Sports Scene: Nick Diaz, Sarah Medina, more locals win Copa Dorada awards


Pro wrestling in Miami

TNA Wrestling’s Lockdown pay-per-view is Sunday, March 9 at the Bank United Center at the University of Miami in Coral Gables.

TNA features Kurt Angle, Sting, Jeff Hardy, MVP, Magnus, Gail Kim, Bobby Roode, Abyss, ODB, EC3, The Bro Mans, Eric Young, Madison Rayne, Christopher Daniels, Kazarian, Austin Aries, Lei’D Tapa, Zema Ion, Chris Sabin, Velvet Sky, Mr. Anderson, Cowboy James Storm, Christy Hemme, Jeremy Borash, Brooke, Bully Ray and more.

Tickets for the pay-per-view are at, the BankUnited Center box office and by phone at 800-745-3000. Tickets start at $15, plus Family-4-for-$40 packs are available while supplies last.

TNA’s Fan InterAction with many of TNA’s wrestlers is Saturday, March 8 at the Airport Hilton in Miami.

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Copa Dorada Awards

Dozens of Miami’s best athletes gathered at Miami’s Renaissance Ballroom in honor of the 17th WSUA Radio Caracol 1260 AM Copa Dorada Awards, hosted by radio and television personality John Morales.

Since 1988, this annual event recognizes the athletic elite in South Florida.

Some of the most prestigious awards presented at the Copa Dorada included Athlete of the Year honors.

Nick Diaz was named Male Athlete of the Year. A cross-country runner at Miami Sunset High School, he won a state championship. The Female Athlete of the Year went to Sarah Medina of Palmer Trinity School. She is one of the best soccer players in the state, managing 48 goals this season.

Not only were local athletes recognized, but several special prizes were awarded to professionals including world champion boxer Guillermo Rigondeaux; heavyweight contender Odlanier Solis; undefeated boxer Rances Barthelemy, boxer Hairon Socarras, baseball Hall of Famer Tony Perez; and Five Tools Baseball Academy pitching coach Orlando Chinea.

Another key moment included a special trophy presented to Miami’s K.J. Farfan, an 8-year-old basketball player, who, at such a young age, is already a stellar model of the sport.

The FIU Tae Kwon Do Club performed a demonstration of popular stances, fight techniques and board breaking, garnering much applause from the audience.

Copa Dorada Awards

Youth league basketball: K.J. Farfan – One of top 8-year-old players in the country; Seth Pan – City of Doral; Jordan Urbaez – Miami Lakes Optimist; Esteban Lluberes

Youth league baseball: Julian Frias Miami Lakes Optimist; Carlos Gamundi – City of Doral; Bryan Hoyo Houtenbrink – City of Doral; Rodolfo Martinez – Academia Orlando “Duque” Hernandez

Youth league soccer: Nicolas Gonzalez – Pinecrest Premier; Sebastian Restrepo – City of Doral; Elbano Ruiz – City of Doral; Carolina Silva – Pinecrest Premier; Maria Vega – Pinecrest Premier

Youth softball: Ashley Alfonso – Miami Lakes Optimist

Girls HS Basketball: Katherine Espinosa – Sunset High; Tabitha Gonzalez – Ferguson High; Amanda Mendoza – Miami High

Boys HS basketball: Anthony Concepcion – Miami Senior High; Raul Frias – Mater Academy; Joseph Lopez – South Miami High; Danny Rodriguez – Columbus High

Boys HS baseball: Savian Fernandez – Brito Private; Eric Gonzalez – American High; Kendrick Gutierrez – American High; Juan Kirk – Miami Springs High; Mike Mediavilla – Mater Academy

Football HS: Sean Carranza – Ferguson; Fermin Silva – Miami Central

Girls HS Soccer : Amanda Marie Martin – Dade Christian; Sarah Medina – Palmer Trinity; Alessandra Salazar – Miami Springs; Mariana Speckmier – Mast Academy

Boys HS soccer: Joseph Alamo – Westminster Christian; Ivan Dario Arenas – Dade Christian; Alex Cardenas – La Salle; Francisco Carrera Justiz – Ramson Everglades; Jose Novas – Gulliver; Eddie Pinero – Sunset High

Girls HS softball: Gabriella Draney – Gulliver; Geneva Santos – Miami Springs

Girls HS volleyball: Michelle Cuervo – Ferguson High; Jenny Ceballos – Westminster Christian; Sylvia Hernandez – Westminster Christian; Lizette Tellez – Ramson Everglades

Girls HS swimming: Arianna Noya – Reagan; Isabella Paez – Reagan; Namilla Sanchez – Gulliver; Annie Valls – Ramson Everglades

Boys HS swimming: Alejandro Carriazo - Belen; Ryan Guso – Belen; Boleck De Pawlikowski – Belen

Boys HS cross country: Nick Diaz – Sunset High; Ryan Rodriguez – Belen; Fabian Tomas – Belen

Girls HS tennis: Julieta Dalmau – Gulliver; Danna Gandelman - Dr. Krop High

Boys HS tennis: Alfredo Perez – Coral Gables High; Chase Perez Blanco – Gulliver

FIU Tae Kwon Do Club: Alfonso Meneses; Daniel Cuyun; Andrea Garcia; Chris Alvarez; Ray Alvarez


Cheerleading: Top Gun Cheerleading Team

Club Soccer: Jordi Avila – Kendall Soccer Coalition; Joseph Beguiristain – Kendall Soccer Coalition; Diego Costa – Miami Strike Force; Daniel Mendoza – Club Real Madrid; Valentin Sabella – Club Real Madrid

College football: James Coley – University of Miami Offensive Coordinator

Professional boxing: Rances Barthelemy – FIB Junior Lightweight World Champion; Hairon Socarras – Young undefeated Cuban boxer; Odlanier Solis – Top rated heavyweight; Guillermo Rigondeaux – WBA Super Bantamweight World Champion

Professional baseball: Jose Iglesias – Detroit Tigers shortstop; Tony Perez – Baseball Hall of Famer; Orlando Chinea – Pitching coach

St. Brendan cheerleading

For the third consecutive year, the St. Brendan High School varsity cheerleaders won the championship at the FHSAA Region 4 Competition in the Extra Large Varsity Division at Dillard High School in Fort Lauderdale.

Then at the FHSAA State Championships in Orlando, they were runners-up for the second consecutive time.

For the first time, St. Brendan’s varsity cheerleaders qualified for the National High School Cheerleading Championships at the Wide World of Sports Complex at Disney World in Lake Buena Vista. They were 10th of 30 teams from 16 states in the Super Varsity Division II. St. Brendan was the only school from South Florida competing in the Super Large Varsity Division.

Of the 27 young women on the varsity squad, 14 are seniors. Most of these ladies have been cheering since they were 7, and they take private lessons for tumbling.

The school season began with the UCA Overnight Cheer Camp in August and ended in February. To keep in shape during the off season some of the team members also cheer for all-star teams throughout Miami.

Miami Beach JCC basketball

Brett Burnstine had a game-high 10 points with 10 rebounds, three steals and two blocks as the Orangemen defeated the Hurricanes 29-22 in the 3rd-5th grade Division of the Miami Beach Jewish Community Center Baksetball League.

Elliot Starkman totaled nine points, seven rebounds, four assists and two steals.

Marley Davis had seven points and 10 rebounds to lead the Hurricanes. Max Lawrence added six points, three assists and two steals.

More 3rd-5th

Wolfpack 30, Yellow Jackets 26: Jacob Martin 12 points, 14 rebounds, 2 steals; Avriam Aminov 6 points, 13 rebounds. Yellow Jackets: Jared Zedner 7 points, 10 rebounds; David Saka 3 points, 8 rebounds, 5 steals.


Rockets 45, Kings 26: Mikael Choukroun 15 points, 19 rebounds, 10 assists, 7 steals; Zach Bohm 9 points, 3 rebounds. Kings: Julian Bernstein 7 points, 10 rebounds, 2 steals.

Hawks 34, Lakers 29: Blake Miller 22 points, 16 rebounds, 3 blocks, 2 steals; Samuel Torjman 2 points, 4 rebounds. Lakers: Toby Squire 24 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals; Nick Namias 4 points, 4 rebounds.

Pelicans 49, Clippers 26: Elias Becker 18 points, 6 rebounds, 3 steals; Ethan Hunt 12 points, 9 rebounds, 2 steals. Clippers: Ben Rubinov 9 points, 2 rebounds, 2 steals; Rafael Haimov 8 points, 4 rebounds.

For infomration visit

Prime Time basketball

Torrence Mack had 12 points to lead the Friars over the Pirates 22-21 in the Big East (3rd-4th grade) of the Prime Time Sports Basketball League at the Michael-Ann Russell Jewish Community Center in North Miami Beach.

Dylan Gale totaled eight points and Antonio Podrug two points. For the Pirates, Menachem Gelman and Joseph Talmaciu each scored six points. Eithan Yisrael added four points, and Meyer Cusnir and Moris Tawil had two points apiece.

Hoyas 24, Golden Eagles 19: Alex Ruah 2 pts , Andres Ruah 4 pts, Dylan Wigoda 6 pts, Jake Crowder 7 pts, Michael Brinker 5 pts. For the Golden Eagles, Arie Assraf 4 pts, Daniel Jacobs 4 pts, Eithan Mittler 4 pts, Jack Dillon 2 pts.

Blue Demons 18, Wildcats 11: Daniel Abbo 11 pts, Abraham Klainbaum 3 pts, Joseph Abramowitz 2 pts, Rocco Lulinski 2 pts. For the Wildcats, William Shaoul 7 pts, Michael Abbo 4 pts.

Hurricanes 37, Owls 34: Allan Strimber 25 pts (Player of the Week), David Lalo 3 pts, Jack Furman 2 pts, Max Klinger 2 pts, Ariel Eisen 1 point. For the Owls, Andres Sedler 12 pts, Benji Rabinowitz 4 pts, Gabe Katz 2, Jacob Shaked 6 pts, Tomas Lado 9 pts.

Red Storm 24, Blue Jays 18: Marc Wendrow 11 pts, Lucas Korn 6 pts, Jaime Mizrahi 3 pts, Daniel Rosen 2 pts. For the Blue Jays, Samuel Courtney 7 pts, Samuel Merenfeld 6 pts, Itamar Gal 3 pts, Schay Gilinski 2 pts.

SEC (5th-6th grade)

Tigers 45, Hurricanes 30: Nathaniel Elharrar 24 pts (Player of the Week), Avi Alalu 11 pts, Eli Gelb 8 pts, Jacky Camhi 2 pts. For the Hurricanes, Benjamin Ratzker 12 pts, Saul Birmaher 11, Michael Hirsch 2 pts,

Gators 40, Razorbacks 14: Daniel Broides 11 pts, Sammy Lasry 10 pts, Tatiana Wainer 8 pts, Jack Shechtman 7 pts, Menacem Rosenwasser 2 pts, Daniel Gutking 2 pts. For the Razorbacks, Oren Borax 5 pts, Alejandro Waksol 5 pts, JD McCarthy Jr 2 pts, Lance Furman 2 pts.

Rebels 33, Volunteers 32: Alan Berkman 23 pts, Elan Roffe 8 pts, Lauren Horstein 2 pts. For the Volunteers, Jack Brown 5 pts, Joel Assor 8 pts, Michael Odzer 8 pts.

Crimson Tide 28, Bulldogs 25: Asher Courtney 14 pts, Joshua Schmutter 10 pts, Benjamin Bakar 2 pts, Jack Golan 2 pts. For the Bulldogs, Alejandro Mizrahi 10 pts, Liam Senker 3 pts, Micahel Braun 4 pts, Daniel Mundlak 4 pts, Noah Pierre 2 pts, Ran Menshulam 2 pts.

ACC (7th-8th grade)

Hurricanes 45, Wolfpack 15: Benjamin Givner 20 pts, Jaime Acherman 7 pts, Ariel Taieb 8 pts, Victor Gilinski 8 pts, Sammy Bitchatchi 2. For the Wolfpack, Jared Weingard 6 pts, Eli Navarro 4 pts, Thalia Perez 5 pts.

Terrapins 53, Blue Devils 45: David Ezekiel 20 pts (Player of the Week), Alan Berkman 6 pts, Danny Green 9 pts, Gabriel Hinojosa 4 pts, Igal Ovaknin 5 pts, Matias Ostrowicz 4 pts, Roye Ovaknin 5 pts. For the Blue Devils, Benjamin Wolf 5 pts, Enzo Collomba 23 pts, Lee Friedman 2 pts, Luis Ruah 5 pts, Matheus Maia 2 pts, Yannick Waingarten 7 pts.

Cavaliers 46, Yellow Jackets 40: Josh Klein 22 pts, Benjamin Brener 12 pts, Daniel Hassoun 4 pts, Francisco Escolar 4 pts, Joel Yisrael 4 pts, Matias Ostrowicz 4 pts. For the Yellow Jackets, Shaul Levy 16 pts, Max Weisinger 14 pts, Avi Weisskoff 7 pts, Jonathan Solomiany 2 pts, Bradley Cunier 1 point.

NBA (7th-9th grade)

Thunder 34, Lakers 20: Brandon Elyakim 12 pts, Avi Parrino 7 pts, Simon Elharrar 7 pts, Dan Berflein 4 pts, Adam Oliel 4 pts. For the Lakers, Mark Hanz 9 pts, Daniel Haddad 4 pts, Jordan Kasimow 3 pts, Eli Broides 2 pts, Nicholas Mufson 2 pts.

Nets 27, Heat 19: Alan Pinkhasov 11 pts, Ethan Ayache 4 pts, Ian Schillinger 6 pts. For the Heat, Christian Zorzi 4 pts, Cristian Yol 6 pts, Joshua Bonwitt 7 pts, Moises Franco 2 pts.


Miami Country Day basketball

The Miami Country Day Middle School boys’ varsity basketball team finished the season 9-9. The team’s record does not indicate how competitive this team really was with four losses by only five points or less.

Eighth grade captains Nick Choi and Tristan Escalante led the offense with Nick averaging 8.3 points and 9.1 rebounds per game and Tristan averaging 6 points per game. The team’s biggest victory was the last game of the season against Ransom Everglades, who previously beat them a couple months earlier.

One of the bright spots was sixth grader Conner Sazant, who stepped up and played some crucial minutes down the stretch of the season.

Prime Time flag football

Player of the Week Joel Assor made seven receptions (two for touchdowns) as the Dolphins beat the Steelers 19-13 in Varsity (5th-6th grade) of the Prime Time Sports Flag Football League at the Michael-Ann Russell Jewish Community Center in North Miami Beach.

Also, Rafael Andrusier four receptions; Zoe Levy three receptions; Daniel Okunev one reception; Daniel Roffe one reception.

For the Steelers, Aidan Gold one touchdown run, six receptions; Adam Weinberg two receptions, one sack; Daniel Broides two reception, one interception; Eli Lipskar one touchdown pass, two receptions (one a touchdown); Jaime Meller one reception; Jameson Schuchts one reception.

Cardinals 25, Giants 13: Tyler Gale touchdown passes, two interceptions, one reception; Marc Wendrow one touchdown pass, one sack, four receptions, (one a touchdown); Henri Birol three receptions (one a touchdown); Noah Pierre two receptions (one a touchdown); Gabriel Puterman one reception.

For the Giants, Carmelo Billisi one touchdown reception, four receptions; Ilan Koenig three six receptions; Robert Bejar one interception, three receptions; Yossi Stiefel one touchdown pass, one reception.

NCAA (7th-9th grade)

Dolphins 34, Cardinals 18: Player of the Week Josh Silverman four touchdown passes, one interception; Brandon Weinstein one interception, seven receptions (with two touchdown catches); Robert Behar seven receptions (with two touchdown catches); Jonathan Yaari four receptions (one a touchdown); Josh Exposito one reception; Tomas Korn two receptions.

For the Cardinals, Daniel Yerushalmi seven receptions (with two touchdown catches); Jonathan Malove two receptions (one a touchdown); Jonathan Solomiany one reception, one sack; Lee Iaslovits one touchdown pass, two receptions; Presley Pomeranc one touchdown pass, two receptions; Ross Vaygensberg two receptions.

Giants 25, Vikings 13: Menachem Balkany four receptions (one a touchdown), one interception; Jake Singer one interception, seven receptions (one a touchdown), one sack; Lee Friedman four receptions (with two touchdown catches), two sacks; Joel Shapiro two receptions.

For the Vikings, Josef Gad five receptions; Ariel Golan three receptions (one a touchdown); Kevin Ordet two receptions (one a touchdown); Alex Fraynd two touchdown pass; Eytan Namiech two receptions.

Future Stars K (1st-2nd grade)

Jets 31, Saints 18: Ari Dejman five rushing touchdowns, three receptions; Albert Ruah three receptions; Alexander Schpilberg two receptions; Benjamin Rosengarten one reception; Daniel Wengrowsky one reception; Eli Tamir one reception.

For the Saints, Nolan Senker seven receptions, one touchdown run; Joshua Wolf two touchdown passes; Gabriel Attias three receptions (one a touchdown), David Levin one reception; Eli Fishbach one reception.

Steelers 25, Giants 12: Player of the Week Jake Manasse three rushing touchdowns, one interception, eight receptions; Max Jacobs one touchdown run, three receptions; David Dimarcoberardino four receptions; Jonathan Frank two receptions; Michael Kiblisky one reception; Carlos Sandoval one reception.

For the Giants, Mark Szomstein seven receptions, one touchdown run; Ryder Rosenberg 10 receptions; Michael Benzadon three receptions, one touchdown run; Ethan Hornstein one reception, one sack; Andres Novodzelskey two receptions.

Junior Varsity (3rd-4th grade)

Saints 19, Raiders 7: Carlos Romano one touchdown run, nine receptions (one a touchdown); Roco Lulinski one interception; Alex Oved two sacks, one reception; Daniel Brown four receptions; Abie Saada one touchdown run, one touchdown pass.

For the Raiders, Abraham Klainbaum six receptions (one a touchdown); Samuel Attias three receptions; Hank Klein two receptions; Allan Strimber one reception, one touchdown pass.

Giants 15, Jets 14: Player of the Week Steven Friedman two touchdown passes, one touchdown run, two receptions, one interception; Levi Gans four receptions (one a touchdown), one interception; Daniel Rosen six receptions (one a touchdown); Dovie Shapiro one reception.

For the Jets, Max Wagenberg two touchdown passes, one interception, three receptions; Jackson Gold nine receptions (with two touchdown catches); Kayla Bigelman three receptions; Lucas Korn two receptions, one sack; Jason Benezra two receptions; Benjamin Bronstein two receptions.

Cardinals 18, Vikings 6: Jaime Mizrahi three touchdown passes; Adam Cohen one sack; Parker Alhadef two touchdown catches; Samuel Courtney three receptions (one a touchdown).

For the Vikings, Max Wagenber three receptions (one a touchdown); Daniel Solomiany one touchdown pass, one reception; Ellis Osborn two receptions; Jack Furman two receptions; Harrison Green one reception.

Dolphins 21, Steelers 6: Alex Moltmann three touchdown passes; Ari Schottenstein one three receptions (with two touchdown catches); Andres Ruah one interception; Nikolas Simpfendorfer one reception; Samuel Drimmer one reception.

For the Steelers, Ricardo Koenig four receptions (one a touchdown); Dylan Morningstar one touchdown pass, one interception; Yoni Bugay two receptions.


Archbishop Curley sports

Coach Greg Magner, athletic director at Archbishop Curley Notre Dame Prep, announced the Players of the Week.

Male Athlete of the Week: Junior Scott Pomare, a district champion in wrestling at 138 pounds, qualified for state for the second consecutive season by placing third in regionals.

Female Athlete of the Week: Senior Ashllyne Chery concluded a stellar career for the girls’ varsity basketball team by averaging 14 points, seven rebounds and four steals the last week of the regular season. Those efforts guided the Knights to four straight victories and a winning record (9-7).

Our Lady of Lakes sports

Led by pitcher Adrian Vega, the Our Lady of the Lakes Catholic School JV baseball team defeated Immaculate 4-1.

They also defeated St. Peter and Paul 10-0 with outstanding pitching by Brian Rodriguez.

• The Primary Gold basketball team defeated St. Agnes 30-11. The team was led offensively by Dimitri Hernandez with 15 points and defensively by Brandon Ravelo and Adam Magoulas. The team is 7-0.

The Primary Blue basketball team defeated St. Patrick 29-13. Chris Musa had 13 points, and Samuel Carballo added six points. A stellar defense only allowed two points in the second half. The team is 3-3.

Miami Country Day soccer

The Miami Country Day Middle School boys’ soccer team had one of the best seasons in Miami Country Day Middle School soccer history, finishing 12-2.

The defense allowed only 11 goals, and the offense totaled 54 goals. Big wins came on the road against Gulliver and at home against Riviera.

The team was led by captains Liam Weil and Dre Medici along with defensive stalwart Kian Andersen. Lucas Massolo was the leading goal scorer with Dre Medici and Alvaro de Zabala close behind. Oliver Massolo and Anthony Cervone provided many assists, and Sebastian Rodrigue and Remy Cross excelled defensively.

Leandro Antonucci helped anchor the midfield in his first year with the team. Fellow sixth graders Alejandro Roye, Mattia Vedeo, Ethan White and Pedro Suarez also made impacts.

Miami Beach Half Marathon

The Michelob Ultra Miami Beach 13.1 Marathon, produced and presented by Life Time - The Healthy Way of Life Company (NYSE: LTM), is Sunday, March 2 on Miami Beach with a 6:13 a.m. start time scheduled on Ocean Drive and 13th Street.

Nearly 3,000 runners and walkers are expected to participate in 13.1-mile marathon and accompanying Life Time Fitness 5K race.

The race finishes at Lummus Park, Ocean Drive and 10th Street with a Finish Line Beach Party.

The Michelob Ultra Miami Beach 13.1 Marathon is the fourth leg of the Florida Storm Series, which also includes the Michelob Ultra Fort Lauderdale 13.1 Marathon, the Palm Beaches Marathon and Run Fest, the Miami Marathon and Half Marathon, and the First Watch Sarasota Half Marathon and Relay.

Registration for the Michelob Ultra Miami Beach 13.1 Marathon is now open at The fee is $95 through Feb. 23 and then $100 until race time. The 5K registration fee is $25 through Feb. 23 and then $30 until race time.

For information and updates on the 2014 Michelob Ultra Miami Beach 13.1 Marathon, visit, Like the 13.1 Marathon Facebook page or follow@131marathon on Twitter.

More events, leagues, programs

Kendall Hammocks flag football

The Kendall Hammocks NFL Flag Football program announces registrations dates and times for the 2014 season.

Registration is open to boys and girls, age 5-16 (cannot turn 17 in 2014) . Copy of birth certificate is requested for age verification only during the registration process. Teams are based by age.

The opening exhibition games will be on May 3. The regular season is 12 games.

Registrations, practices and games are at Devonaire Park, 10411 SW 122 Ave.

Registrations Dates: 11 a.m.-3 p.m. March 15, 22 and 29

6:30-8:30 p.m. Feb 27, March 5, March 14

Final registration: 6:30-8:30 p.m. April 4

Registration fee $115. Fee includes NFL team reversible jersey, NFL flag belts with flags, secondary Insurance, referees, and participation awards. Discounted rates for head coaches.

Tryouts and draft are April 19. Time chart by division can be found at

For information or to coach, email or visit

The NFL Flag Football program is under the Optimist Club of Kendall Hammocks and is an all volunteer organization.


USTA Florida and the USTA Florida Section Foundation announced a landmark three-way agreement with Special Olympics Florida to provide more tennis play opportunities to athletes in Florida.

The formal agreement builds on the existing support that USTA Florida and its charitable arm have provided to local Special Olympics programs by offering free 10 and Under Tennis workshops, grants, and other resources to providers that offer tennis programs to Special Olympics athletes.

Likewise, Special Olympics Florida will encourage their athletes to participate in USTA Florida programs and events.

“We are absolutely committed to changing lives through tennis,” Linda Curtis, executive director of the USTA Florida Section Foundation, said in a release. “This agreement is a prime example of how USTA Florida and our Foundation work together to impact communities each and every day. These athletes play tennis for the pure joy of the sport. It's inspiring to see, and I'm proud to know that we will be able to provide even more opportunities for them to play through this partnership.”

Sherry Wheelock, president and chief executive officer of Special Olympics Florida, said: "“At Special Olympics Florida, we embrace the transformative power of sports. USTA Florida and the USTA Florida Section Foundation will help us bring first-rate trainings and competitive experiences to our athletes throughout the state. We are excited for this new partnership and are confident that it will further ignite a passion in our athletes for tennis.”

To get a program started, Special Olympics coaches may apply for a USTA Florida Section Foundation equipment grant for adaptive tennis equipment and other program needs by contacting Jessica Flynn at Special Olympics Florida. For additional training opportunities and training resources, contact Linda Curtis at the USTA Florida Section Foundation at


USTA Serves, the national charitable foundation of the United States Tennis Association, announced awards of $450,000 in grants to 40 organizations that provide tennis and education to underserved youth and people with disabilities. This brings the total awarded during the 2013 grant funding cycle to more than $1.2 million. Combined with scholarships, USTA Serves awarded a total of $1.6 million in 2013.

Special Olympics Florida of Miami-Dade County is a grant recipient. They incorporate tennis in providing year-round sports training and competition to children and adults age 8 and older with intellectual and developmental disabilities. They currently serve 2,848 athletes throughout Miami-Dade County.

The biannual grant process, a national initiative of USTA Serves, was established to award organizations that successfully combine tennis and education for underserved youth as well as people with disabilities to gain an opportunity to play tennis and improve their academic skills in a structured format. These programs also strive to help combat childhood obesity by promoting healthy lifestyles.

“USTA Serves is proud to end the year by awarding and recognizing some of the country's most phenomenal programs for their efforts toward impacting the lives of youth through tennis and education,” Dan Faber, USTA Serves executive director, said in a release. “These programs have a solid foundation and exhibit tremendous dedication to serving children who deserve a life filled with education and physical activities. For this, we thank them for leading the way in designing a nurturing environment where students can thrive and succeed on and off the tennis court.”

USTA Serves has awarded more than $17 million in grants and scholarships to standout players and programs throughout the country in order to provide at-risk and underserved youth with greater opportunities to achieve success.

For information on USTA Serves, visit

South Miami baseball

The South Miami Youth Baseball League at Palmer Park has openings in the 8-12-year-old divisions.

Call Coach Nick at 305-878-5087 or email

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 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.

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 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 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

The National Italian American Foundation is a non-profit organization based in Washington, D.C. and dedicated to preserving the heritage of Italian Americans. Visit .

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 .


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,” Series Coordinator Bertan Cikigil said in a release. "All participants are guaranteed at least two matches, with a maximum of three per day at each event.”

Series schedule:

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 or call 914-815-4093, or to register online go to

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.

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


South Kendall Sun Blazers ( at Kendall Indian Hammocks Park, 11395 SW 79 St. (305-630-3314).

Miami Dade Soccer League ( at Three Lakes Park, 13375 SW 136 St. (786-488-5216).

Soccer 5 ( at Kendall Soccer Park, 8011 SW 127 Ave. (1-888-575-2976).

Club Atletico De Miami ( at Kendall Soccer Park, 8011 SW 127 Ave. (305-764-5783).

Soccer Academy of the Americas ( at Tamiami Park, 11201 SW 24 St. (786-486-3804)

Pinecrest Premier Soccer ( at Deerwood Bonita Lakes, 11511 S. Dixie Hwy. (305-255-3422).

Optimist Club of Westchester ( at Tropical Park, 7900 SW 40 St. (786-370-4222).

Coral Estates Soccer Club ( at Coral Estates Park, 1411 SW 97 Ave. (305-279-2328)

South Kendall Soccer Club ( at Kendall Indian Hammocks Park, 11395 SW 79 St. (305-630-3314).

Southern Soccer Coalition-AYSO ( 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 Registration is now open. Contact 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 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 .


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 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 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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