Sports Scene: Indian Creek Paddle Showdown benefits Miami Beach Rowing Club Scholarship Program

 

Youth sports online

For more area sports photos, go to

www.miamiherald.com/sports/youth/miami-dade

YouTube youth sports and more

YouTube at the Jim Varsallone (the jimmyv3 channel)

www.youtube.com/user/jvarsallone/videos

Miami Herald High School Sports App

Check out the new Miami Herald High School Sports App

https://itunes.apple.com/app/miami-herald-high-school-sports/id692780888?mt=8


Be honored at Miami Marlins game

In an effort to recognize deserving South Florida youth baseball and softball players for doing well in school and displaying sportsmanship on the diamond, the Miami Marlins have once again partnered with The Miami Herald to co-sponsor the Team Player spotlight on the Sunday Youth Sports pages in the Neighbors section of The Miami Herald in print and online.

Youth league coaches, team representatives, teachers, friends or family members can nominate youth baseball or softball players, who display sportsmanship and good grades or academic improvements. Eligible nominees are from the recreational in-house league or travel league or school league (elementary school or middle school or high school junior varsity).

Honored players – selected by random drawing – will be invited to a Marlins game where they will receive a certificate of achievement and a Marlins item during a recognition ceremony at Marlins Park.

To nominate someone, e-mail jvarsallone@miamiherald.com or call 954-538-7153.


The Indian Creek Paddle Showdown, presented by the Paddle House and hosted by the Miami Beach Rowing Club, was a benefit for the Miami Beach Rowing Club Scholarship Program. Proceeds from the event will help encourage youth participation in water sports.

Visit www.rowmiamibeach.com.

A sport that can last a lifetime, paddleboard and surf ski racing provide fitness opportunities for all. With a rowing program and years of accolades and championships, the Miami Beach Rowing Club was the ideal location to ignite or re-ignite a passion for the outdoors.

Open to all levels and all human powered paddlecrafts, the showdown featured top class competitors, including Marlo Marcheco, who competed in a K-2 canoe in the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona. Canoe, in terms of international paddlecraft racing, includes a K-1, K-2, Surf Ski or similar boat, generally referred to as a kayak in the United States.

Marlo not only won the 10-mile race in 1 hour and 20 minutes, but when he finished, he emptied his boat, refilled his water, hopped in and managed to place third in the six-mile race, which he started with a nearly five-minute delay. The difference between first and third was less than one minute. Marlo was joined by other former Olympians and Pan American and international competitors, like Luis Beauregard, Jan Lupinski, Arnaldo Figueredo, Luis Esplugas and countless others who support paddlesports.

Helga Goebel, named 2013 Top 10 women in Standup Paddle Board by SUPConnect, won the six-mile Stock SUP category. Close behind was Lizi Ruiz, an up-and-comer in the SUP racing community.

Nessa Brunton and Catherine Uden raced nearly 16 miles to finish within seconds of each other. Irma Price brought representatives from the newly formed Special Olympics 305 SUP Team.

Complete results and upcoming race information are at www.thepaddlehouse.com.

The Miami River Rally is April 5 on the Miami River. This event opens the 18th annual Miami Riverday Festival, presented by the Miami River Commission and the city of Miami. Attendees can watch the race, demo equipment, take a free riverboat ride, enjoy live music, local food and more.

Miami Beach 13.1 Marathon

Dan Smith (1:11:56) of North Bay Village pulled ahead of training partners and Runners Depot teammates Dan Martin (1:13:04) and Elliott Mason (1:13:41) to win the 2014 Michelob Ultra Miami Beach 13.1 Marathon, produced and presented by Life Time – The Healthy Way of Life Company (NYSE: LTM).

Miami Beach 13.1 Marathon first timers, the trio completed a medals sweep.

Smith, 35, a salesman for a flower importer, was the best of that trio. The former cross-country and track runner at Salem State College picked up the pace while crossing the course’s second bridge.

“I got next to him, but he picked it up,” said Martin, 30, a lifeguard who was scheduled to work in the afternoon just two blocks from the finish line. “We run together and do everything together. We’re pretty much in the same place. It’s a good tune-up to see where we’re at.”

Mason, 35, a former FIU cross-country and track athlete, is training for a November run in the Philadelphia Marathon. Smith and Martin will be running the Boston Marathon in April.

“We just run hard. We want to show our training is working,” Mason said of Sunday’s sweep.

Another Runners Depot teammate, Bryan Sharkey, 26, was fourth in 1:13:49. Last December, Sharkey won two South Florida races (the Publix Tropical 5K and the Palm Beaches Marathon).

“We were together for three to four miles,” said Smith, 35, who finished in fifth in the half marathon at last month’s Life Time Miami Marathon and Half-Marathon. “I tried to push on the uphills and create separation. We probably broke apart at mile five.”

Two-time Ironman world champion Leanda Cave, 35, won the women’s race (1:26:53), finishing more than four minutes ahead of Michela Santini, 33, of Camaiore, Italy (1:31:17) and Vivien Wollitz, 39, of Coral Springs (1:33:50).

Cave, who became the first woman in the history of Ironman competition to win world championships at the Ironman Triathlon (Hawaii) and the Ironman 70.3 (Las Vegas) in the same year (2012), was running her first race of the year after rehabbing a 2013 hamstring tear.

“I’m 100 percent,” said the British-born Cave, a part-time Tucson and part-time Miami Beach resident. “It was a good tester. It felt good. It’s such a tough course being level. You don’t get the downhills to recover. But it’s always good to get in a race to give you an idea of where you are.”

Cave finished less than two minutes behind boyfriend Diaa Nour, 33, who was 12th overall and third in his age-group (1:25:23).

It was the first year the race was produced by Life Time, which recently acquired U.S. Road Sports.

Nearly 3,000 runners began the half-marathon at 6:15 a.m. in the heart of South Beach at Ocean Drive and 13th Street. The 66-degree morning presented favorable conditions with low humidity and a light breeze.

Early on, runners passed some of Miami Beach’s most magnificent residences on their way over the Julia Tuttle Causeway and into Miami. The route took them through the Wynnwood Artist District, where the area’s signature graffiti artwork is displayed on warehouses.

Runners then negotiated the MacArthur Causeway bridge on their way back to Miami Beach, passing the gleaming cruise ships in port. Then, they headed to South Beach along the new Point Park Bay Walk that offers spectacular views of Fisher Island and the beach. The final leg of the race came when runners turned on to Ocean Drive, finishing at Lummus Park in South Beach’s Art Deco district.

Vacationing James Grufferty of Cork, Ireland, won the accompanying LifeTime Fitness 5K race over a field of 375 runners. His time of 16:00 was more than two minutes ahead of second place finisher Alan Ortega (18:24).

The 31-year-old Grufferty entered the race “just wanting a good run.” The medical center manager was so far out in front of the field that he got lost several times. “The [race] crew kept waving me to go a different way,” he said.

Helman Roman was the first of nine Achilles athletes to cross the finish line in the disabled athletes division. It was the first time the Achilles team participated in the Michelob Ultra Miami Beach 13.1 Marathon race.

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.

Visit www.lifetimefitness.com.

Tennis

Miami 16-year-old Katerina Stewart reached her first professional tennis tournament final, finishing runner-up in the $10,000 Gainesville Women’s Tennis Classic to top-seeded Czech Katerina Kramperova 6-3, 6-2.

Ranked No. 1120 entering the event, Stewart needed to qualify into the main draw. Once she secured a main draw spot, Stewart defeated No. 584-ranked Francesca Segarelli of the Dominican Republic, No. 2-seeded Alexandra Mueller of the U.S. in a third-set tiebreaker, unranked American qualifier Andie Daniell in three sets, and in the semifinals No. 882-ranked Mexican qualifier Renata Zarazua.

The result moved Stewart from 1,120 to No. 813, according to the WTA website. The USTA Pro Circuit event was at the Jonesville Tennis Center in Gainesville.

Since 1979, 17 USTA Pro Circuit alums (including five Americans) have achieved the No. 1 world singles rankings. Maria Sharapova, Andy Roddick, Lindsay Davenport, Pete Sampras, Justine Henin, Jim Courier and Andre Agassi are among the game’s top stars who began their career on the USTA Pro Circuit.

The past few years have seen breakout performances by a number of USTA Pro Circuit players, including John Isner, Sloane Stephens, Jack Sock, and Madison Keys. For more info go to www.usta.com/Pro-Tennis/Pro-Circuit.

Miami Beach basketball

The Clippers defeated the Bobcats 25-15 in a battle of unbeatens in the 7-8 age group of the SYRC Basketball League for the Miami Beach Parks & Recreation Department.

Miguel Arronte led the Clippers with 12 points, and Trent Mopsick scored eight points. Owen Basner finished with three points, and Zachary Nedjar added a basket. Jack Meltzer paced the Bobcats with five points. Adonys Christo had four points, and Jacob Richardson scored three points. Franco Lamana added a basket, and Matthew Clark connected on a foul shot.

The Lakers beat the Pelicans 20-10. Julian Corniel led the Lakers with 12 points. Isaac Sokol and Koltun Weissman recorded four points each. Harrison Delisle and Alec Miller each had four points for the Pelicans and Trey Steward added a basket.

The Knicks defeated the Heat 19-12. The duo of Owen Ebner and Eli Rudd led the Knicks with six points each. Cole Young had five points, and Zevi Raab had a basket. Drew Tobin and Brody Minick scored five points apiece for the Heat, and Lee Hendrix added two points.

9-11

The Pelicans edged the Heat 20-18 in double-overtime. Owen Spill led the Pelicans with 13 points, including the winning free throws. Jake Goldberg finished with five points, and Daniel Sordo added a basket. Brock Levin scored a game-high 14 points to lead the Heat, and Timmy Haynackie chipped in four points.

The Clippers defeated the Lakers 21-14. Sebastian Perez-Bravo scored 11 points to pace the Clippers. Jared Rogoff scored seven points, and David Saka finished with three points. Thomas Poliakof guided the Lakers with seven points, and Bryce Hammon scored four points. Alteashawn Dessin added a basket, and Kevin Penalva converted a free throw.

The Knicks beat the Celtics 17-10. Anthony Delrosario scored nine points, and Alessandro Inverardi finished with eight points. Magnus Kron dished out four assists. Gavin Basner and Fadl Jaid led the Celtics with three points apiece. Maximilien Quibet and Justin Maldonado each added a basket.

Miami Country Day basketball

Longtime Miami Country Day School boys’ basketball coach Bryan Parizo decided to step down after 25 years. He amassed more than 400 wins, five district championships, three runners-up and two regional final appearances.

With his son, Brandon, a senior, going to play college basketball next year, and his daughter entering the middle school, he felt the timing was right. He will remain the school’s associate athletic director, as well as lower school physical education teacher.

He began coaching at Miami Country Day School in 1988. A graduate of the University of Vermont, he moved to South Florida to teach lower school physical education. His first district championship in basketball came in 1998, and he followed that with another in 1999. His finest season was in 2011 when his team went 25-6, won the district title and hosted the school’s first regional championship.

He has also served as Miami Country Day School’s varsity golf coach since 2001 helping the team win four district championships and qualifying for regionals 12 consecutive years.

Barry basketball

Barry University sophomore forward Yunio Barrueta was named to the Daktronics All-South Region Second Team in NCAA Division II.

Barrueta, a Hialeah Gardens High School graduate, averaged 14.2 points and 9.0 rebounds per game this season, shooting 46 percent from the floor. He scored in double-figures in 21 consecutive games and in 24 of 27 games, and his 12 double-doubles rank him 20th in the country.

An All-Sunshine State Conference first-team selection, Barrueta was also named Newcomer of the Year in the SSC. He helped the Buccaneers (19-8) earn a bid into the NCAA Division II Tournament.

Conchita Espinosa sports

The Conchita Espinosa Academy girls’ varsity basketball team, consisting of eighth-graders, defeated Divine Savior Academy 30-10 to win its second consecutive championship in the Greater Miami Athletic League.

Against Divine Savior Academy, Katherine Rodriguez led the team with 16 points and 10 rebounds.

• The Cougars fifth-grade soccer team advanced to the championship game with a 1-0 victory over Divine Savior Academy.

• Conchita’s second-grade soccer team finished the season undefeated at 6-0-2 in the Greater Miami Athletic League with a 1-1 tie against All Angels Academy. This marks the second consecutive year the team won the 7-and-under division of the elementary school soccer season.

Miami Country Day lacrosse

The Miami Country Day School Middle School (A) lacrosse team beat North Broward Prep 11-9.

Blaise Pronesti led the way with three goals and two assists. Ryan Finvarb had two goals and three assists, and Zachary Hart and Sean Fuller each added a goal and two assists. Oleg Shabanets, Theo Levacher, Nasir Dean, and Brandon Holtz also scored, and Oliver Massolo, Remy Cross, Alex Sayfie and John Sayfie played well.

Scheck Hillel volleyball

The Scheck Hillel Community School boys’ volleyball team is having a successful inaugural season. The team secured a five-game victory against Weinbaum Yeshiva High School, winning the fifth and final game 15-7.

Daniel Fiske and Daniel Doron established the tone with their fast, sharp serves. Daniel Assor and Salo Lapco set the ball well for powerful hitters Jacobo Bensayag, Nathaniel Rub, Elan Stiberman and Max Stern.

Miami Country Day sports

Miami Country Day School: Girls’ Middle School Athlete of the Week: Lolita Bell (tennis): As the team’s No. 1 singles player, Lolita won her singles matches against Westminster Christian and Carrollton.

Boys’ Middle School Athlete of the Week: Connor Goodman (baseball): As the winning pitcher against Palmer-Trinity, Connor threw four innings with nine strikeouts. He also doubled and scored.

Girls’ Upper School Athlete of the Week: Jackie Lash (softball): Jackie combined for six hits, six RBI and six runs in wins against Greater Miami Academy and Archbishop Curley.

Boys’ Upper School Athlete of the Week: Jordan Karp (lacrosse): Jordan led the Spartans with seven goals in the team’s 12-5 win against Immaculate-LaSalle High School.

Spartan Super Fan: Moi Matisonn (parent).

Miami Fury women’s football

The Miami Fury women’s tackle football season kicks off at 1 p.m. April 5 against the Orlando Anarchy at North Miami Athletic Stadium on the FIU North Campus, 2555 NE 151st St.

“If you miss football, we cordially ask the public to come out and support the Fury,” said Team Owner/Entrepreneur Gayla Harrington. “It’s exciting and a great way to strike an interest in young girls to play the game and for South Florida to adopt its hometown team. We also provide an evening of safe family entertainment and volunteer and sponsorship opportunities, which all helps support women’s athletics.”

For the past 12 years, the Miami Fury has represented South Florida, while providing an opportunity for female athletes to fulfill the dream of playing organized football at the highest level. Sports have really transformed where adults, especially women, now have the opportunity to excel into the Global market as athletes.

The Fury, which has secured four division championships since 2002, began preparing for the eight-game season in February at the Southwest Broward Jr. Athletic Association Complex, 6210 SW 33rd St., Miramar. It practices at 7 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Opportunities are available with the Miami Fury season from April-July, and volunteering can continue year round. For volunteering, community service hours, tickets and more, contact Harrington at 786-229-7487 or info@miamifuryfootball.com.

World Cup soccer

McDonald’s is giving young soccer enthusiasts in South Florida the opportunity to meet their soccer heroes competing for the 2014 FIFA World Cup title in Brazil this summer and also secure a $1,000 grant for a South Florida soccer organization.

McDonald’s Player Escort sweepstakes gives 25 children, ages 6-10, across the country the chance to travel to Brazil and walk hand-in-hand with some of the world’s best soccer players as they take the field for a World Cup match. One winner, along with their parent or guardian, will represent South Florida and embark on a four-night, five-day trip to Brazil, with the first stop in Rio de Janeiro.

The 25 McDonald’s Player Escorts will lead players onto the field in one of four match cities – Rio de Janeiro, Natal, Manaus or Recife. Parents or guardians in South Florida can visit www.McdOneGoal.com between now and April 6 to enter the sweepstakes.

Nominate all-star teachers

Major League Baseball, People and Target invite anyone to nominate a current or retired teacher who is a classroom all-star, someone who makes a difference in the lives of students as well as the community.

Thirty teachers will attend and be celebrated at the 2014 MLB All-Star Game at Target Field in Minnesota.

Nominate at

http://link.mlblists.com/r/D23ZNS/WGPGI5/UUJ70Z/6HIORP/GICGAY/VB/t?a=7959670&b=659651063

Nomination deadline is May 6.

Visit www.AllStarTeachers.com.

Tennis

USTA Florida will host a workshop under the new Coach Youth Tennis education curriculum for coaching players ages 10 and younger on April 5 from 1-4:30 p.m. at Coral Reef Park in Palmetto Bay.

Coach Youth Tennis now serves as a prerequisite to becoming a certified teaching professional by the PTR or the USPTA. Coach Youth Tennis has been developed in partnership between the Professional Tennis Registry, the United States Professional Tennis Association, the United States Olympic Committee and the United States Tennis Association. The program consists of six on-line courses and a 10 and Under Tennis Workshop.

The workshop fee is $15. It is highly recommended that participants take online courses before attending the workshop. All workshops are non-refundable and non-transferrable once you are registered.

Participants are asked to come dressed appropriately to participate in on-court workshops and to bring a racket.

Coral Reef Park is at 7895 SW 152nd St. in Palmetto Bay.

To register go to http://coachyouthtennis.com and click on the “workshops” tab and filter by state. For information contact Cathy Nordlund at nordlund@florida.usta.com.

Health & Wellness Fair

For the second consecutive year, Orange Bowl Health & Wellness Fair, presented by Sunshine Health will occur 11 .m.-4 p.m. on April 5 at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens.

More than 60 vendors will provide a variety of services and products including free health screenings, fitness classes and interactive demonstrations. The fair will address the health and medical needs of the South Florida community, encourage youth and families to improve their eating habits and maintain a physically active lifestyle.

Free health screenings, including glucose, blood pressure testing and posture analysis, will be available to all attendees. Sunshine Health, presenting sponsor of the Orange Bowl Health & Wellness Fair, will be one of the many exhibitors providing free information and services. One Beat CPR will provide free CPR classes throughout the day. Baptist Health will conduct presentations on sport concussion education and prevention. More exhibitors and services are being added daily.

“The Orange Bowl Health & Wellness Fair presented by Sunshine Health is part of the Orange Bowl’s mission to engage the South Florida community and inspire its youth,” Orange Bowl CEO Eric Poms said in a release. “The Orange Bowl is proud to host a variety of events that not only entertain but educate and support local residents.”

Chris Paterson, CEO, Sunshine Health, added: “Sunshine Health is proud to be the presenting sponsor for the Orange Bowl Health and Wellness Fair again this year. This important awareness fair not only highlights healthy behaviors and practices, but it offers a free opportunity for attendees to receive health screenings, which are vital to staying well. Regular primary care is a core component of the services we provide to our members, and events like the Orange Bowl Health and Wellness Fair help us spread that message.”

Along with the exhibitors, the event will feature activities for the entire family including live performances, music, games, raffle giveaways, a bounce house and face painting for children.

This event is free and open to the general public.

For more information or if you are an exhibitor requesting to participate in the Orange Bowl Health and Wellness Fair, presented by Sunshine Health, email outreach@orangebowl.org.

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 29

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 www.khwarriors.org

For information or to coach, email khwfootball@aol.com or visit www.khwarriors.org.

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

Red Zone flag football

Red Zone Sports presents NFL Flag at Tropical Estates Park, 10201 SW 48th St.

Red Zone Sports offers NFL jerseys, NFL flags, scoreboards for all games, weekly MVPs for top performers. With help from USA Football and Dick’s Sporting Goods, this will be an outstanding youth flag football league.

The season begins April 5. Register from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays at Tropical Estates Park or online. Deadline is March 27.

Boys and girls, age 5 to 17, are welcome. Coaches’ discount available. For information call Luis at 786-344-1855 or visit www.redzonesports.org/.

Tennis Play Days

Miami-area tennis facilities will host Tennis Play Days in March and April in an extended celebration of World Tennis Day.

The events introduce children to the excitement of tennis competition in a low-pressure setting of organized play, with rotation of opponents and short continuous matches over a two- to three-hour period.

“Play Days are a great transition for kids to team tennis and tournaments as they provide them with the opportunity to improve their game in a competitive environment with players of their same level, and where results are not reported,” Cathy Nordlund, USTA Florida Tennis Program Coordinator for the Miami area, said in a release. “Kids new to the game can pick up tennis right away with the youth tennis equipment designed to ease them into the game, including smaller racquets, lower-bouncing balls and smaller court sizes.”

For more information about the new way for kids to learn tennis, go to www.youthtennis.com.

Kids of all skill levels and ages are welcome to the events that will showcase the “red” and “orange” lower-bouncing balls on 36-foot and 60-foot courts for children age 10 and younger. Both members and nonmembers of the USTA can participate, but USTA members will receive a discount on the registration fee.

World Tennis Day on March 3 is the international effort to get kids excited about and active in tennis. It is a celebration of tennis around the world that includes professional tennis matches in New York City, Hong Kong and London. The televised World Tennis Day celebration at New York’s Madison Square Garden featured Novak Djokovic squaring off against Andy Murray, and Bob and Mike Bryan taking on John and Patrick McEnroe.

More than a thousand facilities will host USTA Tennis Play Events this month, each showcasing how fun and easy it is for families to get into the sport. These events will also allow parents to sign up their children for spring and summer tennis programs.

Sunday, April 6

11 a.m., Michael-Ann Russell JCC, 18900 NE 25th Ave., North Miami Beach 33180

Donna Toleffsen

dtustajrtennis@aol.com, 305-932-4200, Ext. 160

Saturday, April 27

Turnberry Isle Tennis, 19735 Turnberry Way, Aventura 33180

Eduardo Gomez

info@canastennis.com, 786-312-0128

For information visit www.ustaflorida.com/youthtennis or email Cathy Nordlund at nordlund@florida.usta.com.

Tennis

USTA Florida and the USTA Florida Section Foundation announced a landmark three-way agreement with Special Olympics Florida to provide more tennis playing 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,” said Linda Curtis, executive director of the USTA Florida Section Foundation. “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 www.USTAFloridaFoundation.com.

Tennis

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. It incorporates tennis in providing year-round sports training and competition to children and adults age 8 and older with intellectual and developmental disabilities. It currently serves 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 more information about USTA Serves, visit www.ustaserves.com.

South Miami baseball

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

Call Coach Nick at 305-878-5087 or email brisuela44@gmail.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 per 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 of 10 to 25 people are available by appointment.

For more 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 (Northwest Sixth Street between 14th and 15th avenues) 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) players.

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, for boys ages 6-18, practices from 6 to 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 more, featuring a Club Division and an Open Division. Players must be 35 or older to compete.

For each tournament, players will earn points on a sliding scale toward qualification in the end-of-series Grand Finals at The Ritz-Carlton 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:

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 email 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.

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 Bird Rd.), Kendall Soccer Park (8011 SW 127th Ave.) and Amelia Earhart Park (401 E. 65th St., 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 3 to 12 years old will learn the history of mini soccer, the basics of how to play, reasons why mini soccer is the preferred form of soccer for kids, youth and even adults, and will have the opportunity to play in “3v3” to “7v7” matches.

The three locations make mini/small-sided soccer 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 competition among teams with fewer 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. to midnight Mondays through Fridays and 9 a.m. to 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 more information or to register, visit www.miamisoccer5.com.

Soccer

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

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

Soccer 5 (ussoccer5.com) at Kendall Soccer Park, 8011 SW 127th Ave. (888-575-2976).

Club Atletico de Miami (camsoccer.com) at Kendall Soccer Park, 8011 SW 127th Ave. (305-764-5783).

Soccer Academy of the Americas (socceraa.com) at Tamiami Park, 11201 SW 24th 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 Bird Rd., (786-370-4222).

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

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

Southern Soccer Coalition-AYSO (kendallsoccer.com) at Millers Pond Park, 13350 SW 47th St. and Westwind Lakes Park, 6805 SW 152nd Ave. (305-965-0083).

Thunder basketball

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

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

Thunder also encourages players to succeed in the classroom and all aspects of life. For more information visit www.jointhunder.com Registration is now open. Email 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 raising funds.

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 ages 5 to 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 résumé — 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 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: The use of the Heads Up Tackling model; coaching certification; Player Safety Coaches; concussion education; and proper equipment-fitting.

The program was launched in three test markets last year. This year, it will expand to more than 600 youth leagues in all 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 Second 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 the Alonzo & Tracy Mourning Senior High School Biscayne Bay Campus.

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. Call 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, women can play it in South Florida at the 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 are used with free lessons by former pros. Cestas and balls are also provided free with a nominal court fee. Open every day. 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 or 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).

Miami Herald

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