The Miami Country Day School girls’ cross-country team finished the regular season undefeated at 12-0 and then won the district championship for the second consecutive year.
Placing second at regionals, the Spartans qualified for the FHSAA State Championships where they took 13th of 24 teams.
They were led by sixth grader Lauren McGaffic (District Champion), Kitty Simmonds and Sophia Agurcia. Also contributing throughout the season were Taisa Strouse, Briana Espinosa, Anastasija Moskvina and Isabella Allen.
The Miami Country Day School boys’ cross-country team had a stellar 13-6 regular season and earned the district runner-up trophy, qualifying for regionals for the seventh consecutive year. They placed sixth at regionals to advance to the FHSAA State Championships.
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The Spartans were led by senior Alex Cohen and eighth grader Ryan Mendelson. Evan Mendelson, Ben Horn, Danny Strouse and Ryan Finvarb played important roles throughout the season.
In a ceremony at the school’s gymnasium, several Gulliver Preparatory senior athletes signed Letters of Intent to play sports at the collegiate level.
As part of their commitment, each will receive scholarships to attend their respective schools as they continue their careers in their competitive arena.
This list of stellar student athletes are:
Shannon Kunkel, Basketball Hawaii Pacific University
Robert Touron, Baseball University of Miami
Raymond Gil, Baseball University of Miami
Lilly Barlow, Softball Young Harris College
Sarah Lobo, Volleyball University of New Mexico
Brooke Ellis, Swimming Vanderbilt University
Chris Nido, Golf University of Florida
Dr. Krop bowling
The Dr. Michael M. Krop Sr. High School girls’ and boys’ and bowling teams qualified for the GMAC Tournament at Bird Bowl in Miami.
At the district tournament at AMF Pines, Michael Kopel and Kaitlyn Guise advanced to the state championship, and Marissa Manley was recognized for placing in the Top 10 for girls.
The girls’ team features Molly Kaufman, Marissa Manley, Allison Benezra, Chelsea Chester, Kaitlyn Guise, and Daniela Nechtman. The boys’ team is Jared Weingard, Zachary Winer, Luis Ruah, Coach Cynthia Reynolds, Tyler Ward, Arturo Jena, and Michael Kopel.
Belen Jesuit baseball
Belen Jesuit School senior CJ Vazquez signed his letter of intent to play baseball at Fordham University during a ceremony at the school’s Roberto Goizueta Athletic Center.
Jesuit Father Frank Permuy said the invocation, and Jesuit Father Willie Garcia-Tunon welcomed guests and congratulated CJ on his accomplishment. Head Baseball Coach Jerry Albert and Athletic Director Carlos Barquin also spoke.
“CJ is the epitome of the Belen student-athlete; he is totally committed to his team and his teammates while never sacrificing on the academic end,” said Coach Albert. “He is a very hard working, consistent, pleasant young man who brings his ‘A-Game’ to the field every single day. Fordham combines high level baseball with academic excellence and that is exactly what CJ is all about.”
Miami Country Day sports
* Miami Country Day School: Middle School Female Athletes of the Week:
Sofia Nelcha - Soccer - scored three goals and added two assists in games against Carrollton, Palmer-Trinity and University School.
Maya Leoni – Soccer - scored five goals and had an assist in wins against Florida Christian and Divine Savior.
* Middle School Male Athletes of the Week:
Itai Arguetty - Soccer - scored four goals in games against University School and Divine Savior.
Matthew Collins – Soccer - had four goals and an assist in wins against Florida Christian and Cushman.
* Upper School Female Athletes of the Week:
Amanda Martin – Soccer - scored 11 goals and added three assists in wins against Palmer-Trinity, Chaminade and Hillel.
Maria Alvarez – Basketball - combined for 27 points, 7 steals and 8 rebounds in wins against Nova High School and Monteverde Academy.
* Upper School Male Athletes of the Week:
Pablo Gutierrez – Soccer - scored two goals in wins against Hillel and Divine Savior.
Owen Wesley – Soccer - scored two goals in the Spartans’ 3-1 win against Hialeah Educational Academy.
The Miami Dolphins and the Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality (RISE) recognize the week 11 youth football players, coach and parent who have demonstrated their commitment to being leaders on and off the field:
• High School Player of the Week: Shaun Shivers from Chaminade-Madonna College Preparatory School in Hollywood. Shivers rushed for 205 yards and three touchdowns on 10 carries in the Lions’ first-round playoff win over West Palm Beach-Cardinal Newman. Although he is only a junior, Shivers has committed to Auburn University.
• High School Coach of the Week: Napoleon Joseph from Miami Edison Senior High School. Joseph’s team defeated Clewiston High School on the road, and it was the Red Raiders’ first playoff win since 2005.
• Youth Player of the Week: Jamari Watson from the Pembroke Pines Optimist Bengals 10U of the American Youth Football League. Watson plays running back and free safety for the Bengals. He had three touchdowns – one receiving and two on punt returns – in the 45-0 win over the West Pembroke Pines Optimist Wildcats.
• Team Mom of the Week: Joana Duce from the East Miramar Dolphins 8U of the National Youth Football League. Duce has shown full dedication from the first day she came to the park to sign up her daughter for cheerleading. On the first day of registration for football and cheerleading, she jumped in and smoothed out the chaos by helping with registration. Duce lends her helping hand wherever she is needed. She not only assists with her daughter’s group but also helps with the concession at all home games. Duce is a true example of a dedicated and committed parent for both her child and the organization. The East Miramar Dolphins are honored to have her as part of the program.
Each award recipient will be presented with a plaque on the field during the Nov. 27 Dolphins home game at Hard Rock Stadium against the San Francisco 49ers and receive acknowledgment of their accomplishment in the game program and through the Dolphins’ and RISE’s social media platforms. They also will receive a pair of tickets to a Miami Dolphins home game and a Dolphins/RISE T-shirt.
As a newly added component of the program and part of the Dolphins/RISE partnership, winners will be empowered to make a difference by participating in a RISE training program where they will learn how to use the unifying power of sport to promote the importance and benefits of unity, equality and inclusiveness as well as address racial tensions their teams, schools and communities might experience.
Awardees are also encouraged to take a pledge, committing to stand up to racial inequality and share how they plan to affect change by creating a “How I RISE” video message, which will be posted on RISEtoWIN.org.
About Miami Dolphins Youth Programs
The Miami Dolphins Youth Programs’ mission is to emphasize the importance of education, physical fitness and positive choices for kids in a safe and fun environment. The Miami Dolphins Youth Programs’ vision is to prepare the next generation of leaders in staying physically active through our Junior Training Camps (JTC), Youth Football Clinics and Youth Football Camps. The goal is to promote Youth Football in the South Florida community.
About the Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality (RISE)
Founded in 2015 by Stephen M. Ross, the Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality (RISE) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to harnessing the unifying power of sport to advance race relations and drive social progress. Supported by an unprecedented alliance of sports leagues, organizations, educators, media networks, sports professionals and athletes, RISE uses sport as a vehicle to promote understanding, respect and equality. Through public awareness campaigns and educational programming, RISE aims to spark enduring action.
To learn more, visit www.RISEtoWIN.org.
Belen Jesuit School crew coach Yunian Cabrera, who was named Junior Coach of the Year, was honored in a ceremony at the New York Athletic Club. He traveled to NYC with Father Willie, Athletic Director Carlos Barquin and alum who had participated in the crew program.
“I am humbled and honored to be chosen as Junior Coach of the Year. When I heard of the nomination, I was taken aback. It is very humbling to be held in the same regard as some of the best coaches in the country,” said Cabrera in an interview with USRowing. “I could have never imagined as a young boy in Cuba that I would have the opportunity of following my passion for rowing. Simply being a coach here in the United States is something I desired; being named Junior Coach of the Year has been a dream come true.”
Father Willie said: “Last night’s award is evidence that Belen Jesuit has the best youth rowing coach in the nation. Yunian has helped to put the name of Belen Jesuit on the national scene. I was impressed to see how all these hallowed rowing programs know well the name of Belen Jesuit. We are grateful to have such a pro on our staff and working with our young men.”
Since he became the school’s head coach in 2010, Cabrera has transformed the program from a small school team into the nation’s preeminent scholastic program, expanding it to include middle school rowing. Belen Jesuit has experienced notable milestones under Cabrera’s leadership including its first international gold medal at the Royal Canadian Henley, rowing at the 2015 World Rowing Junior Championships in Rio and competing at the Henley Royal Regatta in England.
The Michael-Ann Russell JCC reported the first Skateboard Supercross Academy in the country at its facility in North Miami Beach.
The academy is a place to go after-school for a 40-minute lesson in a group setting with friends.
Students participate once or twice a week to take a lesson and may return on Sundays for Race Day.
Race Day provides some extra practice while learning the more competitive side of skateboarding. Learning to race on the pumptracks is a necessary skill, as competition helps to stimulate the sport.
Many young riders want more time on the pumptracks to be ready for the end of the semester Head to Head Races. That event is the grand finale of the semester curriculum, and it is the showcase for parents, family and friends.
The Head to Head Race brackets system determines who is the fastest racer to date and logs their time. Basically, two riders are paired to race and whoever wins goes against the winner of the other head to head race, until the remaining two compete in the finals.
Option #1 - Curriculum Based Learning
Now - Jan. 29 (1 or 2X per week). Up to 12 available spots per class.
Monday: 15 classes (Member $375, Non-Member $565)
Tuesday: 16 classes (Member $400, Non-Member $600)
Wednesday: 19 classes (Member $475, Non-Member $715)
Thursday: 20 classes (Member $500, Non-Member $750)
Sunday: 17 classes (Member $425, Non-Member $640)
Option #2 - Race Packs (Open Ride Sessions)
(Reservations required. Bring a bicycle, scooter or inline skates)
One Class: Member $30, Non-Member $45, Curriculum Special! $15
10 Pack: Member $250, Non-Member $375, Curriculum Special! $125
20 Pack: Member $475, Non-Member $710, Curriculum Special! $240
Call 305-932-4200, ext. 145/146 to register.
For questions, text or call 786-529-8187.
The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced the high school matchups as part of the Hoophall Miami Invitational.
As previously announced, AmericanAirlines Arena will host college matchups Saturday, Dec. 3 and Saturday, Dec. 10. The first weekend will showcase VCU vs. Illinois and Miami vs. Wofford, and the following weekend will feature Temple vs. DePaul and Georgetown vs. La Salle.
Between the main college events, the Basketball Hall of Fame will host a variety of events in the Miami community including a luncheon, a youth clinic and a local high school basketball showcase. Ten high school teams will have the exclusive opportunity to take the court at AmericanAirlines Arena on Thursday, Dec. 8.
“AmericanAirlines Arena is a world-class venue and we know these young athletes will sincerely appreciate this unique opportunity to play where the best in the game have competed,” said John L. Doleva, President & CEO of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. “We encourage the Miami community to come out and support these rising stars.”
For just $15, fans will receive admission to all five high school matchups on Dec. 8, plus one Saturday of college action. To take advantage of this special offer, fans must purchase their tickets at the AmericanAirlines Arena box office. High school tickets purchased before Dec. 3 will have optional access to either college event. Tickets purchased after Dec. 3 or on the day of the high school event will receive admission to the Dec. 10 games.
Additional ticket options are available for the 2016 Hoophall Miami Invitational via Ticketmaster.com. Groups of 10 or more may purchase discounted tickets by calling 786-777- DUNK.
Hoophall Miami Invitational High School Showcase Schedule
2 p.m. Miami Palmetto vs. Weston Sagemont School
3:40 p.m. Miami Country Day vs. Royal Palm Beach
5:20 p.m. Miami Norland vs. Fort Lauderdale Westminster Academy
7 p.m. Miami Christian vs. Fort Lauderdale Dillard
8:40 p.m. South Miami vs. Davie University School
South Florida Swim Series
The South Florida Swim Series will be hitting the waters of Fort Lauderdale, Miami and Miami Beach in 2017.
The three-part series will serve as the premier open water swim circuit in Florida. Consisting of Swim Fort Lauderdale, Swim Miami and Swim Miami Beach, these events will provide picturesque views, extreme competition and family friendly fun for all ages.
The inaugural Swim Fort Lauderdale will be headquartered at Fort Lauderdale Beach Park and consist of a one-mile swim on Jan. 22. This will kick off the South Florida swim series and provide swimmers with an opportunity to swim in rough and cold conditions and prepare them for the start of the 2017 open water swim season.
Swim Miami will be returning to Miami Marine stadium on May 7 and will have an 800M, Miami Mile, 5K and 10K swims along with the return of the K-9 Krawl (teaming with your dog).
Swim Miami Beach will be heading back to the North Beach Bandshell on Aug. 13 for the third annual race.This dynamite swim series is what everyone is talking about and is great for all ages and abilities.
All events will have sponsor expos and benefit the H2Os Foundation, a non-profit organization founded to provide aquatic opportunities to underprivileged individuals. The H2Os Foundation has a mission to eradicate drowning in the South Florida Community, to promote an active and healthy lifestyle through aquatics, and offer the potential for career enhancing opportunities. The H2Os Foundation through grants, generous donations, events, and strategic corporate partnerships offers children and youth a unique opportunity to learn a lifesaving skill and more importantly a life-long commitment to a healthy lifestyle.
For information, visit http://www.swimmiami.net/.
More events, leagues, programs
Orange Bowl Leadership Academy
The Orange Bowl Committee announces the official launch of the Orange Bowl Leadership Academy, designed to engage and inspire middle school youth to maximize their potential to become future successful community leaders through access and exposure to career development, personal leadership and life skills.
Previously, the Orange Bowl conducted a pilot program that has now become the basis for the Orange Bowl Leadership Academy, with classes of approximately 20 sixth-graders from both Bair Middle School in Sunrise and North Miami Middle School. Those students will continue as seventh-graders this year with a new curriculum, and two new schools will be added with sixth-graders at both Sunrise Middle School in Fort Lauderdale and Georgia Jones-Ayers Middle School in Miami.
The design of the program is eventually to have students follow a three-year curriculum through middle school and expand to other schools in both Miami-Dade and Broward Counties.
“Our vision is to nurture and cultivate the next generation of South Florida community and business leaders,” said Judge Michael Chavies, president and chair of the Orange Bowl Committee.
“The Orange Bowl Leadership Academy will provide South Florida youth the opportunity to dream and develop a plan to achieve those dreams, to set and achieve personal goals and objectives, and to understand their options in life for success at home, their careers and in the community,” added Marlon A. Hill Esq, chair of the of the Orange Bowl Leadership Academy committee.
From October through May, students in the program meet twice a month after school with teachers and mentors, who are Orange Bowl Committee members. The curriculum is specifically designed toward fostering character development and responsibility geared to elevating individual empowerment, efficacy and self-esteem.
The students are also exposed to guest speakers, many of whom are Orange Bowl Committee members, and occasional field trips for behind-the-scenes tours of locations such as the Southern District Court of Florida. These sessions are designed to inspire and unleash individual youth potential and leadership, while also creating career development awareness, knowledge and opportunities.
Support for the Orange Bowl Leadership Academy is being provided by the College Football Playoff Foundation, whose philanthropic initiatives are directed toward education generally and more specifically teachers, through its Extra Yard for Teachers program.
The Orange Bowl Leadership Academy receives additional support from sponsors Bank of America, Comcast, Deloitte and Florida Blue.
The curriculum for the Orange Bowl Leadership Academy was created by the Pacific Institute specifically for the Orange Bowl Committee.
MaxPreps Top Athletes
Each month of the school year, MaxPreps will name a Male and Female Athlete of the Month, culminating with the Male and Female Athletes of the Year in June. The program is presented by the United States Marines Corps.
“The United States Marine Corps, through the MaxPreps High School Athlete of the Month program, is committed to recognizing students that embody the fighting spirit which enables them to win battles and overcome challenges they face, both on and off the field,” said Captain Sean Pangia. “We’re proud to partner with MaxPreps in this powerful program showcasing student athletes that have a positive influence in their community.”
The program has received more than 7,700 nominations and counting for the year so far. To nominate an athlete, click:
Youth Sports Safety
The National Athletic Trainers’ Association announced that nominations are open now through Dec. 2 for the third annual Youth Sports Safety Ambassador Awards.
The awards recognize individuals and/or entities that have made a significant contribution to advancing athlete safety based on one of two criteria:
· By providing exemplary youth sports safety protocols and care that set a precedent and/or model that others can follow.
· By advancing youth sports safety in one of the following areas: provision of appropriate medical care, research, policy change and/or resource allocation.
“NATA champions the significant contributions of leaders in youth sports safety research, education and legislation,” said NATA president Scott Sailor, EdD, ATC. “We are proud to honor some of the best in their field with the Youth Sports Safety Ambassador Awards and know their advances can help save lives.”
The awards will be presented at the eighth Youth Sports Safety Summit on March 7, 2017, in Indianapolis. The Summit is hosted annually by NATA and the Youth Sports Safety Alliance, which comprises more than 270 organizations committed to keeping young athletes safe.
Anyone can submit a nomination for the Youth Sports Safety Ambassador Awards. For additional information including award eligibility and the online application, visit
Orange Bowl Showcase
The Orange Bowl Committee will host the inaugural Orange Bowl Florida High School Football Showcase, a free one day event in association with the National Football Foundation and its local chapters. It will bring together academically qualified high school seniors from Florida and football coaches from NCAA Division II, III and NAIA programs across the country.
The Orange Bowl Florida High School Football Showcase will provide an unprecedented opportunity for young student-athletes to use their athletic and academic skills to earn collegiate scholarships, and ultimately a college degree.
The Showcase will occur 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Feb. 25 at Nova Southeastern University in Davie. All NCAA Division II, III, and NAIA athletic directors and head football coaches have been invited to attend the Orange Bowl Florida High School Football Showcase. Student-athletes eligible for participation must be graduating high school seniors who have not accepted a scholarship offer from a NCAA Division I (Football Bowl Subdivision and Football Championship Subdivision) program. In addition, they must meet one of the three following academic qualifications:
· Earn a 2.3 GPA or higher in 16 Core Courses (please visit www.ncaa.org/student-athletes/future/core-courses for a description of NCAA Eligible Core Courses)
· Earn an SAT score of 820 (math and verbal only) or higher on the old format (SAT exams taken prior to March 2016)
· Earn an ACT sum score of 68 or higher
“Everyone knows Florida is a hotbed of football talent for Division I players, but there are hundreds of academically qualified student-athletes beyond Division I signees who are excellent football players and looking to continue both their academic and athletic careers,” said Judge Michael B. Chavies, president and chair of the Orange Bowl Committee. “The Orange Bowl is excited to provide this opportunity for student-athletes so that coaches from around the country, who may have limited recruiting budgets, can evaluate these football players all in one location.”
The Showcase will consist of a series of tests and drills to best display each player’s various talents at their respective position. The program will allow ample time for coaches to view student-athletes in drills and talk to them individually about their respective football programs. Staffs from university admissions and financial aid departments are also being encouraged to attend the Showcase.
Following the day’s activities, players and university representatives will meet to discuss scholarship opportunities for the participating student-athletes. The Orange Bowl is providing lodging for the first 50 colleges to register, in addition to meals for all coaches and administrators.
The Orange Bowl Florida High School Football Showcase is the third Showcase being conducted nationally in association with the NFF. The original showcase was launched eight years ago behind the leadership of former Milby High School coach Phil Camp of the NFF Touchdown Club of Houston Chapter, and it was later followed by the showcase led by College Football Hall of Fame and former UCLA coach Terry Donahue of the NFF Newport Beach Chapter in Los Angeles.
“We are extremely excited that the Orange Bowl is staging a High School Showcase in South Florida, and I specifically want to thank Bob Epling, who serves on the NFF Board and is a past president of the Orange Bowl Committee, as well as Orange Bowl CEO Eric Poms for their leadership in making this happen,” said NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell. “The High School Showcases are an extremely powerful way for student-athletes to pursue their dream of attending college, and they result in millions of dollars in academic and participation scholarships each year. I had the privilege to serve as the Executive Director of the Orange Bowl from 1987 to 1993, and I know that the Showcase will make a real difference for high school players in South Florida. It’s really great that this is happening.”
The Showcase is a further commitment by Orange Bowl to youth sports, one of the four pillars of its community outreach, which also includes fundraising and community events, academic programs and scholarships, and legacy gifts. For more than 80 years, the Orange Bowl has been one of South Florida’s leading civic organizations, promoting championship sporting events, related premier entertainment and other year-round activities to inspire youth, engage our community and enhance the South Florida economy.
For more information about the Orange Bowl Florida High School Football Showcase and to register, visit
About the Orange Bowl
The Orange Bowl is a 360-member, primarily-volunteer non-profit sports organization that promotes and serves the South Florida community. With its primary mission since being created in 1935 to bring tourism to South Florida through an annual football game and events, it has also maintained a legacy of charitable contributions and community outreach. Orange Bowl community outreach efforts are comprised of four pillars: youth sports, fundraising and community events, academic programs and scholarships, and legacy gifts.
The Orange Bowl features a year-round schedule of events culminating with the Capital One Orange Bowl on December 30, 2016. For more information on the 2016-17 Orange Bowl events, including promotional and volunteer opportunities through the Ambassador Program presented by Panera Bread, log on to www.orangebowl.org. Follow Orange Bowl: @OrangeBowl, Facebook and Instagram.
About The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame
Founded in 1947 with early leadership from General Douglas MacArthur, legendary Army coach Earl "Red" Blaik and immortal journalist Grantland Rice, The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame is a non-profit educational organization that runs programs designed to use the power of amateur football in developing scholarship, citizenship and athletic achievement in young people.
With 120 chapters and 12,000 members nationwide, NFF programs include FootballMatters.org, the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta, The William V. Campbell Trophy presented by Fidelity Investments, annual scholarships of more than $1.3 million and a series of initiatives to honor the legends of the past and inspire the leaders of the future. NFF corporate partners include Delta Air Lines, Fidelity Investments, Herff Jones, New York Athletic Club, Pasadena Tournament of Roses, PrimeSport, the Sports Business Journal, Under Armour and VICIS. Learn more at
Miami Dolphins/Bank United
Miami Dolphins receiver Jarvis Landry and BankUnited, a proud corporate partner of the Miami Dolphins, are giving full-time Florida students, age 13-18, a chance to kick-start their own personal savings with a $1,000 grand prize for submitting the winning essay in the 4 Downs for Finance financial literacy contest, open now.
Full-time Florida high school students are encouraged to register online at
www.4downsforfinance.com now through Dec. 19 to access age-appropriate money tips throughout the football season, and submit an essay on a financial literacy topic. Everyone who enters will have a chance to win a football autographed by Landry and have his or her name read live on the radio during a game broadcast. One student will win a $1,000 cash prize and a visit with Landry.
“Together with Jarvis and the Miami Dolphins, it is our goal to inspire young people to take an interest in learning about finances early on,” said BankUnited President, Florida Region Thomas M. Cornish. “At an age when many students are beginning to earn their first paychecks, 4 Downs for Finance teaches them the importance of getting a head start on learning about money.”
For more money tips or to register for 4 Downs for Finance visit
The Tennis Committee of the USA Deaf Sports Federation is currently recruiting players with hearing disability to represent the U.S. at the 23rd Summer Deaflympics in Samsun, Turkey on July 18-30, 2017.
As United States citizens, players may be deaf, hard of hearing, hearing impaired, cochlear implanted, late deafened, hearing challenged, or hearing disabled to qualify. However, to be eligible a player must have a hearing loss of 55 decibels (dBs) or greater in the better ear over an average of 500/1000/2000 Hertz.
Participants can be either orally oriented or sign language users.
Tennis players looking to qualify can e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org and HowardGorrell@aol.com no later than Sept. 30, 2016.
For more information, go to
For information about USA Deaf Sports Federation, visit
www.usdeafsports.org. For information about the International Committee of Sports for the Deaf and the Deaflympics, visit
The Miami Backgammon Club plays 6:30 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.
Tournaments start promptly at 7 p.m.
Free live play. Tournament entry fee $10.
Contact Leo at 305-669-5260 or Leo@MiamiBackgammon.com.
Howard Palmetto Baseball/Softball
Registration has started for the 2017 season of Howard Palmetto Baseball and Softball.
Divisions are available for girls and boys from high school ages through T-Ball, age 4 and 5. The league is open to all residents of Miami-Dade County, and the games are played at parks in Suniland, Greer, Coral Reef and Palmetto Bay.
Go to www.howardpalmetto.com for more information and to access the online registration link.
Player evaluations begin in December, and the season starts in January continuing through April/May.
Howard Palmetto Baseball Softball is beginning its 55th year as a not-for-profit community association dedicated to the enjoyment of organizing baseball and softball for all kids and their families. Howard Palmetto is a league where the beginning player improves and the improved player excels. It grows relationships and friendships for a stronger and healthier community.
Miracle League Ballpark
The Miami-Dade County Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Department and the Parks Foundation of Miami-Dade in partnership with the Miracle League of Miami-Dade County (MLOMD) and the Marlins Foundation are making way to bring a new Miracle League ballpark complex to Miami-Dade County.
The new development broke ground at Tamiami Park, 11201 SW 24th St., Miami. It will be the first ballpark of its kind for the county -- specifically designed for use by youth with developmental and intellectual disabilities.
The facility will consist of an outdoor ballpark complex with specialized rubber fields, dugouts, a playground, a concession building, restrooms, and “quiet rooms” for parents and children. The entire site, including recessed drop-off and pick-up areas will be 100 percent accessible with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Funding for this project will be provided by the Parks Foundation of Miami-Dade, together with the Marlins Foundation.
“I want to thank the Miracle League of Miami-Dade and the Marlins Foundation for coming together to expand athletic opportunities for our community’s children with disabilities,” said Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez. “This new ballpark will give even more children and families in Miami-Dade County a place to enjoy America’s favorite pastime. I look forward to seeing this project come to life and watching our youngest residents play ball.”
Miracle League of Miami-Dade Co-Chairman Ray Rocha said: “There are over 276 specialized Miracle League parks across the nation and in Puerto Rico. This field at Tamiami Park would never have been possible without the unwavering support from the Miami Marlins organization along with the Miami-Dade Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Department. This first of its kind field in Miami-Dade County will provide the over 69,000 special needs children and young adults residing in our area, a safe and obstacle free environment to participate in America's favorite pass time. Every child deserves a chance to play baseball.”
Alfredo Mesa, Executive Director of the Marlins Foundation, added: “The Marlins Foundation proudly supports our charity sponsor the Miracle League of Miami-Dade in building this one-of-a-kind all-inclusive ballpark complex. The funds we have raised together with the Parks Foundation of Miami-Dade are aligned with the mission of bettering the lives of our youth through recreational sports like baseball.”
Miami-Dade Parks Director Jack Kardys said: “Miami-Dade Parks has long been committed to providing accessible sports and recreation opportunities for children and young adults with disabilities. A ballpark like this will further encourage them to get outdoors and be active.”
MLOMD was founded in 2010 by Sturge and his partner Keith Reilly in 2010, marking it as the county’s first Miracle League and the 236th member joining the nationwide initiative that enables children with disabilities, such as Autism, Down syndrome, Cancer and Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), to play the game of baseball and be part of a team.
In 2012, the MLOMD approached the County with plans for constructing a custom-designed accessible ballpark at a Miami-Dade Parks facility. Tamiami Park was selected for as the ballpark site because of its central location, accessibility and large youth baseball program.
To date, the League has been busy planning, preparing and fund-raising on behalf of the MLOMD ballpark development plan. A rendering of the ballpark and more information can be found at the MLOMD website.
Florida Panthers Learn to Play
The Florida Panthers in conjunction with the NHL, NHLPA and USA Hockey will be hosting “Florida Panthers Learn To Play” for boys and girls, age 4-8, who are new, first time ice hockey participants who have never registered with USA Hockey.
The program was developed in an effort to reduce cost barriers to ice hockey participation by providing free equipment. The Learn To Play program primary goal is to create the next generation of hockey players and fans who will remain engaged with the game throughout the rest of their lives.
Cost of entry is $100. Every participant will receive six weeks of on-ice training with Florida Panthers Alumni and USA Hockey Certified Coaches, as well as free registration into USA Hockey for the 2016-17 season. Each participant will also be custom fitted for a full set of brand new Florida Panthers branded CCM hockey equipment, including skates that they will use during the program and keep at the conclusion of the six weeks.
Finally, each participant will receive a voucher for two free tickets to a select Florida Panthers weekend home game with the opportunity to purchase additional tickets at a discounted rate.
The Florida Panthers Learn To Play curriculum is designed in conjunction with USA Hockey’s “Gold Standard” which utilizes an age appropriate Long Term Athlete Development structure known as the American Development Model. This model ensures that the program structure is both fun AND effective.
Ali Boxing Center
Miami-Dade County Commissioner Javier D. Souto and the Miami-Dade Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Department celebrated the renaming of Tropical Park’s Boxing Center to the “Muhammad Ali Boxing Center” at Tropical Park Boxing Center, 7900 SW 40 St., Miami.
“Back in September 2015, the Board of County Commissioners adopted my resolution for the Tropical Park Boxing Center to be named after the great Muhammad Ali, since I was privileged to have met the man in person and behold his many boxing victories,” said Commissioner Souto. “He was bigger than life and an inspiration to all. His memory will live on at this center as it grooms future generations of boxers.”
In honor of Ali – the late three-time heavyweight boxing champ - dignitaries joined members of the local boxing community.
Ali, born Cassius Clay, died on June 3 at age 74, following a 30-year battle with Parkinson’s disease. Considered one of the greatest boxing legends of all-time, Ali was famous in and out of the ring for his strength, power, speed, stamina, flamboyant personality and global presence.
Beyond The Game
Sports and history intertwine in HistoryMiami Museum’s new exhibition Beyond the Game: Sports and the Evolution of South Florida.
The exhibition -- open now thru Jan. 15, 2017 -- highlights the way South Florida sports have shaped and reflected the cultural growth of South Florida.
Since the 1920s, sports events and teams have both mirrored and molded the development of the area. Miami Jai-Alai, featuring the “world’s fastest” ballgame, and Hialeah Park, showcasing horse racing, were two early sporting attractions that lured northern tourists and fueled the public’s growing fascination with the area.
By the early 1960s, the Fifth Street Gym in Miami Beach, home to champion boxers like Muhammad Ali, emerged as an island of democracy amid the realities of Jim Crow segregation. Meanwhile, the newly opened Miami Marine Stadium was gaining popularity, and the sport of powerboat racing symbolized “sun and fun.” The Professional sports franchises followed, as did the rise of the University of Miami’s football program, confirming Miami’s status as a modern metropolis.
“From a historical perspective, the thing that is most striking is how central South Florida’s sporting scene has been to its identity almost from the very beginning. Hialeah Park and Miami Jai-Alai date to the mid-1920s, and both were not only important tourist destinations, but really shaped the way that people understood South Florida,” said exhibition curator Gaspar Gonzalez. “These kinds of attractions conveyed a sense of South Florida as a unique place.”
Curated by HistoryMiami and Gaspar González, a Yale-trained historian known for creating Emmy-winning documentary programming that has been featured on PBS, ESPN and others, the exhibition tells this story of evolution through photographs, trophies, uniforms, and never before seen items related to South Florida’s sport scene. In addition, two short films -- one on Hialeah Park, the other on the Marine Stadium, as well as a series of short video interviews with some of South Florida's most iconic former athletes -- will be played throughout the exhibition.
Presented by Hialeah Park and HistoryMiami, the exhibition will be displayed in more than 5,000 square feet of space in the Museum’s third floor gallery and will showcase artifacts from HistoryMiami's own collection, individuals in the community, as well as the area's professional sports teams and venues.
Notable items include:
Original Miami Heat floor from the Miami Arena; Dan Marino’s contract; Don Shula Play Sheet; Footage Muhammad Ali at 5th Street Gym; Orange Bowl trophy from University of Miami; Memorabilia from Marlins’ inaugural year; Hialeah Park infield sign; Video interviews with local sports icons Mike Lowell, Mercury Morris, Randal Hill
“The exhibition appeals to a diverse audience,” said Stuart Chase, President and CEO of HistoryMiami. “From the days of horseracing to the players who graced the grid iron Beyond the Game not only celebrates sports history, but offers a fresh perspective on the impact it had on Miami becoming the world-class city it is today.”
For information on becoming a member of HistoryMiami Museum contact Hilda Masip at 305-675-1618 or visit
About HistoryMiami Museum
HistoryMiami Museum, a Smithsonian affiliate, is the premier cultural institution committed to gathering, organizing, preserving and celebrating Miami’s history as the unique crossroads of the Americas. It accomplishes this through education, collections, research, exhibitions, publications and city tours.
Located in the heart of downtown Miami, HistoryMiami Museum is a 70,000 square foot facility and home to more than one million historic images and 30,000 three-dimensional artifacts, including a 1920’s trolley car, artifacts from Pan American World Airways, and rafts that brought refugees to Miami.
For more information, call 305-375-1492 or visit
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.
The Sunshine State Athletic Conference, a multiple sport athletic organization made up of 35 private and charter schools created in 2008, announced that two additional sporting opportunities are being introduced for the 2016-17 school year.
SSAC currently offers four sports, including football and basketball at the middle and high school levels, but in keeping with its pledge to student-athletes and their families, the conference will grow to offer a second football classification and the formation of girls’ beach volleyball.
The second football classification of a Developmental Football League, debuting next fall, will provide member schools that are starting, growing or rebuilding programs with a competitive, but level, playing field in which to compete. This will not replace nor negate the highly successful championship Florida Bowl Series but will instead compliment all football programs and schools in the SSAC. The only criteria for schools to participate in the new Developmental Football League is for teams to have less than 23 players, and the championship Florida Bowl Series will be open to them, if they desire to participate.
The second addition to SSAC athletics is an exciting opportunity that perfectly captures the spirit of Florida’s athletic environment. Starting in spring of 2017, the SSAC will debut girls’ beach volleyball. This up-and-coming sport is quickly spreading around the nation and will undoubtedly be a natural fit for Florida student-athletes. This addition will help build exposure and opportunity for female student-athletes and will add value to SSAC’s independent athletic conference.
“Including girls’ beach volleyball was a decision that just made sense; it only requires a few players and we are blessed with an abundance of sun and sand,” said Stuart Weiss, president of Sunshine State Athletics Conference. “We believe that by adding these two new opportunities for Florida high schools, we are continuing to provide more choice and control to our partner schools addressing the need for a level playing field in high school athletics.”
Visit the SSAC website at
NCSAA academics honors
The NSCAA annually recognizes high school soccer programs that have excelled in the classroom, in addition to their work on the field.
Three hundred and eight nine soccer teams (243 girls, 146 boys) from throughout the United States have earned the NSCAA Team Academic Award for exemplary performance in the classroom as a team during the 2014-15 academic year.
To qualify for the award, the team must have a minimum grade point average of 3.25 for the entire academic year. The team GPA is determined by adding every player's GPA, then dividing by the number of players.
For information about the National Soccer Coaches Association of America, visit
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.
Olive Garden and the NFHS Network, the nation’s leading high school sports media company, are teaming up to recognize Team Moms and the high school athletes they support. This partnership includes the launch of GoTeamMoms.com, which will serve as a resource and destination to recognize Team Moms.
Team Moms volunteer to assist coaches and often lead team communications, fundraising, travel coordination and more. The website will feature Team Mom’s Best-Kept Secrets and game day highlights from high schools around the nation. In addition, coaches, athletes, family members and the community are invited to contribute shout-outs or photos of their favorite Team Mom using #GoTeamMoms on Twitter and Instagram to be featured on the website.
“The goal of the NFHS Network is to serve and support both the athletes and their fans,” said Christopher Young, senior vice president of sales for the NFHS Network. “There’s no bigger fan than a Team Mom and no better partner for the NFHS Network than Olive Garden, which resonates so deeply with our audience and shares our same commitment to families and the local community.”
To further assist Team Moms, each Olive Garden restaurant in the U.S. will be paired with a local high school to support through two national fundraising nights and Olive Garden VIP Passes that give teams access to exclusive discounts. With dining options that include ToGo and catering, Olive Garden is often the choice for feeding an entire team.
"Our restaurants are excited to support their hometown high schools and give back to their communities," said Jose Duenas, executive vice president of marketing for Olive Garden. “This partnership allows us to thank Team Moms nationwide as well as give families and teams chances to connect over meals and create memories during the busy sports season.”
ABOUT OLIVE GARDEN
Olive Garden is the leading restaurant in the Italian dining segment with more than 800 restaurants, more than 96,000 employees and more than $3.8 billion in annual sales. Olive Garden is a division of Darden Restaurants, Inc., (NYSE: DRI), which owns and operates more than 1,500 restaurants that generate over $6.8 billion in annual sales.
Headquartered in Orlando, and employing more than 150,000 people, Darden is recognized for a culture that rewards caring for and responding to people. Olive Garden is committed to making a difference in the lives of others in the local community. As part of this commitment, Olive Garden restaurants have donated more than 33 million pounds of food to local community food banks across the country. For more information, visit www.olivegarden.com.
ABOUT THE NFHS NETWORK
The NFHS Network (www.nfhsnetwork.com) captures the passion, pride, and energy of the high school experience by delivering live high school sports and events to family members and fans whenever they want, wherever they are.
The NFHS Network celebrates and showcases the unique accomplishments of high schools students, including the student-athletes participating in 27 different sporting events and the student broadcasters from schools around the country that produce events through the School Broadcast Program. The NFHS Network also broadcasts state playoff and championship events in 46 states.
The NFHS Network is a joint venture among the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS), its member state associations and PlayOn! Sports. The NFHS is located in Indianapolis, Indiana and is the national leadership organization for high school sports and performing arts activities. PlayOn! Sports is based in Atlanta, Georgia and is the nation’s largest high school sports media company.
Follow the NFHS Network on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram at @NFHSnetwork for the latest news and event information.
Heads Up Football
USA Football’s Heads Up Football program for high schools and youth organizations will include sudden cardiac arrest protocols andHeads Up Blocking fundamentals.
Both topics are now included in USA Football’s Level 1 coaching education course and its high school certification course.
USA Football is the national governing body of the sport and educates more high school and youth football coaches combined than any organization in the United States.
USA Football’s Heads Up Football program is supported by more than two dozen medical and football partners.
“Coaches should be prepared to respond to a life-threatening emergency if needed,” said Dr. Jonathan Drezner, past president of the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine and a member of USA Football’s Medical Advisory Committee.
“With prompt recognition, early CPR and use of an AED, sudden cardiac arrest is largely a survivable event if treated quickly. USA Football is committed to the safety of young athletes, and I am proud that a sudden cardiac arrest training module is being added to the Heads Up Football program. The module provides coaches the information they need to be prepared for sudden cardiac arrest.”
“Blocking is one of football’s basic skills that every player needs to be taught,” said Jeff Saturday, a former NFL All-Pro center and ESPN analyst. Saturday is a member of USA Football’s Football Advisory Committee.
“USA Football’s Heads Up Blocking technique helps coaches teach this fundamental – properly engaging with a defender, driving with the legs and maintaining the correct body position for effective and safer play. This is how blocking should be taught.”
Heads Up Football is a comprehensive collection of resources and medically approved protocols to establish important standards rooted in education to change behavior for the better.
In addition to sudden cardiac arrest and Heads Up Blocking, the program covers concussion awareness and recognition, heat and hydration protocols, proper tackling fundamentals and equipment fitting. More than 5,500 youth leagues and 750 high schools in 2014 participated in the program this past fall, benefiting nearly 1-million players.
Follow USA Football at www.facebook.com/usafootball
or on Twitter @USAFootball
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.
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).
Submit info to Sports Scene
Sports Scene spotlights news and notes from youth sports activities in your neighborhood. The aim is to feature game notes and the accomplishments of athletes from Miami-Dade County.
We rely on the directors and coaches of each league, 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.
Youth sports online
For more area sports photos, go to
YouTube youth sports and more
YouTube at the Jim Varsallone (the jimmyv3 channel)
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 Miami-Dade Sunday Neighbors 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 at a designated Heat game. Plan accordingly as there are three ceremony dates during the regular season at the AmericanAirlines Arena, and no make-up dates.
Jan. 19 (Thursday) vs. Dallas Mavericks
Feb. 13 (Monday) vs. Orlando Magic
March 1 (Wednesday) vs. Philadelphia 76ers
To nominate a Team Player, e-mail Miami Herald Youth Sports Editor Jim Varsallone at
email@example.com or call 305-376-3621.
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.
For Heat ticket information, call 786-777-HEAT and log on to HEAT.com.