Sports Scene: Logan Alvarez, Eli Bloom, Tristan Castillo become WWE South Florida Be a STAR honorees

 

About this feature

Sports Scene is a Miami Herald feature that spotlights news and notes from all youth sports activities in your neighborhood. The aim of the section is to feature game notes from any sport and the accomplishments of athletes from Miami-Dade County.

We rely on the directors and coaches of each league to send information for Sports Scene. We also accept photos, but we ask that everyone pictured be identified with a first and last name and the name of the team or park they represent.

The section is free and open to anyone. Email sportsscene@MiamiHerald.com.


WWE South Florida Be a STAR honorees

In an effort to recognize deserving South Florida youth who promote the values of the Be a STAR anti-bullying program, World Wrestling Entertainment in conjunction with the Miami Herald honored three youth before a WWE show at the BB&T Center in Sunrise.

Logan Alvarez, 11, of Homestead; Eli Bloom, 9, of Kendall; and Tristan Castillo, 5, of South Miami exemplified the Be a STAR (Show Tolerance And Respect) mantra.

Be a STAR was founded by The Creative Coalition and WWE in April 2011. The mission is to ensure a positive and equitable social environment for everyone regardless of age, race, religion or sexual orientation through grassroots efforts beginning with education and awareness.

Be a STAR promotes positive methods of social interaction and encourages people to treat others as equals and with respect because everyone is a star in their own right.

WWE superstars and divas often make school visits throughout the country (and even internationally) throughout the year, discussing how they dealt with bullying and stereotypes growing up and even into adulthood. They encourage students to Be a STAR -- including be positive, ignore cyber-bullying, help others and tell someone (an adult and a friend) if bullying occurs.

Coaches, family members, friends and teacher nominated South Florida youth, describing how that youth has been a STAR at home and/or school, in the neighborhood or within a activity, club or sports environment.

Alvarez (Gateway Environmental K-8), Bloom (Devonaire K-8 Center) and Castillo (Christian Pre-K) were invited as Be a STAR finalists to the WWE show at the BB&T Center in Sunrise. Each finalist received two tickets to the show and a WWE prize pack, courtesy of WWE.

Each also received a club parking pass, courtesy of the BB&T Center, home to the Florida Panthers hockey team. Formerly the Bank Atlantic Center, the award-winning arena has housed many WWE shows.

Bloom was drawn as the grand prize winner and participated in a pre-show, meet-n-greet at the BB&T Center. A well-mannered youth, Bloom received autographs and posed for photos with WWE superstar The Miz, who is a strong advocate of Be a STAR and one of its key speakers.

“[WWE] asked us who would like to be involved, and I was the first to raise my hand,” The Miz said. “When you look at WWE and our audience, it’s kids and young adults. I think [bullying] is a big problem in the world. So we’re making a difference.”

The Miz continued: “When I was a kid growing up in Parma, Ohio, I remember getting picked on all the time, being told I wasn’t good enough. I wish I had a WWE superstar or anyone that would have told me to be more vocal about what’s going on. Tell somebody. Tell a parent. Tell an adult. Tell one of your friends. Maybe that will stop the bully.

“Having someone actually motivate people by saying, ‘It’s not cool to pick on someone. Get the person away from the bully, and tell the bully to stop’ is very important. Let’s face it. This is a big problem going on right now in the world.”

These days physical bullying is just one type of bullying.

“Kids, adults, bullying never stops, especially with Cyber-bullying nowadays,” The Miz said. “Twitter, Facebook, texting, there’s bullying non-stop. You look at Twitter and how negative people are on it. I get Tweets that are very negative. I get Facebook messages. You see stuff on YouTube.

“I’m trying to bring a positive message to all those kids -- where instead of writing negative stuff on Twitter -- why not just be more positive with your life, and it will make more people feel better about themselves.

“We also tell kids ways to prevent Cyber-bullying is to ignore it, get rid of it, tell an adult, tell a teacher, tell a friend, talk about it, because the problem is with bullying so many people don’t talk about it. They’re too shy or too scared. If people are more vocal about it, it will prevent it from happening.”

• YouTube videos (The Miami Herald/Jim Varsallone jimmyv3 channel) of the WWE South Florida Be a STAR honorees and more:

The Miz Congratulates Honoree Eli Bloom:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BlSNSw6CEFQ

Honoree Eli Bloom Meets WWE superstar The Miz:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e1EJ-1RWbt8

Honoree Eli Bloom:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZBhEarjQSuI

Honoree Logan Alvarez:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TzmjVPBXvP4

Honoree Logan Alvarez and family:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tV4yjYkzHDM

Honorees Eli Bloom and Logan Alvarez:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ujqRm8UnnCw

Honoree Tristan Castillo singing one of his favorite WWE superstar theme songs:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M31Du8t67Ko

WWE superstars and divas and celebrities discuss, encourage Be a STAR (Part 1):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kyV3mpTawUQ

BB&T Center Senior Vice President & General Manager Brett Stefansson (Part 1):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=baxL6xMsfZ8

WWE superstars and divas and celebrities discuss, encourage Be a STAR (Part 2):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fGBhFqa2wV4&NR=1&feature=fvwp

BB&T Center Senior Vice President & General Manager Brett Stefansson (Part 2):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UHOXXOPlVbQ

WWE’s The Miz and Lilian Garcia at John F. Kennedy Middle School in North Miami for Be a STAR rally during WrestleMania Week Miami in March 2012:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IcJP0gX76rY

• For students who are being bullied or who would like to start their own Be a STAR chapter, WWE provides these resources:

https://community.wwe.com/diversity/take-action/students

For teachers who would like to take action against bullying, WWE offers a downloadable teachers guide here:

https://community.wwe.com/diversity/take-action/teachers

Visit https://community.wwe.com/diversity.

Facebook Be a STAR

https://www.facebook.com/beaSTARAlliance

Tennis

Two local tennis players were runners-up during the USTA Florida Bobby Curtis Junior State Championships at the Florida Tennis Center in Daytona Beach, Sanlando Park in Altamonte Springs and the Ormond Beach Tennis Center.

BOYS: 12s: Top seeded Anuj Watane of Orlando defeated No.2 Matthew Fung of Miami 7-5, 6-2 in the finals. Fung finished runner-up in the Boys’ 10s division in 2011. Watane en route to the championship was twice pushed to tiebreak sets but did not drop a set.

GIRLS: 12s: Top-seeded Hurricane Tyra Black of Boca Raton defeated No.7 Zoe Hitt of Miami 6-2, 6-1 in the finals. Black did not drop a set in her six-match run to the championship, losing only 11 games.

• Historically the highest-quality USTA Section tournament in the country, the USTA Florida Section junior championships launched the careers of future No.1s Chris Evert, Jennifer Capriati, Jim Courier and Andy Roddick among other ATP and WTA tour players over the years.

More Tennis

Coconut Grove’s Chanelle Van Nguyen, a UCLA tennis player, remained on the West Coast this summer, missing the USTA Florida Section’s annual US Open Playoffs tournament.

But the 19-year-old made her alternate route to possibly qualifying for the US Open main draw count when she won the mixed doubles title at the US Open Playoffs-Southern California tournament in Claremont, Calif.

Partnering 18-year-old Mackenzie McDonald of Piedmont, Calif., the duo defeated current USC standout Kaitlyn Christian and 2012 US Open Playoffs-Southern California men’s singles winner Dante Cipulli 6-3, 7-6 (7-4) in the final.

Van Nguyen has played in the junior US Open twice and lists playing on stadium court at the US Open as her greatest thrill.

The 5-foot-2 Miami-born rising UCLA junior and her partner will compete at the US Open National Playoffs Mixed Doubles Championships during the WTA New Haven Open at Yale in August. The national mixed doubles champions will receive a main draw wildcard into the 2013 US Open.

The US Open National Playoffs is a series of tournaments that gives any player, 14 or older, who meets the eligibility requirements, the opportunity to qualify for the 2013 US Open. Thirteen USTA sections run Sectional Qualifying Tournaments to include a men’s singles, women’s singles and mixed doubles division between April 1 and July 4.

• Last month the No.7-seeded UCLA women fell in the NCAA Division I semifinals to No.3 Texas A&M, with a cramping Van Nguyen losing a heartbreaking deciding match at No.4 singles in three sets.

Carol City football

Carol City High School edged Miami Jackson High School, 28-21, in a thrilling matchup that featured two of Miami-Dade County’s premier teams to win the sixth annual Miami Dolphins Academy 7-on-7 High School Football Tournament, presented by Under Armour and the National Guard at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens.

The Chiefs made a crucial fourth down stop with 47 seconds remaining to win the title and will represent South Florida and the Miami Dolphins in the 2013 HSPD National Championship July 11-14 in Cleveland.

“You talk about a fourth down play, just seconds on the clock and a chance to go to Cleveland. You probably had three or four guys giving a great effort trying to knock the ball down,” first-year Carol City head coach Aubrey Hill said. “Great effort is going to give you a chance to win games, and that was an example on that play.”

Carol City bested a field of more than 50 schools from the tri-county area during the three-day event. Carol City advanced to the championship game after defeating Boyd Anderson in the quarterfinals and Miramar in the semifinals.

“It feels good representing South Florida and putting our school on the map,” Carol City quarterback Trayon Gray said. “We came out on top, and it feels real good.”

The event began with the HSPD Symposium at Nova Southeastern University in Davie. It focused on character development and life skills training. A variety of guest speakers, including Miami Dolphins General Manager Jeff Ireland, Dolphins Youth Programs Director Twan Russell, Dolphins long snapper John Denney, Dolphins team physician Dr. Gautam Yagnik and Under Armour’s George Hegamin, gave the students practical life lessons and advice aimed to help them as they enter adulthood.

The tournament got underway with round robin games and the first rounds of the playoffs. The final eight teams competed the following day, ending with Carol City’s victory.

“Overall, it was a successful weekend. I felt the kids learned a lot from our guest speakers about life skills and lessons that will benefit their future,” Russell said. “The weekend ended on a great note with an excellent game. I am happy for Carol City, and I look forward to them representing us and South Florida in the national championship in Cleveland.”

Last year, Booker T. Washington won the national tournament to become the fourth team representing the Dolphins to win nationals.

Barry academics

Barry University’s athletic teams set academic records in the classroom in the spring semester.

Barry’s 12 athletic teams posted a record-high 3.301 average cumulative grade point average in the spring. The Buccaneers average team term GPA was 3.234.

All 12 teams had a cume GPA above 3.0 for the second straight semester. It marked the first time in school history all 12 teams had GPAs over 3.0 for fall and spring semesters.

“Once again we have so much to be proud of as our student-athletes had an outstanding academic performance in the spring 2013 term,” said Maritza Ryder, Assistant Dean of the School of Human Performance and Leisure Sciences, who oversees academic support services.

The Buccaneers women’s golf team had the highest GPA at 3.511 in the spring. Men’s soccer was second with program-high 3.436, and volleyball was third at 3.435.

Barry University is in Miami Shores.

YouTube youth and more

YouTube at the Jim Varsallone (the jimmyv3 channel)

http://www.youtube.com/user/jvarsallone/videos

Miami Herald youth sports online

For more area sports photos, go to www.miamiherald.com/sports/youth/miami-dade.

More events, leagues, programs

Running

The Archbishop Curley Notre Dame Prep cross-country team invites the community to join them at the Summer Fun Runs.

The free runs are 6:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays through Aug. 1. The group meets at the Miami Shores Recreation Center, 9617 Park Dr.

The school and community tradition grown from a small following of about seven runners per week to a record-breaking turnout of 354 runners in 15 gatherings. Athletic experience ranges from a 25 time participating marathoner to a tri-athlete to someone who had never run recreationally. Age range has been 11-60, but all ages are welcome.

Coach Br. John Corcoran designs three courses of gradually increasing mileage: one for beginner runners or walkers, another for recreational runners and joggers and also for advanced or competitive runners.

For information call the school at 305-751-8367, email Br. J. Corcoran at jcorcoran@acnd.net or visit the Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/events/207555209393534/.

Lacrosse

Jordan Karp, a 16-year-old senior at Miami Country Day School, is leading a unique program to introduce lacrosse to under-privileged, at-risk inner city youths being tutored on the campus of the school. The program began June 17 in collaboration with Breakthrough Miami, a nonprofit organization that provides disadvantaged students with the tools they need to reach their goals.

Jordan provides his lacrosse expertise to the students of Breakthrough Miami: how the sport is played, its rules and the team-building skills that will help the children not just in sport but life. Jordan secured revolutionary lacrosse equipment from major manufacturers who donated beginner equipment. He hopes that it will inspire similar programs for other sports to include underprivileged children throughout the nation as well as promote the expansion of lacrosse and encourage kids to play the game.

Breakthrough Miami is a tuition-free academic enrichment program that provides motivated middle-school students from underserved communities with the tools they need to achieve their most ambitious goals in life. It was recognized for its excellence by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, with a grant of $3.25 million to expand and serve more students and families in need. Breakthrough Miami serves more than 1,000 students from across Miami-Dade County at five independent schools and one public charter school. It become an eight-year program, guiding students from the 5th grade through high school graduation.

Lacrosse will continue through July 26.

Jordan’s introduction to lacrosse began when he first picked up a stick in the 6th grade, and it has become his life’s passion, followed closely by academics. This season as a junior attackman, he was honored as the leading scorer on the Miami Country Day varsity lacrosse team. He will return to school as a Captain of the team next year.

Jordan was named by The Miami Herald as an All-Dade lacrosse player. Riding this momentum, Jordan was recently selected and is playing for Team Miami and the Elite Team Florida, which represents the state in two national tournaments: one held in Princeton, N.J. and the most prestigious tournament, Hotbeds at the University of Delaware. Florida Lacrosse News recently mentioned Jordan “as someone to keep an eye on” from his performance at the Team Florida All-Star competition.

Tennis challenge

USTA Florida is launching a new series of recreational team tennis events, under the mantra “Bring Your Own Team.” Dubbed Team Tennis Challenges, these two- and three-day tournaments are a more fun, open recreational format for teams to play.

Teams from anywhere in Florida can register for the inaugural State Team Tennis Challenge July 26-28 at the Florida Tennis Center. Four regional Team Tennis Challenges will follow in the fall across the state. USTA members and non-members can participate, with USTA members receiving a $10 discount on registration.

“We have seen consistent demand across Florida for more open, recreational formats of play,” said USTA Florida Associate Executive Director Andy McFarland. “The new USTA Florida Team Tennis Challenges offer fewer restrictions, allowing more teams to participate. They also give players who are not yet USTA members the opportunity to experience our events and programs, while offering a clear value proposition for our junior members.”

To participate in the State Team Tennis Challenge, teams must have a minimum of two boys and two girls and no more than eight players per team. Age divisions include 12U, 14U, 16U, and 18U, and there are three skill divisions: novice, intermediate and advanced, with short-set scoring utilized.

Participation is limited, and USTA Florida strongly encourages coaches to register teams early to ensure their place in this landmark event.

More info, including a link to register, is online at www.USTAFlorida.com/teamtennischallenges. You can also connect with USTA Florida via Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #BYOTeamTennis.

JCC Maccabi Games

The Levis JCC in Boca Raton proudly hosts the JCC Maccabi Games Aug. 10-15. The Olympic-style event welcomes thousands of Jewish teen athletes who will compete in team and individual sports and participate in social and community service activities.

The JCC Maccabi Games, managed by JCC Association, began as a 1982 pilot project in Memphis with 300 Jewish youth and has ballooned to an annual summer event which attracts thousands of teens from North America and abroad to multiple sites in the United States and Canada.

“We are thrilled to again welcome the Levis JCC to the long list of host communities,” said Dan Deutsch, director of JCC Maccabi Experience. “Hosting the Games is an incredible community building project. The impact of hosting can be felt for years.”

Locally chaired by Levis JCC Board of Directors members Bonnie Schweiger and Matt Baker, the Levis JCC will welcome Jewish teens from the United States, Israel and several other countries. Athletes will compete in a variety of team and individual sports including girls’ and boys’ soccer, basketball, baseball, softball, volleyball, tennis, golf and swimming at venues throughout Boca Raton.

“Having hosted the Games in 2000, we are very excited about being given the opportunity to host the JCC Maccabi Games in our community for a second time. We anticipate another extremely successful JCC Maccabi Games,” said Randy Colman, Executive Director of the Levis JCC. “Involvement begins now. We are actively recruiting host families, athletes, volunteers, sponsors and coaches to participate in our Games. This is an incredible experience for all who are involved and for the Levis JCC to engage our entire community.”

In every team and individual contest, Games participants are encouraged to follow the “Rachmanus Rule,” a credo that dictates fair play, based on the Jewish values of mercy and compassion. Teamwork, sportsmanship, and respect for opponents are prized over winning at any cost.

Supplementing the team and individual sports competitions, there are fun and engaging social programs that promote friendships and JCC Cares projects that instill the Jewish values of tikkun olam (repairing the world) and tzedakah (social justice). That creates an informal educational instruction that foster a personal connection to the State of Israel. Over the years, participants have spoken of making new friends and memories to last a lifetime, motivating many to return to the Games annually, even volunteering as delegation heads and coaches when they are no longer participating as athletes.

Since they were established in 1982, the Games have offered a life-changing experience, not just to the athletes themselves, but also to their parents and coaches and the legions of volunteers in host communities who work hard for more than a year to plan a busy week of events on and off the field. There are numerous opportunities for people to become involved, from greeting athletes as they arrive, to hosting teens, to raising funds.

To encourage a stronger connection to Israel, the Opening Ceremonies will include a moving tribute to the 11 Israeli athletes killed by terrorists at the 1972 Olympics in Munich, Germany.

The JCC Maccabi Games are a joint project of JCC Association, Maccabi Canada, Maccabi World Union, and Maccabi USA.

Those interested in being part of the JCC Maccabi Games in any capacity should contact Nancy Carroll, JCC Maccabi Games Director, nancyc@levisjcc.org or call 561-852-3117.

Sponsorship opportunities are available. For information, contact Cindy Bergman cindyb@levisjcc.org or call 561-852-3253.

Heisman high school nominations

Now through Oct. 23, high school class of 2014 seniors can apply for the Wendy’s High School Heisman Award, a program honoring outstanding high school scholar-athletes for their commitment to academic achievement, community service involvement and athletic prowess.

To apply, students can go to www.WendysHeisman.com for a chance to win the Award and the prestige of joining an ever-growing family of distinguished past winners. The first 25,000 students with completed applications will receive a Wendy’s gift card valued at $10.

Created by Wendy’s founder Dave Thomas in 1994, the Wendy’s High School Heisman Award has impacted the lives of thousands of scholar athletes who have been a part of the program for the past 20 years. Since its inception, Wendy’s High School Heisman has received more than 400,000 applications and honored more than 228 National Finalists and 38 National Winners.

A partner award with college football’s acclaimed Heisman Memorial Trophy, the Heisman caché touches students at every level of the program. In addition to recognition at school and state levels, six female and six male national finalists 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 weekend festivities in December 2013. The one male and one female Wendy’s High School Heisman Award winners will also earn $10,000 for their high school and a $500 Wendy’s gift card.

The Wendy’s High School Heisman Award is a joint program between Wendy’s and the Heisman Memorial Trust, host of the College Heisman Memorial Trophy. The 2012 winners were Samuel Prakel of Versailles, Ohio, who plans to study chemical engineering or biology this fall, and Zoe Alaniz of Corpus Christi, Texas, who plans to swim at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in the fall and to follow a pre-med track.

A complete list of past WHSH finalists and winners can be found at www.wendysheisman.com.

Moments of Month

Liberty Mutual Insurance announced the annual search for the most responsible youth sports moments of the year, in partnership with Positive Coaching Alliance.

Now in its third year, the “Top 10 Responsible Sports Moments” of 2013 seeks to identify and applaud acts of sportsmanship, selflessness, integrity, fairness and honesty from youth sports fields, rinks, courts, mats and pools around the country.

This year, with the help of U.S. Olympic skiing legend and youth sports parent Picabo Street, Liberty Mutual Insurance will name the “Top 10 Responsible Sports Moments” at the close of 2013.

Aligning with the brand’s ongoing commitment to responsibility, Liberty Mutual Insurance recently announced its partnership with the United States Olympic Committee and Team USA as the Official Property and Casualty and Life Insurance Partner of the 2014 and 2016 U.S. Olympic and Paralympic teams that will compete in Sochi, Russia, and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Street, best known for her gold medal performance in the super-G at the 1998 Olympic Winter Games in Nagano, Japan, and silver medal downhill performance in 1994 in Lillehammer, Norway, joins Liberty Mutual’s commitment to youth sports as a mother and avid supporter of sportsmanship at all levels.

“As an athlete and now a mother of four young sons, I know first-hand the influence youth sports have in enriching a child with the values of sportsmanship and responsibility,” Street said. “To see U.S. Olympic Team partners like Liberty Mutual Insurance celebrate responsibility on the youth sports level is something I am proud to be a part of, and I urge fans across the country to share their examples of selflessness with us as nominees for 2013’s ‘Top 10 Responsible Sports Moments.’”

Now through Nov. 30, coaches and parents can submit a moment that celebrates the inherent goodness in youth sports at www.ResponsibleSports.com or by tweeting a nomination using #RSMoments. In addition, throughout 2013, Liberty Mutual Insurance and PCA will scour local headlines across the country and identify additional moments that exemplify sportsmanship within local communities.

Each month, three nominees will be highlighted on the Responsible Sports site where fans can tweet their vote for the most responsible “Moment of the Month.”

Winning moments will be announced at the close of 2013 and be honored by Liberty Mutual Insurance with a charitable donation of $1,000 to the 10 organizations that are responsible for each Responsible Sports moment. The Top “Moment of the Year” winner, as voted on by fans on Twitter, will also earn an extra $1,000 honorarium for its organization.

For information, visit www.ResponsibleSports.com or join the conversation @RespSports.

Heads Up

Former tight end Troy Drayton played nine seasons in the NFL, including 1996-99 with the Miami Dolphins, and he is now the Dolphins’ youth program coordinator.

Drayton is adding a new title to his listing – NFL Ambassador for Heads Up Football.

The NFL and USA Football jointly announced the national launch of Heads Up Football, a youth football program aimed at making the game of football better and safer for all who play it. The program is being supported with a $1.5 million grant from the NFL Foundation.

Three million kids already play tackle football and the game can be even safer. Heads Up Football includes a tackling model that removes the head from the game.

Heads Up Football has five core elements: 1) The use of the Heads Up Tackling model, 2) coaching certification, 3) Player Safety Coaches, 4) concussion education, and 5) proper equipment fitting.

The program was launched in three pilot markets last year. This year, it will expand to more than 600 youth leagues throughout 50 states. Of these leagues, 100 will be assigned a former NFL player mentor. Drayton will serve as a mentor to a local Heads Up League – the Tamiami Colts of the Miami Xtreme Youth Football League.

Swimming

The USA Swimming Foundation granted more than $250,000 to help local Make a Splash partners in 19 states provide children with life-saving, learn-to-swim instruction for free or at a reduced cost.

More than 130 applications were received, and 41 local programs were selected as recipients of 2013 Make a Splash grants. Among the 41 recipients nationwide was Hialeah.

Make a Splash is the national child-focused, water-safety initiative of the USA Swimming Foundation. Make a Splash partners with more than 600 learn-to-swim providers in all 50 states in an effort to provide the opportunity for every child in America to learn to swim.

“This funding allows our local partners to provide swimming lessons to children who otherwise may never have the opportunity to learn the life-skills of swimming,” said Debbie Hesse, Executive Director of the USA Swimming Foundation. “The USA Swimming Foundation is excited to see continued growth, as we now have programs in all 50 states and have reached nearly 2 million children since 2007. We are incredibly grateful to our donors and corporate sponsors who are dedicated to making sure all children in American learn to swim.”

The USA Swimming Foundation grants money to partner organizations on an annual basis, and, to date, has disbursed more than $2.8 million. Grants are made possible by the support of donors, foundations and corporate partners.

Since June of 2007, more than 1.8 million children have taken lessons though local Make a Splash partners. Grant recipients like Hialeah provide a portion of its lessons for free or at a reduced cost, or provide free water safety education in their communities.

• About USA Swimming Foundation

The USA Swimming Foundation serves as the philanthropic arm of USA Swimming. Established in 2004, the Foundation works to strengthen the sport by saving lives and building champions – in the pool and in life. Whether we’re equipping our children with the life-saving skill of learn-to-swim, or providing financial support to our heroes on the U.S. National Team, the USA Swimming Foundation aims to provide the wonderful experience of swimming to kids at all levels across the country.

The Foundation also serves as the home for our National and Olympic Team Alumni reunions and regional events. The development efforts of the USA Swimming Foundation aim to establish an endowment to strengthen the future of USA Swimming’s programs and services. To learn more, visit www.usaswimmingfoundation.org.

Big Shot Volleyball Series

The Reflekt Polarized Big Shot Volleyball Series, presented by Rider Sandals, started the 2013 season at sites throughout Florida.

Top male and female doubles teams will compete for more than $75,000 cash prizes during the 2013 season. Tournament play will start at 9 a.m. with women’s finals scheduled for 6 p.m. Saturdays and men’s finals Noon Sundays. Admission is free for spectators.

Separate divisions for players of intermediate and novice levels on Saturdays and Sundays. The $60 entry fee entitles players to a day of tournament play, an official Reflekt Polarized Big Shot Volleyball T-shirt and a chance to win merchandise prizes from tournament sponsors Spalding, Rider Sandals, 4C Totally Light 2Go Energy Drinks, Rox Volleyball, 1st Place Volleyball, SOB Volleyball Vacations, Sixpak Volleygear, Zem Booties, Dig Magazine, Bally’s Casino and Park and Sun Sports.

The Big Shot Volleyball Series holds 35 events leading to the $8,000 Big Shot Championships at Bally’s Casino Sept. 7-8 in Atlantic City and the $5,000 Volley America National Championships in October in Clearwater Beach. Visit www.eevb.net.

Rebelle volleyball

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.

Visit www.rebelleathletics.com.

USA Triathlon

USA Triathlon aims to return multisport to its roots with the inaugural USA Triathlon Retro Tri Series, which debuts this spring with 10 beginner-friendly events -- one in each USA Triathlon region including Miami.

The focus of the Retro Tri Series is participation, rather than competition. The aim of the events is to introduce the sport of triathlon and educate race participants about the healthy and active multisport lifestyle. The events are open to first-timers, seasoned veterans and those looking to stay active -- swimming, biking and running in a safe atmosphere. Each event is sanctioned by USA Triathlon.

“Our new Retro Tri Series events offer something for anyone interested in participating in the sport of triathlon,” USA Triathlon CEO Rob Urbach said. “These races can be for athletes who want a good, safe workout, or for someone who may feel intimidated by going to a larger race. We’re looking forward to this year’s events and can’t wait to introduce more and more newcomers to the multisport lifestyle.”

The Retro Tri Series events are geared toward adult and youth competitors age 13 and older. Each race will feature a 300-400-yard swim, 5-10-mile bike and 2-5-kilometer run.

USA Triathlon Retro Series Schedule

July 20: Big Spring Super Sprint & Kids Tri, Big Spring, Texas.

July 20: Runner’s Roost Retro Triathlon (R3 Tri), Buffalo.

July 28: Gaucho Super Sprint Triathlon, Goleta, Calif.

Aug. 4: Omaha Retro Family Triathlon, Omaha, Neb.

Sept. 8: FIU Triathlon, North Miami.

Nov. 3: Old Dominion University (ODU) Triathlon, Norfolk, Va.

For more on the USA Triathlon Retro Tri Series, visit www.usatretroseries.com.

USA Duathlon

With the aim of introducing more athletes to the exciting multisport discipline of duathlon, USA Triathlon unveiled the 10 events that will comprise the 2013 USA Triathlon Duathlon Race Series including one in Florida.

Ten races comprise USA Triathlon’s 2013 Duathlon Race Series. (David Sanders/USA Triathlon)

With one event in each of USA Triathlon’s 10 regions, athletes across the country will have the opportunity to compete in a top run-bike-run event. Each event is sanctioned by USA Triathlon and will count toward the popular end-of-year Duathlon National Rankings for USA Triathlon annual members.

Awards will be presented to the top finishers in each series event.

The series will continue through the Oct. 20 Longboat Key Duathlon in Longboat Key. USA Triathlon’s Duathlon National Championships is Oct. 26 in Tucson/Oro Valley, Ariz. Visit www.usatriathlon.org for information on Duathlon Nationals.

USA Triathlon sanctioned nearly 600 duathlon races in 2012, more than doubling the number of sanctioned races from 2006.

Florida Race: Oct. 20: Longboat Key Duathlon. Distances: 2-mile run, 20-mile bike, 5-mile run. Website: http://longboatkeytri.com/. Contact: kvaughan1229@gmail.com or 813-966-7844.

Miami Lady Express basketball

The Miami Lady Express girls’ basketball team needs funding to continue competing in tournaments throughout the United States. The coaches volunteered to train the girls, giving them something positive to do, and the parents have been fundraising.

Travel costs, food, tournament fees and lodging are very expensive for these girls. They practice at the Keys Gate Gym in Florida City and South Dade High School where their coaches teach. Contact Coach Larry Hicks at 786-301-2577.

Tamiami basketball

Tamiami youth basketball registration is open for girls and boys, age 5-16. Email Tamiamibasketball@gmail.com or call 305 -273-1145.

Marlins Tours

The Miami Marlins offer behind the scenes tours of Marlins Park. The tours are open to the public on non-event days for $10 a person.

The tour includes visits to the field (behind home plate), home clubhouse, home batting cage area and Diamond Club, Promenade Level featuring the art in the facility, the bobblehead museum and the premium areas including the Suites.

Tours operate from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Saturday, except when the Marlins play at home or when other major events are scheduled at Marlins Park. Group tours, accommodating between 10 and 25 people, are available by appointment.

For information, fans can call 1-877-MARLINS or e-mail tours@marlins.com. Tickets can be purchased at the ticket windows on Felo Ramirez Drive (NW 6 Street between NW 14 Avenue and NW 15 Avenue) and are for the time and date specified.

Tickets are non-exchangeable and non-refundable.

Softball camp

A girls’ softball camp is 8:30 a.m.-Noon July 8-12 at the Miami Shores Fieldhouse, 9825 Park Dr., Miami Shores.

The US Baseball and Softball School is providing an excellent opportunity for softball players to improve their skills. Players will work with quality coaches to develop all aspects of the game including fielding, hitting, pitching and catching.

Cost is $123 for Miami Shores residents and $145 for other residents. Register at the Miami Shores Fieldhouse. Call 305-758-6701.

HOF baseball

Hall Of Fame Baseball is sponsoring travel baseball teams for 11-12, 13-14, 15-18 (high school).

Hall Of Fame Coach Rich Hofman and his staff will coach the teams which will practice and play in tournaments and leagues. Register for a tryout at www.hofball.net or call David Hofman at 954-804-5600 or Ed Tisdale at 803-463-2591.

Youth Rugby South Miami

The Miami Rugby Youth Division, boys age 6-18, practices 6-8 p.m. Mondays at Murray Park and Wednesdays at Palmer Park, 6120 SW 67th Ave., South Miami. Call 305-400-0134, ext. 101. Visiti www.miamirugbykids.com.

Jai-Alai

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.

Jai-Alai for women

Who said you have to be a male to play jai-alai? Just as females play the sport in Spain, France and Mexico, and gals can play it in South Florida at an amateur indoor air-conditioned fronton at 1935 NE 150 St., North Miami, near FIU’s north campus.

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.

South Miami soccer camp

The South Miami Grey Ghosts Soccer Club is hosting a summer camp, weekly through Aug. 16 at South Miami Park, 4300 SW 58th St.

Grey Ghosts Soccer Club offers male and female players, age 5-15, an opportunity to learn the game in a fun and challenging environment. Techniques and basic individual tactics are emphasized. The philosophy of learning skills through fun games, which require maximum touches of the ball, introduces the young player to the most advanced techniques. To register or for information go to www.southmiamigreyghosts.com.

Soccer 5 Academy

Soccer 5 Academy Mini Soccer Program, also referred to as small-sided soccer, makes its South Florida debut at three Miami-Dade County-owned parks – Tropical Park (7900 SW 40 St. in Miami), Kendall Soccer Park (8011 SW 127 Ave.) and Amelia Earhart Park (401 E. 65th St in Hialeah).

Headed by Soccer 5’s Director of Coaching Development Alan Georgeson, who has more than 15 years of experience in Europe in mini/small-sided soccer, kids, age 3-12, will learn the history of mini soccer, the basics of how to play, reasons why mini soccer is the preferred form of soccer play for kids, youth and even adults, and will have the opportunity to play in 3v3 to 7v7 matches.

With Kendall Park, ts recent grand opening of Soccer 5 Tropical Park and its third location at Amelia Earhart Park, mini/small-sided soccer will be available across the county, providing a greater opportunity for children and families to access the proper 4G turf game fields specifically designed for “5v5,” “6v6” and “7v7” games.

With smaller fields, mini soccer is much easier for young children or children who have never played. In addition, mini soccer is designed for competitive play against less number of players, providing more opportunity for pick-up games, as well as more opportunity to play the ball making mini soccer popular with older players, too.

Soccer 5 Tropical Park is open 3 p.m.-midnight Mondays through Fridays and 9 a.m.-midnight Saturdays and Sundays.

“I cannot thank Miami Dade Parks and our Soccer 5 coaching staff enough for making our dream of developing small-sided soccer for kids in the Greater Miami area a reality,” Georgeson said. “It is an exciting time for us at Soccer 5 as we continue to expand our Kids Academy in South Florida built on the success of our public/private partnership with Miami Dade Parks and the Parks Foundation of Miami-Dade.”

Allison Diego, Director of Business Development, Fundraising and Advocacy for Miami-Dade Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Department, added: “The Parks Foundation of Miami-Dade is delighted to partner with The Soccer 5 vision to provide an outstanding experience for this community through soccer. We are happy to be a part of this important child sports development.”

For information or to register, visit www.miamisoccer5.com.

Soccer

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).

Tennis classes, programs

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.

Got Milk

The National Milk Mustache “got milk?” campaign 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.

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.

Physically Challenged

Miami-Dade Parks welcomes children with disabilities in its youth leagues. If you need accommodations to participate, call 305-735-7847 (V/TDD).

Read more Miami-Dade Youth Sports stories from the Miami Herald

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