Miami-Dade County

Youth Sports: Belen Jesuit, John A. Ferguson, St. Kevin schools win Mayor’s Cup at Miami-Dade Youth Fair Cross-Country Invitational

The John A. Ferguson High School girls’ varsity team won the Mayor’s Cup for placing first at the Miami-Dade County Youth Fair Cross-Country Invitational at Larry and Penny Thompson Park in southwest Miami-Dade County. Pictured are Frank Balzebre, Intergovernmental Liaison at Office of Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez; Coach Ryan Raposo, Nicolle Garcia, Kaylee Alfaro, Gabriela Crespi, Melissa Melchor, Lauren Gavulic, Aylwyn Hernandez, Miami-Dade County Youth Sports Development Manager Chris Evans and Miami-Dade County Youth Fair President/CEO Robert Hohenstein.
The John A. Ferguson High School girls’ varsity team won the Mayor’s Cup for placing first at the Miami-Dade County Youth Fair Cross-Country Invitational at Larry and Penny Thompson Park in southwest Miami-Dade County. Pictured are Frank Balzebre, Intergovernmental Liaison at Office of Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez; Coach Ryan Raposo, Nicolle Garcia, Kaylee Alfaro, Gabriela Crespi, Melissa Melchor, Lauren Gavulic, Aylwyn Hernandez, Miami-Dade County Youth Sports Development Manager Chris Evans and Miami-Dade County Youth Fair President/CEO Robert Hohenstein.

Belen Jesuit Prep took the top prize in the high school boys’ varsity and middle school boys’ varsity divisions at the Miami-Dade County Youth Fair Cross-Country Invitational at Larry and Penny Thompson Park in southwest Miami-Dade County.

John A. Ferguson High School won the high school girls’ varsity division, and St. Kevin Catholic School was first in the middle school girls’ varsity division.

Each team champion received the Mayor’s Cup, a new award. The trophy is part of the Youth Sports Championship Series, coordinated by the Miami-Dade County Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Department.

Miami-Dade Sports Series

The Miami-Dade County Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Department, as host of the county’s year round Mayor’s Cup Youth Sports Championship Series, congratulates all Miami-Dade youth who participated in the series of athletic events that occured at Miami-Dade parks, golf courses and pools this summer.

The summer events ended with a splash, as more than 175 participants from Miami-Dade County Parks swim programs, summer camps and disability services sites competed for awards in the Mayor’s Cup Swimming Championship at the Tamiami Park Aquatics Center. The event provided children with the opportunity to compete against other youth swimmers from across the county, and for most it was their first time competing in a swim meet.

The Youth Sports Championship Series is an initiative created by Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez that aims to increase participation in youth athletics for kids ages 14 and younger. The series has been touted with the 2014 National Association of Counties Achievement Award and is a finalist for the National Youth Sports Alliance Excellence Award. The winner will be announced November.

As a father, grandfather and lifetime advocate of the long-term health benefits of regular exercise for children, Mayor Gimenez knows first-hand the esteemed values developed from continuous involvement in athletics.

“We are very proud of all the youth that participated in the Mayor’s Youth Sports Championship Series sporting events this summer,” said Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez. “Thanks to Miami-Dade County Parks’ partnership with the Parks Foundation of Miami-Dade, more and more children are learning how to swim, a critical life skill that will help keep them safe and physically fit. Through organized sports, such as swimming, they can also learn good sportsmanship, leadership, fair play and respect for others, lessons which will help them be champions for life.”

Miami-Dade County Parks, through its longtime Learn-to-Swim Program, holds beginning swimming classes at pools county-wide during the summer months. Together with the Parks Foundation of Miami-Dade, they advocate the urgency for all youth to receive swimming lessons and water safety instruction to prevent drowning and seek to provide as many children as possible with Learn-to-Swim opportunities, no matter what their income. Since 2012, the Parks Foundation of Miami-Dade has provided 2,269 Learn-to-Swim scholarships.

Miami-Dade Sports Series

Swim results

Boys 15-18 50 Yard Freestyle: 1- Guerra, Andres (Riptides); 2- Vinasco, Brian (Mantaray's); 3- Oritz, Emmanuel (Mantaray's)

Girls 13-18 100 Yard Freestyle: 1-Jimenez, Genesis (Mantaray's); 2- Guerra, Alexandra (Riptides); 3- Pelletier, Ashlyn (Riptides).

Boys 13-18 100 Yard Freestyle: 1- Pascual, Mauricio (Riptides); 2- Strusinski, Jan (Riptides); 3- Guerra, Alexander (Riptides).

Girls 8 & Under 25 Yard Breaststroke: 1- Rodriguez, Becca (Riptides); 2- Gembicki, Katelyn (Riptides); 3- Boustani, Noor (Riptides).

Boys 8 & Under 25 Yard Breaststroke: 1- Johnson, Jace (Tropical Estates); 2- Whelan, Lucas (Riptides); 3- Chichoni, Joseph (Riptides).

Girls 9-10 50 Yard Breaststroke: 1- Jimeno, Mikaela (Mantaray's); 2- Wall, Brianna (Riptides); 3- Fuentes, Angelina (Tropical Estates).

Boys 9-10 50 Yard Breastroke: 1- Robaina, Anthony (Mantaray's); 2- Chichoni, Zachary (Riptides); 3- Figgins, Ryan (Riptides).

Girls 11-12 50 Yard Breaststroke: 1- Juardo, Isabella (Mantaray's); 2- Pacreau, Garance (AD Barnes); 3- Ortiz, Genesis (Mantaray's).

Boys 11-12 50 Yard Breaststroke: 1- Torres, Nabil (AD Barnes); 2- Figgins, Kyle (Riptides); 3- Ruiz, Michael (AD Barnes).

Girls 13-14 50 Yards Breaststroke: 1- Morera, Veronica (Mantaray's); 2- Lopez, Camila (AD Barnes); 3- Sanchez, Brittney (AD Barnes).

Boys 13-14 50 Yards Breaststroke: 1- Sanchez, Daniel (AD Barnes); 2- Lucero, Pablo (Mantaray's); 3- Garcia, Nathaniel (AD Barnes ).

Girls 15-18 50 Yard Breaststroke: 1- Guerra, Andrea (Riptides); 2- Guerra, Alexandra (Riptides); 3- Torres, Yasmine (AD Barnes).

Boys 15-18 50 Yard Breaststroke: 1- Guerra, Alexander (Riptides); 2- Vinasco, Brian (Mantaray's); 3- Garcia, Lancelot (AD Barnes).

Girls 13-18 100 Yard Breaststroke: 1- Pelletier, Ashlyn (Riptides).

Boys 13-18 100 Yard Breaststroke: 1-Pascual, Mauricio (Riptides); 2- Strusinski, Jan (Riptides); 3- Guerra, Andres (Riptides).

Girls 8 & Under 25 Yard Backstroke: 1- Rodriguez, Becca (Riptides); 2- Gembicki, Katelyn (Riptides); 3- Peralta, Elizabeth (AD Barnes).

Boys 8 & Under 25 Yard Backstroke: 1- Rodriguez, Dylan (AD Barnes); 2- Guzman, Ty (AD Barnes); 3- Chichoni, Jospeh (Riptides).

Girls 9-10 50 Yard Backstroke: 1- Wall, Brianna (Riptides); 2- Fuentes, Angelina ( Tropical Estates); 3- Jimeno, Mikaela ( Mantarays).

Boys 9-10 50 Yard Backstroke: 1- Figgins, Ryan (Riptides); 2- Robaina, Anthony (Mantarays); 3- Lago, Cesar (AD Barnes).

Girls 11-12 50 Yard Backstroke: 1- Juardo, Isabella (Mantarays); 2- Pacreau, Garance (AD Barnes); 3- Ortiz, Genesis ( Mantarays).

Boys 11-12 50 Yard Backstroke: 1- Jaquez, Anthony (AD Barnes); 2- Ross, Jared (Tropical Estates); 3- Figgins, Kyle (Riptides).

Girls 13-14 50 Yards Backstroke: 1- Morera, Veronica (Mantarays); 2- Brown, Natalia (AD Barnes); 3- Hunter, Amber (AD Barnes).

Boys 13-14 50 Yard Backstroke: 1-Sanchez, Alex (AD Barnes); 2- Robinson, Michaelangelo (AD Barnes); 3- Arias, Miguel (AD Barnes).

Girls 15-18 50 Yard Backstroke: 1- Jimenez, Genesis (Mantarays); 2-Guerra, Andrea (Riptides); 3- Subil, Stefani (AD Barnes).

Girls 15-18 50 Yard Backstroke: 1-Ortiz, Emmanuel (Mantarays); 2-Garcia, Lancelot (AD Barnes); 3-Jackson, Alijah (Disability Services).

Girls 13-18 100 Yard Backstorke: 1- Mullery, Cara (Riptides).

Boys 13-18 100 Yard Backstroke: 1- Guerra, Alexander (Riptides); 2-Strusinski, Jan (Riptides).

Girls 8 & Under 25 Yard Butterfly: 1- Rodriguez, Becca (Riptides); 2- Slaughter, Arianna (Riptides); 3- Silva, Oriana (AD Barnes).

Boys 8 & Under 25 Yard Butterfly: 1- Rodriguez, Dylan (AD Barnes); 2- Johnson, Jace (Tropical Estates); 3- Guzman, Ty (AD Barnes).

Girls 9-10 50 Yard Butterfly: 1- Wall, Brianna (Riptides); 2-Jimeno, Mikaela (Mantaray); 3- Gemicki, Natalie (Riptides).

Boys 9-10 50 Yard Butterfly: 1- Figgins, Ryan (Riptides); 2-Robaina, Anthony (Mantarays); 3- Chaviano,Daniel (Riptides).

Girls 11-12 50 Yard Butterfly: 1- Juardo, Isabella (Mantarays); 2- Ortiz, Genesis (Mantarays); 3- Correa, Luisa (Mantarays).

Boys 11-12 50 Yard Butterfly: 1- Torres, Nabil (AD Barnes); 2- Johnson, Jaedon (Tropical Estates); 3- Jaquez, Anthony (AD Barnes).

Girls 13-14 50 Yards Butterfly: 1- Morera, Veronica (Mantaray's); 2- Brown, Natalia (AD Barnes); 3- Lopez, Camila (AD Barnes).

Boys 13-14 50 Yard Butterfly: 1- Sanchez, Alex (AD Barnes); 2-Sanchez, Daniel (AD Barnes); 3- Debesa, Raul ( Mantarays).

Girls 15-18 50 Yard Butterfly: 1-Mullery, Cara (Riptides); 2- Subil, Stefani (AD Barnes); 3- Jimenez, Genesis (Mantarays).

Boys 15-18 50 Yard Butterfly: 1- Guerra, Andres (Riptides); 2- Garcia, Jonathan ( Riptides); 3- Hunt, Carson (Riptides).

Girls 13-18 100 Yard Butterfly: 1- Guerra, Anagabriella (Riptides).

Boys 13-18 100 Yard Butterfly: 1- Pascual, Mauricio (Riptides).

Golf

Chloe Horton of Ransom Everglades fired 75 to win the Miami-Dade County Youth Fair Golf Tournament at Palmetto Golf Course.

Horton, a senior, also led the Raiders to the team title. Teammate Carolina Garrett shot 80, placing fourth overall. Katie Hanley was fifth at 81. Phoebe Beber- Frankel scored 87.

Alexa Rivas was runner-up at 79 for runner-up Palmetto. Elizabeth Hopkins of Miami Beach shot 95.

Tennis

Champions were crowned during the 66th USTA Florida Bobby Curtis Junior State Doubles Tennis Championships.

Among the notable winners were 2014 US Open girls’ singles semifinalist Katerina Stewart of Coral Gables.

Stewart teamed with Gabriella Pollner of Boca Raton. As the top seeds, they defeated No.2 seeds Rachel Rohrabacher of Tampa and Jaclyn Switkes of Ponte Vedra Beach 6-1, 6-2 in the Girls’ 18s final at Sanlando Park in Altamonte Springs.

It was Stewart's fourth Bobby Curtis Doubles title after a Girls’ 16 title with Rohrabacher, Mixed 16 titles in 2011 and Girls' 14 title in 2010.

In Boys’ 16s, North Miami’s Jordan Skalet was runner-up with Matthew Rodriguez of Highland Beach. Top seeds John Carlin of Fort Myers and Noah Schachter of Wesley Chapel defeated Rodriguez and Skalet, seeded third, 6-1, 6-4 in the finals.

Former world No.1s Chris Evert, Andy Roddick and Jim Courier are among the players who have raised trophies in singles at the USTA Florida Bobby Curtis Junior State Singles Championships, previously known as the USTA Florida Jr. State Closed. Florida's top event was renamed to honor the legendary Florida junior tennis organizer Bobby Curtis in 2012. The tournament is annually a launching pad for future college stars and pros.

Miami Country Day top athletes

Miami Country Day School: Middle School Female Athlete of the Week: Alexa Altman (volleyball) combined for 17 service points, nine assists and six kills in wins against Sagemont and Cushman.

Middle School Male Athlete of the Week: Evan Mendelson (cross-country) finished 13th overall and 5th for the Spartans’ varsity team in the Spartans' first home meet of the season.

Upper School Female Athlete of the Week: Stella Strharova (volleyball) combined for 12 kills, eight digs and five blocks against Archbishop Curley, Sagemont, and Chaminade.

Upper School Male Athlete of the Week: Spencer Berens (golf) shot a 78 at the Miami-Dade County Youth Fair Invitational and a 37 against Chaminade.

Scheck Hillel top student athletes

Scheck Hillel Community School named Talya Birol and Lior Barhai as Student Athletes of the Week.

Birol, a sophomore, was recognized for her dedication and strong work ethic to improve her skill-set for the girls’ varsity volleyball team. Even though the Lions lost their match to Doctors Charter School, Birol played very well, helping set up her team offensively with many good bumps and sets.

Barhai, a senior, had a strong performance for the varsity football team against Highlands Christian. He had 26 carries for 150 yards and two touchdowns.

Killian baseball

Perfect Game recently released the newest rankings for the high school class of 2017. Miami native Freddie Zamora is the No.17 ranked player in the country for the class.

Zamora impressed at four Perfect Game events. He attends Miami Killian High School and is committed to the University of Miami.

About Perfect Game

Perfect Game is an elite amateur baseball scouting organization, producing more than 100 tournaments and showcases each year across the country. Perfect Game is dedicated to giving amateur players exposure to take their game to the next level, whether that be in college or in the professional ranks.

At Perfect Game events, players are performing with top level competition in front of college recruiters and professional scouts from throughout the country. Because of this, these events prove to be invaluable to the college coaches as well as Major League Baseball as they can scout a large population of talented ballplayers in one location.

To date, 549 players who have played in a Perfect Game event have also played in Major League Baseball. Since 2003, 6,782 Perfect Game alumni have been selected in the MLB Draft.

www.perfectgame.org

facebook.com/perfectgameusa

@PerfectGameUSA

Orange Bowl YFA

Now in its 16th season, the Orange Bowl Youth Football Alliance, presented by Sports Authority, visited two sites in Broward County as part of its Park of the Week Program. The program recognizes select youth football parks across South Florida each Saturday during the fall to show its continued support of the community.

“I think being out here with the future generation and supporting them is important for the community,” said Orange Bowl Committee member Brian Poulin. “The Orange Bowl is much bigger than just the game. As you start doing some research and figuring out what the Orange Bowl Committee is about, you realize it’s all about the community.”

The day featured two stops at Florida Youth Football League games. The first was Vincent Torres Memorial Park in Lauderdale Lakes, home of the Lauderdale Lakes Vikings. The second stop of the day was in Fort Lauderdale at Sunview Park, home of the Fort Lauderdale Hurricanes.

At each stop during the program, Orange Bowl members, ambassadors and staff distributed promotional items and discounts from OBYFA sponsors and presented each park with a commemorative plaque.

This year’s Orange Bowl Youth Football Alliance is presented by Sports Authority and supported by associate sponsors American Airlines, Doctors Hospital, Florida Prepaid College Board, FOX Sports Florida / Sun Sports, Hampton Farms, Marathon Petroleum, MetroPCS, Nike, Panter, Panter & Sampedro, Sparkling ICE, The Miami Herald, Toyota, and Wells Fargo. The OBYFA presented by Sports Authority continues to positively impact the South Florida community.

For more than 80 years, the Orange Bowl has been one of South Florida’s leading civic organizations, driving tourism and economic development, while supporting scholarships and community athletic facilities. Inspiring thousands of student athletes every year, the Orange Bowl’s activities help foster youth confidence, celebrate student achievement, engage the community and enhance the South Florida economy.

For information about the Orange Bowl Committee and the Orange Bowl Youth Football Alliance, presented by Sports Authority,

visit www.orangebowl.org.

More events, leagues, programs

Scuba

Children, adults and veterans with disabilities will have an opportunity to escape gravity for a brief time and discover the weightless world of scuba diving, as part of the free “Diveheart Scuba Experience” on Oct. 4 and 25 at AD Barnes Pool, 3401 SW 72 Ave., Miami.

The event is being presented by the Miami-Dade County Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Department’s Disability Services Division in partnership with the Diveheart Foundation and Ortho Pro Associates. The event will include scuba demonstrations, rides on a mechanical dolphin and on-site registration for the Diveheart Scuba Experience scuba diving classes.

Individuals must be at least 10-years-old to participate in the scuba diving sessions. Participants will receive an introduction to scuba diving and scuba equipment. All scuba gear will be provided. Pre-registration is required, as each participant is paired with a certified dive instructor and volunteer.

For information, contact Terri Bukacheski at 305-598-9688 or terri@orthoproassociates.com.

Florida Christian lacrosse

Florida Christian School Athletic Director Ed Riggan, announced that FCS Athletics will offer lacrosse at the JV level for the spring of the 2014-15 school year. For information call 305-226-8152 or visit www.floridachristian.org.

Tennis

JD Redd Park in Homestead, part of USTA Florida’s Hispanic outreach initiative ‘Tenis para Todos,’ is growing the sport of tennis by hosting a free family festival at 1 p.m. Oct. 11 at 550 N. Homestead Blvd., 33030.

The free event will feature games and prizes, on-court games, raffles and competitions for all ages and levels of play. This is the second year of the initiative, designed to increase the participation of the Hispanic community in tennis.

“We hope everyone comes out for these free Tennis Festivals, which are a wonderful way to introduce kids — and their parents — to the lifetime sport of tennis,” says USTA Florida Tennis Program Coordinator Cathy Nordlund. “We like to offer people of all ages and abilities the opportunity to learn and enjoy the benefits of the game through family events open to all.”

JD Redd Park offers programs for children such as 10 and Under, Junior Tennis for beginners, intermediate and advanced players, Tournament Training, Team Tennis, Camps, After-School Clinics, Home School Tennis, Wheelchair and Special-Needs tennis. For adults, JD Redd offers Round Robin play, Leagues, Ladders, Cardio Tennis, Mixed Doubles, Senior Tennis and socials for all levels.

To register, jdreddfestival.eventbrite.com

A full list of events is at

http://www.ustaflorida.com/events or www.tenisparatodos.com/eventos

For information on Tenis Para Todos visit

www.ustaflorida.com or www.tenisparatodos.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.

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, 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

The Miami-Dade County Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Department, as host of Miami-Dade County’s year round Mayor’s Cup Youth Sports Championship Series fostering sports development activities for local youth, announces sponsorship, partnership and volunteer opportunities for the popular Miami Soccer Festival returning to Kendall Soccer Park, Nov. 1-2.

This is the fourth year for this two-day signature event, which features consecutive FYSA-sanctioned tournaments for boys and girls, age 12 and younger, from 8 a.m.-5 p.m., and free admission for spectators. More than 2,000 people of all ages are expected to watch the tournaments and enjoy the festivities that include entertainment, music, food vendors, a soccer retail village, soccer tricks, juggling demonstrations.

As a father, grandfather and lifetime advocate of the long-term health benefits of regular exercise for children, Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez knows first-hand the esteemed values developed from continuous involvement in athletics.

“The Mayor’s Youth Sports Championship Series allows our youth to learn the value of how working together can build character through organized sporting events,” Mayor Gimenez said in a release. “These lessons on the field, the resilience and leadership skills, combined with teamwork can then be used off the field for future success in life. This is why I ask local businesses and organizations to join us in our commitment to make youth sports available for all children in our community.”

Teams will participate in three elimination games – two on Nov. 1 and one Nov. 2. The finals will follow. Team registration costs are between $70 for younger teams (U5) and $170 for older teams (U12).

For information on the Miami Soccer Festival, visit www.miamisoccerfestival.org

or contact Scott Georgeson at 305-965-9855 or scott.georgeson@soccer5usa.com.

To become a sponsor, partner or volunteer, contact Alan Georgeson at 305-393-5230 or

alan.georgeson@constructive4.com.

Soccer 5 Academy

Soccer 5 Academy Mini Soccer Program, also referred to as small-sided soccer, is 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.

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

Senior Games

Amateur athletes, age 50 and older, can register for the 2014 Florida International Senior Games & State Championships which are Dec. 6-14 in Lee County and Cape Coral.

Visit https://events.clearthunder.com/FSG2014 to register.

The event is a qualifier for the 2015 National Senior Games in Minneapolis/St. Paul/Bloomington, Minn. in the summer 2015.

Entry fees begin at $11 per event and vary by sport. Sports with multiple events carry additional charges per event. Team sports have a team entry fee. The deadline for online registration is Nov. 21.

The state championships feature 24 sports and events over nine days of competition. Some sports and events require a qualifying performance at a local Senior Games to participate at the state championships. Those sports include; 3-on-3 basketball, basketball shooting, bowling, cycling, golf, horseshoes, pickleball, shuffleboard, swimming, table tennis, tennis and track & field.

Sports that are open to all athletes without a qualifying performance at a local Senior Games include archery, bag toss, billiards, bocce, croquet, fencing, powerlifting, power walk, race walk, racquetball, road race (5K and 10K) and volleyball.

For information about the 2014 Florida International Senior Games & State Championships, visit

www.flasports.com or call toll-free 1-866-FLGAMES (354-2637).

Football

The FBU National Championship kicks off Dec. 6 at 16 venues across America, with the winners advancing to round 2 on Dec. 7.

The structure of the Football University National Championship is a combination of the Little League World Series and the NCAA March Madness. The single-elimination tournament, features 192-region-based teams (64-teams in each age bracket – 6th, 7th and 8th grade) comprised of the top 30 all-star athletes from their area who had to try out to earn a roster spot.

The first four rounds will occur at regional sites, with the semifinals and championship weekend Dec. 20-21 in Naples for the final four teams in each age bracket.

Miami-Dade County youth athletes have been given the extraordinary honor of participating in the tournament beginning Dec. 6. Sixth graders, seventh graders, and eighth graders were selected to play for the FBU Miami-Dade County Team in each of their grade levels. Each team, comprised of top football players from through the county, will be competing in full contact football games with the ultimate goal of advancing to the championship in Naples.

The Miami-Dade County team, led by State Director Damian Sosa, will begin the tournament on Dec. 6 in West Palm Beach.

This year’s tournament marks the fourth year of the biggest youth football event to date, with 192 teams nationwide, including more than 250 games, 6,000 athletes and 1,200 coaches. The tournament will showcase 250 games through a three-week period, resulting in more than 1,000 hours of play.

Visit www.fbunc.com

Football

The fifth annual National Bowl, featuring some of the best FCS (NCAA Division I-AA) players in the country, is Dec 5-7 at Florida International University at Alfonso Field at FIU Stadium in Miami.

Representatives from 10 NFL teams attended in 2013, and NFL Films distributed game film to teams. Fifteen players in the past two years participated in NFL camps, seven in 2013.

NATIONALBOWL.ORG

FCSBOWL.COM

Heads Up

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

Drayton added 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 expanded to more than 600 youth leagues in 50 states. Of these leagues, 100 were assigned a former NFL player mentor. Drayton served as a mentor to a local Heads Up League — the Tamiami Colts of the Miami Xtreme Youth Football League.

Basketball

The Maccabi Haifa professional basketball team, the 2013-14 Israeli Super League runner-up, announced the team will participate in a four-team NBA exhibition tour in North America, becoming only the second international team ever to play four NBA teams in the same trip.

Maccabi Haifa will face the Washington Wizards on Oct. 15 at the Verizon Center, the Portland Trail Blazers on Oct. 17 at the Moda Center, the Sacramento Kings on Oct. 18 at the Sleep Train Arena, and the Toronto Raptors on Oct. 22 at the Air Canada Centre.

Maccabi Haifa’s trip to the United States will mark the fourth time in five years the team will travel to North America to play against NBA competition. In three trips to the United States, Maccabi Haifa has faced six NBA opponents (New Jersey Nets, Golden State Warriors, Minnesota Timberwolves, Phoenix Suns, Detroit Pistons, Memphis Grizzlies). At the conclusion of the North American tour, Maccabi Haifa will rank second all-time among international basketball teams in games played (10) against NBA opponents.

Maccabi Haifa has a long and storied legacy as it was one of the original eight teams to form the Israeli Premier League for the 1954 season. Under the ownership of Aventura businessman Jeffrey Rosen, Maccabi Haifa won its first Israeli League championship in the franchise’s 60-year history during the 2012-13 season and were an Israeli League Finalist in the 2013-14 season.

Maccabi Haifa’s charity program, “Haifa Hoops for Kids”, a joint initiative between Maccabi Haifa and the Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest New Jersey, has hosted more than 20,000 underprivileged and special needs children in Israel at Maccabi Haifa home games. The team will hold charity basketball clinics for children in each city during the NBA preseason tour.

“Maccabi Haifa is proud to continue our tradition of playing against NBA opponents, as our fan base in North America is one of the largest among all international basketball teams,” said Maccabi Haifa Owner Jeff Rosen. “We are thrilled to be competing against the Washington Wizards, Portland Trail Blazers, Sacramento Kings and the Toronto Raptors.”

For information about Maccabi Haifa, visit www.mhbasket.co.il.

ThunderPlex

Thunder Athletix and Brain Gymnasium LLC teamed to offer a complete fitness program of body and mind at the new ThunderPlex, 1440 NW 82 Ave. in Doral.

Students can improve their basketball skills and physical fitness, as well as strengthen their academic skills through specialized tutoring programs. They can have fun and finish their homework.

The mission is to teach the principles, fundamentals and basic skills of the game to children age 5-17.

Brain Gymnasium offers specialized tutoring, homework help, FCAT Prep, SAT/ACT Prep, and Entrance Exam Prep. Their degreed, professional and experienced teachers provide a simple and exciting approach to learning.

For information on special packages, after school programs and summer programs,

visit www.jointhunder.com ; contact@jointhunder.com or call 786-505-5585.

For information on Brain Gymnasium, visit www.braingymnasium.org or call 305-788-7339.

Thunder basketball

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

The 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 information visit www.jointhunder.com

Registration is 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.

Park upgrade

The Miami-Dade County Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Department and Miami-Dade County District 13 Commissioner Esteban Bovo, Jr., announce the completion of new amenities at the 20-acre Norman and Jean Reach Park, 7901 NW 176 St., Miami.

The improvements include a new six-foot perimeter asphalt walkway with wayside shaded benches, expanded concrete patio space around the recreation center and concession building, and a new portable bleacher.

Miami-Dade County and The School Board of Miami-Dade County have entered into agreements to provide for the joint use of their respectively owned public properties for recreational purposes. Palm Springs North Elementary School is adjacent to the park, and the walking path will be built on both properties to provide a safe route for walking activities. This project was made possible with the assistance of Miami-Dade County Public Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho, the School Board and the School Board Chair, Perla Taberas Hantman, District 4, where Palm Springs North Elementary School is located.

“Amenities such as these will provide residents and visitors with more opportunities to enjoy nature and recreation at Norman and Jean Reach Park,” said Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez. “I want to thank the Parks Department for its great work in helping us build a healthier and more livable community.”

Commissioner Bovo said: “I am very pleased to see this completed development at Norman and Jean Reach Park. I highly encourage neighbors to come out for a walk in the park and to take full advantage of these improved recreational spaces.”

Miami-Dade County Parks Director Jack Kardys added: “Norman and Jean Reach Park offers active recreation for people of all ages. These new amenities have enhanced this beautiful park and all that it has to offer.”

Miami-Dade County Parks completed this project together with Sagua Construction Inc. Funding of $154,000 was provided by the Quality Neighborhood Improvement Program (QNIP), Capital Outlay Reserve Funds (CORF), Impact Fees, and the Miami-Dade County District 13 Commission Office.

Norman and Jean Reach Park also contains two-lighted basketball courts, four-lighted softball fields, two-tennis courts, a swimming pool, and a picnic shelter.

For directions and information about the recreational facilities and programs offered at this park

visit www.miamidade.gov or call 305-823-2414.

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.

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.

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).

Submit player or team news to Sports Scene

Sports Scene spotlights news and notes from youth sports and adult league activities with the aim to feature game notes and the accomplishments of athletes from Miami-Dade County.

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

All sports are welcome as long as the team, individual or league is Miami-based.

Email sportsscene@MiamiHerald.com.

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