North Miami Beach’s Orli Algranatti (Scheck Hillel Community School), Lake Worth’s Walter Brinkley Jr. (Heritage Elementary School), Miami’s Jackson Mansfield (Gulliver Prep), Lauderhill’s Julian A. McQuirter (Parkway Middle School), and Miami Shores’ Zoe Meltz (St. Rose of Lima Middle School) were the January Academic/Sportsmanship Team Player honorees via the three-time world champion Miami Heat in partnership with Gatorade and The Miami Herald.
Miami Heat players Wayne Ellington, Udonis Haslem and Willie Reed congratulated these standout student athletes during shoot-around on Jan. 19 as the Heat prepared to face the Dallas Mavericks at the AmericanAirlines Arena. They were later recognized in a ceremony at mid-court before tip-off.
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About the honorees
Orli Algranatti, 14, of North Miami Beach is a freshman at Scheck Hillel Community School. She is a member of the school’s varsity girls’ basketball team and carries a 4.3 GPA. Last year as an eighth grader, she was moved up to varsity basketball, after middle school basketball season ended. A multi-talented student athlete, she also plays varsity volleyball and varsity tennis.
Walter Brinkley Jr., 9, of Lake Worth is a fourth grader at Heritage Elementary School. He is an excellent basketball player, who has loved the sport since he was a baby. He actually started dribbling a ball at age 2. Off the court, Walter was recently presented with a Certificate of Achievement from Florida Governor Rick Scot for attaining a perfect score on his FSA Mathematics. He is an excellent student and is well behaved. He also competes for the Wellington Wolves Basketball Organization and has played in numerous recreational programs.
Jackson Mansfield, 11, of Miami is a fifth grader at Gulliver Prep. As the starting point guard for the 4th/5th Grade Gulliver Raider Elite basketball team, he lead the team to a 7-1 start. With five As and three Bs in the first quarter, he is proving to also be a good student. Away from school, he is a member of the Miami City Ballers AAU program.
Julian McQuirter, 13, of Lauderhill is a seventh grader at Parkway Middle School of the Arts. He is enrolled in the Center for Intellectually Talented Youth (C.I.T.Y) program, Broward County’s only middle school gifted cluster. Even with his advanced schedule, Julian has a 4.0 GPA. On the court, he plays for the South Florida Youth Basketball League of Davie. He is the starting center for the Heat. Last year, he was the last sixth grader cut from the Parkway Middle School boys’ basketball team. He asked to continue practicing with the team and became the team manager. He said he wanted to learn the plays and advance his skills.
Zoe Meltz, 13, of Miami Shores is an eighth grader at St. Rose of Lima Middle School. She not only achieved straight As but was selected to the National Junior Honor Society. On the court, she averaged more than 18 points per game as captain of the school’s girls’ varsity basketball team which finished the regular season undefeated at 10-0 in the All Catholic Conference North Division.
Youth league coaches, team reps, school coaches, administrators, teachers or family members nominated South Florida recreational, travel league, elementary school, middle school or junior varsity basketball players -- from fall, winter, spring or summer seasons -- who display sportsmanship and good grades or shows improvement in the classroom.
Each honoree received a certificate of achievement, a Heat gift pack, a Heat T-shirt, and two Heat tickets.
For Miami Heat information, log on to HEAT.com.
North Miami Beach Little League
The North Miami Beach Little League opened its Spring 2017 season at Ives Estates, Mishcon, Pelican and Uleta parks.
Minors-Juniors (Coach Pitch): The Giants improved to 2-0 with an 8-2 win over the Twins. The Giants were sparked by leadoff hitter Giuseppe Ranalli, who went 4-4 with two runs and an RBI. Power was provided by Jake Lechner who homered in the first inning. Ben Warner went 2-3 with a double, and Eithan Scharf was 3-4 with a home run, two runs, three RBI. For the Twins, Rodrigo Valdez and Zach Weinberg each went 2-2.
In other action, the Twins edged the Reds 10-9. The Twins were led by their slugger Jason Colon, who had several big hits. Key fielding by Robbie Kramer and Jackson Boucher. For the Reds, Jacob Luck and Brianna Sims stepped up in the field with Chris Cabrara leading the team from the plate.
Minors (9-10 Kid Pitch): Marlins opened with a 10-4 win over the Astros. Gidon Genger showed why he was the Opening Day Starter by striking out 7 in 3 innings. The Snyder Twins, Harry and Will, sparked the offense with 5 RBI and fan favorite, William Hobbs, earned the game ball with a bases-loaded RBI in the 3rd inning. For the Astros, Paul Dunn and Jesse Hellring were strong on the mound, and Billy Linder hit the ball well.
The Dodgers beat the Astros 5-4. Gabriel Vinderman, playing catcher for the Dodgers, threw-out two runners who were attempting to steal. Evan Seifer, playing shortstop for the Dodgers, caught a hard-hit line drive to end a rally. Joseph Cucinotta, pitching relief for the Dodgers, struck out the side in the final inning to clinch the win.
The Phillies defeated the Tigers behind strong pitching by Angelo Rivas and Noah Salazar. The two combined on a three-inning shutout.
Majors (11-13 Kid Pitch): The Mets edged the Royals 6-4. Trailing 4-1 after four innings, the Mets rallied with five runs. Jacob Sims pitched three strong innings with five strikeouts, and he also doubled. Alex Allocco struck out the side and delivered two hits. Shane Sims, who doubled, closed the game with three strikeouts. The Royals got a quality start from Violet Mendez with seven strikeouts, a walk, a hit and a run in three innings. She also added a double with two RBI. Reza Pedram doubled as well.
The Pirates defeated the Rockies 9-4. Kyle Ratzker earned the win with a commanding pitching display striking out five in two innings. Brandon Pardo struck out the side on 13 pitches. Jaime Biton recorded the save off a difficult bases loaded situation. Player of the Game Jeremiah Malik Eduard had a solid hit to right field, driving in two. He also stole second and third base before scoring on a hit by Jed Hoffman.
Bryan Huberty of Miami Beach made sure everyone knew he was a Triple Crown winner when he crossed the finish line of the Tropical 5K on the tip of South Beach.
A few yards from the winner’s tape of the warm-up race for the following day’s Miami Marathon and Half Marathon, the 38-year-old Huberty raised his three fingers in a salute to his personal accomplishment of winning for the third straight year.
“I had to fight hard for this one,” Huberty said. “It was kind of a repeat of last year. Three years in a row. It's hard to defend a race, let alone win it three years in a row.”
The results actually were nearly a repeat of 2016, with Huberty (15:46.30) and training partner Dean Frankel (16:11.86) -- also of Miami Beach -- posting personal best times to take the top two positions. Miami's Lazaro Rashid (16:13.41) finished third.
Guadalupe Merlos won the women’s race in 18:51.39 and arrived at the finish line with quite a story to tell. Merlos woke up early Saturday morning and took a run before her run, completing six miles before lining up on Watson Island for the 7:30 a.m. start of the Tropical 5K.
She was one of three female runners to better the 20-minute mark. Miami Beach resident Margaret Klimek (19:29.05) was the runner-up, beating both her 2016 time and third place finish. Catherine Poulcallec-Gordon (19:36.33) of Brooklyn, N.Y., finished third.
The Tropical 5K drew a sold-out field of 2,500 runners on a cool crisp 58 degree morning that provided nearly perfect conditions for runners.
Beginning at the Miami Children’s Museum east of Watson Island, runners crossed the scenic MacArthur Causeway with its gleaming cruise ships in the background, and finished on the southern tip of Miami Beach at South Pointe Park near the famed Joe's Stone Crab restaurant.
Huberty, never shy when he reaches a finish line, dropped to the pavement for a brief moment and then recovered quickly to talk about his race. It was the second year in a row that he established a personal best in the Tropical 5K.
While exuberant about his winning time, Huberty lamented slowing down over the final yards.
“My heart was going through the roof,” he said. “These guys pushed me hard for the first two miles. There were 10 guys this year who could go faster than 17 minutes.”
Frankel, a 27-year-old accustomed to finishing slightly behind Huberty, was thrilled to repeat his runner-up finish of a year ago.
“It was a gorgeous day in Miami,” he said. “It was my best time by 20 seconds. I’m very happy.”
Melos, a 35-year-old Miami accountant who hails from Mexico, was racing in the event for the first time. After she completed her pre-dawn workout, the former St. Thomas University collegiate runner had enough energy left to claim the victory.
“I was hoping to win,” she said. “I’m training and getting ready to run the 13.1 Miami Beach (March 5). I look forward to getting my time down. That’s my goal.”
RESULTS (Top Miami Finishers)
MEN: 1. BRYAN HUBERTY, Miami Beach, 15:46.3; 2. DEAN FRANKEL, Miami Beach, 16:11.9; 3. LAZARO RASHID, Miami, 16:13.4; 5. EMIL LINGMERTH, Miami Beach, 16:22.0; 6. COBIN MORALES, Miami, 16:32.1; 7. ELLIOTT MASON, Miami, 16:41.4; 11. TRISTAN CRAVELLO, Miami, 17:02.3; 12. RAIDEL GUERRERO, Miami, 17:08.0; 13. LEONARDO MARTINEZ, Miami, 17:11.1.
WOMEN: 1. GUADALUPE MERLOS, Miami, 18:51.4; 2. MARGARET KLIMEK Miami Beach, 19:29.0; 4. ANA CADRECHE, Miami, 20:14.1; 7. STELLA SHALEM, Miami Beach, 20:51.7; 10. ELIZABETH SCHEPIS, Miami, 21:43.9; 12. ANDREEA ALEXANDER, Homestead, 22:17.7; 16. MARYANN MAVAREZ, Miami, 22:54.3; 18. FELICIA DORING, Miami, 23:01.6.
Eleven Gulliver Prep Raiders -- four football players, four soccer players, one basketball player, one softball player, and one water polo player -- signed National Letters of Intent to play sports at the collegiate level.
“We are extremely proud of our students who have made the decision to continue their academic and athletic careers at the university level,” said Gulliver Head of Schools Frank Steel. “It is through hard work and determination that these student-athletes have been able to take this next step toward fulfilling their dream to play the sport they love at the college level. I look forward to following each of their careers as they continue to excel in the classroom and on the field.”
The signees are: Armando Alonso, Football, University of Virginia; Brianna Austin, Soccer, Villanova University; Samantha Earle, Soccer, University of Florida; Nina Fernandez, Soccer, Catholic University; Harrison Herskowitz, Football, Dartmouth University; Kayla Jensen, Softball, University of Buffalo; Caio Jordao, Water Polo, Bucknell University; Jordan Lyon, Football, Ave Maria University; DeWayne Terry, Football, Dartmouth University; Mikayla Thomas, Basketball, Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU); Monica Zabian, Soccer, Florida Institute of Technology.
They will receive scholarships to attend their respective school as they continue their academic and athlete careers in their competitive arenas.
Ferguson High School sisters Michelle and Melanie Cuervo were selected to the prestigious Miami Herald ALL-DADE Girls’ High School Volleyball First Team.
Michelle, a senior, made first team four consecutive years, a public school volleyball first according to her proud grandfather. Melanie, a sophomore, is 2-for-2.
Their grandfather also did some other library research and noted that the Cuervo sisters are the only players in the history of the ALL-DADE selections (for public schools) to be chosen first team as freshmen in volleyball, since the ALL-DADE selections began in 1973-74.
Miami Country Day sports
Miami Country Day Middle School Female Athlete of the Week: Maya Leoni – Soccer - led the high school girls’ varsity soccer team to the regional finals by scoring both goals in a 2-1 semifinal win against South Florida Heat.
Middle School Male Athlete of the Week: Reggie Luis – Basketball - scored a combined 30 points in high school junior varsity against Gulliver and Carol City.
Upper School Female Athlete of the Week: Laurel Ivory – Soccer - helped the Spartans advance to the regional semifinals in a 1-0 quarterfinal shootout win against Westminster Academy. In the shootout, Laurel scored on a penalty kick and made a huge save to seal the victory.
Upper School Male Athlete of the Week: Michael Mcpherson – Soccer - helped lead the Spartans to their first district championship since 2012 in a 2-1 penalty kick win. He made many key saves in the game, saving his best for last on Hillel’s third penalty kick.
Westwood Christian sports
Westwood Christian School named junior Sebastian Guitian the January Player of the Month.
In January, Sebastian averaged a season best double-double (15 ppg and 11 rpg) for the boys’ varsity basketball team. He is a two-year starter on the team, which is currently ranked No.4 in Class 2A. He also has a 3.8 GPA.
Vernon Carey Billiards Tournament
Former Miami Dolphins and Miami Hurricanes offensive lineman Vernon Carey hosted the second annual Vernon Carey Foundation Father & Son Billiards Tournament, presented by DVS Collector Car Sales, at the Billiard Club in Davie.
Former Dolphins long snapper John Denney and his sons won the event.
Some of the other teams competing included more current and retired NFL players Edgerrin James, Patrick Surtain, Jerome McDougle and Marvin Minnis. More than 30 teams of grandfathers, fathers and sons of all ages participated. Other retired NFL players in attendance included Bryant McKinnie, Oronde Gadsden and Daryl Porter.
First Place prize was three Two-Day Park to Park Passes to Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure in Orlando. Second Place was a Royal Pig Pub Gift Basket with Gift Certificates. The event featured food, raffles and DJ Volume.
“We planned this event as a way for fathers and sons to spend time with their sons. I had fun with my two sons and the rest of the fathers participating told me how much they enjoyed this experience,” said Carey.
The Vernon Carey Foundation will also be hosting their second annual Father & Daughter Dance.
The Vernon Carey Foundation creates programs and provides support to encourage the improvement of our youth. These programs are designed to enhance educational and recreational development and economic opportunities within the community.
Money raised from the Tournament will fund the Foundation’s Programs including the Vernon Carey Foundation’s “One Step to A Brighter Future” Mentoring Program with Miami-Dade and Broward County Public Middle Schools, Back to School Sneaker Shopping Spree Event, Thanksgiving Meal Giveaway, Holiday Mall Shopping Spree and additional charitable contributions to Youth Athletics.
For more information on the event, visit VernonCarey72Foundation.org or contact 954-298-8784.
Kendall Hammocks flag football
The Kendall Hammocks NFL Flag Football program announces the registrations dates and times for the upcoming 2017 NFL Flag Football season.
Registrations are open to boys and girls, age 5-16. Cutoff date is July 1. Copy of birth certificate is required for age verification during the registration process.
Season will include 12 regular season games, two exhibition games and single elimination playoffs. All registrations, practices and games are at Devonaire Park, 10411 SW 122 Ave., Miami, 33186.
February registration fee: $130.
Feb 17. - Friday (6:30-8:30 p.m.).
March registration fee: $140.
March 4 - Saturday (11 a.m.-3 p.m.); March 10 - Friday (6:30-8:30 p.m.); March 18 - Saturday (11 a.m.- 3 p.m.); Mar 25th - Saturday (11 a.m.- 3 p.m.).
New player tryouts and draft will be 1-6 p.m. April 2.
Registration fee includes: NFL Team Reversible Jersey, NFL flag belts, secondary Insurance, referee cost, participation awards, trophies for division winners/MVPs.
Discounted rates offered for coaches. All coaches require a USA football registration and a national background check.
For information or if interested in coaching, email firstname.lastname@example.org
The NFL Flag football program is under the Optimist Club of Kendall Hammocks and is an all volunteer organization, serving the community in youth sports for more than 27 years.
More events, leagues, programs
DRI Walk for Diabetes
Students of all ages from South Florida schools and colleges are encouraged to lead a healthier life by running the DRIHOPE4ACURE 5k/10k/Kids Super Hero Fun Run at the 7th annual DRI Walk for Diabetes & Family Fun Day, presented by Walgreens, on March 4 at Marlins Park. The event benefits the Diabetes Research Institute (DRI) at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.
The first 1,000 students to use the promo code GORUNMIAMI at registration by Feb. 28 will have their fee waived. Event organizers hope to give local students a chance to get active through an effort called Get Moving Miami-Dade, while supporting research for a cure for diabetes. All runners will receive participation medals, and there will be 1st, 2nd, 3rd place awards in 26 categories, courtesy of MultiRace – which is setting up the chipped and professionally timed race.
Immediately following the run, participants are encouraged to join in the DRI Walk, which will occur inside the home of the Miami Marlins. It is also free to attend, along with other fun activities including face painting, giveaways, live entertainment from the Hip Hop Kidz dance group and Magic City Jedi, a children’s fun-zone, health booths, a raffle to win Marlins game tickets, food and more.
This cornerstone, community-driven event is a collaborative effort between the Diabetes Research Institute Foundation and Walgreens, who have partnered for seven consecutive years and together have raised more than $1.7 million for the cure-focused work of the DRI.
Students can use the promo code GORUNMIAMI to register online at www.WalgreensWalkDRI.org. On the day of the event, registration begins at 6 a.m. The run starts at 8 a.m., and the Kids Fun Run is at 8:40 a.m. The DRI Walk kicks off at 9 a.m. while the family fun activities continue through Noon. For more information, call 800-321-3437.
About the Diabetes Research Institute (DRI) and Foundation:
The mission of the Diabetes Research Institute Foundation is to provide the Diabetes Research Institute with the funding necessary to cure diabetes now. The Diabetes Research Institute at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine leads the world in cure-focused research.
As the largest and most comprehensive research center dedicated to curing diabetes, the DRI is aggressively working to develop a biological cure by restoring natural insulin production and normalizing blood sugar levels without imposing other risks. Researchers have already shown that transplanted islet cells allow patients to live without the need for insulin therapy.
Some study participants have maintained insulin independence for more than 10 years. The DRI is now building upon these promising outcomes by developing a DRI BioHub, a bioengineered “mini organ” that mimics the native pancreas. While various BioHub platforms are being tested in preclinical and clinical studies, the DRI is also developing strategies to eliminate the need for anti-rejection drugs and reset the immune system to block autoimmunity.
For more information, visit DiabetesResearch.org, call 800-321-3437 or Tweet @Diabetes_DRI.
Barry University men’s soccer hosts an ID Clinic that will provide elite male, high school and club soccer players the opportunity to display their talents for college coaches from NCAA Division I, II, III, NAIA, and JUCO schools.
The event is from 8 a.m.- 4 p.m. Saturday, March 25 and Saturday, May 13 at Buccaneer Field at Barry University, 11300 NE 2nd Ave. in Miami Shores.
For information contact Barry University men’s soccer assistant coach Joao Garcia email@example.com or call 305-899-3135.
UFC GYM Kendall
UFC GYM announced that following the overwhelming success of its 2016 12-Week Body Transformation Challenge, the brand recently launched its next iteration, expanding to 16 signature gym locations throughout the United States, including Kendall in Miami-Dade County.
“Whether your objective is to train with the goal of competing on stage or just living an overall healthier lifestyle, this program is designed to accomplish both,” UFC GYM President Adam Sedlack said. “We experienced some amazing transformations at our Corona and Torrance locations and we’re excited to expand this one in a lifetime challenge to members at all of our signature gyms.”
Inspired by four-time IFBB Figure Olympia Champion Nicole Wilkins, this program consists of one-on-one personal training sessions, tailored nutritional and supplementation plans, educational seminars and group workouts. Enrollment cost is $199 ($1,200 value) for UFC GYM members and $298.99 for non-members, which includes the challenge fee and a 12 week UFC GYM membership. Also, UFC GYM has agreed to pay the participant’s individual entry fee for those that want to compete on stage.
A grand prize of $5,000 will be awarded to the member who wins the “overall weight-loss” portion of the challenge, while both a male and female winner of the “overall muscle gain” portion will each win $1,000. Additional awards and prizes will be awarded at each participating location.
Contact UFC GYM - Kendall
8851 SW 107th Ave., Miami, 33176.
Contact: General Manager Jason Figorski; firstname.lastname@example.org
Those who register for the Challenge are encouraged to stay connected at
Since debuting in 2009, UFC GYM has opened more than 135 locations throughout the United States, Australia, Canada, South America and the United Arab Emirates. The fitness franchise has continued to grow at a rapid pace with more than 50 locations opening in the past two years and more than 50 gyms expected to open in the next year.
For more information about UFC GYM, visit UFC GYM.com, or follow on Facebook.com/UFCgym, Twitter or Instagram: @UFCGYM. Subscribe on YouTube at UFCGYM.
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
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.
Orange Bowl Leadership Academy
The Orange Bowl Committee launched 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.
Marlon A. Hill Esq, chair of the of the Orange Bowl Leadership Academy committee, added: “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.”
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:
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.
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 email@example.com 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.
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.
The Warrior Basketball Pre-Travel Team Program in Miami is intense training for boys and girls, age 8-15, to prepare athletes for a travel team level.
The athletes will train two times a week in a two-hour practice. To gain experience, scrimmages will be set up, and tournament like situations will slowly be introduced to the team.
Practice days are Wednesdays, Fridays and/or Sundays. Kids will receive a Warrior basketball jersey and shorts.
Gifts in Golf
PGA Certified Pro Philip Argianas, program director of GIG-Gifts In Golf, is proud to bring his expertise to special people with special needs to Coral Gables.
GIG programing -- like Golfing with Autism and Kids Swing Into Golf -- enrich the quality of life for families in the community.
Coach Phil said in a release: “Our fun programing impacts kids by teaching them life skills while providing physical and mental training through learning the game of golf.”
For information about registration including schedules and release forms, go to GIG’s website
To volunteer or for any other questions on the Autism and Down syndrome golf programs, call Coach Phil at 888-909-5709, check the website http://www.giftsingolf.org and Facebook page for updates.
GIG was founded in 2009 and has been serving several communities in Miami-Dade County. The organization provides fun instruction and mentoring while empowering special people with special needs. Integrating families and community, it provides all the benefits that golfing delivers with a focus on a person’s ability.
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)
Family friendly pro wrestling in Miami
World Wrestling Entertainment’s NXT makes its third visit to Miami on Friday, Feb. 24 at the Fieldhouse at the Watsco Center (formerly Bank United Center) at the the University of Miami in Coral Gables.
Bell time is 7:30 p.m.
See some of the newer faces on the NXT roster as well as progressing talent who are continuing to build a hot NXT brand and working toward joining the ranks of the main roster in WWE. That includes Shinsuke Nakamura, Bobby Roode, Samoa Joe, Asuka, #DIY (Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa), Authors of Pain (Rezar and Akam) and more.
Tickets are on sale online and at the Watsco Center box office.