Sports Scene: Gwen Cherry, Liberty City, Overtown win Pop Warner national titles

 

About this feature

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

We rely on the directors and coaches of each league, as well as community members, parents and schools to submit information. We accept photos but ask that everyone pictured be identified with a first and last name and the name of the team or park they represent.

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The Gwen Cherry Bulls defeated the Virginia Beach Mustangs 26-0 to win the Division 1 Jr. Pee Wee National Championship during the 57th annual Pop Warner Super Bowl at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Lake Buena Vista.

The Liberty City Warriors won the Division 1 Jr. Midget National Championship with a 22-0 victory over the Washington, D.C., Beacon House Falcons.

The Overtown Tornadoes were awarded the Division 1 Midget National Championship title after beating the Pennsylvania Blackhawks A.C. 14-6.

FBU National Championships

South Florida excelled defensively to shut out Indiana 33-0 in the Football University Seventh Grade National Championship semifinal game, setting up a title shuwdown with Iowa.

The suffocating defense held Indiana to just 12 total yards, including minus-39 rushing and 51 passing, during the late afternoon game at Wheatley Heights Sports Complex in San Antonio.

On offense, South Florida also had the right stuff, courtesy of Nayquan Wright and his two 60-plus yard touchdown runs en route to 158 rushing yards on just seven carries.

Wright’s runs followed South Florida’s first score with 7:16 remaining in the opening stanza when quarterback Nik Scalzo found running back James Cook on a two-yard touchdown pass, and after a Billy McConnell kick, South Florida led 7-0.

Their second score came near the end of the first half when Wright bolted 64 yards to increase the lead 13-0.

Then in the third quarter, Wright struck again when he galloped 63 yards on the right side of the field, giving his Sunshine State team and its smothering defense a commanding 20-0 lead.

But they weren’t done yet, as Daniel Carter plunged one yard for a touchdown with 9:30 left in the game, and then it was Carter again closing it on the game’s final play with a 22-yard fumble return for a score.

Miami Beach flag football

The Broncos prevailed over the Phoenix 19-12 in the finals of the 9-10 age group of Miami Beach Parks & Recreation flag football at Flamingo Park.

In the first half, the Broncos shut out the Phoenix. Broncos quarterback Owen Spill threw three touchdown passes. Alex Martinez, Jack Costaregni and Gavin Basner caught the scoring passes.

The Phoenix made it a game the second half with a touchdown run by Justin Schwartz, who also tossed a touchdown pass to Mendy Rudd. The Broncos answered with a spectacular run by Owen Spill to clinch the victory.

• The Broncos reached the finals by beating the Warrioras 24-12. Felipe Llanos threw a touchdown pass to receiver Alfredo Miranda who also scored on a run.

Noah Ogaza not only threw a touchdown pass to Thomas Murphy but he also had an interception, returning it for a touchdown. Warriors quarterback Arthur Ackerman completed touchdown passes to Mia Ogaza and Chance Levin.

• In other (9-10) playoff action, the Seahawks defeated the Hurricanes 19-7. The Hurricanes quickly took the lead with consecutive long passes from quarterback Joel Perez to receiver Ezra Rivera.

The Seahawks answered when Brock Levin tossed a touchdown pass to Maximo Castillo. The momentum shifted to the Seahawks in the second half on two touchdown runs by speedster Manuel Nores and a strong defense that shut out the Hurricanes in the second half.

The Broncos reached the finals by beating the Warrioras 24-12. Felipe Llanos threw a touchdown pass to receiver Alfredo Miranda who also scored on a run. Noah Ogaza not only threw a touchdown pass to Thomas Murphy but he also had an interception, returning it for a touchdown. Warriors quarterback Arthur Ackerman completed touchdown passes to Mia Ogaza and Chance Levin.

Palmetto cheerleading

The Palmetto Raiders Youth Development Club Inc., in Cutler Bay did a very good job representing the Greater Miami South Florida Pop Warner League at the Pop Warner National Cheer and Dance Championships at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Lake Buena Vista.

The Palmetto Raiders Midget Dance Team (age 12-15) placed fourth to capture the first cheer and dance trophy at Pop Warner nationals in the 48-year history of the Palmetto program.

The Raiders were third in the local competition at the Dade County Auditorium in October, qualifying for the Southeast Region Championships in November. They dazzled the arena to win southeast regionals against teams from Alabama, Florida, Georgia and Mississippi. That allowed them to represent the southeast region at the Pop Warner National Championships, which included teams from throughout the United States.

The talented Palmetto team features Jayla Pates, Jakia Armorer, Tajah Flowers, Sybonne Reed, Dasjha Hughes, Cassandra Richardson, Quanisha Brooks, Tomya Johnson, Brianca Coney, Destiny Hills, Shanya McCullor, Aisha Charles, Terri Pettway, Diamond Moore and Ja’nya Terry. The head coach is Temesha Bruton, and the coaches are Sharonney Partridge and Denzel Williams. The Palmetto cheer commissioners are Yelena Anria and Tiffany Moss.

Miami Marlins Energy Team

The Miami Marlins are searching for talented female and male dancers, cheerleaders, gymnasts and break-dancers to become part of the Miami Marlins Energy Team. Open auditions will occur Jan. 25 at Marlins Park.

The Miami Marlins Energy Team is a high-energy squad with a unique mix of gymnastics, hip-hop, acrobatics, modern jazz funk and break-dancing. The team will provide excitement and entertainment during Miami Marlins homes games and appearances throughout the community. All positions are paid.

The Miami Marlins Energy Team will perform at Marlins Park, receive exposure through media, high profile events and community relations and receive extensive training in various styles by the best choreographers and coaches in Miami. All rehearsals, games and community appearances are paid events.

Candidates are welcome to contact Jose Guerrero at jguerrero@marlins.com or visit www.marlins.com for information.

Belen, Columbus basketball

Belen Jesuit Preparatory School will play Christopher Columbus High School in basketball at the UM BankUnited Center on Jan. 17 .

The JV game begins at 6 p.m. followed by the Varsity game at 7:30 p.m.

The matchup will put Miami-Dade County’s most prestigious, private, all-male Catholic Schools in competition.

Tickets are on sale. The game will be limited to 2,500 spectators per school. There are 1,000 student tickets at $10 each and 1,500 adult tickets at $15 each. Two-hundred-and-fifty preferred parking tickets will be sold in advance, $5 each via the school bookstore. Tickets on game day will be $20 at the arena.

The BankUnited Center is at 1245 Dauer Dr., Coral Gables .

“We are looking forward to playing this team, as we do every year,” said Belen varsity basketball coach Jose Roca. “We share a fun, healthy rivalry with Columbus and a shared respect. It is going to be a great game.”

Alumni can purchase tickets online , www.belenjesuit.org/bvcbasketball or call the Alumni Office at 786-621-4667 . Tickets are $15 each with a $1 service charge for purchasing online. All tickets must be picked up at the Belen Alumni House, 12805 SW Sixth St., by no later than noon Thursday, Jan. 16. The Belen Alumni Office is open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. during the week on school days. No refunds will be given for unclaimed tickets. No tickets will be held at the door.

More events, leagues, programs

Marlins golf tournament

The Marlins Foundation announces the inaugural Jack McKeon Marlins Celebrity Golf Classic which is Feb. 12 at Crandon Golf Course Key Biscayne. Previously known as the Marlins Celebrity Golf Classic, the Marlins will pay tribute to former Marlins Manager Jack McKeon, a two-time National League Manager of the Year and 2003 World Series Champion.

Marlins personalities scheduled to attend include: President David Samson, President of Baseball Operations Michael Hill, Vice President and General Manager Dan Jennings, Marlins Manager Mike Redmond, along with Marlins players and other community leaders.

Proceeds from the golf tournament will benefit the Miracle League of Miami-Dade County; a Marlins Charity Partner. The Miracle League is a nationally recognized baseball program for children with special needs. The mission is to provide children with developmental, intellectual, mental and/or physical challenges the opportunity to play baseball on special custom designed rubber turf fields that accommodate wheelchairs and walkers.

"We look forward to honoring Jack for his contributions to baseball in South Florida. Thanks to the generous donations of individuals and organizations, we can continue to impact the lives of children through baseball,” Redmond said. “This event will give participants the opportunity to play alongside Marlins players, as well as donate to a worthy cause.”

The daylong event will follow the following agenda:

Registration: 9-10:30 a.m.; Shot Gun Start: 11 a.m.; Awards Dinner: 4 p.m.

Event registration is available online at www.marlins.com/golf. For information, contact the Marlins Foundation at 305-480-2550, or email foundation@marlins.com.

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 email tours@marlins.com. Tickets can be purchased at the ticket windows on Felo Ramirez Drive (Northwest Sixth Street between Northwest 14th and 15th avenues) and are for the time and date specified.

Tickets are non-exchangeable and non-refundable.

FIU

The Florida International University baseball and softball programs have announced that former Major League Baseball pitcher and current broadcaster Jim Kaat will speak at the annual Diamond Dinner on Feb. 8 in the Graham Center Ballroom on campus.

Kaat was a pitcher for five different teams in a stellar 25-year career. He currently broadcasts games on the MLB Network.

"Jim pitched 25 years in Major League Baseball and was one of the greatest in the history of the game," said FIU baseball coach Turtle Thomas. "He is very much of a household, recognizable name we look forward to speaking at the Diamond Dinner. Jim received seven Emmy Awards for broadcasting excellence, which makes him significant for both his on field and off field endeavors."

FIU softball coach Jake Schumann added: "I am truly excited to not only have someone of Jim Kaat’s baseball background speak at this year’s Diamond Dinner, but I’m truly excited because as someone who grew up in Minnesota, I am a life-long Twins fan, and to get the chance to meet him will be a great honor. When someone like Jim speaks about his life in baseball, it can only be a positive influence on our student-athletes. Having heard Jim call games on TV and hear him speak about not only baseball but things other than the game, it should be a great evening for our teams to take that knowledge and apply it to their everyday lives.’

Kaat, who was nicknamed "Kitty," kicked off his career in the big leagues with the Washington Senators in 1959. Once the team moved to Minnesota in 1961, Kaat was a member of the Twins organization until 1973. After 15 years between both clubs, he went on to have stints with the Chicago White Sox (1973-75), Philadelphia Phillies (1976-79), New York Yankees (1979-80) and St. Louis Cardinals (1980-83). He won 283 career games while posting a lifetime ERA of 3.45. During the 1966 season, he won a league-leading 25 games for the Twins and finished fifth in the AL MVP voting.

At the time of his retirement in 1983, Kaat’s 25-year career was the longest of any pitcher in Major League history. He is now third all-time behind Nolan Ryan’s 27 seasons and Tommy John’s 26 years. During Kaat’s playing career, there were seven different United States Presidents.

After a brief coaching stint with the Cincinnati Reds, Kaat focused on his broadcasting career. Most recently, he has served as a broadcaster on the MLB Network. Kaat has won seven Emmy Awards for excellence in sports broadcasting.

Tickets to the Diamond Dinner cost $120 for an individual and $1,200 for a table of 10. Purchases can be made through FIUSports.com. Anybody interested in opportunities to give to the Diamond Dinner fund, contact Alyssa Meyer at 305-348-7297 or by email at alymeyer@fiu.edu.

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.

NIAF Scholarship Program

The National Italian American Foundation celebrates its 39th anniversary this year.

The Foundation’s scholarship program has grown from four scholarships of $250 each to dozens of annual scholarships ranging in value from $2,000 to $10,000 each in the humanities, medicine, engineering, business, music, Italian language and culture, and other specialized fields.

“NIAF has awarded millions of dollars in merit-based scholarships and cultural grants across the country since its inception. NIAF’s leadership is extremely proud of the high caliber of our scholarship students and their outstanding achievements,” said NIAF President and COO John M. Viola.

NIAF scholarship winners are selected based on academic merit and are academically outstanding with an average GPA of 3.95. The average scholarship in the United States was more than $3,000.

In addition to NIAF’s scholarship program, NIAF sent college students to Italy’s Calabria Region to participate in the Ambassador Peter F. Secchia Voyage of Discovery program, an educational and cultural initiative.

Contributors to the NIAF scholarship program include individuals, corporations and organizations across the United States.

Apply online for a 2014-2015 NIAF scholarship at www.niaf.org/scholarships. Application deadline is March 1. NIAF scholarship winners will be announced on May 16 online.

For information on establishing a NIAF scholarship, contact Gabriella Mileti at gmileti@niaf.org.

The National Italian American Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C., and dedicated to preserving the heritage of Italian Americans. Visit www.niaf.org .

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.

Visit www.miamirugbykids.com .

Tennis

The new 2013-14 Century Doubles Men’s Tournament series, presented by Cliff Drysdale Tennis and an official USTA Florida Pilot Event Series, will conclude in Miami.

The five-event Century Doubles Men’s Tournament series is open to men’s doubles teams with a combined age of 100 years or over, featuring a Club Division and an Open Division. Players must be age 35 or older to compete.

For each individual tournament, players will earn points on a sliding scale toward qualification in the end-of-series Grand Finals at The Ritz-Carlton, (Miami) Key Biscayne in April. A minimum of 60 total points will be required to participate in the Grand Finals.

"Trophies and cash prizes will be awarded for each tournament’s division winners and runners-up, with the addition of luxury hotel getaways awarded to the series winners," said series coordinator Bertan Cikigil. "All participants are guaranteed at least two matches, with a maximum of three per day at each event."

Series schedule:

Jan. 25-26: Weston Tennis Center, Weston.

March 1-2: Omni Amelia Island Plantation, Amelia Island.

April 5-6: Miami Grand Finals & Awards hosted by The Ritz-Carlton Tennis Garden, Key Biscayne.

The Club Division and Open Division at each event will be limited to 16 teams each. Scoring is best of three sets, with a 10-point tiebreak in lieu of a third set. USTA rules and regulations apply, including the point penalty system and 15 minute default rule. Teams must be available to start at 9 a.m. each Saturday and Sunday.

"USTA Florida is excited about partnering with Cliff Drysdale Tennis to offer alternative events that will offer different play opportunities compared to our traditional events," said USTA Florida President Bob Pfeander.

Event entry fee is $100 per team, and players must be active USTA members.

For information contact Bertan Cikigil at b.cikigil@cliffdrysdale.com or call 914-815-4093, or to register online go to www.CenturyDoublesTennis.com.

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.

JCC Maccabi program

The Levis Jewish Community Center seeks participants for its JCC Maccabi program.

Jewish athletes between ages 13 and 16 (as of July 31, 2014) can participate in team sports, and athletes between age 12 and 16 (as of July 31, 2014) can participate in individual sports.

Athletes will represent the Boca Raton Mitchell Dobbin Maccabi Team in boys’ and girls’ basketball, boys’ baseball, boys’ flag football, girls’ volleyball, boys’ and girls’ soccer, swimming, tennis, bowling, golf and Star Reporter (a competition for Jewish teens with skills in writing, reporting, photography and social media). Participants will show off their skills and be inspired by the values of community involvement, teamwork, creativity, integrity and pride.

The JCC Maccabi Games is the largest Jewish youth event in the world.

Athletes interested in competing in individual sports must contact the JCC Maccabi Games Delegation Head at 561-852-3257 or lfriedman@levisjcc.org by Jan. 10. Individual athletes do not need to tryout but must pre-register online at www.bocamaccabi.org by Jan. 10.

Visit www.levisjcc.org for details.

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).

Thunder basketball

Thunder Basketball opened its new year-round facility at ThunderPleX, 1440 NW 82 Ave., Miami.

Thunder Basketball is currently running a day camp and summer league, open to boys and girls, age 5-17. Thunder Basketball’s mission is to teach the principles, fundamentals and basic skills of the game. They stress the importance of team and sportsmanship.

Thunder also encourages players to succeed in the classroom and all aspects of life. For information visit www.jointhunder.com Registration is now open. Contact contact@jointhunder.com or call 786-505-5585.

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.

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.

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 .

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.

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).

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