Florida PeeWees make Homenetmen Navasartian Games debut

All of Florida’s Homenetmen members and participants

As I was growing up, attending the Homenetmen Navasartian Games was an annual event, one my parents, aunt and uncles began years before I came along. The Homenetmen games was one of the first significant Armenian events I attended as a youngster. I was excited about this year’s games, because it’s the first year that the Florida chapter had a PeeWee soccer team participating. This meant that the PeeWee team members would be experiencing the Homenetmen games for the very first time. 

Florida PeeWee soccer team on day 2 after playing the New York B Team

For the first time in 13 years, the games were held in New Jersey. The Florida chapter brought over 30 members, with 27 athletes participating in various sports such as basketball, chess, track and soccer. 

Our PeeWee soccer team consisted of eight players: Gabriel Balaban, Arshak Boyajian, Adam Danielian, Ara Jamgochian, Joseph Kochkerian, Narine Tokatlian-Maltez, Nadya Yaghjian and Razmig Yaghjian. Before the Navasartian Games, the team met and practiced every week, and their efforts paid off on the fields! As a first-time team attending the games, they made it to the semi-finals against the New York chapter’s PeeWees.

Narine Tokatlian-Maltez and Ara Jamgotchian during the chess matches

Florida also had four senior men, including Souren Badikyan, Gor Badikyan, Karen Rezikyan and Vahe Boyajian, participate in soccer, joining the New York A team and making it to finals in second place against Boston. 

Meanwhile, in chess, Ara Jamgochian, Alec Samra, Sevag Tokatlian and Narine Tokatlian-Maltez participated, and Alec Samra and Ara Jamgochian were winners! 

In basketball, brothers Shant and Shiraz Bardakjian joined the Boston team, and Alec Samra and Khatchig Boyajian played on the Detroit team. 

Florida track winners

Finally, in track, Florida had multiple athletes participate in various races. The PeeWee group results included Arshak Boyajian winning the gold in the 100 meters, Nadya Yaghjian racing to a gold in the 800 meters, Jasmin Kochkerian running for a silver, and Narine Tokatlian-Maltez and Razmig Yaghjian each winning bronze medals in the 200 meters. As the senior track participant, I won gold in the 100, 200, 400 and 800-meter races. Running the 800-meter, Florida veterans Raffi Yaghjian and Sevag Tokatlian won gold and bronze, respectively. 

At the end of the games, the Florida chapter came in fifth place overall and was awarded “Most Improved Chapter” this year. There was an overwhelming amount of love and excitement over the weekend for everyone who attended. The Florida chapter has high hopes for next year to come back even stronger. 

After the weekend’s events, I asked the Florida PeeWee athletes for their impressions.

Victory night with our trophy for most improved chapter and plaque for 5th place overall

What was your favorite part of the weekend? 

Nadya Yaghjian: “The victory barahantes.
Razmig Yaghjian: “Whenever my team won a game.”
Gabriel Balaban: “The soccer games.”

What do you look forward to next year? 

Adam Danielian: “Bouncing back to win it all!”
Narine Tokatlian-Maltez: “Improving our team and hopefully making it to finals.”
Razmig Yaghjian: “Looking forward to seeing all my friends again and winning the soccer cup in Providence.”

What is something that happened that you weren’t expecting over the weekend? 

Gabriel Balaban: “Going to one of the largest malls in the U.S.”
Adam Danielian: “Losing the semi-finals in the last few minutes of the game.”
Nadya Yaghjian: “Getting first place in track.”

Tamar Kassarjian

Tamar Kassarjian

Tamar Kassarjian is a native Floridian and currently working toward her masters in healthcare administration. She serves on the executive of the ARS "Sosseh" Chapter, where she’s been a member for nine years. She also serves as the secretary for the AYF South Florida “Arev” Chapter, where she has been a member for five years. Tamar is active in her local Armenian community as an Armenian dance teacher at Arevig Dance Ensemble and an Armenian language kindergarten teacher at the local Sunday school.
Tamar Kassarjian

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