Miami-Dade County

Standout seasons for Miami Country Day School cross-country teams

The Miami Country Day School boys’ varsity cross-country team went 18-1, winning districts and qualifying for regionals and states. The Spartans are front from left, Eduardo Dana, Joel Cohen, Jack Finvarb, Ryan Finvarb, Julian Schultz, Connor Space, Daniel Strouse, Camryn Davis, Zachary Babil; middle, Mack Tracy, Matt Allen, Dhillon Murphy, Ryan Mendelson, Evan Mendelson, Tyler Luby, Alex Levine, Noah Billante, Nandan Aggarwal; back, Michael Quinn-Walker, Corso Luciano, Jay Weaver, Alex Cohen, Justin Russell, Ryan Luby, Jeremy Cross.
The Miami Country Day School boys’ varsity cross-country team went 18-1, winning districts and qualifying for regionals and states. The Spartans are front from left, Eduardo Dana, Joel Cohen, Jack Finvarb, Ryan Finvarb, Julian Schultz, Connor Space, Daniel Strouse, Camryn Davis, Zachary Babil; middle, Mack Tracy, Matt Allen, Dhillon Murphy, Ryan Mendelson, Evan Mendelson, Tyler Luby, Alex Levine, Noah Billante, Nandan Aggarwal; back, Michael Quinn-Walker, Corso Luciano, Jay Weaver, Alex Cohen, Justin Russell, Ryan Luby, Jeremy Cross.

The Miami Country Day School boys’ varsity cross-country team had a stellar season. The Spartans went 18-1, won a third consecutive district championship, made a fifth consecutive regional appearance (finishing runner-up) and reached states where they placed ninth.

Miami Country Day was led by sophomore Alex Cohen and senior Julian Schultz. Junior Jacob Strouse, senior Conor Space and freshman Ryan Finvarb were outstanding throughout the season.

The Miami Country Day School girls’ varsity cross-country team finished a strong season at 14-3 and were runners-up in the district tournament. After qualifying for regionals for a fifth consecutive season, the Spartans reached states where they placed 19th.

A young Miami Country Day team was led by eighth grader Isabella Allen along with sixth grader Kitty Simmonds, seventh grader Klara Meyer, sixth grader Sydney Fuentes, and ninth grader Lea Ankonina.

South Kendall football

The South Kendall Gators came from behind to pull off the upset by beating the previously undefeated Kendall Boys & Girls Club Kolts 18-14 in the 12U (130 pound) semifinal of the Miami Xtreme Youth Football League at Ted Hendricks Stadium at Milander Park in Hialeah.

Trailing 14-6, the Gators rallied to win their eighth straight game.

With 7:51 to go in the third quarter, Rayshawn Williams scored on a 1-yard run to cut the deficit to two 14-12. Williams helped set-up his own score by racing 28 yards and then three yards. Quarterback Kevin Smith completed a key pass to Trenard Wilson, before Williams big 28-yard run.

With 9:01 remaining in the game, Williams broke a tackle in the backfield en route to a winning 66-yard touchdown run around the right side.

The Gators defense stood strong three times on goal-line stands in the second half to also highlight the victory. Jimmie Bryant, Romello Gatlin, Camron Jones, Alvin Kemp, Cedric Sawyer and Ali Skipper helped lead that defense.

Jones and Kemp were outstanding throughout. Wilson had an interception in the end zone to stop one, and Raymond Williams intercepted a pass to seal the win.

The Kolts (11-1) went ahead 6-0 when quarterback Ari Arteaga scored on a 6-yard run to end the first quarter. South Kendall (9-3) evened things in the second quarter on a 4-yard touchdown run by Rayshawn Williams, who set-up his score on a 16-yard pass play from Smith.

On the ensuing kickoff, Jahvar McSween retrieved the ball after it sksipped over his head and then raced 70 yards for the momentum swinging touchdown late in the second quarter. Matthew Enriquez kicked the 2-pointer with Arteaga the holder, and Kendall Boys & Girls Club led 14-6.

Raymond Williams took the next kickoff and ran 40 yards into Kolts’ territory, but Patrick Silva of Kendall Boys & Girls Club recovered a fumble a few plays later to stop the drive. Teammate Eric Contreras had a fumble recovery earlier in the first half, and Ricardo Marcado took a fake punt 51 yards to the South Kendall 9-yard line in the fourth quarter.

North Miami Beach football

The North Miami Beach Sundevils improved to 10-1 by winning the 12U (130 pound) semifinal of the Miami Xtreme Youth Football League at Ted Hendricks Stadium at Milander Park in Hialeah.

The Sundevils beat the West Miramar Patriots 24-6.

After a scoreless first half, Ebelson Raphael returned the second half kickoff 80 yards for a touchdown. Bryan Trillos kicked the first of three 2-pointers with Dmitri Pierre the holder and Karyne David the snapper.

Keyon Brezilla utilized the blocking of Nathaniel Gesper and Gregory Pierre-Louis to score on a 20-yard run. RayJe’ Grant had a 46-yard touchdown run with solid blocking from Ezekiel Figueroa, Wesly Joseph and David.

Phon’te Mannings, Patrell Nadal, Riyad Wilmot and Raphael also blocked well, and D’Mor Jean-Baptiste, Grant and Joseph anchored a strong defense.

Darrell Watson scored late in the game for West Miramar to avoid the shutout.

St. Brendan sports

St. Brendan High School seniors Benito Varela, Nicolas Lares, Hugo Casilla and Zuhayr Pigot signed their national letters of intent.

Benito will play baseball for the NCAA Division I Stetson University Hatters. Nicolas and Hugo will play baseball for the NCAA Division II University of Bridgeport Purple Knights, and Zuhayr Pigot will swim for the NCAA Division I University of North Carolina Tar Heels.

All three baseball players received full academic/athletic scholarship. Zuhayr earned a 65-percent athletic scholarship.

Scheck Hillel sports

Scheck Hillel Community School named Daniel Ohayon as its Student-Athlete of the Week.

Ohayon, a senior, had his second double-double of the season with 11 points and 14 rebounds in a 49-34 district win for the boys’ varsity basketball team over Archbishop Curley. He is one of the team’s hardest workers, and it shows on the court—practice and games.

Miami Country Day sports

Miami Country Day School: Middle School Female Athlete of the Week: Jordan Sheppard (basketball) led the Spartans with 14 points, three rebounds and two steals in a 34-19 win against Gulliver.

Middle School Male Athlete of the Week: Anthony Cervone (soccer) scored a goal and added an assist in 2-1 win against Westminster Christian.

Upper School Male Athlete of the Week: Mick Lynott (basketball) scored 19 points in the Spartans’ 77-33 win against Somerset Central Academy.

Upper School Female Athlete of the Week: Michelle Berry (basketball) combined for 35 points and 17 rebounds in wins against Colonial Christian and Lake Highland Prep.

Hochberg Prep sports

The Hochberg Prep third-fourth grade flag football team beat Hebrew Academy 35-12.

They will play the winner of Hillel/Lehrman in the championship. They are led by third-grade sack specialist Max Jacobs and quarterbacks/running backs Jack Harris, Zack Kaplan and Meyer Cusnir.

The Hochberg Prep fifth grade flag football team defeated Posnack 42-21 to clinch the top seed in the playoffs.

The Hochberg Prep undefeated middle school girls’ basketball team clinched the top seed and IAL South Division title with a win over Hillel 24-9. The Lions are led by the fierce guard play of Daniella Aronsky.

They also receive solid play from Ariel Fishman and forwards Mia Ohana and Emily Davidovic. In the playoffs, they will be without their captain and leading scorer and rebounder Ahava Greenbaum, who broke her finger.

Tennis

Two individuals from Miami and one from Coral Gables received awards during the 65th USTA Florida Annual Meeting & Volunteer Celebration at the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress in Orlando.

The weekend celebrating Florida tennis volunteers and community advocates also included educational sessions, a tennis mixer, the Starry, Starry Night Awards Dinner & Dancing, and the Sunday Breakfast with the Stars awards.

Team Tennis Volunteer Of The Year Kara Borromeo of Miami

Whether it’s captaining local Junior Team Tennis squads, bringing travelling teams to regional Team Tennis Challenges or going to JTT nationals, Kara Borromeo is a dynamo in getting kids active in team tennis in the Miami area.

She said: “If it were not for Junior Team Tennis events, these kids would probably never have the opportunity to experience tennis competition and the camaraderie of being on a team. They have so much fun traveling to events.”

The director of tennis at Coral Reef Park in Palmetto Bay has volunteered as a JTT captain and organizer over the past five years, and is typically involved with seven or more teams each season.

In addition Kara also organized volunteer opportunities for high school students to assist as 10 and Under Tennis court monitors, and assisted staff at the inaugural Miami Tennis Cup featuring 10 and Under Tennis during the 2014 Sony Open.

Junior Competitive Coach Of The Year Kevin Chow of Miami

The Director of Tennis at the Tamiami Tennis Center and J.D. Redd Park, Kevin Chow takes time out from coaching some of the top juniors in Florida to contribute to junior tennis in a number of other ways.

As part of the USTA Florida Coaches Commission, he is playing a part in reshaping the Florida junior tennis landscape to provide a better experience for junior players. As a part of the Tenis para Todos initiative, or Tennis for Everyone, he promotes tennis in the Hispanic community in the city of Homestead at J.D. Redd Park.

Also on his radar annually are partnering with Special Olympics of Florida, and keeping kids active and involved with team experiences besides tournament play with Junior Team Tennis at his facilities.

The coach of the championship Florida Zonal 12-and-under team in 2013, Chow’s cadre of Top 25-ranked junior players includes Kelsey Laurente, who plays the top singles position for the University of Miami.

Albert Carrington Balink Award (Junior Player Of The Year) Katerina Stewart of Coral Gables

This year Katerina rose to national prominence by reaching the semifinals of the US Open junior girls’ event, on the heels of beating out some of the world’s top professional players, winning three USTA Pro Circuit events at age 17.

In 2014, she won the prestigious Easter Bowl and won her fourth career age division title at the USTA Florida Bobby Curtis Junior State Championships. She became the first player in 27 years to win four titles at the event.

Ranked No.1 in Florida and No.11 in the nation, her junior ranking suffered due to her success at pro events, which earned her a ranking of No.543 on the WTA tour.

The first Floridian since fellow Hispanic Mary Joe Fernandez to win the Orange Bowl, Katerina says representing and supporting the junior development of Hispanics in Florida remains one of her passions.

A former Sportsmanship Award winner, Katerina says she balances a desire to best represent the USTA Florida Section on and off the court.

To see videos of award winners go to:

http://www.florida.usta.com/news/2_added_to_florida_tennis_hall_of_fame_2014_usta_awards111/

Learn more about USTA Florida at www.ustaflorida.com

More events, leagues, programs

Football

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

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

NFL Football Matters

The National Football Foundation announced the launch of FootballMatters.org, a powerful new addition to the organization’s campaign to highlight the good in the game and the lifelong benefits to those who play it.

“Football makes a positive impact on so many levels, and we realized that we needed a centralized resource for capturing and subsequently promoting all the great football stories out there,” said NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell. “FootballMatters.org provides us a potent platform for addressing that void and delivering compelling content directly to audiences who can help us amplify our messages about the value of football in producing leaders and creating educational opportunities.”

NFF Chairman Archie Manning added: “It’s just gratifying to be part of something that does so much good for our young people. The stories are out there, including the thousands of young kids who could not have gone to college but got some aid because of football, and their lives have been changed for the better. FootballMatters.org will enable us to directly capture those stories and inspire the next generation to further their educations.”

The NFF has linked with Arkleus Broadcasting, a Dallas-based full-service media company, to create the platform, which also encompasses a strong social media component to gain traction for the campaign.

“Arkleus is honored and thrilled to be chosen by such a prestigious American institution as the NFF to build and market an exciting new sports media property,” said Arkleus Broadcasting President Joe Shults. “We are passionately committed to helping the NFF in every way to protect, enhance, and ensure the future of football for generations to come.”

The site focuses on stories, videos, and franchises highlighting the very best in high school and college football, such as: Football Moms, Special Teams, Hook & Corporate Ladder, Man-to-Man, the Quote of the Day and many more. The site will also be the home to exclusive profiles of Campbell Trophy finalists, Leadership Award Winners, Courage Award Winners and all the honors associated with the NFF.

“We are really excited about the Football Matters initiative,” said Hatchell. “I want to thank everybody at Arkleus for their passion for the project. They have done a marvelous job of getting it up and running in a short amount of time, and we have already received great feedback.”

The site focuses on the stories that evoke the qualities of leadership, sportsmanship, competitive zeal, character building and the drive for academic excellence that exemplifies many of the young men who play football and the families who support them.

You can learn more about the site and watch a video featuring NFF Chairman Archie Manning and NFF Board Members Jack Ford, Archie Griffin, Kevin Plank and Rod West by clicking here.

Visit www.footballfoundation.org.

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/NFFNetwork

Twitter https://twitter.com/NFFNetwork

YouTube https://www.youtube.com/user/NFFOnDemand

Orange Bowl shoe drive

The Orange Bowl announced the launch of its annual Kicks For Kids Program, in partnership with In Jacob’s Shoes, a local charity that provides new and gently used shoes, school supplies and athletic shoes and equipment to economically disadvantaged youth.

The organization will once again challenge schools in Miami-Dade and Broward counties to collect shoes. In addition, the Orange Bowl is partnering with Baptist Health South Florida to use its facilities as community collection sites. Anyone can drop off a pair of new or gently used athletic shoes in the Kicks For Kids boxes at participating Miami-Dade or Broward County Baptist Health Urgent Care Centers or Baptist Health Medical Plazas. TD Bank is also an associate sponsor of this year’s Kicks for Kids Program.

The Orange Bowl and Baptist Health are hosting a photo challenge, where people can post pictures of themselves donating shoes at the Baptist Health collection sites for a chance to win a VIP experience for two at the 2014 MetroPCS Orange Bowl Basketball Classic featuring game tickets and behind-the-scenes access. To participate, donors are encouraged to use the hastag #Kicks4KidsChallenge tagging @BaptistHealthSF on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and, nominate their family and friends to take the challenge.

For the school challenge, six schools – three schools from Miami-Dade and three from Broward County – will have the opportunity to win up to $1,500. Participating schools from across both counties are asked to collect new or gently used athletic shoes and cleats throughout the month of November. The top collectors from Miami-Dade and Broward counties will each receive a $1,500 grant from the Orange Bowl, with the second and third finishers receiving $1,000 and $500, respectively.

Last year, the Orange Bowl collected more than 4,000 shoes, the majority from the School Challenge. This year, the Orange Bowl’s goal is to collect 5,000 pairs for South Florida youth.

“The South Florida community’s response to the Orange Bowl’s Kicks for Kids program has been very gratifying,” said Orange Bowl CEO Eric Poms. “Because of their contributions, we have exceeded our own goals in each of the first three years. We can’t wait to see the results of this year’s challenge.”

For a list of participating collection sites,

visit: http://community.orangebowl.org/community-involvement/kicks-4-kids/

Other businesses and individuals are also encouraged to participate.

If you or your business would like to collect or provide shoes or make a monetary donation to the program, contact Melissa Klein at mklein@orangebowl.org.

The Orange Bowl is a 360-member, primarily-volunteer non-profit sports organization that promotes and serves the South Florida community.

The Orange Bowl features a year-round schedule of events culminating with the Capital One Orange Bowl on December 31, 2014. Other Orange Bowl core events include the MetroPCS Orange Bowl Basketball Classic, Orange Bowl Youth Football Alliance presented by Sports Authority, Orange Bowl International Tennis Championships, Orange Bowl International Youth Regatta, Orange Bowl Swim Classic and Orange Bowl Paddle Championships.

For information on the 2014-15 Orange Bowl events, including promotional and volunteer opportunities through the Ambassador Program presented by Panera Bread,

log on to www.orangebowl.org

In Jacob’s Shoes is a 501(c)3 Charity and was formed in 2009 in loving memory of Jacob S. Zweig. In Jacob’s Shoes provides new and gently used shoes, school supplies and athletic gear to children in need as well as grants for camp, athletic and enrichment programs.

Since inception, In Jacob’s Shoes has served more than 80 agencies, schools and shelters and provided 23,000+ pairs of shoes and 2,500 backpacks with school supplies for children living in shelters, foster care and poverty in Broward, Palm Beach and Miami-Dade counties.

For information, including volunteer opportunities,

visit www.injacobsshoes.org or facebook.com/InJacobsShoes.

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 — NAmbassador for Heads Up Football.

The Nand 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 NFoundation.

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 Nplayer mentor. Drayton served as a mentor to a local Heads Up League — the Tamiami Colts of the Miami Xtreme Youth Football League.

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.

Crandon Park

Crandon Park Marina at 4000 Crandon Boulevard in Key Biscayne has undergone a major facelift, which includes new charter boat docks, a new seawall and new state-of-the-art marina amenities that offer better access and security for boaters.

The new development is the result of an extensive shoreline restoration effort led by the Florida Inland Navigation District, the state’s sponsor of the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway.

“The improvements to Crandon Marina have preserved a vital Miami-Dade County waterfront treasure and served to enhance the Marina as a world-class boating destination for visitors and residents,” said Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez. “We commend the Parks Department for their collaborations and shared vision, which is helping us to restore and beautify the recreational treasures of our community.”

As part of the marina restoration project, a total of 515 linear feet of existing concrete seawall (built circa 1950) was replaced with a newly designed ‘sheet pile seawall’ that consists of deep in ground galvanized steel piles encased in concrete. A new five-foot-wide cap was installed atop the new seawall, which added three more feet of boardwalk.

The charter boat area received new fender and mooring piles, a new concrete walk with integrated light bollards and planters, and 10 new boat slips, each with its own new power/water pedestal and fish-cleaning station. The two original scales used for weighing-in fish were renovated and reinstalled on the docks, for a touch of nostalgia. There is also a new transient boat slip just south of the site.

The marina restorations were completed through the collaborative efforts of FIND, working with Neville/Steffens Architects LLP; Ports and Coastal Engineering Practice - Atkins; SDM Consulting Engineers, Inc.; and Construction Contractors - Shoreline Foundation, Inc.

Miami-Dade County District 7 Commissioner Xavier Suarez said: “We are happy to provide this boating community with a fresher and new looking marina. This renewed facility is more accessible than ever, easier to use and will continue to meet the recreational needs of boaters for many years to come.”

The marina has also added a new entrance and several new security features, such as eight-foot-high fencing around the perimeter and dry boat storage and wet slip areas, electronic gates that open and close via a key card, and non-motorized pedestrian gates that allow for emergency or occasional egress. The dry boat storage area also has new inside lighting fixtures and new HD security cameras and lamp posts for its parking lot.

All parking areas were re-surfaced and re-striped and have new wheel stops and traffic signage. The grounds have a new automatic irrigation system and new landscaping throughout that includes Emerald sod (a top golf course turf known as Zoysia) and an assortment of native trees, such as Palms, Oaks, Royal Poincianas, and Gumbo Limbos. There are also new concrete walkways throughout the site, creating a seamless connection to marina facilities.

Miami-Dade County Parks worked in conjunction with KVH Architects, Laura Llerena and Associates, Inc., and ABC Construction, Inc. to complete the improvements.

Miami-Dade County Parks Department Director Jack Kardys added: “Miami-Dade Parks is committed to meeting the needs of the boaters that use our marina facilities. These enhancements will enable us to provide the boating public with a better overall boating experience.”

The total cost for the marina restorations and improvements was $8,060,000. Funding was provided by the Building Better Communities General Obligation Bond Program, Capital Outlay Reserve Funds, FIND, and the Marina Capital Improvements Fund.

Crandon Park Marina is near some of the most spectacular fishing and diving opportunities in the United States. The marina features a dock master complex with a bait-and-tackle and shower and laundry facilities, 425 wet slips, 10 commercial slips, moorings, and dry dock storage. Boat rentals and charter fishing excursions are available.

The facility is conveniently situated on the Intercoastal Waterway (at Mile Marker 73) and nearby Miami-Dade Parks’ Crandon Park Beach, Crandon Park Golf Course and the Crandon Park Tennis Center.

For information about Crandon Park Marina, call 305-361-1281, or visit www.miamidade.gov/parks.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 athlete 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.

Visit http://www.miamiherald.com/sports/youth-sports

Be honored at Miami Heat game

The Miami Herald and the three-time world champion Miami Heat in partnership with Gatorade are sponsoring the Academic/Sportsmanship Team Player spotlight in Sunday’s youth sports pages in the Neighbors Sunday print section of the Miami Herald and online at http://www.miamiherald.com/sports/youth-sports/.

Youth league coaches, team reps, school coaches, administrators, teachers or family members can nominate any South Florida recreational, travel league, elementary school, middle school or junior varsity basketball player from fall, winter, spring or summer seasons who displays sportsmanship and good grades or shows improvement in the classroom.

Include school, grade level and grades or interim report. Each selected academic team player will receive a certificate of achievement, a Heat gift pack, two Heat tickets and will be recognized on the court. Plan accordingly as there are three designated ceremony dates during the regular season, and no make-up dates.

To nominate a Team Player, e-mail (Jim) jvarsallone@miamiherald.com or call 954-538-7153. Winners will be selected by random drawing from nominees who meet the above requirements.

Be sure to include a contact telephone number and complete mailing address in your correspondence and mail or e-mail a photograph to us. For Heat ticket information, call 786-777-HEAT and log on to HEAT.com.

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