Rhythmic gymnastics is an Olympic sport that combines the beauty of ballet, dance and gymnastics in choreographed routines with apparatuses such as ribbon, ball, rope, clubs and hoop. The sport made an immediate impact after it was introduced to Miami by Miami Gymnastics & Dance Academy in 2008.
A critical part of MGDA’s success in Rhythmic Gymnastics is reflected in the recruiting of elite coaches from throughout the world including Daria Trakhtenberg who is the current head coach of the MGDA rhythmic team, based in North Miami.
Trakhtenberg is a world renowned rhythmic gymnastics coach. She has coached Israeli national champions -- groups and individuals. Many of the athletes she coached represented their countries at World Cups and European Championships. She is also a certified international judge in rhythmic gymnastics.
In the past several years, Trakhtenberg has played a leading role in the development of MGDA’s rhythmic team. Since 2010, she has led the team to many victories in national and international meets. Her achievements and the progression of her athletes have been remarkable.
MGDA has earned a distinguished reputation in developing young top level gymnasts. Since 2010, when coach Trakhtenberg joined Miami Gymnastics, the girls won medals at the most popular tournaments: Suncoast Sport Festival, International Star Cup, Gold Coast International Cup and many others.
Trakhtenberg`s gymnasts participated in the Spring Fling International Tournament in Ohio – the biggest event in USA Rhythmic Gymnastics history. The participants were from throughout the world, and Miami Gymnastics girls medaled.
“We are extremely pleased to have Daria as our head coach,” said Natalia Pyrig, owner of Miami Gymnastics & Dance Academy. “Her ability to create elite gymnasts, the many tournaments she has won and her dedication to coaching can be attributed to Miami Gymnastics continuing success.”
Gymnasts, coached by Trakhtenberg, also became Florida state champions and Region 6 champions:
Elli Hong – Florida Level 3 (Ball Routine) silver medalist, All Around Region 6 silver medalist. Valentina Guerrero – Florida All Around Level 4 silver medalist and Region 6 All Around silver medalist, winner of special regional award, scholarship to Junior Olympics Open Championship. Nerea Francis – Florida Level 6 All Around champion and Region 6 All Around gold medalist. Valentina Sola – Florida Level 6 All Around silver medalist and Region 6 silver medalist (floor and hoop routines). Sophia Petreanu – Region 6 All Around Level 6 silver medalist, winner of special regional award, scholarship to Junior Olympics Open Championship. Halyna Hnatkiv – Florida Level 7 Absolute All Around champion.
Claudia Mandado – gymnast of the highest international FIG Level 9, twice Florida gold medalist (hoop and ball routines), twice bronze medalist (ribbon and clubs routines), Florida All Around silver medalist, twice Region 6 silver medalist (ribbon and clubs routines), twice Region bronze medalist (hoop and ball routines); Region 6 All Around bronze medalist.
The Hammocks Middle School girls’ basketball team went 6-0 to win the Zone 6 Championship for the first time in school history.
The Lady Canes then defeated W. R. Thomas Middle School 47-17 in the first round of the playoffs. G.W. Carver Middle School beat them 37-17 in the second round.
Hammocks finished 7-1.
The talented team features Cassandra Iglesias, Lisbeth Garcia, Denica Jones, Rachel Brant, Esmeralda Del Rio, Samantha Polanco, Natasha Polanco, Valentina Velez, K’lia McIntyre, Andrea Nieto, Kelly Nguyen, Natalia Pineda, Kaesha Wooley and Samantha Almeida. The coach is Richard Reed.
North Miami’s Jose “The Thing” Valenzuela, a promising amateur boxer, is rising through the ranks at a rapid pace. With just three years in the sport, the 16-year-old has already achieved success because of his hard work and keeping off the streets.
Valenzuela won the Florida PAL Championships, 2012 Junior Olympic Golden Gloves and the 2012 Southeast Junior Olympics regionals. He is currently training to represent Florida in the 2012 Junior Olympics national championships in Alabama.
Miami’s Eric Hechtman won the men’s singles championship at the US Open Playoffs-Florida Tournament. He defeated former No.174-ranked ATP player Ryler DeHeart in the finals 6-4, 7-5 at the Henry L. McMullen Tennis Complex in Clearwater.
“My biggest key was trying not to drop a set going into the final, because I knew I needed something left in the tank for Ryler,” said the 28-year-old Hechtman, born and raised in Miami.
Hechtman, the junior tennis director at Royal Palm Tennis Club in Pinecrest, said he was too busy coaching to train coming into the event, but said, “I feel that I have a chance [at the national event], if I train.”
Hechtman beat Florida Gulf Coast University sophomore Tianyu Bao 6-4, 7-5 in the semifinals, and in the quarterfinals topped Florida State University sophomore Dominic Cotrone 6-1, 7-6 (7-4). DeHeart gained the final by upsetting No.1 seed and former NCAA doubles champion Jeff Dadamo 6-4, 6-4 in the semis.
“The US Open Playoffs idea is awesome,” Hechtman said. “If someone were to come out of the playoffs and then qualify for the US Open, what a storyline that would be.”
Hechtman will represent USTA Florida at the US Open National Playoffs at Yale University in New Haven. The winner earns a wildcard into the US Open Qualifying Tournament, the week before the US Open.
In his teen years, Hechtman helped lead Sunset High School to three state titles. He was a four-time Miami Herald All-Dade selection and a Miami Herald Scholar Athlete finalist.
As the No.3 recruited player in the nation heading into college, Hechtman opted for the University of Miami where he was the Hurricanes’ team captain three years. He still holds the school’s record for most all-time wins. He has also served as hitting partner for tour players such as Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Venus and Serena Williams.
Orange Bowl honorees
Natalie Concepcion and Darrius Albury-Williams each received a $2,500 scholarship during the Orange Bowl Impact and Excellence (O.B.I.E.) Awards, presented by Blue Cross and Blue Shield’s Florida Blue and supported by Publix Super Markets at the Broward County Convention Center in Fort Lauderdale.
They were two of six South Florida high school student athletes awarded scholarships.
Concepcion, a John A. Ferguson High School graduate, competed in basketball, cross-country and track & field. A member of a district and region championship team, she won a district title in the long jump and was a district runner-up in the 800. She placed first in the 800 and 3,200 relay at the GMACs.
Planning to attend Florida State University, she made the Superior and Principal’s honor rolls and earned an American Mathematics Competitions certificate.
Williams, a Robert Morgan Educational Center graduate, competed in badminton, basketball and football.
Planning to attend Florida A&M University, his accolades include the Silver Knight Club, Future Business Leaders of America, 5,000 Role Models of Excellence, 2011 Men of Tomorrow, 2012 Youth Day Speaker for Historic St. Agnes Episcopal Church and National Youth Day Community Service Project Grant recipient.
The Orange Bowl also awarded $100,000 in grants to four local community organizations ($25,000 each) whose missions are shared by the Orange Bowl. They are: Amigos for Kids; Jason Taylor Foundation; 12th Man Foundation; Urban League of Broward and Dade Counties
“Recognizing the individuals and organizations that have made a significant impact on the South Florida community is something the Orange Bowl takes great pride in,” said Eric Poms, CEO, Orange Bowl Committee. “From scholastic accomplishments to exceptional community service, everyone honored at the O.B.I.E.s understands the importance of supporting and promoting our youth to ensure they have the brightest future possible.”
Fifty six of Florida’s top senior football players have been nominated to play in the 2013 U.S. Army All-American Bowl on Jan. 5, 2013 in the annual East vs. West match-up, televised live on NBC at 1 p.m. EST from San Antonio’s Alamodome.
The 56 nominations are the most of any state. Eight of those are from Miami.
“The U.S. Army All-American Bowl provides the national platform for young athletes and musicians to showcase their talent and strength,” said Bruce Jasurda, Chief Marketing Officer, U.S. Army. “This nomination recognizes the mental, emotional and physical strengths and leadership qualities that these athletes possess both on and off the field; qualities they share with Army Strong Soldiers. The Army congratulates all of the athletes on their nomination.”
The athletes were nominated by the U.S. Army All-American Bowl Selection Committee, which consists of All American Games’ network of regional coaches throughout the country and Rivals.com. Of the 400 nominees, 90 will ultimately be selected and invited to the Bowl.
The next step for the nominees occurs in September, when the U.S. Army All-American Bowl Selection Tour begins. Final player selections will be announced nationwide throughout the fall, with the Selection Tour ending in early December.
Miami nominees include:
DB Artie Burns (Northwestern); DB Jamal Carter (Southridge); OL Denver Kirkland (Booker T. Washington); LB Isaac McDonald (Champagnat Catholic); LB Matthew Thomas (Booker T. Washington); DL Stacy Thomas (Gulliver Prep); DB Jesus Wilson (Christopher Columbus); RB Lorenzo Woodley (Christopher Columbus).
For more than a decade, the U.S. Army All-American Bowl has been the nation’s premier high school football game, serving as the preeminent launching pad for America’s future college and NFL stars. Adrian Peterson, Andrew Luck, Mark Sanchez, Tim Tebow, and Marcus Lattimore made their national debuts as U.S. Army All-Americans.
The 2012 U.S. Army All-American Bowl drew a crowd of more than 39,000 to the Alamodome, and was the most-watched sporting event on television over the weekend, excluding the NFL playoffs.
The U.S. Army All-American Bowl is owned and produced by All American Games, a New Jersey-based sports marketing and event management company. The U.S. Army is the title sponsor of the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, and American Family Insurance is the lead national sponsor and presenting sponsor of the telecast on NBC.
Other national sponsors include adidas, Rivals.com, San Antonio Convention & Visitors Bureau, Gatorade, SKLZ, NCSA, Battle Sports Science, Oakley, NewTek and Football University. National sponsors of the All-American Marching Band include NAfME: The National Association for Music Education, Drum Corps International, Jupiter Band Instruments and DeMoulin Uniforms.
Lorenzo Woodley, a 6-0, 210-pound running back from Christopher Columbus High School, has been selected to play on the 2012 U.S. Under-19 National Team, assembled by USA Football.
The team will compete in the 2012 IFAF Under-19 World Championship on June 30 to July 7 at Burger Stadium in Austin, Texas.
The eight-nation tournament is conducted by the International Federation of American Football. Players and coaches will live at the University of Texas in Olympic Village-style accommodations. IFAF is composed of 62 nations spanning six continents that possess a national federation dedicated solely to American football.
The U.S. Under-19 National Team, comprised of high school athletes, will compete against national teams from American Samoa, Austria, Canada, France, Japan, Panama and Sweden. The United States won the inaugural IFAF Under-19 World Championship in 2009 in Canton, Ohio, earning the No.1 seed this summer. The Americans open against No.8 seed American Samoa at 8 p.m. CST June 30.
Woodley rushed for 727 yards on 88 carries (8.3 average) with 11 touchdowns as a junior in the fall. During his sophomore year, he ran for 540 yards on 57 carries and scored 14 touchdowns. He has received offers from Florida State, South Florida, Rutgers, West Virginia, Purdue and Tennessee.
A national team exemption granted by the NCAA allows high school seniors to play for USA Football and not have their participation count as one of their two permitted all-star game appearances. The IFAF Under-19 World Championship is recognized as a national team competition.
USA Football is the sport’s national governing body in the United States and is the official youth football development partner of the NFL and NFL Players Association. Visit www.usafootball.com.
South Miami basketball
The South Miami Youth Summer Basketball League runs six weeks starting June 18.
Boys and girls in divisions under-7, under-9, under-11 and under-13 are eligible. Teams will play six games, no playoffs. Players will receive a jersey and participation medals.
After June 1, cost is $150. After June 18, price is $175. Games are played at South Miami Community Center, 5800 SW 66th St, South Miami, 33143.
Contact Andre Daniels at 786-205-5198, email email@example.com or Eddie Vidal at 305-439-9240, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Muscle Milk Grant Program
CytoSport, the largest sports nutrition company in the United States and maker of Muscle Milk, announced the launch of the Muscle Milk Recovery Grant Program which will provide up to $250,000 in grants to help rebuild and revitalize high school athletic programs around the country.
Submissions for high school programs will be accepted on the Muscle Milk Facebook page www.facebook.com/musclemilk now through Nov. 30.
“High school athletic programs are critical to the overall development of student-athletes, and we are dedicated to helping them succeed,” CytoSport Chief Marketing Officer Nikki Brown said. “The Muscle Milk Recovery Grant Program is a great way we can provide financial resources to programs in need in local communities around the country.”
Grants will be awarded up to $25,000 per submission to programs that show a financial hardship outlined in the application process. Applicants must be at least 14-years-old and can nominate the high school of their choice on the Muscle Milk Facebook page www.facebook.com/musclemilk where they will be required to submit a written statement outlining their program’s needs, provide photos that support their request and will have the option to upload a video link to help further tell their story.
Applications will be accepted through Nov. 30 and recipient programs will be selected in January 2013.
In conjunction with the launch of the Muscle Milk Recovery Grant Program, Muscle Milk will also launch limited time packaging that includes a red, white and blue theme. A portion of sales from the patriotic packaging will go toward funding the Recovery Grant Program.
For information on the Muscle Milk Recovery Grant Program, visit www.facebook.com/musclemilk.
Orange Bowl donations
One thousand South Florida children will receive a pair of sneakers.
In its ongoing campaign to inspire kids to stay active and participate in sports, the Orange Bowl will donate 1,000 pairs of shoes to children at the YMCA of Greater Miami.
The donation is part of the Orange Bowl’s Kicks for Kids program and is the culmination of its 2011 launch campaign.
Orange Bowl mascot Obie will pass out the “kicks” at the Allapattah YMCA Family Center and create a giant “Kicks for Kids” logo mural with the kids using their footprints.
The Orange Bowl also will announce an expansion of the Kicks for Kids program for the 2012 college football season. It is the Orange Bowl’s mission to make sure every South Florida child has a good fitting pair of sneakers or cleats so they can participate in and reap the rewards of sports and exercise.
The Orange Bowl is a 352-member, primarily-volunteer non-profit sports organization that promotes and serves the South Florida community. The Orange Bowl Festival features a year-round schedule of events culminating with the Discover Orange Bowl on Jan. 1, 2013 and the Discover BCS National Championship on Jan. 7, 2013.
Other Orange Bowl core events include the MetroPCS Orange Bowl Basketball Classic, Orange Bowl Youth Football Alliance presented by Sports Authority, Orange Bowl International Tennis Championships, Orange Bowl Sailing Regatta Series and Orange Bowl Paddle Championships. For information on the 2012-13 Orange Bowl Festival and its events, including promotional and volunteer opportunities through the Ambassador Program, log on to www.orangebowl.org.
The City Bikes Ironman 70.3 Miami is Oct. 28, starting at Bayfront Park in Downtown Miami. Registration is underway. http://www.active.com/event_detail.cfm?event_id=1995048.
The event supports the Blazeman Foundation for ALS. Through this partnership, athletes who are participating in the race can make a contribution to the foundation when registering. The Blazeman Foundation will also be featured at the EXPO. To find out more about the Blazeman Foundation for ALS, visit www.waronals.com.
The Make-A-Wish Southern Florida (www.sflawish.org) hosted its Ultimate Sports Auction, a fundraiser recently at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens. The event -- the only one where all of South Florida’s professional and major college teams join for one cause -- raised $175,000, enough for 35 local children with life-threatening medical conditions to wish for whatever their heart desires and have it come true.
Attendees included the Miami Heat’s Chris Bosh, Head Coach Joe Philbin and Davone Bess of the Miami Dolphins, ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit, Howard Schnellenberger (FAU) and Mario Cristobal (FIU), among many others. The celebrities were the event’s auctioneers, adding VIP perks to already elaborate live auction experiences, in a game of one-upmanship that upped the ante in the room and impact for sick children in our community.
South Florida Eagles baseball
The South Florida Eagles 13-and-under travel baseball team seeks dedicated, experienced travel team players with supportive parents.
The team will play in the Premier Spring League as well as numerous tournaments including the Cal Ripken Experience in June. For information or for an individual tryout, contact Coach Gonzalo Moralesat at 305-753-9065 or email@example.com.
Wendy’s High School Heisman
Wendy’s is accepting applications for the annual Wendy’s High School Heisman Award, a program honoring outstanding high school student-athletes for its commitment to academic achievement, community service involvement and athletic prowess.
More than just a shining star on a college résumé, the Heisman mystique touches students at every level of the program. In addition to recognition at school and state levels, six female and six male national finalists will receive an all-expense paid trip to New York City to attend the Wendy’s High School Heisman Awards Ceremony and college Heisman Memorial Trophy Award presentation with their families in December 2012.
Beginning now through Oct. 2, eligible students can apply at www.WendysHeisman.com for a chance to win the Wendy’s High School Heisman Award and the prestige of joining an ever-growing family of distinguished past winners. A partner award with college football’s acclaimed Heisman Memorial Trophy, Wendy’s High School Heisman has received more than 350,000 applications and honored more than 216 national finalists and 36 national winners since its inception.
Each year, nearly 50,000 young male and female scholar-athletes from across the country who embody leadership, academic excellence and athletic skill in their schools and volunteerism in their communities apply for the Wendy’s High School Heisman Award. These applicants are then narrowed down in four phases:
School Winners Phase – One senior male and one senior female from every school will be selected as a “School Winner”
State Finalists Phase – 20 finalists—10 senior males and 10 senior females—from every state and the District of Columbia will advance to “State Finalists”
State Winners Phase – One senior male and one senior female from each state and the District of Columbia will be selected as “State Winners”
National Finalist Phase – A judging panel will select “12 National Finalists” from the 102 State Winners
“I was thrilled to have made it so far in the competition,” said Selena Pasadyn, the 2011 Wendy’s High School Heisman female award winner and first in her class at Brunswick High School in Ohio. “It’s an honor to represent my community and to be part of such an exceptional group of people who I now call my Wendy’s High School Heisman family.”
The one male and one female Wendy’s High School Heisman Award winners will each earn $10,000 for their high school and a $500 Wendy’s gift card. They will also be highlighted during ESPN’s live national broadcast of the college Heisman Memorial Trophy Ceremony in early December 2012.
Eligible high school seniors, slated to graduate in 2013, may submit an application online through Oct. 2. The first 25,000 students with completed applications will receive a Wendy’s gift card valued at $10. From the completed applications, one male and one female winner will be chosen to receive the WHSH Award.
For information, students can visit www.WendysHeisman.com, call 800-205-6367 or contact their local high school principal, guidance counselor or athletic director. Participants can also “like” Wendy’s Heisman on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/WendysHighSchoolHeisman for additional program details.
The National Milk Mustache “got milk?” campaign recently launched the call for entries for the 15th annual Scholar Athlete Milk Mustache of the Year (SAMMY) Awards.
The SAMMY scholarship recognizes 25 student-athletes who excel in academics, athletics, community service, leadership and who fuel their daily success with milk.
Milk Mustache celebrity judges will help select 25 winners from across the country who will receive a $7,500 college scholarship, an awards ceremony at Walt Disney World and an opportunity to appear in their own special Milk Mustache ad.
For complete contest rules and applications log onto facebook.com/MilkMustache where visitors can also learn more about the exclusive SAMMY awards weekend and view behind the scenes footage.
MVP of the Week
Dick’s Sporting Goods MVP of the Week program is a promotion that recognizes amateur athletes for moments of greatness on the playing field and in the arena.
Fans can vote online each week to determine the top amateur sports moment with the wining video being rewarded $500 in Dick’s Sporting Goods gift cards — $250 to the individual who submitted the winning entry and $250 to the featured players’ choice of qualified school, team or athletic organization.
The entry process:
Go to www.DicksMVP.com.
Upload your compelling sports videos.
Encourage friends, family and the local community to vote for your video.
Stand Up! For Those Who Can’t, a nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering children, families and communities through (w)holistic programs in education, culture and the arts, and as fiscal agent for the Sunshine Child Wellness Collaborative, has received a $50,000 grant from the Aetna Foundation to implement “Sunshine Fit for Tots,” an obesity-prevention program developed by SCWC for 3-year-old children.
“One in five preschool-age children in the United States are overweight or obese. We recognize the need to start prevention at the earliest age possible to promote lifelong habits of health and wellness,” said Mary Rae Smith, president and founder of SCWC. “We want to bend the curve on childhood obesity and are grateful to the Aetna Foundation for this opportunity to enhance obesity prevention through exercise and nutrition programming.”
Through March 2013, 60 children from four early childhood centers in Miami-Dade will receive nutritional education and obesity-prevention activities through art classes and dance lessons. The centers selected to receive the program are Fantasyland Learning Center in Westchester; Happy Kids in Miami Beach; Happy Children of Overtown; and Alberto’s Dream Childcare in North Miami.
“We thank the Aetna Foundation for awarding us this grant,” said Jeannette Egozi, president of SUFTWC. “In the United States, low-income families are the most affected by the alarming obesity trend. With these funds we can teach children how to eat healthfully and be physically active throughout their lives.”
For information about “Sunshine Fit for Tots” call the Sunshine Child Wellness Collaborative at 305-807-5229 or Stand Up! at 305-864-5237, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jai-alai is open to anyone, age 10 to 80.
With a rubber ball and cestas, the amateur jai-alai facility is at 1935 NE 150th St. in North Miami, near FIU’s north campus.
It is indoors, air-conditioned and open to all. Contact Luis at 305-389-2313 or Bob at 786-556-3574.
Who said you have to be a male to play Jai Alai? Just as many females play the sport in Spain, France and Mexico, and gals can play it in South Florida at an amateur indoor air-conditioned fronton.
There are also leagues for males and children. Rubber or plastic balls used with free lessons by former pros. Cestas and balls also provided free with a nominal court fee.
Open everyday. Email admanUSA@aol.com or call Brucio 786-629-5428. The American Amateur Jai-Alai Academy is a not-for-profit organization.
Tennis classes and programs for all ages are at the Penny Sugarman Tennis Center at Sans Souci, 1795 Sans Souci Blvd., North Miami.
Call for information on group lessons, annual passes, court rates and private lessons. Tennis pro is Ross Dubins. Call 305-893-7130.
Rebelle Athletics Club offers girls’ volleyball tryouts at Archbishop Curley Notre Dame High School, 4949 NE 2nd Ave.
The volleyball club, a member of the United States Volleyball Association, is under the direction of Mandi Tate, Dee Rey and former Barry University player Kelly Dantas. They are former coaches with South Florida Volleyball Club and currently coach at Alonzo & Tracy Mourning Senior High School in Biscayne Bay.
Rebelle Athletics is dedicated to providing developmental and participatory athletic sports programs beginning at the youth development level. It offers a progression of sports activities for persons of all ages, races and creeds. It strives to enhance the physical, mental and moral development of amateur athletes at all levels, promoting sportsmanship and active citizenship.
South Kendall Sun Blazers (sksoccer.org) at Kendall Indian Hammocks Park, 11395 SW 79 St. (305-630-3314).
Miami Dade Soccer League (miami-dadesoccer.com) at Three Lakes Park, 13375 SW 136 St. (786-488-5216).
Soccer 5 (ussoccer5.com) at Kendall Soccer Park, 8011 SW 127 Ave. (1-888-575-2976).
Club Atletico De Miami (camsoccer.com) at Kendall Soccer Park, 8011 SW 127 Ave. (305-764-5783).
Soccer Academy of the Americas (socceraa.com) at Tamiami Park, 11201 SW 24 St. (786-486-3804)
Pinecrest Premier Soccer (pinecrestpremier.com) at Deerwood Bonita Lakes, 11511 S. Dixie Hwy. (305-255-3422).
Optimist Club of Westchester (tropicalsoccer.org) at Tropical Park, 7900 SW 40 St. (786-370-4222).
Coral Estates Soccer Club (coralestatessoccer.org) at Coral Estates Park, 1411 SW 97 Ave. (305-279-2328)
South Kendall Soccer Club (sksoccer.org) at Kendall Indian Hammocks Park, 11395 SW 79 St. (305-630-3314).
Southern Soccer Coalition-AYSO (kendallsoccer.com) at Millers Pond Park, 13350 SW 47 St. and Westwind Lakes Park, 6805 SW 152 Ave. (305-965-0083).
CB Sports Leagues
CB Sports Club offers Youth Basketball, Flag Football, Youth Soccer, Adult Soccer and Adult Basketball. Visit cbsportsclub.com. Call 786-273-5639.
Miami-Dade Parks welcomes children with disabilities in its youth leagues. If you need accommodations to participate, call 305-735-7847 (V/TDD).