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WELLINGTON SEPTEMBER 2021

Bringing You The Best Of Wellington Since 2004

THE MAGAZINE

Our

WELLINGTON

SPORTS COMPLEX

State-Of-The-Art Facility

Plus

Opportunity Nonprofit Empowers Children To Succeed Passion For Sports Runs Deep In The Griesemer Family Dr. Randall Shults Enjoys Creating Beautiful Smiles Take Time To Relax At Kickback Neighborhood Tavern

Chuck Gill

USPTA

Elite Professional


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For location, hours of operation and further details about our award-winning communities, visit MintoUSA.com.

Base price of the home does not include homesite premiums or options and upgrades. ©Minto Communities, LLC 2021. Not an offer where prohibited by state statutes. All rights reserved. Content may not be reproduced, copied, altered, distributed, stored or transferred in any form or by any means without express written permission. Artist’s renderings, dimensions, specifications, prices

and features are approximate and subject to change without Minto, Minto logo, Westlake and the Westlake logoNot are an trademarks of Minto Communities, and/orAll itsrights affiliates. 2021. Content Base price of the home does not include homesite premiums ornotice. options and the upgrades. ©Minto Communities, LLC 2021. offer where prohibited by stateLLC statutes. reserved. may not be reproduced, copied, altered, distributed, stored or transferred in any form or by any means without express written permission. Artist’s renderings, dimensions, specifications, prices and features are approximate and subject to change without notice. Minto, the Minto logo, Westlake and the Westlake logo are trademarks of Minto Communities, LLC and/or its affiliates. 2021.


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September 2021

contents

Features

18

A UNIQUE PARTNERSHIP LEADS TO AN AMAZING NEW SPORTS COMPLEX AT WHS This year’s Our Wellington section opens with a look at the unique sports partnership on display on the campus of Wellington High School. Thanks to a special agreement between the Village of Wellington, the Palm Beach County School District and Wellington High School, the sports facilities at WHS have been improved, upgraded and enhanced. BY MIKE MAY

23

OPPORTUNITY EARLY CHILDHOOD NONPROFIT RAISES CRUCIAL FUNDS THROUGH THE GCC Thanks to the generosity of those in equestrian and bicycling circles, 2021 has been a banner year for the Opportunity Early Childhood Education & Family Center. This Palm Beach County nonprofit works to improve early childhood education. Through the Opportunity Early Childhood Education & Family Center, children of working families are empowered to achieve academic and life success through educational programs and family programming that embrace the whole child. BY MIKE MAY

46

A DEEP PASSION FOR SPORTS RUNS IN THE BLOOD OF THE GRIESEMER COACHING FAMILY The Griesemer family put Pennsylvania in the rearview mirror in the “I Like Ike” days of the 1950s and put down new roots in Palm Beach County. Theirs is a story of loving sports the way only a bench-warmer can, and of passing on that love and hall-of-fame legacy to sons and now grandsons, who have charted their own way over the high school hardwood and Virginia Tech’s turf. BY LOUIS HILLARY PARK

51

55

61

WELLINGTON TENNIS CENTER OFFERS AN ARRAY OF PROGRAMS FOR ALL AGES The state-of-the-art Wellington Tennis Center offers programs for every age group, teaching this sport designed for a lifetime and offering open play and tournament play to all Wellington residents under the direction of Chuck Gill, a USPTA elite professional and longtime Wellington resident.

43

46

SPORTS PROVIDERS OFFER TOP-QUALITY PROGRAMS TO WELLINGTON RESIDENTS This year’s Our Wellington section includes a look at some of the amazing sports providers available here in Wellington. Profiled this issue are the Western Communities Football League; the Wellington Wolves Youth Basketball organization; the Wellington Soccer Club, home of the Wellington Wave; and the Wellington Roller Hockey Association. BY MIKE MAY

37

31

DR. RANDALL SHULTS HAS BEEN TAKING CARE OF LOCAL SMILES FOR THREE DECADES Orthodontist Dr. Randall Shults has been perfecting the smiles of Wellington-area residents for nearly 30 years. Originally from Littleton, Colorado, Shults moved to Wellington in the spring of 1993 and established his practice, Shults Orthodontics, in the community. Shults feels that what sets his practice apart is his evidence-based treatment. BY M. DENNIS TAYLOR

23

on the cover

Wellington Tennis Center Director Chuck Gill has big plans for the facility, which is featured this issue. IMAGE BY KEN D’AGOSTINO/VILLAGE OF WELLINGTON

Departments

WELLINGTON SOCIAL SCENE

12 Wellington’s SWAG Program Provides 17 Summer Internships 14 TAP Presents ‘Shrek’At The Wellington High School Theater 16 Wellington Reception For Colbert Collins Sculpture Exhibit

55 WELLINGTON TABLE If you’re looking for that comfortable hometown feeling merged with great food and entertainment, Kickback Neighborhood Tavern is the place to be, with its mantra,“Eat Local. Drink Local. Stay Local.” BY CALLIE SHARKEY

58 WELLINGTON REAL ESTATE Wellington Real Estate features a stunning home on Stroller Way in the Equestrian Club Estates offering a secluded location with beautiful water views and plenty of light. Massive windows everywhere magnify the fantastic water views.

61 CELEBRATE WELLINGTON

With the objective of bringing art and community together, the Wellington Art Society is celebrating 40 years of doing just that, merging creative excellence and community inspiration with the Wellington spirit of premium quality. BY M. DENNIS TAYLOR

wellington the magazine | september 2021 9


from the

publisher OUR WELLINGTON: EXPLORE THE NEW STATE-OFTHE-ART SPORTS COMPLEX AND SO MUCH MORE! Did someone say tee time? Did you know that along with the beautiful golf courses and amazing sports programs throughout our community, no stone is left unturned for any age, any gender or any competition when it comes to the Village of Wellington. This month, the annual “Our Wellington” September issue explores some of the village’s amazing sports and recreation outlets, along with a look at the new state-of-the-art sports complex at Wellington High School that created a win-win for everyone. On the cover, we reintroduce ourselves to longtime Wellington resident and USPTA Elite Professional Chuck Gill, who took over leadership of the Wellington Tennis Center earlier this year. We feature his plans for the tennis facility in this issue. Also in Our Wellington, we look at some of the community’s wonderful youth sports providers, including the Western Communities Football League, the Wellington Wolves Youth Basketball organization, the Wellington Soccer Club and the Wellington Roller Hockey Association. Elsewhere in this issue, we take a look at how organizations like Wellington’s Great Charity Challenge have helped the Opportunity Early Childhood Education & Family Center continue its crucial mission. We also meet the amazing Griesemer family, which includes three generations of coaches and sporting professionals. Wellington Health profiles longtime local orthodontist Dr. Randall Shults, while Wellington Table samples the elevated tavern fare at Wellington hotspot Kickback Neighborhood Tavern. Wellington Home visits an amazing property in the Equestrian Club Estates presented this month by Jacqueline Abramson. Finally, our Celebrate Wellington series features the Wellington Art Society. As we go to press with this issue of Wellington The Magazine, it is hard not to pause, give gratitude and reflect on all that we are dealing with across the globe and still remain hopeful that we are truly one of the strongest, most resilient countries in the world, and we will always come together in the end. Coming upon the 20th anniversary of 9/11, we must also never forget those we lost. Reflection has been a big part of the last year for me, and has really allowed me to appreciate our community that much more.This month marks my 20th anniversary with our company.The business and community partnerships we have formed are priceless, and the time spent building our company has had its challenges but has been one of the most rewarding parts of my career.This month, we choose sports, as the quest to compete is key in the success of any good company. Yet I echo words from one of the all-time top athletes in the world, Michael Jordan:“Just play. Have Fun. Enjoy the game!”

Dawn Rivera

Dawn Rivera, Publisher

10 september 2021 | wellington the magazine

volume 18, number 9 SEPTEMBER 2021

executive editor Joshua I. Manning

publisher

Dawn Rivera

senior graphic designer Stephanie Rodriguez

graphic designers Nancy Pobiak Yolanda Cernicky

account managers Betty Buglio Evie Edwards Joetta Palumbo

bookkeeping

Jill Kaskel Carol Lieberman

photography Abner Pedraza

contributors

Meredith Burow Erin Davisson Denise Fleischman Melanie Kopacz Mike May Louis Hillary Park Callie Sharkey M. Dennis Taylor Deborah Welky

WELLINGTON Bringing You The Best Of Wellington Since 2004

THE MAGAZINE

12794 W. Forest Hill Blvd., Suite 33 Wellington, FL 33414 Phone: (561) 793-7606 Fax: (561) 793-1470 www.wellingtonthemagazine.com

published by

Wellington The Magazine. LLC

chairman/ceo

Barry S. Manning Wellington The Magazine is published monthly in Wellington, Florida. Copyright 2021, all rights reserved by Wellington The Magazine, LLC. Contents may not be reproduced in any form without the written consent of the publisher. The publisher reserves the right to refuse advertising. The publisher accepts no responsibility for advertisement errors beyond the cost of the portion of the advertisement occupied by the error within the advertisement itself. The publisher accepts no responsibility for submitted materials. All submitted materials subject to editing.


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wellington | social scene

PHOTOS BY DENISE FLEISCHMAN

WELLINGTON’S SWAG PROGRAM PROVIDES 17 SUMMER INTERNSHIPS

SWAG program participants and supporters at the Aug. 3 ceremony.

Students Working to Achieve Greatness (SWAG) is a Village of Wellington program that serves high school students by teaching them career readiness skills and helping them network within the community. Since its inception, approximately 50 students have received paid summer internships through the program.This year, 17 students took part in summer internships. They were saluted at a SWAG program graduation ceremony held Tuesday,Aug. 3.This summer’s program participants included Kyle Balfour, Mariangel Barboza, Erika Beckard,Angela Page Camacho, Stacey Domingue,Valentina Ezcurra, Melik Frederick, McKenzie Henry, Margaret Hunt, Jordan Jackson, Jovenah Kayla, Victoria Loredan, Wyaussi Morin, Morgann Rhule, Leylani Sime, David Usher and Hermione Williams.

(Left to right) Melik Frederick, Hermione Williams, McKenzie Henry, Community Services Director Paulette Edwards, Wellington High School teacher Nancy Toussaint, Victoria Loredan and Margaret Hunt; the Crowned Pearls of Wellington supported the program. (L-R) Gloria Coleman, Alma Henry Morman, Marcia Hayden, Paulette Edwards, Geneva Pettis-Hassell, Penelope Rahman and Mable King; Councilman Michael Drahos, School Board Member Marcia Andrews, Wellington Education Committee Chair Jay Webber, Councilwoman Tanya Siskind and Councilman Michael Napoleone; and Carol and Dale Balfour, Joyce Stewart, Kyle Balfour, Mabel King and Kaden Balfour.

(Left to right) Kelley Burke, McKenzie Henry, Kyle Balfour and Lisa Wilson; Darren Edgecomb, Karen Whetsell, Vivian Green, Area Superintendent Valerie Zuloaga-Haines and School Board Member Marcia Andrews; Councilman Michael Napoleone, Margaret Hunt and Alma Henry Morman; and Councilwoman Tanya Siskind, Jordan Jackson and Penelope Rahman.

(Left to right) Councilman Michael Drahos, Leylani Sime and Mabel King; Councilman Michael Drahos, Stacey Dominigue and Geneva Pettis-Hassell; Councilman Michael Napoleone, Valentina Ezcurra and Gloria Coleman; Councilwoman Tanya Siskind, Hermione Williams and Marcia Hayden; and Councilman Michael Napoleone, Kyle Balfour, Geneva Pettis-Hassell and Paulette Edwards.

Councilwoman Tanya Siskind, Wyaussi Morin and Carla Little-Griffiths; Councilman Michael Napoleone, McKenzie Henry and Geneva Pettis-Hassell; Councilman Michael Drahos, David Usher and Geneva Pettis-Hassell; Councilwoman Tanya Siskind, Mariangel Barboza and Alma Henry Morman; Councilman Michael Drahos, Melik Frederick and Marcia Hayden; and Councilman Michael Napoleone, Victoria Loredan and Gloria Coleman.

12 september 2021 | wellington the magazine


wellington | social scene

PHOTOS BY ERIN DAVISSON

TAP PRESENTS ‘SHREK’ AT THE WELLINGTON HIGH SCHOOL THEATER

Theatre Arts Productions (TAP) presented Shrek The Musical between Aug. 13 and Aug. 15 at the Wellington High School theater. The actors on stage ranged in age from 6 to 68.After a difficult year, Director Jaycie Cohen was happy to get back to performances. “It’s magical and amazing to bring everyone together,” she said. TAP’s next performance will be The Addams Family in October. For more information, call (561) 568-8659 or visit www.tapstars.org.

(Left to right) Cameron Pomeroy, Jessie Hoffman, Grace Cavin and Jasmine Wright; Gabriella Farrell, Director Jaycie Cohen and Marlo Cohen; Mattheau Monzo, Juliana Priddy, Penelope Perez, Richard Estime, Ash Herrmann, Sydney Bator, Anthony Osario, Michelle Gonzalez, Noemi Koble, Stella and Sutter Taglieri, Melodie Romano and Oliver Koble; and Princess Fiona waits in her tower.

(Left to right) Gabriella Farrell, Julianna Fawlew, Ainsley Alder, Carianne Tummino, Zailyn Martinez, Franklin Rodriguez, Julianna Farrell, Damian Ilimaleota, Rachel Ireland and Adriana Takvorian; Donkey and Shrek meet Lord Farquaad; Shrek interrupts the wedding; and the cast takes a bow at the end of the show.

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wellington | social scene

PHOTOS BY DENISE FLEISCHMAN

WELLINGTON RECEPTION FOR COLBERT COLLINS SCULPTURE EXHIBIT

The Village of Wellington hosted a reception for the most recent installment of the Art in Public Places community initiative Thursday, July 22 at the Wellington Community Center.The reception highlighted the work of sculptor Colbert C. Collins, a former Wellington resident. Michael Collins, the artist’s son, spoke at the reception. Collins was a Wellington resident from 1977 to 2009. His sculptures reflect an inner vision that life is “a discovery of the inherent design and relationship between all things.” Four of his sculptures are on display at the Wellington Community Center, the Wellington Municipal Complex and at the entrance to Palm Beach Little Ranches, where Collins lived. Learn more about his work at www.colbertccollinssculptures.com.

(Left to right) Michael Collins with “Storytime,” designed by Michael Collins and created by Colbert Collins; Lois Spatz, Susan Oakes, Tammy Wolfson, Susan Mosely, Laura Jaffe, Michael Collins, Jan Riggio and Carol India; Andrea Lincoln and Jan Riggio lived across the street from the Collins family in Palm Beach Little Ranches; and Susan Oakes, Susan Mosely, Michael Collins and Laura Jaffe.

(Left to right) Lois Spatz and Sarah Palmer with “Passages-Breaking the Glass Ceiling” by Colbert Collins, showcased at PBIA; Ian Williams, Markus Lockhart, Michelle Garvey, Paulette Edwards and Gemeeka Morris; Samantha Hill, Hatsumi Hill and Jim Mantrozos with “Waltzing” by Colbert Collins; and Michael Collins, Nancy Tilles and Leslie Pfeiffer with “Storyteller,” created by Colbert Collins in honor of his wife Shirley, director of children’s programs for the Palm Beach County Library System.

Our goal at Shults Orthodontics is to help our patients achieve more attractive and healthier smiles with minimal discomfort and inconvenience. We are committed to serving you and your children efficiently in our comfortable family-centered practice in Wellington, Florida. Established in 1993 - Designed specifically To Provide Exceptional Orthodontic Patient Care

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Field.

Of Dreams. Award-winning Arden is a new concept in residential living. Where every day in our Agrihood is filled with a never-ending supply of what makes life special. 500 acres of parks and trails for a healthy, happy life. A working farm where you can share in the bounty. Glorious Lakehouse with two resort-style pools, fitness center and more. And of course, a wide array of homes with prices for every pocketbook from the mid $300s to $900s.

Welcome to the Agrihood 561.566.5953 | ArdenFL.com 660 Arden Lake Way | Wellington, FL 33470

Ryan Homes | Lennar | D.R. Horton Materials are protected by copyright, trademark, and other intellectual property laws. All rights in these materials are reserved. All products and company names marked as trademarked (™) or registered (®) are trademarks of their respective holders. Copying, reproduction and distribution of materials without prior written consent of Freehold Communities is strictly prohibited. All information, plans, and pricing are subject to change without notice. This information does not represent a specific offer of sale or solicitation to purchase property within Arden. Models do not reflect racial preference.


SPORTS COMPLEX A WIN-WIN

Unique Partnership Leads To The Creation Of A New Sports Complex At Wellington High School

BY MIKE MAY

A unique sports partnership is on full display on the campus of Wellington High School. Thanks to a special agreement between the Village of Wellington, the Palm Beach County School District and Wellington High School, the sports facilities at WHS have been improved, upgraded and enhanced. While the immediate beneficiaries will be the athletic department and the student-athletes at the high school, the residents of Wellington get free access 18

september 2021 | wellington the magazine

to these new facilities as well when the many Wolverine teams are not playing or practicing. For this new sports complex to become a reality, the Palm Beach County School District provided the land and the Village of Wellington paid for the facility to be built. The price tag was $12 million. In order for the village to spend public funds on the WHS campus, the school district had to agree to share the facilities with the general public. It be-

came a win-win for all parties involved. In June, a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the facility took place, which officially opened the multi-use sports complex to the general public and to the Wolverines’ athletic program. The first phase of the new sports complex was completed last summer when the new synthetic turf football field opened at WHS. The Wolverines’ football team, soccer teams and lacrosse teams used the field for home games


Our

WELLINGTON

during the 2020-21 school year. This field has permanent markings for those three sports. The other new sports facilities at WHS include eight tennis courts, of which four have pickleball lines, four adjoining multi-purpose fields, three basketball courts, two new batting cages, a kickback wall, a running track and a new building that has two concession stands, bathrooms and a meeting room. According to Wellington Parks &

Recreation Director Eric Juckett, many sports will be played on the massive multi-purpose fields, such as flag football, lacrosse, rugby, soccer and outdoor tournaments that are held in Wellington at various times throughout the year. Wellington Vice Mayor John McGovern is thrilled to see this new sports complex open and being used by the public. “It is going to be a great addition for the community,” McGovern said. “It is

spectacular, and I think that it is going to be a tremendous addition to our parks and recreation inventory.” Juckett noted that this sports complex puts Wellington on a different level when compared to other municipalities in Palm Beach County. “We are truly excited to bring this facility to our residents,” Juckett said. “It creates at-will recreation opportunities, and it will be a direct benefit to the students and residents of the village.” wellington the magazine | september 2021 19


(Above and right) On June 16, a dedication ceremony was held for the new sports complex at Wellington High School.

“It is spectacular, and I think that it is going to be a tremendous addition to our parks and recreation inventory.” — Vice Mayor John McGovern Juckett said that everybody he has spoken with about this unique recreational complex is delighted with what has been accomplished. “I honestly have not heard anything negative,” Juckett said. “It has all been very positive and in awe of the complex that was built, along with the relationship we have with the Palm Beach 20

september 2021 | wellington the magazine

County School District and, specifically, Wellington High School.” According to Juckett,Wellington residents will have access to open play on the tennis courts and basketball courts during the Village of Wellington hours of use. The fall/spring hours are Monday through Friday from 6 to 10 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to

8 p.m. The summer hours are Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Village of Wellington programming will take priority to open play by the general public. To learn more about Village of Wellington recreation programs, visit www.wellingtonfl.gov/recreation.


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Our

WELLINGTON

IT’S ALL ABOUT TEAMWORK AT THE WCFL Western Communities Football League Has Been Providing High-Quality Programs For 30 Years BY MIKE MAY

The Western Communities Football League has been providing quality sports programs to residents of the Wellington area since 1992.Youngsters ages 4 to 15 play football and participate in a cheerleading program at the football fields at Village Park in Wellington. Because of COVID-19, it was all quiet last fall on the gridirons at Village Park, but now tackle football and cheerleading are back, and athletic life on Village Park’s football fields is returning to normal. Whether it’s tackle football or cheerleading, the WCFL’s goal is to teach each participant about the importance of

teamwork, good sportsmanship, self-esteem and trust while promoting healthy minds and healthy bodies, making friends, demonstrating self-control and learning to follow directions while having fun. According to WCFL President KC Jones, the mission is to promote the enjoyment and involvement of football for players, coaches, cheerleaders and parents. There are five tackle football age divisions within the WCFL. The youngest group is Ultimate, which is for ages 5 to 7. The per person weight limit is 85.9 pounds. The next group is Prep, which

is for ages 8 and 9, with a per person weight limit of 110.9 pounds.The third group is Varsity, which is for ages 11 and 12, with a per person weight limit of 125.9 pounds. The fourth group is Pro, which is for ages 12 and 13, with a per person weight limit of 145.9 pounds, but participants can play while weighing as much as 165 pounds. The oldest age group is High School Prep, which is for ages 14 and 15. There is no weight limit in that division. WCFL practices are always held on the Village Park football fields.To get involved, the per person registration cost is $299.99. wellington the magazine | september 2021 23


The WCFL Board of Directors: (Front row) Vice President Marc Basis, Craig Ross and Rochener Seraphin; and (back row) James Hickman, Mike Paul, President KC Jones and Richard Leventhal.

In addition to being assigned to a team, each football player is provided a game and practice jersey, game pants with integrated pads, socks and a video of all the games. Safety is a top priority for the league. The WCFL is a certified USA Football Heads Up league. USA Football is the national governing body for amateur American football. USA Football has worked with leaders in both medicine

and sport across the country to create a full-featured program that any league or school can use to address key safety issues and ensure that every coach understands and knows how to implement each component of the program. Last spring, the league offered a girls flag football program for the first time. All football and cheerleading coaches undergo a background check before taking the field with a team or a squad.

Coaches, WCFL board members and team parents are all volunteers. When it comes to cheerleading, the WCFL is focused on participation. The program promotes healthy minds and healthy bodies, making friends, demonstrating self-control, learning to follow directions and, most importantly, to have fun. Regardless of age and ability, the WCFL has a cheer squad for everyone. The WCFL cheer program does not hold tryouts; space on the squads is on a first-come, first-served basis, and is limited by the number of volunteer coaches. Cheerleaders are taught the fundamentals of cheerleading and some advanced skills. All levels of experience are welcome, from beginner to elite. The program allows youngsters to meet new people, make new friends, gain self-confidence and increase their self-esteem in a friendly environment. Visit www.wcflfootball.com to learn more about the Western Communities Football League.

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WELLINGTON

CHASING HOOP DREAMS AT VILLAGE PARK Wellington Wolves Organization Offers Players Basketball And So Much More

BY MIKE MAY

(Left to right) Max Fratalia, Trent Frazier and Wellington Wolves President Chris Fratalia; Landin McCoy on the court for the Wolves; the eighth grade girls team includes Aubrey Beckham, Jade Jones, Sophia Kateris, Skylar Turk, Breanna Custodio, Julia Vazquez, Jayla Midget and Janiah Suprius.

Since 2002, young area basketball players have had the good fortune to access one of the most well-organized youth travel basketball programs in the country. It’s the Wellington Wolves Youth Basketball organization based at Village Park. Under the leadership of Chris Fratalia, the Wellington Wolves president for the last 12 years, the league currently has 17 different youth basketball teams serving both boys and girls. The youngest players are in the third grade, and the oldest players are in the 11th grade.

Each team has an average roster size of 11 players, which means the Wolves have nearly 200 players under their supervision on an annual basis. Aside from local travel, some Wellington Wolves teams will travel across the United States to compete. For instance, earlier this summer, the Eighth Grade Boys Gold team played in a showcase event in Las Vegas. That team placed eighth out of 97 teams. Playing for the Wolves can be an avenue for taking your game to a higher level. For instance, two of the more

well-known graduates of the Wellington Wolves are current University of Illinois senior point guard Trent Frazier and current NBA superstar John Collins with the Atlanta Hawks. According to Fratalia, four eighth-grade girls playing in the league — Jade Jones, Sophia Kateris,Aubrey Beckham and Janiah Suprius — have already been offered scholarships, upon graduation from high school, to Florida Atlantic University. The Wolves also host one of the more popular travel basketball tournaments in the country. wellington the magazine | september 2021 27


The Eighth Grade Boys Gold team recently played a showcase event in Las Vegas, placing eighth out of 97 teams. The families had a photo opportunity in front of the Las Vegas sign.

The event is called March Madness and is planned for the second weekend of March next year. For this event, teams come from all over the state and nation. According to Fratalia, he and his staff have been recognized for conducting one of the best-run tournaments in the country. This tournament is so well known that a girls basketball team from Maine made the trek to Wellington to compete. The traditional basketball seasons for the Wolves are the end of November un-

28 september 2021 | wellington the magazine

til early June for third through eighth graders. For high-school-age players, the season runs from early March until the end of July. One of more dynamic aspects of the Wellington Wolves is its Council of Dads program, under the tutelage of John Sitomer. The program started about two years ago before being put on hold during the pandemic.According to Sitomer, he hopes the Council of Dads program will be reinstated this fall. The Council of Dads is a hands-on, inperson, one-on-one academic program that provides academic assistance, guidance and tutoring to athletes who play for the Wolves and need some assistance in the classroom with their studies. “With the Council of Dads, we sharpen the academic skills of our players, while the coaches help sharpen their basketball skills,” Sitomer said. “We want our players to be known as true student-athletes and not just as basketball players.”

Sitomer and his board members on the Council of Dads have been working with students from the King’s Academy, who provide the one-on-one academic assistance. “We have a tremendous arrangement with TKA,” Sitomer said. “During pre-COVID times, the students, mostly juniors and seniors from TKA, met twice a week with many of our players. Our athletes have become better students, and the TKA students get community service hours. It’s a win-win.” Last season, the student instructors from TKA used online resources to connect with the athletes from the Wellington Wolves. “A Zoom connection is helpful, but there’s nothing like a personal presence for a tutor,” Sitomer said.“We hope to return to in-person learning this fall.” Visit www.wellingtonwolves.com to learn more about the Wellington Wolves.


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WELLINGTON

TAKING SOCCER TO THE NEXT LEVEL Wellington Wave Program Offers Training And Tournaments For Competitive Players

BY MIKE MAY

If you have a goal of playing soccer at a high level, then Wellington has an outlet for you to reach your goal. It’s the Wellington Soccer Club, the Village of Wellington’s recognized provider for travel soccer. The WSC is dedicated to technical and tactical player development, united team dynamics and teaching the solid game fundamentals necessary for every player to reach his or her greatest potential.All teams are trained by appropriately licensed, professional club coaches to properly adapt the training program provided to them by Director of Coaching Patrick Zoete. The teams practice and play home games at Wellington’s Village Park.

“The Wellington youth program must be synonymous with attractive, inspired, intelligent and daring soccer,” Zoete said. According to Zoete, excellence on the soccer field is the direct result of player development during practice and training sessions. Throughout the year, Zoete and his coaching staff focus on improving the technical and tactical abilities of every player, individual player development in a team concept, encouraging the specific talent and creativity of each player, and enhancing the individual ability of players in a game and team setting. As players move up from one age group to another, the coaching philosophy of every level has a written curricu-

lum that is specific to the development of the player. Every coach’s long-term goal is to prepare the player to successfully recognize and solve the challenges of the game of soccer on his or her own. The WSC, whose teams are known as the Wellington Wave, cater to children from age groups Under 8 to Under 19. The travel/competitive soccer season starts on Aug. 1 every year and concludes on May 31 of the following year. In addition to the coaching that players receive in a team setting, individual coaching sessions can be arranged with two of the league’s licensed coaches, Zoete and Marcone Oliveira. These private coaching sessions can be booked at doc@wellingtonsoccer.com. wellington the magazine | september 2021 31


The Wellington Soccer Club offers a highquality travel program for boys and girls.

The expert coaching staff can also provide specific training on how to be an outstanding goalkeeper. While player and skill development are at the core of the league’s overall mission, this organization also places player safety on the same level. In today’s COVID-19 world, the club has drafted a list of safety guidelines that it expects its coaches, players and parents to follow. At the top of the list is the mandatory requirement that coaches wear masks during all practices and games, since it is their responsibility to ensure the health and safety of players in attendance. As for players who enjoy group celebrations, hugs, high fives and handshakes, for now, are a thing of the past. Players are told to not share equipment, water or snacks, and they are instructed to place their kits bags and equipment at least six feet apart. Learn more about many programs of the Wellington Soccer Club, at www. wellingtonsoccer.com.

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WELLINGTON

WRHA RULES THE RINK IN WELLINGTON Wellington Roller Hockey Association’s Fall Season Gets Underway This Month

BY MIKE MAY

(Left to right) Wellington Roller Hockey Team Panthers; the Bruins in action against the Panthers; and Wellington Roller Hockey Team Bruins.

The Wellington Roller Hockey Association, an official Village of Wellington sports provider, is gearing up for its 27th season. Typically, the players are 5 to 18 years old and are divided into three programs: Prep for ages 6 to 13, Juniors for ages 13 to 18 and Learn to Skate for beginner skaters of all ages. The league year typically starts in September/October and runs through early March. Registration for the fall program will begin on Sept. 12. According to WRHA Vice President Stuart Warszycki, the group provides a

great and affordable athletic opportunity for local children. “With weekly practices and 15 to 20 games per season, we pride ourselves on being the best deal in town at $150 per skater or $125 with a sibling discount,” Warszycki said. “We have playoffs and a prep skills competition late in the year. Our league plays out of Village Park. Some players in our league also play ice hockey at Skate Zone, with several advanced skaters playing on the travel team.” According to Warszycki, the league has been averaging 80 to 90 players

over the last five years, but the league saw a dip last year due to the pandemic. However, the registration numbers so far this year are ahead of last year’s pace. Having a good attitude is the foundation for success with the WRHA. Sportsmanship is a key theme, and all players, parents and coaches sign a code of ethics at the start of each season. A few tenets from the player covenant include promises to participate with good sportsmanship at every practice and game, working hard to do well in school, and remembering that lose or win, it’s about how they play that matters. wellington the magazine | september 2021 35


In support of the importance of good sportsmanship, one individual on each team is recognized with a sportsmanship trophy at the end of the season. According to Warszycki, the recipient of this award is typically not the most advanced skater, but the one who shows up for all practices, doesn’t complain and is a good teammate. The WRHA, a nonprofit organization, is strongly committed to supporting the residents of Wellington. “Although COVID-19 disrupted us a bit last year, the league historically has done several Wellington street cleanups each season,” Warszycki said. “Our rink concession stand also offers an opportunity for middle school and high school kids to get volunteer hours.” One of the biggest supporters of the WRHA is part-time Wellington resident Jeremy Jacobs, the owner of the National Hockey League’s Boston Bruins. Jacobs has, in the past, provided jerseys as

The Wellington Roller Hockey Association Team Blues at the Village Park rink.

well as financial support for the WRHA. In addition, the WRHA receives sponsorships from local businesses which, in exchange for an advertising fee, receive a full-season advertisement on the boards around the rink. The WRHA does sponsor a travel team, known as the Wellington Prowl-

ers. “The Prowlers have proudly represented us at several national-level hockey tournaments,” WRHA President Ruben Arteaga said. “Right now, we are looking for a coach who can dedicate time for the travel team.” Learn more about the league at www.wellingtonrollerhockey.com.

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WELLINGTON

A SPORT FOR A LIFETIME

(Inset) Director of Tennis Chuck Gill on the viewing deck overlooking the Wellington Tennis Center. (Above) The facility has 21 state-of-the-art clay courts. PHOTOS BY KEN D’AGOSTINO/VILLAGE OF WELLINGTON

Wellington Tennis Center Offers A Wide Array Of Programs For Children Through Seniors

The state-of-the-art Wellington Tennis Center, located on Lyons Road, offers programs for every age group, teaching this sport designed for a lifetime and offering open play and tournament play to all Wellington residents. Director of Tennis Chuck Gill, a USPTA elite professional and a longtime Wellington resident, took over as leader of the facility earlier this year, bringing with him a lifetime of tennis expertise. “I have been teaching tennis and running tennis operations since I left college,” Gill said.“Serendipitously, my graduation was timed with the peak of the tennis boom, and I started with a management company that operated tennis resorts and clubs. Early on, I had enough business acumen to be successful in the

business of tennis. I knew that I loved the game and wanted to be involved in this business. After working at several top resorts, I landed at the Club at Ibis, where I spent the last 24 years growing the program and eventually being the director of sports, where I oversaw tennis, fitness, aquatics and spa.” Along the way, Gill has been an active tennis volunteer and served as president of the United States Professional Tennis Association, as well as serving on many United States Tennis Association boards and committees. “Since I began playing tennis at public tennis centers and high schools as a kid, returning to lead a public tennis operation is coming full circle for me,” he said. “I have lived in Wellington for

24 years and always had tennis-playing friends in Wellington.When the position opened up, I was so impressed with the village’s commitment to tennis.” He lauded the Wellington Village Council and the village staff for having the vision and foresight to build the current Wellington Tennis Center in 2015. Tennis was previously housed at the old Wellington Community Center before that building was razed and rebuilt. “We have 21 beautiful clay courts with state-of-the-industry underground irrigation,” Gill said. “We also have a clubhouse, pro shop and viewing deck that allows our players to have all of the amenities of a private tennis club at a public tennis center.” wellington the magazine | september 2021 37


The facility opened in style on June 9, 2015 with an appearance by Venus Williams. “We have a vibrant and growing junior program for kids of all levels and ages, a complete ladies team program, as well as an active group of men of all ages who frequent the courts,” Gill said. Thousands of players visit the tennis center each year. “Our junior program starts children as early as age five for our Red Ball program.We have some seniors who are knocking on 90 years young,” Gill said.“Our ladies teams have soccer moms, grandmas and proudly, a few great-grandparents. That is one of the best things about tennis — it is truly the sport of a lifetime.” The Wellington Tennis Center also hosts tournaments, league play, junior events and more, so new players are always visiting to see all that the facility has to offer. Fees to use the facility are low when compared to similar tennis centers.

The Wellington Tennis Center has lessons available for players of all ages and skill levels.

38 september 2021 | wellington the magazine

“Being a public facility, our goal is to be inclusive and have everyone able to experience tennis, so price should not be a barrier to play,” Gill said.“Daily court fees start at $12 per person, and annual permits are in the $400 to $500 range per person, and less than $700 for a family. For active players, it is the best value anywhere!” Gill and his staff offer group and private lessons to all levels. “Cardio tennis and our INTense Hitting session are extremely popular,” he said.“We also offer a ‘love to learn, love to play’ program to help new and returning players get back into tennis and meet others of the same level. Information on all of our programs can be found online or in person at the tennis shop.” The Wellington Tennis Center caters to players of all levels, “If you are an avid player, there are several players who were world-class players and some who currently represent the United States in world com-

petitions. The tennis center is also frequented by players who were former college players and played on the ATP or WTA tour,” Gill said. “Of course, our base of players and the vast majority of players are recreational level and enjoy playing socially and local league tennis. Our leagues range from the higher levels in Palm Beach County, to the entry level and everything in between.” He is expecting a full calendar of tennis events planned over the upcoming year. “For the first time, we will be hosting a USTA National Championship this fall for the USTA national father/ daughter and mother/son tournament,” Gill said. “We will also be hosting matches for the ITF world senior championships next spring when the world’s best senior players visit South Florida. We will be hosting monthly events for juniors with USTA events, and we will be running UTR [Universal Tennis Rating] events as well.These are great opportunities for some of our residents to sample high-level competition without needing to travel around the country.” Gill’s goal is to make every Wellington tennis player feel at home at their local facility. “We want to welcome everyone here,” he said. “If you are a local permit holder, this should feel like your home club. If you are visiting for a tournament or event, you should feel equally welcomed. For our youngest players, this should be the place for them to have a great first experience in a sport that they will hopefully play forever. It all starts with a happy and relaxed environment with happy coaches and staff who welcome you to the center each time. If we can be that type of place, we will be successful.” The Wellington Tennis Center is located at 3100 Lyons Road. For more information, call (561) 791-4775 or visit www.wellingtonfl.gov/tennis.


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NEW BOOSTERS GROUP RAISES $5,000 Wellington Football Foundation Created To Support The Sport In The Community

A new organization has been created to support football programs serving the Wellington community. The Wellington Football Foundation was recently formed as an independent Florida nonprofit corporation to promote and support recreational and scholastic football programs for children of all ages and genders in the Wellington community. The foundation has filed an application with the U.S. Internal Revenue Service seeking to be recognized as a charitable and tax-exempt entity. The WFF is led by a board of directors made up of dedicated community residents, including Sam Logan, Bryan Raymond, Andrew Mack, Angela Logan, Ted Miloch and Brittany Russell. There are no paid positions at the all-volunteer organization. In addition to financial support of football programs, the foundation believes strongly in the value of community service. The Wellington Football Foundation will promote and provide opportunities for players and interested community members to give back to the Wellington community through volunteerism. The WFF’s goals for the remainder of 2021 include raising funds to replace aging and out-of-date equipment for Wellington High School’s football programs

(Front row) Liz Wilson and Brittany Russell; and (back row) Coach Danny Mendoza, Jacob Logan, Angela Logan, Sam Logan, Bryan Raymond and Andrew Mack.

and renovate sports-related equipment rooms. Looking toward 2022 and beyond, the foundation will provide scholarships for players in both school and recreational programs to assist families who may have difficulty in paying participation fees.This will help make sure that no child is prevented from participating in the sport of football due to an inability to pay participation fees. The Wellington Football Foundation’s first project was the renovation of the Wellington High School concession stand.The concession stand now sports a fresh coat of paint on the floors and tables, has been decluttered and is ready for the 2021 season.

The Wellington Football Foundation is led by a board of directors made up of dedicated community residents, including Sam Logan, Bryan Raymond, Andrew Mack, Angela Logan, Ted Miloch and Brittany Russell. There are no paid positions at the all-volunteer organization. wellington the magazine | september 2021 41


(Top left) Coach Danny Mendoza, Brad Riddle, Scott Riddle and Bryan Raymond. (Bottom left) Coach Danny Mendoza with Chad, Collin, Cameron and Eric Romano.

The WFF’s first major fundraiser was held on Saturday, July 31 at the Madison Green Country Club, when 54 golfers participated in the Wellington Football Foundation’s inaugural golf classic. Several sponsors supported the tournament and together raised $5,000. This money will be donated to the WHS football program weightlifting room renovation project. The title sponsor for the tournament was the Blue Team, a commercial property service company. Other sponsors included Luxe Custom Airbrush Tanning, Express Seamless Gutters, Bryan M. Raymond Esq., Palm Beach Sports, Beauty on the Spot, the Romano Law Group and Peter Arianas for Congress. The group also thanks Scott Stowell, the golf director at Madison Green, and

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WFF Board Member Bryan Raymond for working tirelessly to make the tournament happen with little notice. Board members Andrew Mack, Sam Logan, Brittany Russell and Angela Logan were on hand to make sure everything ran smoothly. Liz Wilson, Jacob Logan, Eva Mack and Jadyn Mack volunteered to work at the tournament, and everyone’s contribution made the event a resounding success. The group’s next event will be a poker tournament, and there are more ideas to involve the community in future projects and fundraisers. For more information about the Wellington Football Foundation, visit www.wellingtonfootballfoundation. com. You can also find the organization on Instagram and Facebook @wellingtonfootballfoundation.

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EMPOWERING CHILDREN TO SUCCEED

The Opportunists bicycling team at the starting line in Oceanside, California.

Wellington’s Great Charity Challenge Helps Opportunity Early Childhood Education & Family Center Raise Crucial Funds BY MIKE MAY

Thanks to the generosity of those in equestrian and bicycling circles, 2021 has been a banner year for the Opportunity Early Childhood Education & Family Center. This Palm Beach County nonprofit works to improve early childhood education. Through the Opportunity Early Childhood Education & Family Center, children of working families are empowered to achieve academic and life success through educational programs

and family programming that embrace the whole child. Opportunity has been serving children and their families in the Palm Beaches since 1939. Earlier this year, the nonprofit was awarded $18,000 from the Wellington-based Great Charity Challenge, presented by Fidelity Investments. And this summer, a group of four cyclists, known as the Opportunists, participated in a cross-country bicycle race to raise money for Opportunity.

This was the first time that Opportunity had applied to be part of the GCC program, which has been distributing money to Palm Beach County nonprofit groups since 2009.To date, $15.9 million has been awarded. According to GCC Executive Director Anne Caroline Valtin, Opportunity applied to be part of the GCC program, and its application was approved.There is always a vetting process for the charities. wellington the magazine | september 2021 43


(Above) Students outside the Opportunity Early Childhood Education & Family Center. (Top right) Kathy Petrillo shows kids her bicycle. (Bottom right) Petrillo in a classroom at Opportunity.

“We request for all benefitting nonprofits to provide us with an ‘intended fund use’ prior to receiving funding, along with quarterly updates for a full calendar year,”Valtin said. Being approved to participate in the GCC doesn’t mean that a nonprofit will always get funding.There is also a bit of luck involved. Following the vetting process, all qualified applicants are assigned balls in a lottery drum. The balls are then randomly pulled from the drum to see which nonprofits will receive funding through the GCC. On Dec. 14, 2020, Palm Beach County Commissioner Maria Marino pulled Opportunity’s ball from the lottery drum. It was the luck of the draw, as they say. For transparency purposes, all drawings are shared live via social media. Once Opportunity’s ball was selected, it was time to align it with an equestrian funding partner, along with riders, who rode for Opportunity at the 2021 Great Charity Challenge, held Saturday, Feb. 6. “As the event is a relay-style show jumping competition, each randomly selected nonprofit is paired with a 44 september 2021 | wellington the magazine

team and corporate sponsor,” Valtin explained. “Team sponsors assign three riders, who compete on behalf of their assigned nonprofit with a chance of winning anywhere between $15,000 and up to $100,000, depending on their performance. Opportunity was assigned to one of our new team sponsors, the Eppinger Family, along with Starwyn Farms, a longtime corporate sponsor.These sponsors are what make the event possible through their generous donations. The Eppinger Family’s team of riders competed representing Opportunity and earned them $18,000.” According to Opportunity’s Executive Director Ali Eger, the $18,000 GCC grant was much appreciated. “The $18,000 was used to support our early childhood education program and to provide scholarship assistance to families struggling with the challenges presented by the pandemic,” Eger said. According to Valtin, the $18,000 awarded to Opportunity was part of an overall $1.1 million allotment of funding, which was distributed in various amounts to 49 Palm Beach County nonprofit organizations in 2021, thanks to

the generous support of 64 sponsors, donors and partners. Since Opportunity was able to put this year’s GCC grant to good use, the nonprofit is already preparing to apply to take part in next year’s GCC. With a bit of luck, perhaps they’ll come away with the top prize. Learn more about the GCC program at www.greatcharitychallenge.com. The equestrian program was not the only big win for Opportunity this year. The cross-country fundraising effort by four cyclists generated $100,000. In mid-June, four local bicyclists participated in the 39th Race Across America (RAAM) in support of Opportunity. The race is 3,069 miles long and is often used by participants to raise money for charities throughout the United States.The Opportunists also rode in the race in support of Opportunity in 2017, 2018 and 2019. On Saturday, June 19, the four cyclists — Kathy Petrillo, Matt Shippee, Chris Huffman and Michel Chabot — left Oceanside, California, and headed east for Annapolis, Maryland. Two members of the support crew were Chris Benkley of Royal Palm Beach and Theresa Goulet


Riders Katie Eppinger, Luis Fernando Larrazabel and Madeline McDermott dressed as groundbreaking American women while riding for the Opportunity Early Childhood Education & Family Center at the 2021 Great Charity Challenge, presented by Fidelity Investments, in Wellington. Since 2009, the GCC has distributed more than $15.9 million to 276 Palm Beach County nonprofit organizations. Visit www.greatcharitychallenge.com to learn more. PHOTOS BY LOIS SPATZ

from The Acreage. Along the way, they traveled through 12 states — California, Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Maryland. While the squad featured four bicyclists, only one rode at any given time. In essence, it was a team relay race. “We had three race vans and one RV,” Huffman explained. “So, with four people, the racers split into pairs. Two racers were on for 12 hours and the other two racers rested.” By working in two-person teams, the Opportunists covered more mileage in less time. “The way the two-racer shift worked is that we went faster by being on the bike for half an hour at a time, and then we switched with the other racer who would race for a half hour,” Huffman said.“So, during a 12-hour shift, each racer did a dozen 30-minute shifts for a total of six hours on the bike.” For the journey, their overall average speed was 19.26 miles per hour. On average, the Opportunists covered 462 miles each day. Throughout the trip, the four cyclists dressed and worked as teammates. “We had custom jerseys and bibs with our sponsor logos, team name and, of course, Opportunity printed on them,” Huffman said. Throughout the race, the Opportunists were in touch with their nonprofit beneficiary. “We sent videos during the race and

did some Facebook Live and FaceTime with the kids,” Huffman recalled. “They followed us along the route, and they were our biggest cheerleaders.” Although this was the team’s fourth year making the coast-to-coast journey, Petrillo, an experienced competitive cyclist, was the first woman to join the team. The foursome set a goal to finish the race in six days, 18 hours, a full day less than the previous trips. When the Opportunists finished the race on the morning of June 26, they all experienced a combined feeling of relief and fatigue.Yet there was also a joint feeling of accomplishment. The team’s financial goal was to raise $100,000 to help Opportunity continue to provide educational programs, daily meals, diapers, books and clothing for the children. “We were successful in achieving both goals,” Huffman said. “We broke the old record of seven days, 53 minutes by setting a new record of six days, 13 hours and 46 minutes!” In addition to being physically present for the cross-country race, Petrillo was emotionally connected to the entire experience. “As an educator and mother, I understand the importance of early childhood education,” Petrillo said. “I am also honored to be able to share the importance of setting goals with the kids at the Opportunity Early Childhood Education & Family Center. I want them to know they can do anything!”

Huffman shared similar sentiments. “To give is to invest yourself in the life of someone else,” Huffman said. “In the Race Across America, racers and crew faced 3,069 miles of adversity and opportunity over seven days. At Opportunity Early Childhood Education & Family Center, the kids have the ‘opportunity’ to learn the life skills that will help them for a lifetime to overcome adversities.” After returning home, the cyclists met with the children and staff at Opportunity. “The $100,000 raised from the RAAM were used to cover the race expenses and to support our early childhood education program, which primarily targets our health and fitness curriculum,” Eger said.“All donated net-event proceeds are applied to our programs directly benefitting the children.” After the successful race this summer, plans are already in the works for next year’s race. “With one more year, we should be able to raise enough for our fiveyear total to exceed $500,000,” Huffman said. “We are thinking of doing an eight-person team for 2022. After all, we are all getting older, and with an eight-person team instead of a fourperson team, we do not each ride as many hours, plus we can increase our donation base.” Learn more about the Opportunity Early Childhood Education & Family Center at www.opportunitypbc.org. wellington the magazine | september 2021 45


GENERATIONS CONTINUE SPORTING LEGACY A Deep Passion For Sports Runs In The Blood Of The Griesemer Coaching Family BY LOUIS HILLARY PARK

This is the story of the Griesemer family that put Pennsylvania in the rearview mirror in the “I Like Ike” days of the 1950s and put down new roots in Palm Beach County. It’s the story of loving sports the way only a bench-warmer can, and of passing on that love and hall-of-fame legacy to sons and now grandsons, who have charted their own way over the high school hardwood and Virginia Tech’s turf. It’s the story of sweaty football jerseys and melting ice cream cones… Of the whole Griesemer family — ballgame-loving wives included — breaking down Wellington High School basketball games over ribs and beans at Park Avenue BBQ, not much more than a long pass and a dribble away… Of long, boisterous rides on yellow buses after a big win, and even longer rides in sober silence after a loss… Of thousands of pages turned and perused and studied in hundreds of scorebooks across more than 50 years. It’s also the story of a water bucket. Long before Leonard Griesemer was recognized in 2008 as a Palm Beach County Sports Hall of Fame youth 46

september 2021 | wellington the magazine

league coach, his deep love of sports, especially basketball, was evident. Unfortunately, his talent did not equal his passion. “I sat on the end of the bench closest to the cheerleaders, if you know what I mean,” Leonard Griesemer recalled with an easy chuckle about his own limitations as a basketball player. But those limitations did not stop him from wanting to help others excel in the skills that alluded him. So, even as a teen, he began coaching Itty-Bitty Basketball at the local Jewish Community Center, where giving back in some way was a requirement for participation. But (Back) Leonard Griesemer with his son Larry, and (front) Larry’s sons Brett and Eric Griesemer, now for Leonard Griesemer, adults, from their time in the WCFL. it was more than fulfilling a duty, it was balm for a son’s heart bruised by a construction worker father who never came to see him play.


“I think about the work ethic and the commitment to the team. I think about the long process. The stick-to-it-iveness it takes. Not only in terms of creating wins and losses. But in commitment to family.” — Brett Griesemer

Brett Griesemer on the sidelines at a Virginia Tech football game. wellington the magazine | september 2021 47


Brett Griesemer assists a Virginia Tech football player.

“It’s one of the reasons I took to helping kids,” he said, even now at 88 the sting of his father’s absence sharp in his voice.“This was just after [World War II], and a lot of kids were without a parent. A lot of guys didn’t make it back, and the kids needed a bit of a father figure. I always tried to get the families involved.” From the start of his 70-year marriage to his high school sweetheart June, to becoming a union carpenter like his father, to starting LEG Construction in the early 1970s, family life always revolved around sports. “My wife has more bleacher time than any woman in history, I believe,” he said. From a young age, the Griesemers’ three sons — Lee, Lonnie and Larry — scampered around their mom in the bleachers; and when they got old enough, they helped their father under the wooden rafters of the old Central Gym on Okeechobee Blvd., where the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts sits today atop the hill; and there they were on the sidelines at Palm Beach Elementary School, where Gra-Y League football games were played. 48

september 2021 | wellington the magazine

Back then, not every football team had its own jerseys, recalled Larry Griesemer, the only one of the boys who went into coaching as a profession. One Gra-Y team would take off their sweaty, dirty jerseys and hang them on the fence to dry for a while, then the next team would suit up in them, he explained. “My dad bought jerseys for his team… Columbia blue. Where he got the money, I don’t know. But it was a big deal,” Larry said. “After games, we’d stop at an ice cream stand on Dixie [Highway]. Everyone got an ice cream cone, and the guy who played best that day got a milkshake… Dad wasn’t just showing kids how to win games. He was showing them how to treat people.” Sometimes Leonard Griesemer had to show adults the way, too. In the early 1960s,West Palm Beach was still very much a southern city. He was the first to have Black players on the Gra-Y Belvedere Bees football team that centered around Belvedere Elementary School. “Yes, I got some pushback,” he remembered.“Things were said.” Later on, when more Black young-

sters came into the league, there still were vestiges of segregation. “Most teams had two water buckets — one for the white kids, one for the colored kids,” he said.“We only had one bucket.” Larry Griesemer took those sorts of water-bucket life lessons with him into his own football career leading a group of meaty linemen at Forest Hill High School. They became known as “Griesemer’s Grunts.” After college, he took another cue from his father and married a woman who loves sports as much as he does — supporting Larry in his coaching ambitions and raising two sons, Eric and Brett, to the sound of rubber soles scuffing maple and timed to the rhythm of basketball’s scoreboard clocks. Today, after 40 years of marriage, Janice Griesemer easily rattles off her husband’s stats. In 15 seasons of coaching, he combined for 258 wins with the Forest Hill High School boys and later the Wellington High School girls, she said.The Wolverine girls won four district titles, five Palm Beach Athletic Conference cham-


pionships and reached Florida’s Sweet 16 six times. Despite retirement, relocation from their longtime home and being slowed by a stroke, at age 70, Larry Griesemer continues to be involved as a consultant for several high school teams near Waynesville, N.C., where “gyms are like cathedrals.” Meanwhile, his sons are finding their own and different ways of continuing their passion for sports after both graduating from Wellington High School. Brett Griesemer, 32, put his talents to athletic training while getting his bachelor’s degree at the University of Florida and a master’s degree at Virginia Tech, where he has risen quickly through the ranks of the school’s training staff. While serving as senior director of sports medicine-football, Brett Griesemer was heavily involved with the football helmet safety research program at Virginia Tech, considered a leader in the field by the NCAA. He recently was named head athletic trainer for the Hokies football team, a traditional power in the Atlantic Coast Conference and a name frequently seen in the Top 25. “Brett has added a whole new level of professionalism and work ethic to our staff, and I have no doubt it will make our football student-athletes better because of his increased role and responsibilities,”Associate Athletics Director for Sports Medicine Mike Goforth said. The opportunity is “a dream come true” for Brett, who has a wife much like the one who married dear old dad, and granddad. The former Megan Burker is “super into sports.” “She understands about me waking up early and coming home late,” he said. As well she should. Megan lived that life for years as an All-American lacrosse player at Stanford University and then as head coach of the Virginia Tech women’s team.Today, Megan Griesemer serves in the school’s athletic depart-

ment as assistant director of compliance while mothering their two sons — Max, 3, and Cohen, 1. Though too young to absorb a lot of Xs and Os of Wellington High School basketball discussed in play-by-play, press-ornot-to-press detail over post-game meals, Brett said he absorbed things more important while listening to his parents and grandparents dissect a game. “I think about the work ethic and the commitment to the team,” he said.“I think about the long process.The stickto-it-iveness it takes. Not only in terms of creating wins and losses. But in commitment to family. To creating better husbands and fathers, and just decent people.” Eric Griesemer, now 37, echoes his brother’s thoughts. “Wins were a big part of it… [but] they taught about so much more than sports.They taught us about leadership,” he said. “It was about the commitment to everyone getting better. About helping to make a better student, and better young adult. How do we give that player the confidence to take the shot?” Eric is following in his grandfather’s footsteps — creating a separate career, his in information systems technology — while becoming heavily involved in youth sports, something his wife Zara enthusiastically supports. Though oldest son Gavin is only 5, the Wellington resident already has coached him in flag football, tee-ball, basketball and soccer. That’s not a surprise after growing up in the Griesemer family. “It’s just in my blood to be involved,” Eric said.

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Janice and Larry Griesemer with their four grandsons: Brett’s boys Cohen and Max, and Eric’s boys Gavin and Chase.

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wellington | health

CREATING BEAUTIFUL SMILES

Orthodontist Dr. Randall Shults Has Been Taking Care Of Wellington Families For Three Decades BY M. DENNIS TAYLOR

Orthodontist Dr. Randall Shults has been perfecting the smiles of Wellington-area residents for nearly 30 years. Originally from Littleton, Colorado, Shults moved to Wellington in the spring of 1993 and established his practice, Shults Orthodontics, in the community. “Littleton is a small suburb of Denver, and a fabulous place to grow up with seemingly unlimited access to the great outdoors,” he recalled. “I moved to Wellington for the similar small-town atmosphere and great local schools.” Shults was attracted to his vocation of orthodontics early in life. “My second-grade teacher had the warmest, most beautiful smile I had ever seen,” Shults explained. “I appreciated at a very young age that your smile, and how you choose to use it, is your introduction to others the first time you meet, and every social interaction thereafter.” His interest in orthodontics only grew as he began his professional training. “While attending dental school, the chair of the orthodontics department selected two dental students to treat orth-

odontic patients,” Shults recalled. “I saw the response to well-done orthodontic correction dramatically enhance my patient’s appearance, confidence, self-esteem, and improve her oral health and general physical well-being. The deal was sealed for me. I knew as a third-year dental student what I wanted to do with my professional career.” Through the years, Shults has acquired impressive credentials and training. He graduated with honors from the University of Colorado School of Dentistry in 1984 and com- Originally from Colorado, orthodontist Dr. Randall Shults pleted his orthodontic resi- has been practicing in Wellington since the early 1990s. dency and certification at the University dent of the Palm Beach County Dental of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School Association, past peer review chair of of Dentistry in 1989. He also received the Palm Beach County Dental Associahis PhD in sensory physiology from the tion and has been the orthodontic secUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel tion chair of the Atlantic Coast Dental Hill School of Medicine and was a re- Research Center since 2010. cipient of the Dentist-Scientist Training Shults feels that what sets his pracAward from the National Institutes of tice apart is his evidence-based treatHealth. Additionally, he is a past presi- ment. wellington the magazine | september 2021 51


wellington | health

Shults Orthodontics is located on South Shore Blvd. in Wellington.

“That is choosing the most appropriate orthodontic treatment based on the best science available today,” he explained.“In other words, doing the right things for the right reasons… We help you make the difficult decisions, and then take care of you with compassion and kindness.” Shults is proud to live and work in the local community. “I live in Wellington, and my commitment and lifetime passion is to provide patients with excellent orthodontic care. We are here to serve the entire family, from seven to 70,” he said. “We

welcome patients with ‘routine’ orthodontic needs or with more complex concerns, which may require orthopedic jaw growth modification or team treatment involving jaw surgery and restoration of missing or broken teeth.” Shults said that this level of service benefits the client, providing more confident and attractive smiles; easier access for better dental hygiene, which is associated with improved oral health; and overall health and well-being. “I use Damon Braces because the self-ligation feature eliminates the older elastic or steel ties, making them much easier to keep clean, more comfortable to wear and faster to adjust, which means less time spent in my office and more time to do whatever it is you really want to do,” Shults said. “I often recommend Clear Aligners or Invisalign as an esthetic alternative to braces. Both systems, Clear Aligners or Damon Braces, have their unique ad-

vantages and disadvantages.” The team at Shults Orthodontics is ready and willing to help patients and/ or their parents select the treatment that is best for each situation. Shults is married to Rose Carbone, and they have three children. In his spare time, he enjoys biking, paddle boarding, yoga and more. Shults is happy having his professional practice in Wellington. “While I was initially attracted to Wellington for its schools and that smalltown atmosphere, we love Wellington as a family-friendly community and the safe academic, sports and social programs available to help all our children grow, develop and excel as productive young adults and community members.” Shults Orthodontics is located at 12180 South Shore Blvd., Suite 101, in Wellington. For more information, visit www.shultsorthodontics.com or call (561) 793-9888.

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wellington | table

A PLACE TO RELAX AND KICK BACK Kickback Neighborhood Tavern In Wellington Serves Up Great Food And Live Entertainment BY CALLIE SHARKEY

If you’re looking for that comfortable hometown feeling merged with great food and entertainment, Kickback Neighborhood Tavern is the place to be, with its mantra, “Eat Local. Drink Local. Stay Local.” Dan Hooker, general manager and managing partner at Kickback, brings decades of experience in the food and hospitality industry. He was there when Kickback opened last year and has never been happier. “It’s great working here because I never have to apologize for the food. I’ve worked in a lot of restaurants all my life. The food here is great, and we get compliments all the time,” he said.“The staff here is loyal. It’s a small staff, but it is a bunch of great people. It’s a family, and we all work together toward the same goal.” The menu offers elevated tavern fare with a variety of options and delightful new versions on classic comfort foods. Every week, the chalkboard shines with new specials and fun dishes not on the regular menu. “We have something for everyone,” Hooker said.“As far as high end, we have some handcrafted tavern bowls that are really good, like the Korean Sesame Salmon Bowl. Our hamburgers are outstanding, and people love our mahi sandwiches and buffalo mahi fingers.” He said that Kickback is essentially a scratch kitchen, with all the sauces made in house. From mango sweet chili to the Kickback remoulade, homemade flavors are a highlight with each plate.

(Clockwise from top left) The Tavern Burger is served on a brioche bun with all the fixings; Dan’s Key Lime Pie is made from scratch in the kitchen each day; the Buffalo Mahi Fingers is a signature Kickback dish and a crowd favorite; guests can order the Chicken Club Sandwich blackened, grilled or fried; the Firecracker Shrimp is a terrific starter dish tossed with a sweet and spicy sauce; watch out for Kickback’s weekly specials, like Deviled Eggs With Bacon; and the popular Truffle Parmesan Fries are made fresh for each order. wellington the magazine | september 2021 55


After decades in the industry, General Manager Dan Hooker loves working at Kickback Neighborhood Tavern.

Kickback welcomes all visitors to take it easy and also has a spacious covered patio that is dog friendly. In fact, every pup that comes to visit receives a “doggie cocktail” (a bowl of water). “This place is all about kicking back and relaxing… We love being local. We support local, we are supported by lo-

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cals,” said Hooker, who is proud of the restaurant’s connection to local organizations. “We’ve co-sponsored events with many nonprofit groups and even had large events where they bring out tents.” Working with professionals is also part of being a local hotspot. Almost

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once a month, a special Realtor Happy Hour takes place with special guest bartenders and live music. Every day, patrons can take advantage of discounted drinks during a standard happy hour that runs from noon until 6 p.m., and food specials are available between 3 and 6 p.m. Since getting through the week is tough enough, Kickback has a Wednesday routine for everyone. Kids eat free off the Little Farmers menu with a purchase of one adult entrée per child, and right around dusk, the locals start rolling in to battle it out during the weekly trivia night.“We have Think and Drink Trivia every Wednesday, and it’s a big event. Come as you are and play from 7 to 9 p.m.,” Hooker said.“People love trivia.” It is important to the culture at Kickback to provide quality, diverse live entertainment every Thursday from 6 to 9 p.m., and Fridays and Saturdays from 7 to 10 p.m. “We wanted to make sure


wellington | table to incorporate great dining with good music,” Hooker said.“I bring in new people all the time, so we are not stagnant. There is a variety — reggae, country, rock, contemporary. It’s not just background music, it’s entertainment.This is a great place to see local talent.” The hard work has already paid off, with acts booked through next May. Hosting special events where locals can gather and have fun includes a car show on the fourth Friday of every month. Recently, a popular 1980sthemed Let’s Get Physical party was held. Plans are already in the works for a Halloween party on Friday, Oct. 29 with live entertainment. “Kickback Neighborhood Tavern and Mad Hospitality Group are currently in talks to expand the brand locally,” Hooker said. “We also have a new and exciting concept coming soon right here in Wellington.” Kickback is open seven days a week,

Kickback staff members Alberto Chas and Sam Kosartes are both fans of the steak tip dishes.

with service offered Monday through Thursday from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., with the kitchen closing at 9 p.m. On Fridays, visit anytime between 11:30 a.m. and midnight, or Saturday from noon to midnight, with the kitchen closing at 10 p.m. It’s open Sundays from noon to midnight, with the kitchen clos-

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Kitchen: The beautifully renovated kitchen features great counter space and a bar area adjacent to the entertainment area, making it a chef’s dream.


wellington | real estate

EQUESTRIAN CLUB PARADISE This Stunning Home In The Equestrian Club Estates Offers Easy Access To The Wellington Showgrounds

PHOTOS COURTESY JACQUELINE ABRAMSON

This simply stunning home on Stroller Way in the Equestrian Club Estates is surrounded by water, offering a secluded location with beautiful water views and plenty of light. Massive windows everywhere magnify the fantastic water views, and a large wall of mirrors reflects it all in breathtaking fashion. Best of all is the fantastic location, with easy in and out of the neighborhood to the Winter Equestrian Festival showgrounds.The home has been renovated to perfection, and no detail has been overlooked.The large kitchen is a chef’s dream with top-of-the-line appliances, including a large gas stove, wine refrigerator, bar area and a water/feed station for pets.The island is huge, as is the amount of storage space.

Front Elevation: The grand entrance on an oversized corner lot with a wide driveway makes the three-car garage and impeccable landscaping number one in curb appeal.

Pool: The estate’s outdoor pool area is a natural oasis, including a hot tub, lush landscaping and a perfect location overlooking the water.

Dining Room: The elegantly designed dining room easily accommodates 10 guests and more. It is adorned with floor to ceiling mirrors, making this room a modern, yet traditional combination. wellington the magazine | september 2021 59


wellington | real estate

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celebrate | wellington

CREATIVITY ABOUNDS AMONG AREA ARTISTS Wellington Art Society Brings The Work Of Local And World-Renowned Artists To The Community

Wellington Art Society board members: (front row) Faye Ford, Susan Mosely, Marcia Greene and Elaine Weber; and (back row) Leslie Pfeiffer, Liza Karsai, Susan Oakes and Laura Jaffe. Not shown: Sally Laub. PHOTO BY DENISE FLEISCHMAN

BY M. DENNIS TAYLOR

Many have noticed the ever-changing art displays installed at the Wellington Community Center and the Wellington Municipal Complex but may not have thought about where this unique artwork comes from. It is all due to the coordination of efforts between the Village of Wellington and the Wellington Art Society, which brings the works of local and world-renowned artists to the community for everyone to enjoy. With the simple-sounding objective of bringing art and community together, the Wellington Art Society is celebrating 40 years of doing just that, merging creative excellence and community in-

spiration with the Wellington spirit of premium quality. “The society is a very social group with a warm, friendly feel. It is for people who like art,” said Laura Jaffe, the current president of the Wellington Art Society. In normal years, the group meets monthly, and also hosts art receptions and shows.“For over a year, all the meetings have been virtual, but we still made it happen,” Jaffe said. That includes continuing the rotating exhibits at the Wellington Town Center buildings. Jaffe, with a long background in local real estate, is also a full-time artist.“I do

acrylic abstract art live on Facebook. It is collaborative art,” explained Jaffe, who said that the events take the theme and emotion from the co-creators online. “Everyone can watch the process as it comes together, live on canvas.” Jaffe is just one of the dozens of talented artists that make up the Wellington Art Society. Past President Leslie Pfeiffer has been involved for many years and currently serves as second vice president.“I think of her as our historian because she has so much knowledge of the group, passion for art and has been involved in the society for so long,” Jaffe said of Pfeiffer. wellington the magazine | september 2021

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celebrate | wellington Pfeiffer is proud of all the work the group does to bring the beauty of art, across so many media, here to Wellington. “The Wellington Art Society is an active, vibrant visual arts group that enriches the lives and culture of the residents of the western communities, Palm Beach County and visitors from around the world,” she said. “It encourages originality and productivity among its members and provides a place where emerging and professional artists meet, exchange ideas and advance the appreciation of art through community outreach programs. Our membership includes everyone from art lovers to internationally recognized professional artists.” In all, the Wellington Art Society has more than 80 artists as members, including painters, sculptors, gallery owners, potters, photographers, fine crafters, jewelry makers, graphic designers, students, teachers and art enthusiasts. “Our members are passionate about art and the creative process, and they are committed to encouraging and supporting each other to realize their full artistic potential,” Pfeiffer said. With the goals to encourage artists to pursue their art careers and provide programming that expands art in public places, the Wellington Art Society strives to make art accessible and affordable for everyone on a daily basis. The organization first came into being four decades ago when the Wellington community was young, long before its incorporation, organized by Johanna Secor, a world-renowned artist from Connecticut. With renewed excitement for showcasing area artists’ work in 2005, promoting art appreciation and art education among members as well as local art students, the Wellington Art Society was incorporated and gained its non62 september 2021 | wellington the magazine

“The Wellington Art Society is an active, vibrant visual arts group that enriches the lives and culture of the residents of the western communities, Palm Beach County and visitors from around the world. It encourages originality and productivity among its members and provides a place where emerging and professional artists meet, exchange ideas and advance the appreciation of art.” — Wellington Art Society President Laura Jaffe profit organization status. Meetings, held monthly September through May, feature programs including demonstrations, guest speakers, networking, marketing and professional artist development. Through the years, the organization has initiated many events for area artists. Artist Susan Mosely serves as exhibitions and programs chair, along with the role of first vice president, she is a retired elementary school teacher and cultural arts director. “We have the goal of exhibiting seven shows per year, plus the meetings, programs and events,” Mosely said, pointing to the ongoing exhibits at the Wellington buildings. “These two venues are perfect settings to appreciate the artwork with family and friends.”


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celebrate | wellington

WELLINGTON ART SOCIETY MEMBERS Victoria “H. V.” Albrecht

Sharon Kleiman

Sandy Axelrod

Joanne B. Knoetgen

Barbara Bailey

Vivian Koppelman

Sasha Bass

Erica Kyle

Brigitte Balbinot

Lou Ann La Bohn

Jeannine Beechler

Rachel Laub

Emily Bergstrom

Sally Laub

Heather Bergstrom

Janina Leigue

Andrea Berryman

Guadalupe Lawrence

Kate Blazie

Joseph Marcou

Jeanne Brady

Maria “Azucena” Martin

Myrna Bransburg

Valentina Morales

Nancy Brenseke

Susan Mosely

Betty Brodie

Charles Moses

Shirley Browne

Christopher Mosquera

Sandra Butscher

Ed Muller

Janie Carter

Ana Noble

Lara Chapman

Susan Oakes

David Ciofalo

Mauricio Perry

Hilary Clark

Leslie Pfeiffer

A.R. “Bob” Coningsby

Candace Platz

Marta Cruz

Caryl Pomales

Olivia Cunningham

Suzanne Redmond

Donna Donelan

Janet Riggio

Lynn Doyal

Jack Rosen

Silvia Elman

Bobbin Salisbury

Sandra Encaoua

Phyllis Silk

Gail Erickson

Vasantha Siva

Faye Ford

Lois Spatz

Del Foxton

Jeannie Stave

Yolando Franco

Weatherly Stroh

Audrey Freedman

Cindi Taylor

Griselda “GG” Gonzalez George Taylor

64 september 2021 | wellington the magazine

Debrah Gould

Maxwell Taylor

Judson Gould

Shakeera Thomas

Marcia Greene

Nancy Tilles

Stan Greenfield

Makena Vargo

Laurie Snow Hein

Margarita Vigne

Patsy Heller

Elaine Weber

Jean Howard

Jean Williard

Durrell Hunter

Tamar “Tammy” Wolfson

Carol India

Nancy Smyth Yannetti

Laura Jaffe

Louis Zander

Liza Karsai

Betty Jane Zedonek

Carolina King

Hermi Zumbado

Mosely explained that there are many opportunities for art displays coming up, tempered by the ongoing battle against the pandemic. Jaffe said that the group will begin meeting in September to plan out where they will be going and what artwork can be presented. In the planning stages are two proposed shows and receptions with the appropriate names of “Resurgence” and “Rekindle.” “Artists have produced some very nice work during the COVID-19 shutdown, and a lot of it,” Mosely said. The exhibitions are a great way for residents and visitors to see and buy this original artwork. “There are large and small pieces, many 2-D works and some free-standing pieces, such as bronze horse statues,” Mosely said, describing abstracts and some realism, along with photos and paintings. “They come from professional artists, some who teach, and even a young, talented student.” Jaffe said the group may find they can continue pre-pandemic exhibitions, such as pop-up galleries and other community displays, as well as the pandemic staple of online showings. “Each year, more than 300 pieces of original artwork can be seen in the community,” Pfeiffer said.“Fun, engaging, educational with receptions that offer a great opportunity to meet the artists and learn about their creative process, techniques and mediums. The artwork is for sale, and a portion of each sale benefits our scholarship fund and outreach programs.” New members are welcome. Plans are also underway for other events, such as professional artist workshops, art and culture field trips, a holiday bazaar and docent tours for groups. Visit www.wellingtonartsociety.org to learn more about the Wellington Art Society.


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WELLINGTON THE MAGAZINE – September 2021  

September 2021 | ON THE COVER Wellington Tennis Center Director Chuck Gill has big plans for the facility, which is featured this issue. Ima...

WELLINGTON THE MAGAZINE – September 2021  

September 2021 | ON THE COVER Wellington Tennis Center Director Chuck Gill has big plans for the facility, which is featured this issue. Ima...

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