Youth Sports

Miami Heat honors February student athletes

Miami Heat forward Udonis Haslem congratulates Travers Evans Jr. (Pines Middle School), Tyler Zuluaga (David Lawrence K-8), Jordan Sheppard (Miami Country Day School), Rachel Hernandez (TERRA Environmental Research Institute) and Xachary Bloom (Gulliver Prep) for being the February Academic/Sportsmanship Team Player honorees via the three-time world champion Miami Heat in partnership with Gatorade and The Miami Herald at the AmericanAirlines Arena.
Miami Heat forward Udonis Haslem congratulates Travers Evans Jr. (Pines Middle School), Tyler Zuluaga (David Lawrence K-8), Jordan Sheppard (Miami Country Day School), Rachel Hernandez (TERRA Environmental Research Institute) and Xachary Bloom (Gulliver Prep) for being the February Academic/Sportsmanship Team Player honorees via the three-time world champion Miami Heat in partnership with Gatorade and The Miami Herald at the AmericanAirlines Arena.

Cutler Bay’s Xachary Bloom (Gulliver Prep), Miami Gardens’ Travers Evans Jr. (Pines Middle School), Miami’s Rachel Hernandez (TERRA Environmental Research Institute), Bal Harbour’s Jordan Sheppard (Miami Country Day School) and North Miami’s Tyler Zuluaga (David Lawrence K-8) were the February 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 Okaro White congratulated these standout student athletes during shoot-around on Feb. 13 as the Heat prepared to face the Orlando Magic at the AmericanAirlines Arena. They were later recognized in a ceremony at mid-court before tip-off.

About the honorees

Xachary Bloom, 10, of Cutler Bay is one of the top 4th grade guards in South Florida. He was an integral part of the Gulliver Raider Elite 4th/5th grade team that went 10-1 this season en route to winning the championship in the Junior Premier Sports League.

Xachary maintained all A’s every report card since he’s been in school and had perfect attendance last year at Gulliver Prep. He is also in the Advanced 5th grade math class as a 4th grader. He traveled to England in the summer for the famous Five Star Basketball Camp and came home with a championship and playoff MVP and Mr. Hustle honors.

Travers Evans Jr., 13, of Miami Gardens exhibits all the characteristics of an outstanding student athlete. An Honor Roll student since elementary school, he is currently in the 8th grade at Pines Middle School. He has a true passion for basketball, and despite not making his middle school basketball team each year because of his short stature, he has never given up.

Travers is currently on a small non-profit youth basketball team (about 16 athletes, age 7-16) called The Achievers. This team was founded by Coach Ashaad Addison, known as Coach A. Although this is his first year playing, Travers has excelled and serves as his team’s point guard. They compete in the Miami Gardens Midnight Tournament League.

Rachel Hernandez, 14, of Miami is a 9th grader at TERRA Environmental Research Institute. She is a point guard who played on the Lady Shottas girls’ travel basketball team. She has the heart that will never quit, is a great teammate and a player every coach would love to have. She not only made the TERRA Wolves girls’ varsity basketball team as a freshman but started at point guard.

Rachel not only is an amazing athlete, but she is also an amazing student. She was accepted to the "BIO Medical Program" at TERRA Environmental Research Institute; she wants to become a doctor. She has a 4.667 GPA with straight A's while taking Honors courses. Her heart and passion on the court transcends to her studies. She works hard to get excellent grades and has a goal to attend medical school as well as play NCAA Division I basketball at Colombia University. Her favorite team is the Miami Heat.

Jordan Sheppard, 13, of Bal Harbour is a standout student athlete at Miami Country Day School. She is an Honors student with a passion for basketball. She started at point guard/shooting guard in 6th, 7th and 8th grade for the Miami Country Day Middle School girls’ basketball team.

As an 8th grader, she was the leading scorer. As a seventh grader last season, she helped the Spartans go undefeated at 20-0 and win the South Florida Middle School Conference Tournament. She made the All Tournament team. Her coaches awarded her the Iron Woman Award in recognition of her dedication, commitment and heart. Jordan has also been named Middle School Female Athlete of the Week several times during her middle school basketball career. She was called up to varsity for the post-season the past two seasons.

Off the court, Jordan has been involved in Student Council since 6th grade. She serves as a class officer this year. Jordan has made the Headmaster’s List every semester with straight A’s. She is a member of the National Junior Honor Society. Last year during the Middle School Honors Awards Ceremony, she was awarded the Headmaster’s Award for Unselfish Service.

Tyler Zuluaga, 13, of North Miami maintains a 3.5 GPA in the gifted program at David Lawrence K-8. He plays basketball for the City of North Miami. He also plays flag football for the ALM travel team and club volleyball for Coastal Volleyball. He is into Mudruns like Spartan and Battle Frogs. He breathes and sleeps sports but still makes school involvement his top priority.

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

North Miami Beach Little League

North Miami Beach Little League baseball at Ives Estates, Pelican and Uleta parks.

Minors-Juniors (Age 7-8 Coach Pitch)

The Yankees won their first game of the season, beating the Twins 13-7. Akiva Sherwin, Mateo Kurtz and Marco DeFellipo keyed the offense. For the Twins, Jason Colon did well, and Jackson Boucher and Robert Kramer played strong supporting roles.

The Reds handed the Giants their first loss of the season, 9-3. Josh Jakubowicz increased his batting average to the highest on the team. Dalton Parris and Ethan Carlson added important hits. For the Giants, Jake Lechner continued his strong hitting, looking to win the Triple Crown in the division. Benjamin Warner and Noah Paul helped keep the Giants in the game.

Minors (Age 9-10 Kid Pitch)

The Dodgers edged the Phillies 7-5. Lane Parris, Christopher Ducheine, Gabriel Vinderman and Nate Lustig had hits. Vinderman also struck out four in 1 2 /3 innings. Bennett Steinberg caught a towering pop-fly to clinch the win. For the Phillies, pitcher Angelo Rivas struck out two. Carlos Velasquez, Axel Fink, Murray Brown, Angelo Rivas and Max Newman had hits.

The Astros and Tigers featured their ace pitchers on the mound, and neither one disappointed. For the Astros, Paul Dunn struck out 12 in four innings and for the Tigers, Ashton Sklar struck out nine, matching Dunn out for out. With the score tied in the last inning, Billy Linder led winning the charge for the Astros. Jesse Hellring closed the game with a 12-pitch inning.

Majors (Age 11-13 Kid Pitch)

The Royals and Rockies played to a tie at seven. What started as an offensive explosion quickly became a pitcher’s duel. Violet Mendez kept the Rockies hitters in check, striking out two and allowing one hit in two innings. Brandon Luz-Lopez did the same to the Royals in 1 2 /3 innings. He also provided two hits with an RBI. The Royals’ Benji Sherwin went 1 for 2 with 3 RBI.

The Mets handed the Indians their first loss of the season behind strong pitching. Solid hitting from Jacob Sims and Alan Kritzler ignited a nine-run outburst. Closer Shane Sims shut the door on the Indians. For the Indians, Lucas Decordova and Abel Profetta played well.

The Cubs edged the Pirates 11-10 in a game that came down to the last pitch. Trailing 11-6 in the bottom of the last inning, the Pirates rallied with four runs. Then they loading the bases on hits by Kyle Ratzker and Santiago Ramirez, but pitcher Jacob Poletto forced a line-out to end the exciting game. For the Cubs, Brady Babin wen 3 for 3, raising his team leading batting average to .636. Jason Benezra had two hits, increasing his batting average to .625.

Highland Oaks track

The Highland Oaks Middle School track team continued its successful season by winning the Sam Burley Invitational at Southridge Park.

The girls’ team bested 18 teams to win by 50 points. The boys’ team defeated 20 teams, winning by 41 points. Bradley Mesa once again won meet MVP for the boys.

Jada Joseph led the girls’ team by breaking a meet record in winning the triple jump (34-7). Joseph also was second in the high jump and the long jump. Brook Couri placed third in the triple jump. Paris Baker won the 400-meter run, took third in the 100 and fourth in the 200.

Cha’iel Johnson won the 800 Jasmine Washington finished fourth in the discus, 400 and 800. Anissa Lespinase-Casimir placed third in the 1,600. Aniyah Brown was fourth in the shot put, and Amber Keaton was fifth in the discus and seventh in the shot put. Annika Grosfeld finished eighth in the 200. The 3,200 relay (Johnson, Brianna Easy, Washington, Lespinase-Casimir) won as did the 1,600 relay (Lespinase-Casimir, Johnson, Destiny Desrivieres, Baker. The 400 relay (Easy, Ebony Davis, Lashanti Beauliere, Grosfeld) was seventh.

For the boys, Mesa won the discus, took second in the high jump and finished third in shot put. Gaethan Bernadel was second in the shot put, and Winsome Frazier won the long jump in a fantastic 18-11. He also placed sixth in the 200 and 400. Jaleel Gelin was second in the 1,600 and fourth in the 800, and Maleek Saint Louis was third in the 1,600.

Cawa Fernandes was sixth in the long jump and Aaron Nibbs eighth in the discus. The 400 relay (Mesa, Frederick Tyler, Edward Johnson, Frazier) won. The 1,600 relay (Johnson, Isaac Castro, Saint Louis, Gelin) was second. Rounding out the scoring for HOM was the 3,200 relay (Sandro Pierre Jules, Castro, Saint Louis, Gelin), which placed third.

More Highland Oaks track

The Highland Oaks Middle School track teams for the third consecutive meet recorded team championships in boys and girls.

The girls won the Northwestern Invitational, defeating 18 teams. The Panthers were led by Jada Joseph who won the triple jump in a new meet record 35-10. Joseph also took second in the long jump and high jump.

Paris Baker won the 400-meter dash. Anissa Lespinase-Casimir was second in the 1,600, and Jasmine Washington was second in the 800 with Destiny Desrivieres finishing fourth. Aniyah Brown was fourth in the discus and eighth in the shot put. Amber Keaton was seventh in the shot put and the discus, and Washington was eighth in the discus.

Brianna Easy was eighth in the long jump. The 3,200 relay (Washington, Easy, Desrivieres, Lespinase-Casimir) won as did the 1,600 relay (Lespinase-Casimir, Easy, Ebony Davis, Desrivieres). The 400 relay (Davis, Tymyra Hampton, Lashanti Beauliere, Annika Grosfeld) was fourth.

The boys’ team took first by topping 19 teams. For the third consecutive meet, Bradley Mesa won the meet MVP award. Mesa set a meet record in the discus by throwing 104 feet. Mesa also won the high jump and took sixth in the shot put.

Gaethan Bernadel and Aaron Nibbs were second and third, respectively, in the discus. Cawa Fernandes and Winsome Frazier placed first and second, respectively, in the long jump. Frazier was fifth and sixth in the 400-meter and 200-meter runs. Edward Johnson was sixth in the 400. Jaleel Gelin was third in the 1,600 and fourth in the 800. Maleek Saint Louis was fourth in the 1,600. The 1,600 relay (Fernandes, Isaac Castro, Saint Louis, Johnson) was second, and the 400 relay (Mesa, Johnson, Frederick Tyler, Frazier) took fourth.

Miami Country Day sports

Miami Country Day School: Upper School Female Athlete of the Week: Gaby Palmisano – Water Polo - helped lead the Spartans to four wins in the Monga Water Polo Invitational.

Upper School Male Athlete of the Week: Julius Delgado – Basketball - led the way with 15 points, 10 assists, and 2 steals in a district semifinal win against Hillel.

Middle School Male Athlete of the Week: Elliot Surnamer – Lacrosse - scored a goal and added an assist in games against Cardinal Gibbons and Gulliver.

Guilford College lacrosse

Guilford College men’s lacrosse coach Tom Carmean named senior David Felipe (Miami/Killian HS) as one of two Quakers’ team captains for the 2017 campaign.

The captains were selected by Guilford’s coaching staff at the conclusion of the team’s fall campaign.

Felipe, a 5-9, 180-pound long-stick midfielder, started all 17 games in the 2016 season. He totaled 28 ground balls and caused 10 turnovers in addition to scoring a goal for the Quakers. The exercise & sports sciences and health sciences double major enters the 2017 season with career totals of 18 career starts, three goals and 48 ground balls in 38 games. He is a six-time Dean’s List student and a two-time Academic All-ODAC selection.

Carmean’s Quakers are coming off an 8-9 season that included the team's second ODAC Tournament appearance.

Guilford is an NCAA Division III affiliate, based in Greensboro, N.C.

Dolphins Cancer Challenge

The Miami Dolphins capped another successful Dolphins Cancer Challenge. The event is the NFL’s single largest fundraiser.

The seventh edition of this annual community endeavor boasted more than 4,000 cancer fighters who biked, ran, walked and volunteered throughout all of South Florida with a goal to tackle cancer. The event culminated with a Concert Celebration at the stadium on the Hard Rock Stage by multi-platinum musicians the Counting Crows.

“We’re proud to have our largest turnout of participants in our seven-year history. The more fundraisers we have, the larger the donation to Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center for vital cancer research,” Miami Dolphins Senior Vice President & Executive Director of the Dolphins Cancer Challenge Jennifer Jehn said. “Today was a reflection of the Dolphins’ commitment to being a community steward. It is a pillar of our organization and with the community’s support – we’re making a difference.”

Participants in 2017 had the option of five bike routes, a 5k run/walk and attending the Concert Celebration. The DCC continues to solidify its position as the largest event fundraiser in the NFL. Participants included Dolphins Owner Stephen Ross, Dolphins Executive Vice President of Football Operations Mike Tannenbaum and Head Coach Adam Gase, as well as Dolphins players and alum such as Dan Marino, Ryan Tannehill, Isa Abdul-Quddus, Dick Anderson, Kim Bokamper, Jermon Bushrod, Bob Brudzinki, Sean Clancy, Chris Conlin, Bill Davis, John Denney, Kenyan Drake, Troy Drayton, Mark Duper, Neville Hewitt, Xavien Howard, Jelani Jenkins, Storm Johnson, Reshad Jones, Byron Maxwell, Nat Moore, Jordan Phillips, Twan Russell and Sam Young.

“We are so grateful and would like to thank everyone who participated in the DCC today,” Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center Director Stephen D. Nimer, M.D., said. “It was inspiring to see so many people gather together to raise money for cancer research at Sylvester. Friends and families were cycling, running, walking or volunteering so we can make a difference in the lives of cancer patients. With the funds raised at the DCC, we will continue to grow our research programs and translate new discoveries into personalized cancer treatments as quickly as possible. Our partnership with the Miami Dolphins enables us to do great things for the community now and in the future. We are forever thankful to the leadership of the DCC and everyone involved in it.”

The Dolphins Cancer Challenge will donate 100 percent of the participant-raised funds to innovative cancer research at Sylvester. Funds are still being collected through March 31. As the DCC’s beneficiary, the University of Miami’s Team Hurricanes had more than 800 participants which included Head Football Coach Mark Richt and players T.J. Callan, Romeo Finley, Jaquan Johnson, Diego Marquez, Tyreic Martin, Tyree St. Louis, Sunny Odogwu, Mark Walton, Cade Weldon, Cedrick Wright and Malek Young participating in the finish line celebration.

The event concluded at Hard Rock Stadium and culminated with a Concert Celebration on the Hard Rock Stage by multiplatinum musicians the Counting Crows performing in front of a crowd of more than 5,000.

The Dolphins Cancer Challenge will continue raising funds for cancer research with its second annual DCC Celebrity Golf Tournament on April 21. The tournament is another change for cancer fighters to golf and interact with athletes and other celebrity guests. One hundred percent of the funds raised from the golf tournament will benefit Sylvester.

For more information, visit

Suniland football

The Suniland Sundevils are looking for experienced volunteer youth coaches for the 2017 Miami Xtreme Tackle Football Season.

For Information contact Jose Regalado at 305-458-1966 or

Hurricanes Jumpers

Hurricane Jumpers are hosting an AAU Jump Rope Qualifying Tournament on May 20 in Miami Springs.

This tournament is for anyone interested in jumping rope for fun or serious competition. It is a qualifier for Junior Olympics, which is in late July in Detroit.

Contact Hurricane Jumpers at


More events, leagues, programs

Israel Tennis Centers

This year marks the beginning of the next exciting chapter in the extraordinary impact of the Israel Tennis Centers, the largest social service agency for children in Israel. Last year the organization celebrated its 40th anniversary of empowering Israel’s children… beyond tennis… since the ITC’s first center opened in Ramat Hasharon in 1976.

“We are extremely proud of what the Israel Tennis Centers has achieved over these last 4 decades,” said ITC Founder Bill Lippy. “The ‘Miracle in the Desert’ is what we call the Israel Tennis Centers, transforming the lives of over 20,000 underserved Israeli children every year, over 500,000 since 1976. 40 years of witnessing the growth of the ITC from one single center to 14 today is an incredible testimony to what can be done when people come together to help those less fortunate reach their full potential.”

This year that celebratory spirit continues, as the Israel Tennis Centers Foundation announced plans for an exciting series of tennis exhibitions throughout South Florida including:

Saturday, March 4 at The Gables Club in Coral Gables

A diverse team of Israeli players and coaches representing various Israel Tennis Centers will be sharing their personal stories about what the ITC has meant to them, their families and the communities in which they live. The centers represent a safe and nurturing environment in which these children can learn vital life skills and values while sharpening their tennis skills.

The focus of the ITC is on improving children’s lives every day so they can become better human beings. Through its social impact programs, a wide range of children are served, including youth at risk, immigrants from Ethiopian and Russia and children with special needs, from autism and ADHD to Down Syndrome as well as those with developmental and physical disabilities. The ITC also recognizes the ability of tennis to bring together children from different religions and ethnicities as seen in its highly successful Coexistence Program.

The Israeli players will include Shadi, a 17-year-old Bedouin teenager who is part of the ITC’s High Performance Group at the Samson Israel Tennis Center in Beer Sheva. Shadi also participates in the ITC’s Coexistence Program that brings Israeli children from various backgrounds together to learn the importance of tolerance and understanding of one another. “I am proud to be part of the ITC, one in which we are taught to respect and appreciate each other’s differences. I play with a large group of Jewish kids and we have all become very close friends. We are truly one big happy family.”

For more information or to attend any of these special events and meet Shadi and his teammates, contact ITC Vice President of Development Yoni Yair at 954-480-6333 x223 or Visit the ITC website at

About the Israel Tennis Centers Foundation:

For 40 years the Israel Tennis Centers Foundation (ITC), a 501 (c) 3 not-for-profit organization, has worked tirelessly through the medium of sport to enhance the development of Israeli youth. Since opening its first center in Ramat Hasharon in 1976, the ITC has helped over a half million children, many of whom come from outlying and underserved towns throughout Israel. The ITC’s 14 centers stretch from Kiryat Shmona on the Lebanese border in the North to Beer Sheva in the South.

MLB Swing for the Fences

Swing for the Fences with MLB Jr. Home Run Derby

Get involved with MLB Jr. Home Run Derby and let the youth in your community show off their hitting power.

Sign up to host a free local competition at

By hosting this one-day, fun, flexible competition, provide the kids in the area the opportunity to swing all the way to the National Finals during MLB All-Star Week in Miami.

Visit for more information

Also: MLBSwingForFencesInfo

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.

Registrations Dates:

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


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.

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 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, call 800-321-3437 or Tweet @Diabetes_DRI.

Best Buddies Friendship Walk

Best Buddies International, a groundbreaking nonprofit founded in 1989 by Anthony K. Shriver to establish a global volunteer movement that creates opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment and leadership development for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, is excited to announce the Best Buddies Friendship Walk in South Florida on Saturday, March 11 at Museum Park in Miami.

The Best Buddies Friendship Walk in South Florida is the latest life-changing movement. Since 2009, more than 55,000 participants have walked in more than 26 states and three countries, raising more than $5 million for Best Buddies International.

“Our Friendship Walks are one of Best Buddies' most celebrated events, bringing communities together where they can experience our mission in action and engage with our program participants,” said Anthony K. Shriver, Founder and Chairman of Best Buddies International. “It is so inspirational to see so much enthusiasm for the Best Buddies mission in South Florida. The participants significantly impact the lives of those with disabilities, and the employer partners in this community have empowered these individuals, and are actively making not just South Florida, but the world, a more inclusive place.”

The event will bring together some of South Florida’s most notable residents and celebrity supporters. Among those expected to attend this year includes Pop-Artist Romero Britto; Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine; Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen; WSVN Anchor Craig Stevens, who will MC the walk, Miss Teen Florida and Miss Florida; and many more.

Best Buddies South Florida is proud to have 3,000 (and counting) participants lacing up their shoes to walk for inclusion, all working towards surpassing 2016’s fundraising goal. Registration begins at 9 a.m. and the walk commences at 10 a.m. at Museum Park in Downtown Miami, 1075 Biscayne Boulevard. Following the walk, please join Best Buddies for a day of fun, family, fitness, and friendship.

This year will also feature the inaugural Battle of the Firms Challenge. Several local law firms, including Holland & Knight, Greenberg Traurig, Carlton Fields, and Kirwan Spellacy & Danner, PA., among others, are participating. Thanks to their support, the inaugural Battle of the Firms Challenge is set to become one of the top outreach and fundraising initiatives for this Walk.

During the event, Best Buddies International will recognize supporter Jan Risi as its 2017 honoree with the Spirit of Friendship Award for her many contributions to Best Buddies. She has employed several Best Buddies Jobs participants at Independent Purchasing Cooperative (IPC), and has the largest walk team in the United States. By employing individuals with IDD, Mrs. Risi has proven herself to be a progressive leader in the movement to create a more inclusive work force here in South Florida.

Those interested in volunteering or participating in the Friendship Walk are encouraged to register on the Friendship Walk Participants can create or join a team to raise awareness and funds with family, friends, and co-workers.

Proceeds from the Friendship Walk are fundamental in supporting state programs that provide one-to-one friendships, integrated employment, and leadership development. These programs can be found in all 50 states and will create promising opportunities for more than 350,000 people this year.

Walk for inclusion. Walk for friendship. Walk for a better South Florida.

This year’s Best Buddies Friendship Walk in South Florida sponsors include: Independent Purchasing Cooperative, Royal Media Partners, Starwood Property Trust, Holland & Knight, MasterCard, Celebrity Cruises, GrayRobinson, Turnberry Associates, Inktel, Value Store It, Pension Services Inc., City of Hialeah, Willis Towers Watson, TUUCI, FedEx, and Nordstrom.


Best Buddies® is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to establishing a global volunteer movement that creates opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment and leadership development for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Founded in 1989 by Anthony K. Shriver, Best Buddies is a vibrant organization that has grown from one original chapter to more than 2,100 middle school, high school, and college chapters worldwide.

Today, Best Buddies’ eight formal programs — Middle Schools, High Schools, Colleges, Citizens, e-Buddies® , Jobs, Ambassadors, and Promoters — engage participants in each of the 50 states and in over 50 countries, positively impacting the lives of more than 1 million people with and without disabilities around the world. In many cases, as a result of their involvement with Best Buddies, people with intellectual and developmental disabilities secure rewarding jobs, live on their own, become inspirational leaders, and make lifelong friendships.

For information, visit, or

For information about the Walk and sponsorship opportunities, contact Joshua Tessier 305-375-2233, ext. 211 or

Soccer clinic

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 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.

Phone: 305-680-5990

Contact: General Manager Jason Figorski;

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, or follow on, Twitter or Instagram: @UFCGYM. Subscribe on YouTube at UFCGYM.

Skateboard Supercross

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 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:

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 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 and no later than Sept. 30, 2016.

For more information, go to

For information about USA Deaf Sports Federation, visit 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

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.

For directions to Tamiami Park visit the web page or call 786-315-5295.

Miami-Dade Parks is a world-class parks system supported by the Parks Foundation of Miami-Dade and focused on Placemaking, Health and Fitness, and Conservation and Stewardship.

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.

Warrior Basketball

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.

Call 305-777-7077.

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 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

or on Twitter @USAFootball

NFL Football Matters

The National Football Foundation announced the launch of, 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. “ 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. 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

Tennis classes, programs

Tennis classes and programs for all ages are at the Penny Sugarman Tennis Center at Sans Souci, 1795 Sans Souci Blvd., North Miami. Call for information on group lessons, annual passes, court rates and private lessons. Tennis pro is Ross Dubins. Call 305-893-7130.

Physically Challenged

Miami-Dade Parks welcomes children with disabilities in its youth leagues. If you need accommodations to participate, call 305-735-7847 (V/TDD).

Submit 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)