining Philadelphia, South Jersey and Greater Washington in reaching the semi-finals.
On the final day of competition, the gold medal game was an all-Delaware Valley affair with Philadelphia besting South Jersey, 59-46. Greater Washington secured the bronze medal with a 52-26 victory over Israel.
On the boys basketball side in Cherry Hill (Team Philadelphia boys played in Detroit), the talk of the tournament was the first semi-final matchup featuring the No. 4 recruit in the country for the class of 2017: 7 foot 1 Zack Brown of Fort Lauderdale and his teammates faced off against South Jersey. In what many considered an upset, South Jersey won.
South Jersey, the underdog hosts, went on to win by 20 points the gold over Greater Washington. In the consolation game, Fort Lauderdale defeated Orange County to win the bronze.
Philadelphia Delegation Medalat the 2014 JCC Maccabi Games
- Basketball, Girls 16-and-under (Cherry Hill)
- Israeli Large Group Dance, 15-16-year-olds (Detroit)
- Modern Large Group Dance, 15-16-year-olds (Detroit)
- Ben Frisch — two golds in Relay (Cherry Hill)
- Brendan Cantos — three golds in relay (Cherry Hill)
- Colin Harker — seven golds in individual Track and Field plus two in relay (Cherry Hill)
- Devon Polak — six in Swimming (Detroit)
- Emma Velinsky — Swimming (Detroit)
- Gracie Silverstein — Dance Ballet Solo, 13-14-year-old (Detroit)
- Josh Geotz — three golds in individual Track and Field, two in relay (Cherry Hill)
- Meredith Anderer — Dance Lyrical Solo and Dance Open Solo, both 15-16-year-old division (Detroit)
- Morgan Naiberg — Dance Hip Hop Solo, 15-16-year-old (Detroit)
- Paige Silver — Swimming (Detroit)
- Rachel Librett — Dance Modern Solo, 15-16-year-old (Detroit)
- Samantha Barrett — three golds in individual Track and Field and three in relay (Cherry Hill)
- Basketball, Boys 14-and-under (Detroit)
- Basketball, Boys 16-and-under (Detroit)
- Hip-Hop Small Group Dance, 15-16-year-olds (Detroit)
- Lyrical Large Group Dance, 15-16-year-olds (Detroit)
- Soccer, Girls 16-and-under (Detroit)
- Softball, Girls (Detroit)
- Alex Shipon & Brian Kane — Boys 14-and-under Tennis Doubles (Cherry Hill)
- Andrew Calem — Boys 16-and-under Tennis Singles (Cherry Hill)
- Ben Frisch — Relay (Cherry Hill)
- Brendan Cantos — two silvers in individual Track and Field and one in Relay (Cherry Hill)
- Colin Harker — individual Track and Field and Relay (Cherry Hill)
- Devon Polak — four in Swimming (Detroit)
- Josh Geotz — individual Track and Field (Cherry Hill)
- Lizzy Drebin & Chloe Master — Girls 14-and-under Tennis Doubles (Cherry Hill)
- Madeline (Maddie) Rubenstein — Dance Hip Hop Solo, 13-14-year-olds (Detroit)
- In-line Hockey team (Detroit)
- Soccer, Boys 14-and-under (Detroit)
- Alex Woods — Boys 16-and-under Tennis Singles (Cherry Hill)
- Ben Klein — Boys 14-and-under Tennis Singles (Cherry Hill)
- Josh Geotz — two bronze in individual Track and Field (Cherry Hill)
- Melinda (Lindy) Rosen — Dance Jazz Solo 15-16-year-old (Detroit)
- Paige Silver — two in Swimming (Detroit)
- Samantha Barrett — individual Track and Field (Cherry Hill)