Miami’s Nya Harris-Middleton, 8, recently competed at the AAU Gymnastics Age Group National Championships in Kingsport, Tenn.
She placed third on vault, fifth on bars, fourth on floor and fifth all-around.
The five-day competition involved more than 1,500 athletes from around the United States.
Harris-Middleton, who trains at Gym Kidz in North Miami Beach, has been taking lessons since she was four and competing since she was 7. An Honor Roll student at Phyllis Ruth Miller Elementary School, she works very hard, balancing school studies and gymnastics practice with her team three days a week. Every day she is somewhere practicing cartwheels and back walk over.
Never miss a local story.
“I had a lot of fun,” she said. “I am happy about my accomplishments and can’t wait to get to Level 3.”
Her gymnastics coach, Tawana Daniel, said: “I have had the pleasure of coaching Nya for three years. Nya’s hard work ethnic and positive attitude are a winning combination. Although she is very young, Nya’s focus and determination has progressed her greatly through gymnastics at a fast rate. Not only is she dedicated to the commitment of her training, when ever she is in the gym her carefree, easy going attitude is a great infectious stress reliever for her teammates. Nya continually strives for great, whether she is in practice or at a competition. She is a pleasure to coach and I am honored that I have the opportunity to watch her grow in the sport”.
Her mom, Yvette N. Harris, said: “I am extremely proud of the way she competed. What I love about Nya is that she works hard and really has fun with gymnastics. She competed on beam first and fell off. She could of just given up , but in true Nya form, she jumped right back up on the beam and finished perfectly. She embraced it and went on to do well in all of the other areas of the competition. Her mental attitude and work ethic are strong. I learn from her daily.”
This is the second year Harris-Middleton competed at AAU Gymnastics Age Group National Championship. She is looking forward to training this summer to qualify for Level 3.
About Gym Kidz
Its No.1 goal is to build each child’s confidence and self-esteem while improving coordination, flexibility and physical strength.
Fun is part of the curriculum, too.
Follow a weekly curriculum to ensure each child is learning at his/her own pace. Gymnastics coaches are certified and train year round. No two students have exactly the same skills or learning style. They create an individual learning plan for every gymnast.
USTA Bobby Curtis Tennis
Tennis player Yannik Rahman of Miami won the Boys 12s title of the 69th USTA Florida Bobby Curtis Junior State Singles Championships at Sanlando Park in Altamonte Springs.
The top-seeded Rahman defeated No.2 seed Leanid Boika of Delray Beach 6-2, 6-3.
In the semifinals, Rahman beat No.5 seed Carter Swope of Boca Raton 6-0, 7-6 (7-5). In the quarterfinals, he beat No.11 seed Manuel Palmieri of Miami Beach 6-0, 6-1.
Ysabel Gonzalez Rico of Miami was runner-up in the Girls 18s at the USTA National Campus in Orlando. Top-seeded Alana Wolfberg of Orlando outlasted No.9 seed Gonzalez Rico 6-4, 6-7 (3-7), 6-2 in the finals.
In the semifinals, Gonzalez Rico beat unseeded Alexandra Yepifanova of Aventura 7-5, 6-2.
In the Boys 18s semifnals, top-seeded Evan Bynoe of Parkland defeated No.14 seed Randy Wilson of Miami 6-1, Retired (ill). In the Girls 16s quarterfinals, No.4 seed Rosie Dickson of Bradenton beat No.8 seed Sophia Fornaris of Pinecrest 7-5, 4-6, 6-3. In the Girls 12 quarterfinals, No.2 seed Valeria Ray of Doral defeated No.5 seed Ava Chambers of Boca Raton 6-4, 7-6 (8-6). In the semifinals, No.3 seed Grace Levelston of Vero Beach beat Ray 6-4, 6-4.
The USTA Florida “Bobby Curtis” Junior State Championships is the most competitive USTA Section junior championships in the nation, spawning the most players of any USTA Section to go on to the professional circuit and rank No.1 in the world.
Former “Bobby Curtis” champs who have gone on to rank No.1 in the world on the ATP and WTA rankings: Chris Evert, Jennifer Capriati, Jim Courier and Andy Roddick.
In 2012 the tournament was renamed the USTA Florida “Bobby Curtis” Junior State Championships in honor of legendary Florida junior tennis organizer Bobby Curtis.
For more tournament info, including links to complete draws and results, go to www.ustaflorida.com/bobbycurtis.
Tennis player Sofia Sewing of Doral did well in Juniors Girls at Wimbledon in London.
Sewing, seeded 14th, reached the quarterfinals in singles and semifinals in doubles. She teamed with Maria Jose Portillo of Mexico.
Sewing, who turned 18 on July 22, trains in Miami with private coach Wilson Usina.
Dolphins 7-on-7 Tournament
The Miami Dolphins Youth Programs hosted 44 high school team and 23 youth teams as part of the 10th annual High School and Youth 7-on-7 Tournament.
The event began with a symposium at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens. High school athletes heard from Miami Dolphins Executive Vice President of Football Operations Mike Tannenbaum, Director of Player Engagement Kaleb Thornhill and Youth Programs Manager & Dolphins Alum Troy Drayton.
“Starting with the symposium, we were first able to engage and encourage the high school student-athletes off the field, which is a core piece of the Dolphins’ youth programs mission,” Miami Dolphins Youth Programs Manager Troy Drayton said. “Building off the symposium’s energy, the level of competition at both the high school and youth level was extremely high during the 10th year of the tournament.”
The high school football tournament commenced at Plantation Central Park. The tournament consisted of round-robin play and then moved into a single elimination format. The high school teams competed in the championship round.
Carol City won the tournament for the third consecutive year. The Chiefs beat Miramar 14-7 in the finals.
Twenty three teams competed in the youth tournament, which consisted of three age groups (10U, 12U, 14U). Rac Squad won the 10U, SFYF won the 12U, and the Fort Lauderdale Hurricanes won the 14U division.
The Miami Dolphins hosted the Doral Academy Preparatory tackle football team at their Organized Team Activity practice. The team was given a tour of the Baptist Health Training Facility, where the Dolphins train at Nova Southeastern University in Davie.
They also heard from Miami Dolphins President & CEO Tom Garfinkel about the importance of having good character and leadership.
“It’s exciting for our program, our kids to see the pros do it. They see how practice is run from a different point of view,” said Doral Academy Preparatory Head Coach Jase Stewart. “It’s just a great, all-around feeling for our kids to be part of this.”
Doral Academy also had the opportunity to watch the Dolphins practice and meet with current players on the field. Following practice, the athletes had lunch provided by Wendy’s.
“What I learned from [Tom Garfinkel] was being competitive in life can get you far, because you fight for what you want,” said Doral Academy Preparatory receiver Natavius Payne. “He was also telling us leadership can get you far.”
The Miami Dolphins Youth Programs’ mission is to transform the lives of youth football players by instilling character building and reinforcing safety standards that help to increase football participation and grow a new generation of Dolphins fans.
A 2015 Barry University graduate, Julie Brito (Pembroke Pines Charter HS) will bike from Cedar City, Utah to San Francisco to support the Bike the US for MS cause to help fight multiple sclerosis.
Brito is the niece of former Barry men’s basketball coach Cesar Odio, who passed away in July 2016 of leukemia.
“After I finished playing softball at Barry University, I was very interested in finding another passion to train for where I could use my athleticism to help other people,” Brito said in a release. “As such, I began looking into different non-profits that organize long-distance bike rides. After a lot of research, I decided to finally join the Bike the US for Multiple Sclerosis TransAmerican team. I was immediately amazed by this organization's commitment to providing direct assistance for those suffering from multiple sclerosis.”
Brito began the journey in Cedar City on July 19 and will finish in San Francisco Aug. 1. Her bike ride will cover 781 miles.
“This is a great cause that Julie is supporting,” Barry head softball coach Danielle Penner said. “Part of the Barry mission is to serve others, and she's continuing to do that as an alumni. She is a great example of what it means to personify what Barry is all about. Clearly, she is thinking about ways to help other people in doing this. I know this cause is something that is important to Julie, and we couldn't be more proud of her for wanting to be involved in it. We support her commitment to the MS cause, and I know she will truly embrace this experience.”
Brito was a .320 career hitter with 11 home runs and 111 runs batted in while playing for the Buccaneers from 2012-15. She batted .341 in back-to-back seasons as a sophomore and junior, and had a career-high five home runs as a senior when the Bucs went 32-15. She had 37 doubles in her four seasons with the Buccaneers, which ranks 10th in Barry history. Her 11 homers also are tied for 10th. Her .994 career fielding percentage ranks second in school history, as does her 31 double plays turned.
“I have been an athlete for as long as I remember -- whether it was bike riding, running or playing softball or volleyball,” Brito said. “This cause hit home, and is important for me because it is very difficult to know that there is a large population affected by MS, which disables them from simply being able to walk. MS is an unpredictable, often disabling disease that attacks the central nervous system. However, new treatments and advances in research are giving hope to those affected by this disease. I am very excited about being able to contribute my part by combining a very important cause with what will be an incredible experience with a great group of selfless individuals.”
Brito is putting her accounting career on hold to bike from Utah to California.
“This ride will give me the opportunity to directly impact the lives of some pretty inspirational people, while also getting to see a different part of the United States,” she said. “The parts that I am mostly excited about are stopping along the way to volunteer for patients and their families, as well as personally delivering checks from what our team has fundraised to MS centers that fund projects across the U.S.
“In addition, we will be camping at our arrival destinations. the sights that I am most looking forward to seeing are Great Basin National Park in Nevada, where we will be camping for a night, the beautiful mountains of Utah and San Francisco, California.”
To support Brito and the Bike the US for MS cause click
Soccer for Success
The Children’s Trust and the U.S. Soccer Foundation have partnered up to bring soccer to underserved children and youth in Miami-Dade County. Soccer for Success (SfS) is a health-centered, out-of-school mentoring program for children in grades K-8 designed to eliminate childhood obesity, encourage healthy lifestyles and strengthen families.
Meeting three times a week for 75-90 minutes, kids will enjoy physical activity, nutrition education, mentorship and family engagement, facilitated by specially trained community-based coach-mentors, who also engage parents and caregivers with activities such as Zumba classes, cooking classes, nutrition education, and preventative health services and other wellness-related local resources.
“Because of our partners, a wonderful program called Soccer for Success is launching in Miami, in Liberty City, Little Havana and North Miami,” James R. Haj, president and CEO of The Children’s Trust, said in a release. “Soccer and other organized sports teach kids responsibility, how to win, how to lose and how to work together. They learn that if they fall down, they get back up and persevere.
In addition to The Children’s Trust and U.S. Soccer Foundation, funding partners for SfS Miami include the City of Miami and the City of North Miami, the former made possible through the Office of District 5 County Commissioner Keon Hardemon.
Program partners include FLIPANY, Liberty City Optimist Club, City of North Miami Parks and Recreation, FAB Sports, 93rd Street Community Baptist Church, Greater Love Full Gospel Baptist Church and New Providence Missionary Baptist Church. Soccer for Success Miami’s launch includes sites in Liberty City, Little Havana and North Miami; locations in Sweetwater and Homestead are in the works.
“We’d like to see a million kids involved in Soccer for Success by 2026,” said Ed Foster-Simeon, president and CEO of the U.S. Soccer Foundation. “That’s why partnerships like the one we’ve built here in Miami are so important. They’re how things get started and off the ground,” said U.S. Soccer Foundation President and CEO Ed Foster-Simeon.
Miami Heat Camp
The annual Miami HEAT Camp continues in Broward and Miami-Dade counties.
The camp is under the direction of former Miami HEAT assistant coach and current television commentator Tony Fiorentino, and HEAT legend Glen Rice will be participating..
The individual sessions are one week each for kids, age 6-16.
During the first day of the session, campers will be split up into teams of 8-10 and have an assigned coach.
During a day camp (9 a.m.-3:30 p.m.), the campers will play two full court 5-on-5 games each day and learn various basketball skills.
Below is the schedule for each session.
July 24-28/ July 31 - Aug 4 / Aug 7-11: Miami-Dade College (Kendall Campus)
Website to Register/Purchase: HEAT.com/HEATCamp or call 786-777-4113.
Miami Gardens sports
The City of Miami Gardens presents new youth sports programs for boys and girls, age 5-17.
Bowling, Soccer, Tennis, Baseball, and Swimming.
Register at City Hall, Parks and Recreation Department, 18605 NW 27th Ave., Miami Gardens 33056.
For fees and info, call 305-622-8080.
The Suniland Sundevils Tackle Football Registration is every Tuesday and Thursday from 6-8 p.m. and Saturdays 11 a.m.-2 p.m. thru August at Suniland Park, 12855 S. Dixie Hwy., Village of Pinecrest.
Kids, age 5-13, are eligible. Fee $150 for the season. Suniland is a member of the Miami Xtreme Youth Tackle Football League.
The Suniland Sundevils are looking for experienced volunteer youth coaches.
For information contact Jose Regalado at 305-458-1966 or email@example.com.
More events, leagues, programs
NBA 2K esports league
The Miami HEAT announced they will be one of 17 National Basketball Association franchises participating in the inaugural season of the NBA 2K esports league, set to debut in 2018.
Along with the HEAT, other participating organizations include:
Boston Celtics, Cleveland Cavaliers, Dallas Mavericks, Detroit Pistons, Golden State Warriors, Indiana Pacers, Memphis Grizzlies, Milwaukee Bucks, New York Knicks, Orlando Magic, Philadelphia 76ers, Portland Trail Blazers, Sacramento Kings, Toronto Raptors, Utah Jazz and Washington Wizards.
“This is the first step in what promises to be an extraordinary league, bringing together the world's best gamers and showcasing elite competition on an international stage,” said NBA 2K esports league Managing Director, Brendan Donohue. “Our teams have expressed tremendous enthusiasm for esports, and we are looking forward to forming something truly unique for basketball and gaming fans around the globe.”
In February 2017, the NBA and Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. (NASDAQ:TTWO) announced plans to launch a new, professional competitive gaming league that will bring together the best basketball gamers in the world. In the coming months, the league and its teams will make a variety of announcements related to participating players, league structure and business updates.
The NBA 2K league is the latest move in esports for the HEAT. In January 2017, the franchise announced a partnership with esports expansion team Misfits. The partnership calls for the HEAT to assist in all duties including marketing, branding, promotion, retail, digital and sponsorship activation while cross-promoting the two franchises. Misfits compete in League of Legends, Overwatch, Heroes of the Storm, Super Smash Brothers and Heatherstone: Heroes of Warcraft.
“We are thrilled to be working alongside 16 other NBA teams on this innovative esports league,” said The HEAT Group President of Business Operations, Eric Woolworth. “Given our unique integration into the esports community through our relationship with Misfits, we feel confident in our ability to reach Miami HEAT and Misfits fans alike, as we help create a new and exciting league from scratch.”
Launch Trampoline Park
Launch Franchising, LLC. is pleased to announce a Launch Trampoline Park will be opening in Doral. The new park will be owned and operated by Jonas P. Roter and scheduled to begin construction later this spring.
Launch Trampoline Park was founded in 2012 by Rhode Island entrepreneur Robert Arnold and retired New England Patriot cornerback and three-time Super Bowl Champion Ty Law. Arnold embarked on the vision for Launch in 2011 after he visited his first trampoline park with his wife and kids. Seeing the combination of family, fun and fitness and using his knack for entrepreneurship, Launch came to life.
The parks provide kids of all ages with endless fun of whether it is bouncing on trampolines, playing dodgeball in mid-air or falling into a massive foam pit. Launch Doral will be available for birthday parties, fundraisers, fitness classes, toddler time, teen nights, private events and more! The park has a full-redemption arcade, Launch Restaurant and private party rooms. Additionally, Launch Trampoline Park has its own mascot – “Joey,” a 7-foot tall green kangaroo mascot – who is in charge of fun at the park, assisting with birthdays and special events.
“The Launch Doral franchisees are excited to bring family fun to the area and are ecstatic to be a part of the Launch team. We can’t wait for the community to enjoy all the fun and action that Launch has to offer,” stated Robert Arnold, president and co-owner of Launch Franchising, LLC.
About Launch Franchising
Ty Law and Robert Arnold are co-owners of Launch Franchising, LLC, with two corporate locations in Warwick, R.I. and Hartford, Conn., and franchise locations along the East Coast. The company is expanding its franchise nationwide and utilizing the strength of positive branding, turn-key operational systems and proven marketing programs as attractive benefits to potential franchisees. For additional information, visit
FC Miami Media Students
FC Miami City, Miami's official soccer team, and Miami Media School’s technology teams, resources, students, media and interest groups will feature collaboration and resource sharing. This will significantly enhance the coverage of soccer and the Premier Development League in Miami while providing students with access to unique sports media facilities.
The partnership is created in an effort to develop open sources for Miami Media School students and provide career experiences that will prepare students for sports media careers. Within six months, the students will learn how to write, produce and call games.
“Our goal at Miami Media School is to build a world-class sports media program” according to Nancy Rodriguez, CEO at Miami Media School. “Students in sports media are as likely to be applying for jobs with college athletic departments, professional franchises or entities like PDL, USL or MLS entities as they are with traditional media outlets, like local television stations and newspapers.”
FC Miami City GM Youri Vaisse said. “Helping to provide real-world opportunities for the many talented students of the Miami Media School is consistent with one of our top priorities. We cannot thank [Miami Media School CEO] Nancy Rodriguez and the Media School enough for helping make this historic and unique partnership possible.”
The opportunities offered to sports journalism students through the partnership will help students adjust to changes in the field. It will help to give students valuable experience in media areas that don’t fall under traditional journalism, and it’s a great fit alongside the wonderful student journalism opportunities already in Miami’s metro.
It will surely strengthen FC Miami City’s reputation as a national center for excellence in sports communication.
About Miami Media School
The Miami Media School is an American Private Institution that instructs students in all areas of the broadcast media industry. It is a comprehensive, hands-on program, where students are trained by broadcast media professionals currently working in the field.
The Media schools possess a unique mix of broadcasting leadership and experience, educational excellence then combines this with industry technology and equipment that effectively replicates what students and graduates will see when they enter the workforce. These tools and methods of training and educating our students solidifies the Media Schools position at the forefront of broadcasting education.
Heads Up Football
Nineteen football leaders (including Miami Dolphins Senior Director of Youth development Twan Russell) have been selected to take a leading role within USA Football’s Heads Up Football program, promoting a better and safer game on youth and high school levels nationwide.
The new Master Trainers join more than 100 others to educate high school and youth football programs on Heads Up Football principles.
Representing 15 states, the group of individuals – which includes youth, high school and college football coaches, as well as former NFL players – actively participated in a USA Football-led workshop earlier this year that educated them on the core fundamentals of the Heads Up Football program.
After completing the workshop, Master Trainers will instruct youth and high school coaches in their regions on Heads Up Football principles and teach youth league- and high school-appointed Player Safety Coaches, who will oversee their programs’ implementation of the highest national coaching standards for football.
“We’re proud to welcome the expertise our new Master Trainers bring to an already strong roster of knowledgeable, committed football experts who help us advance and grow the game alongside the youth and high school football community,” USA Football CEO and Executive Director Scott Hallenbeck said. “Master Trainers are leaders and educators, and work nationwide to implement important standards for parents, administrators, and coaches to ensure proper health and safety protocols are in place and to unify the approach to teaching football-specific techniques for the well-being of our athletes.”
Russell played football for St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Fort Lauderdale, the University of Miami and the Miami Dolphins.
Created and administered by independent non-profit USA Football, Heads Up Football is a comprehensive way to teach and play the sport, encompassing coaching education, equipment fitting, shoulder tackling and blocking fundamentals, CDC-approved concussion recognition/response, sudden cardiac arrest protocols and heat preparedness/hydration. It’s supported by the American College of Sports Medicine, the National Athletic Trainers’ Association and the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine, among other leading associations spanning medicine and sport.
More than 2,200 high schools and nearly 75 percent of all U.S. youth leagues enrolled in Heads Up Football in 2016 for the betterment of student-athletes. The program is endorsed by a combined total of 32 state high school athletic associations and high school football coaches associations spanning 26 states. USA Football, a member of the U.S. Olympic Committee, is the sport’s national governing body and certifies more high school and youth coaches combined than any organization in the U.S
About USA Football
USA Football designs and delivers premier educational, developmental and competitive programs to advance and grow the sport. As the sport’s national governing body, member of the U.S. Olympic Committee and organizer of the U.S. National Team for international competition, USA Football partners with leaders in medicine, child advocacy and athletics to support positive football experiences for youth, high school and other amateur players. Follow USA Football on Facebook or on Twitter.
The Miami Backgammon Club plays 7 p.m. Wednesdays at The 19th Hole Bar & Grill, Biltmore Hotel, 1200 Anastasia Ave., Coral Gables, 33134.
The Miami Backgammon Club is a friendly group of South Florida Backgammon players. Players of all levels welcome. No membership fees.
Free live play. Tournament entry fee $10.
Contact Leo at 305-669-5260 or Leo@MiamiBackgammon.com.
The Warrior Basketball Pre-Travel Team Program in Miami is intense training for boys and girls, age 8-15, to prepare athletes for a travel team level.
The athletes will train two times a week in a two-hour practice. To gain experience, scrimmages will be set up, and tournament like situations will slowly be introduced to the team.
Practice days are Wednesdays, Fridays and/or Sundays. Kids will receive a Warrior basketball jersey and shorts.
Gifts in Golf
PGA Certified Pro Philip Argianas, program director of GIG-Gifts In Golf, is proud to bring his expertise to special people with special needs to Coral Gables.
GIG programing -- like Golfing with Autism and Kids Swing Into Golf -- enrich the quality of life for families in the community.
Coach Phil said in a release: “Our fun programing impacts kids by teaching them life skills while providing physical and mental training through learning the game of golf.”
For information about registration including schedules and release forms, go to GIG’s website
To volunteer or for any other questions on the Autism and Down syndrome golf programs, call Coach Phil at 888-909-5709, check the website http://www.giftsingolf.org and Facebook page for updates.
GIG was founded in 2009 and has been serving several communities in Miami-Dade County. The organization provides fun instruction and mentoring while empowering special people with special needs. Integrating families and community, it provides all the benefits that golfing delivers with a focus on a person’s ability.
The international sport Footgolf is being introduced to the South Miami-Dade community at Killian Greens Golf Club, 9980 SW 104th St.
Footgolf (18 holes) can be played in two hours and is a great source of exercise for those who enjoy kicking a soccer ball. Times are available everyday of the week after 4:30 p.m. to players of all skill levels, families and groups. Balls are available for rent for $5 to those who do not already own one.
Killian Greens is an accredited Footgolf course with the American Footgolf League. Call 305-271-0917.
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.
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 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.
Miami-Dade Parks welcomes children with disabilities in its youth leagues. If you need accommodations to participate, call 305-735-7847 (V/TDD).