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For the Southwest Miami Senior High School wrestling team, looks matter. In the same way pop stars morph their images to score popularity points, so does the Eagle squad strategize with hairstyles when it comes to postseason matches. Having placed third overall at the recent state tournament, the grapplers know a thing or two about half-nelsons and slipping out of holds. They've experienced the thrill of victory. They also know the agony of peroxide. This year, according to a tradition at the school, squad members who qualify for state competition bleached their hair. The 'do is meant to display team unity, to enhance esprit de corps as they enter a more heightened phase of competition.

Though the peroxide may have won them points on style, senior Danny Gonzalez, who placed fourth in the state's 171-pound division, says the prospect of a bleach job helped his psyche throughout the season. He had to process his long locks twice to get rid of the orange tinge.

"To me, dyeing my hair was a goal because it means I made it to the state tournament," he says. "It was a symbol to myself that I made it." -- By Juan Carlos Rodriguez

Party Boy

Salty legend gets birthday salute

SUN 4/18

A coco walk away from the bustle of Coconut Grove sits the oldest home in the county that's still in its original location. New York-born yacht designer Ralph Munroe (that's Commodore Ralph to you) floated into the shallows of Biscayne Bay before there were roads and built his home and boathouse in 1891, becoming a pioneering community activist along the way. His handiwork is preserved as part of the Barnacle Historic State Park, offering views into the early world of Miami. Celebrate the commodore's birthday and support the park with a catered barbecue picnic bash from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. at 3485 Main Hwy. Tickets cost $25 advance, $30 at the gate. Call 305-448-9445. -- By John Anderson


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