The Big 3 -- Symone Mason, Kayla Johnson, Shaniya Williams -- led the Southridge High School girls’ track & field team to the FHSAA Class 4A State Championship in Bradenton.
The Spartans were first of athletes representing 53 teams.
Symone, Kayla and Shaniya ended their high school track careers with this prestigious team title as well as some individual honors.
Symone won state in the 100, 200 and 400-meter races and was on the state champion 1,600 relay team along with Kayla.
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Kayla also won the 800 and was third in the 400. She was on the 3,200 relay team that finished fourth. Shaniya was third in the 100 and fourth in the 200.
Shaniya overcame the loss of her mom, Felicia Williams, who died from cancer on Sept. 30, 2015. Shaniya never quit. She kept running, something she learned from mom and dad.
The Big 3 have been running since they were little girls for the South Dade Express Track Club, run by Symone’s dad Gene and his partner Amir Rasul Sr. The girls’ season started in September with their technique and fitness coach Joey Scott.
The Big 3 earned full college scholarships. Symone and Kayla will attend the University of Miami. Shaniya is heading to the University of Central Florida.
They are highly ranked in the USA rankings. Symone is ranked No.1 in the 100 and 200. She is ranked second in the nation in the 400. Kayla is ranked fourth in the 800 and 23rd in the 400. Shaniya is ranked 23rd in the 100 and 26th in the 200.
Track & Field
Miami-Dade youth, age 5-18, will have an opportunity to show off their running, jumping and throwing skills during the county’s third annual USA Track and Field South Florida Invitational Youth Meet.
The event is part of the Youth Sports Championship Series, an initiative of Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez aimed at increasing participation in youth athletics.
The event is being presented by USA Track and Field and the Miami-Dade Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Department on Saturday, June 3 from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. at Tropical Park Stadium, 7900 SW 40th St., Miami.
Track teams and individual athletes can compete for awards. Teams with the best results will be eligible to win the coveted Mayor’s Cup.
The cost to participate is $5 per athlete. The meet is free to watch.
Participants must register at www.PlayMiami.org.
For more information, visit www.USATF.org/youth.
For more information about the Mayor’s Youth Sports Championship Series visit the website.
After finishing runner-up last season, the Killian High School boys’ volleyball team won its first state title by beating previously unbeaten Orlando-Freedom and Lake Mary in Naples.
The Cougars’ win marks the first state title for the school since the boys’ tennis team won in 2005. The win also marked the first state volleyball title for a Miami-Dade County team since Southwest in 2008.
Killian (28-2) also won the Smoothie King Invitational and district and region titles this season. The champs are Brandon Sevilla, Christobal Sepuvelda, Diego Savelli, Jomar Mondestin, Nick Estevez, Christopher Hallstrand, Daniel Pupiro, John Roberts, Timothy King, Ryan Ollie, Spencer Saint-Eloi, Leo Perez, Ivan Sosa, and Aeven Woodley. The assistant coaches are Jessica Munoz and Earl Reid and their retiring head coach is Clinton Reid.
Ransom Everglades volleyball
For the second time in the Ransom Evereglades School boys’ volleyball history, the Raiders won the District 14 Championship.
After dropping the first two sets in the district finals, the Raiders took the next three sets to win in dramatic fashion. Then they won regionals, qualifying for state (top eight).
The stellar team feature Stephen Garrett, Felipe Sarmiento, Ben Cobb, Zachary Buttrick, Jasper Broad, Will Drody, Sarthak Chakravarty, Magnus Kron, Thomas Murphy, Joe Kravitz, Max Bolzan, Michael Colonna, Jake Rivlin, Riss Mendizabal, Nick Stone, Ryan Peluso, John Mistele, and Nick Namais.
The coaches are Roger Peluso, Mauricio Diaz, Carlos Mursuli, Pierre Tang, and Oscar Valdivia.
North Miami Beach Little League
The North Miami Beach Little League completed its season with championship games in each division.
The Giants beat the Yankees in the Minors-Juniors Division (age 7-8, Coach Pitch).
Champion Giants: Ben Warner, Giuseppe Ranalli, Ethan Scharf, Ben Marks, Spencer Kabak, Jake Mitchell, Noah Paul, Ben Lechner, Madison Leyva and Amanda Leyva.
The Astros defeated the Marlins in the Minors Division (age 9-10, Kid Pitch).
Champion Astros: Michael Medina, Jesse Hellring, Akiva Silverstein, Alex Semet, Yoni Sherwin, Joseph Medina Jr., Paul Dunn, Victor Mejia, Billy Linder, Silas Dunn, Manager Joe Medina, and assistant coaches John Dunn, John Linder and Lance Hellring
The Cubs beat the Indians in the Majors Division (age 11-13, Kid Pitch).
Champion Cubs: Brady Babin, Eli Slomovitz, Brody Minick, Jacob Poletto, Jason Benezra, Brandon Babin, Jeremy Bronstein, Matthias Sanchez, Benjamin Bronstein, Giovanni Sanchez, Manager Ronnie Bronstein, and coaches Brian Slomovitz, Joseph Benezra, Brian Babin, Jon Minick and Alex Poletto.
Miami Beach Little League
Pitchers Jonathan Sotolongo and Violet Mendez did a good job as the Miami Beach Little League Majors baseball team, coached by Miami Beach native David Gaynor, completed an undefeated season by beating the host Miami Shores Red Sox 13-8.
This marked the first season that Miami Beach had a Majors team (age 12-14) as part of the Miami Beach Youth Baseball partnership with Danny Berry Little League Baseball.
Jacob Gaynor led the team in RBI and runs. Also playing well were Jake Aleman, Harrison Delisle, Matthew Edelstein, Jonny Gaynor, Matthew Gaynor, Alejandro and Justin Peralta, Jonathan Volk, Lucio Sixto, and Joshua Epstein.
For the second time in her career, FIU senior first baseman Stephanie Texeira (Miami/Gulliver Prep) has been named to the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) All-South Region First Team.
A First-Team All-Conference USA infielder, Texeira is the first FIU Panther ever to earn all-region twice, after landing on the first team following her 2014 freshman campaign.
The Miami native led Conference USA with eight homers in league games only, and set a new personal record with 15 home runs for the season, tied for second-most in C-USA. FIU’s first of two C-USA Freshmen of the Year (2014), Texeira is only one of two players in the country currently with at least 50 runs, 50 RBI and 50 walks entering the NCAA Postseason. She led Conference USA with 52 RBI, a .548 on-base percentage and 50 walks, while fourth with 51 runs scored. She is the Conference USA all-time RBI leader (190) and is FIU’s career leader in batting average (.410), slugging (.768), on-base (.548), runs (159), home runs (47), walks (147) and putouts (1,161).
At the Conference USA Championships, Texeira had a home run, two doubles and a popout before being walked the rest of the week, drawing six walks for the tournament in three games, including all three plate appearances against LA Tech in the championship game. She was named to the All-Tournament team for her .750 batting average, .900 on-base mark and 2.000 slugging percentage during the championships. She hit four home runs in the last six games of the season and is red hot heading into her first NCAA Postseason.
FIU is an NCAA Division I affiliate.
Miami Country Day water polo
The Miami Country Day School boys’ varsity water polo team captured its third consecutive district championship and finished the season 19-8.
The Spartans defeated MAST Academy in the district semifinals and then beat Miami Beach in the championship game. Throughout the season they beat some tough teams such as Miami High, Miami Beach and Gulliver.
They were led by senior captain Jonathan Abramowitz, Zach Smith, Eric Bernstein, Sam Smith, and Sebastian Rodriguez. Senior goalie Christian Claramonte was terrific.
The Miami Country Day School girls’ varsity water polo team went 13-12, reaching the district semifinals.
Playing a very tough and demanding schedule, the Spartans beat Miami High and Miami Beach twice during the season. The girls were led by senior Amelia Gregorio who committed to play water polo at Whittier College next season. They were also led by standout goalie Gaby Palmisano, Patrizia Puppin, Isabella Stripling and Sofia Zamboli.
With a young squad, the Miami Country Day Middle School boys’ water polo team did a good job competing against some tough teams.
They were led by Riccardo Di Giuseppe and Ilan Zenatti who moved up to the varsity team for districts. Also contributing were Michael Bernstein, Stuart Browning and Jake Grossman.
Miami Dolphins Youth
The Miami Dolphins announced their Day 3 picks during Rounds 5 and 6 of the NFL Draft from the Baptist Health Training Facility at Nova Southeastern University in Davie.
The team’s Day 3 selections celebrated youth football in South Florida with several special guests. The announcements were made by Jaden Piner from the Academy Award-winning film Moonlight, Miami Dolphins alum and American Heritage High School Head Football Coach Patrick Surtain and Miami Dolphins alum Troy Drayton.
Moonlight cast member Jaden Piner announced the selection of fifth-round pick (164 overall) guard Isaac Asiata from Utah. Piner, 13, co-starred in the movie Moonlight that won the Academy Award for Best Picture. He played the young version of Chiron's friend Kevin and had the opportunity to walk the red carpet and attend the Oscars. Piner is a student at Norland Middle School in Miami Gardens and was joined by his cast members and drama teacher, Tanisha Cidel.
Accompanying Surtain for the announcement of fifth-round pick (178 overall) defensive tackle Davon Godchaux from LSU was Miami Carol City Senior High School running back and Dolphins High School Player of the Year Nayquan Wright as well as Dolphins Team Mom of the Year Marisella Readon from the Boca Braves of the Gold Coast Pop Warner League. These three announcers were recognized throughout the 2016 NFL season by the Miami Dolphins and the Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality (RISE) for their commitment to being leaders on and off the field.
Surtain was a second-round pick by the Dolphins in the 1998 NFL Draft and played seven seasons for the team (1998-2004). He was selected to three straight Pro Bowls (2002-04) and named All-Pro in 2002 and 2003. Surtain played in 108 games for the Dolphins and had 29 interceptions and 86 passes defensed. As a coach, he helped American Heritage win the FHSAA Class 5A state championship in 2016, defeating Ponte Verde 35-33. Surtain also received the Week 14 High School Coach of the Week award and was named by the Dolphins as the Broward County High School Coach of the Year.
Wright is a running back from Miami Carol City Senior High School and a member of the Chiefs’ 2016 Class 2A State Championship team. He received recognition as the Week 5 High School Player of the Week. Only a sophomore, Wright already has scholarship offers from Alabama, Miami, Notre Dame, Florida State and Georgia.
Readon was the Week 10 Team Mom of the Week award recipient. Readon has overcome tremendous adversity as she lost her son in early 2016, who would have been on the Tiny Mite team (7U), yet she still finds the time and energy to support her older son’s team. She is always there when you need her and the first to take the initiative and volunteer her time. Readon never misses a practice or game and is there, not only for her son, but for all the boys on the team. This year, her Jr. Pee Wee team had an influx of new players which meant new moms to the organization. She welcomed everyone with open arms and has made them feel like family. Recently, Readon was appointed to the Braves’ board as scholastic coordinator because of her commitment to the scholastic performance of her players.
Drayton, who currently serves as the Dolphins Youth Programs Manager announced sixth-round pick (194th overall) defensive tackle Vincent Taylor from Oklahoma State. Drayton was joined by the youth flag football team that represented the franchise at this year’s NFL Pro Bowl in Orlando The team is comprised of players who participated in the Dolphins Academy Summer Camps.
Drayton played tight end for the Dolphins from 1996-99 and appeared in 55 games with 53 starts. He caught 127 passes for 1,511 yards (11.9 avg.) and eight touchdowns. He was a second-round pick in the 1993 NFL Draft by the Los Angeles Rams and played eight NFL seasons with three different teams.
Kendall Hammocks football
The Kendall Hammocks Warriors has registration for tackle football players, age 5-9.
TACKLE REGISTRATION INFORMATION:
11 a.m.-3 p.m. June 3
Teams will close once the team roster limit is reached.
TACKLE REGISTRATION FEE: $190
Registration fee includes: rental of helmet, shoulder pads, game uniform, secondary insurance, participation awards, referee cost, county and optimist fees.
Free one day Rookie Camp for all new registered players.
All issued equipment is to be returned at end of season.
Kendall Hammocks is part of the Miami Xtreme Youth Football League.
Tackle season starts Wednesday July 5 from 6:30-8:30 p.m.
The Warriors 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 30 years.
The Suniland Sundevils Tackle Football Registration is every Tuesday and Thursday from 6-8 p.m. and Saturdays 11 a.m.-2 p.m. thru August at Suniland Park, 12855 S. Dixie Hwy., Village of Pinecrest.
Kids, age 5-13, are eligible. Fee $150 for the season. Suniland is a member of the Miami Xtreme Youth Tackle Football League.
The Suniland Sundevils are looking for experienced volunteer youth coaches.
For information contact Jose Regalado at 305-458-1966 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
More events, leagues, programs
Knights of Columbus
The Coral Gables Knights of Columbus Council 3274 will hold its Annual Gala Fundraiser on June 10 at the Knights of Columbus Hall, 270 Catalonia Ave., Coral Gables.
The Gala event will feature a tri-content culinary experience where attendees can enjoy delicacies from Asia, Europe and South America, including an open bar with premium liquors. The dining and entertainment experiences will include a Zenn Lounge with exotic drinks and dim sum; an Argentine Café featuring a parrillada and a live tango show in the Hall courtyard; and a Roma Trattoria offering familiar Italian dishes. Guests at the Gala are also invited to participate in a silent charity auction to acquire attractive items such as vacation getaways, hotel stays, dinner gift certificates, spa sessions, artwork and entertainment activities for the family and products for the home.
Another highlight of the event will be the presence of Guest of Honor Jim Larrañaga, head coach of the University of Miami basketball team. In his six seasons at The U, Larrañaga has led the Hurricanes to a trio of NCAA Tournament appearances, including two trips to the Sweet 16. They also won the 2013 ACC regular season and ACC Tournament titles. He has been named the AP, Naismith, USBWA and Henry Iba National Coach of the Year, twice was the ACC and USBWA District Coach of the Year and was the 2013 NABC District Coach of the Year.
Individual ticket price is $80 per person. Corporate sponsorships are also available for the following (tax deductible) donations: 2 persons - $500; 4 persons - $800; 6 persons - $1,050; 10 persons - $1,500. Corporate sponsors will be featured at the event and recognized on the Knights Council website.
Tickets may be obtained by contacting the Knights of Columbus in Coral Gables, 786-306-2126 or visit the Coral Gables Knights of Columbus website.
This major, once-a-year event is designed to raise general funding for all of the multiple charitable activities conducted by the Coral Gables Knights of Columbus for the entire year, including: Special Olympics -organize and help with soccer matches and skills competition in West Kendall Soccer Complex; Habitat for Humanity - Participating in various home building projects; Down Syndrome Walk - Coordination, logistics and food preparation; Support for humanitarian missions in Africa, Ecuador and Honduras; Provide fundraising support to feed the homeless in Miami; Turkey Drive - Distributing turkeys and canned goods to needy families; Christmas Toy Drive - Distributing toys to needy children; Redlands Migrants Christmas Party, Food and Toy Distribution; Dodge City Christmas Party for low income families; and Chili Cook Off supporting the United Way Mission United for Veterans.
Summer is just around the corner.
Do you have a budding artist or a child that loves to learn about nature or science? What about a basketball player or cheerleader?
No matter what your child's interests, the Miami-Dade County Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Department will put a smile on their face with their fun and exciting summer camp options, saying “We have a camp for that.”
Located at 42 parks throughout the County, Miami-Dade Parks Summer Camps will run from June 12 through Aug. 11 (select sites open through Aug. 19). The camps will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday and offer 7:30 a.m. early drop-off and 6 p.m. late pick-up options.
Unlike traditional day camps, parents can mix-and-match their preferred options; so their children experience a new adventure each week throughout the summer. There are camps for those who enjoy outdoor sports challenges, like golf and fishing, as well as nature-based camps with eco excursions, art camps and Learn-to-Swim lessons — the list goes on and on.
Summer Camps are also inclusive and managed by Miami-Dade Parks' Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialists.
Parents can now register their kid for most of Miami-Dade County Parks’ exciting Summer Camps online and at all hosting parks.
Families in need of financial assistance must register and apply for assistance in person at their selected park.
For more information, patrons are encouraged to visit the Miami-Dade Parks Summer Camps web page
http://www.miamidade.gov/parks/activities-summer-camps.asp, call their local park or call 3-1-1 for Miami-Dade County information.
“Miami-Dade Parks Summer Camps provide kids with active recreation experiences in the great outdoors that are designed to enrich their summer off from school experience. Utilizing our world-renowned parks and attractions, these camp provide a positive place to build friendships and enjoy fun, organized activities that help them discover and explore their interests, outdoor skills and the value of belonging to a community and becoming environmental stewards,” said Miami-Dade Parks Director George Navarrete.
Miami Gardens sports
The City of Miami Gardens presents new youth sports programs for boys and girls, age 5-17.
Bowling, Soccer, Tennis, Baseball, and Swimming.
Register at City Hall, Parks and Recreation Department, 18605 NW 27th Ave., Miami Gardens 33056.
For fees and info, call 305-622-8080.
Launch Trampoline Park
Launch Franchising, LLC. is pleased to announce a Launch Trampoline Park will be opening in Doral. The new park will be owned and operated by Jonas P. Roter and scheduled to begin construction later this spring.
Launch Trampoline Park was founded in 2012 by Rhode Island entrepreneur Robert Arnold and retired New England Patriot cornerback and three-time Super Bowl Champion Ty Law. Arnold embarked on the vision for Launch in 2011 after he visited his first trampoline park with his wife and kids. Seeing the combination of family, fun and fitness and using his knack for entrepreneurship, Launch came to life.
The parks provide kids of all ages with endless fun of whether it is bouncing on trampolines, playing dodgeball in mid-air or falling into a massive foam pit. Launch Doral will be available for birthday parties, fundraisers, fitness classes, toddler time, teen nights, private events and more! The park has a full-redemption arcade, Launch Restaurant and private party rooms. Additionally, Launch Trampoline Park has its own mascot – “Joey,” a 7-foot tall green kangaroo mascot – who is in charge of fun at the park, assisting with birthdays and special events.
“The Launch Doral franchisees are excited to bring family fun to the area and are ecstatic to be a part of the Launch team. We can’t wait for the community to enjoy all the fun and action that Launch has to offer,” stated Robert Arnold, president and co-owner of Launch Franchising, LLC.
About Launch Franchising
Ty Law and Robert Arnold are co-owners of Launch Franchising, LLC, with two corporate locations in Warwick, R.I. and Hartford, Conn., and franchise locations along the East Coast. The company is expanding its franchise nationwide and utilizing the strength of positive branding, turn-key operational systems and proven marketing programs as attractive benefits to potential franchisees. For additional information, visit
In observance of Older Americans Month, the Miami-Dade Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Department teamed up with the National Recreation and Parks Association to encourage Miami-Dade’s older adults who suffer from arthritis to make regular exercise a priority in their healthy-living routine and start enjoying the proven benefits.
According to the Arthritis Foundation, exercise is key to reducing joint pain and fatigue associated with arthritis and it can help to strengthen muscles, increase flexibility and boost mood and overall sense of well-being.
Starting May 1st, Miami-Dade Parks will kick off its new Arthritis Intervention Program, offering a trio of free leader-led activity classes, especially for arthritis patients:
•Walk With Ease - Walking group; meets three times a week, for six weeks.
•Arthritis Foundation Aquatic Program - Water exercise class; meets twice a week, for six weeks.
•Active Living Every Day - Personalized healthy-lifestyle planning; meets once per week, for 12 weeks.
Classes will occur at select Active Older Adults Recreation Hubs and pools. See class locations, schedules and full descriptions here. Must register in advance at class location selected.
For additional information, call Allan Tavss, Active Older Adults Program Coordinator at 786-372-9701 or visit the Miami-Dade Parks’ Rx4Health Program web page.
About Miami-Dade Parks
Miami-Dade Parks is the third largest county park system in the United States, consisting of 270 parks and 13,573 acres of land. It is one of the most unique park and recreation systems in the world and focused on Placemaking, Health and Fitness and Conservation and Stewardship. The non-profit Parks Foundation of Miami-Dade supports Miami-Dade Parks’ efforts to further develop Miami-Dade County’s world-class parks system for residents and visitors.
NBA 2K esports league
The Miami HEAT announced they will be one of 17 National Basketball Association franchises participating in the inaugural season of the NBA 2K esports league, set to debut in 2018.
Along with the HEAT, other participating organizations include:
Boston Celtics, Cleveland Cavaliers, Dallas Mavericks, Detroit Pistons, Golden State Warriors, Indiana Pacers, Memphis Grizzlies, Milwaukee Bucks, New York Knicks, Orlando Magic, Philadelphia 76ers, Portland Trail Blazers, Sacramento Kings, Toronto Raptors, Utah Jazz and Washington Wizards.
“This is the first step in what promises to be an extraordinary league, bringing together the world's best gamers and showcasing elite competition on an international stage,” said NBA 2K esports league Managing Director, Brendan Donohue. “Our teams have expressed tremendous enthusiasm for esports, and we are looking forward to forming something truly unique for basketball and gaming fans around the globe.”
In February 2017, the NBA and Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. (NASDAQ:TTWO) announced plans to launch a new, professional competitive gaming league that will bring together the best basketball gamers in the world. In the coming months, the league and its teams will make a variety of announcements related to participating players, league structure and business updates.
The NBA 2K league is the latest move in esports for the HEAT. In January 2017, the franchise announced a partnership with esports expansion team Misfits. The partnership calls for the HEAT to assist in all duties including marketing, branding, promotion, retail, digital and sponsorship activation while cross-promoting the two franchises. Misfits compete in League of Legends, Overwatch, Heroes of the Storm, Super Smash Brothers and Heatherstone: Heroes of Warcraft.
“We are thrilled to be working alongside 16 other NBA teams on this innovative esports league,” said The HEAT Group President of Business Operations, Eric Woolworth. “Given our unique integration into the esports community through our relationship with Misfits, we feel confident in our ability to reach Miami HEAT and Misfits fans alike, as we help create a new and exciting league from scratch.”
FC Miami Media Students
FC Miami City, Miami's official soccer team, and Miami Media School’s technology teams, resources, students, media and interest groups will feature collaboration and resource sharing. This will significantly enhance the coverage of soccer and the Premier Development League in Miami while providing students with access to unique sports media facilities.
The partnership is created in an effort to develop open sources for Miami Media School students and provide career experiences that will prepare students for sports media careers. Within six months, the students will learn how to write, produce and call games.
“Our goal at Miami Media School is to build a world-class sports media program” according to Nancy Rodriguez, CEO at Miami Media School. “Students in sports media are as likely to be applying for jobs with college athletic departments, professional franchises or entities like PDL, USL or MLS entities as they are with traditional media outlets, like local television stations and newspapers.”
FC Miami City GM Youri Vaisse said. “Helping to provide real-world opportunities for the many talented students of the Miami Media School is consistent with one of our top priorities. We cannot thank [Miami Media School CEO] Nancy Rodriguez and the Media School enough for helping make this historic and unique partnership possible.”
The opportunities offered to sports journalism students through the partnership will help students adjust to changes in the field. It will help to give students valuable experience in media areas that don’t fall under traditional journalism, and it’s a great fit alongside the wonderful student journalism opportunities already in Miami’s metro.
It will surely strengthen FC Miami City’s reputation as a national center for excellence in sports communication.
About Miami Media School
The Miami Media School is an American Private Institution that instructs students in all areas of the broadcast media industry. It is a comprehensive, hands-on program, where students are trained by broadcast media professionals currently working in the field.
The Media schools possess a unique mix of broadcasting leadership and experience, educational excellence then combines this with industry technology and equipment that effectively replicates what students and graduates will see when they enter the workforce. These tools and methods of training and educating our students solidifies the Media Schools position at the forefront of broadcasting education.
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 JrHRD.com
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 www.JrHRD.com for more information
Kendall Little League
Information on Danny Berry Baseball/Kendall Little League programs, go to http://www.dannyberry.com/.
Heads Up Football
Nineteen football leaders (including Miami Dolphins Senior Director of Youth development Twan Russell) have been selected to take a leading role within USA Football’s Heads Up Football program, promoting a better and safer game on youth and high school levels nationwide.
The new Master Trainers join more than 100 others to educate high school and youth football programs on Heads Up Football principles.
Represeting 15 states, the group of individuals – which includes youth, high school and college football coaches, as well as former NFL players – actively participated in a USA Football-led workshop earlier this year that educated them on the core fundamentals of the Heads Up Football program.
After completing the workshop, Master Trainers will instruct youth and high school coaches in their regions on Heads Up Football principles and teach youth league- and high school-appointed Player Safety Coaches, who will oversee their programs’ implementation of the highest national coaching standards for football.
“We’re proud to welcome the expertise our new Master Trainers bring to an already strong roster of knowledgeable, committed football experts who help us advance and grow the game alongside the youth and high school football community,” USA Football CEO and Executive Director Scott Hallenbeck said. “Master Trainers are leaders and educators, and work nationwide to implement important standards for parents, administrators, and coaches to ensure proper health and safety protocols are in place and to unify the approach to teaching football-specific techniques for the well-being of our athletes.”
Russell played football for St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Fort Lauderdale, the University of Maimi and the Miami Dolphins.
Created and administered by independent non-profit USA Football, Heads Up Football is a comprehensive way to teach and play the sport, encompassing coaching education, equipment fitting, shoulder tackling and blocking fundamentals, CDC-approved concussion recognition/response, sudden cardiac arrest protocols and heat preparedness/hydration. It’s supported by the American College of Sports Medicine, the National Athletic Trainers’ Association and the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine, among other leading associations spanning medicine and sport.
More than 2,200 high schools and nearly 75 percent of all U.S. youth leagues enrolled in Heads Up Football in 2016 for the betterment of student-athletes. The program is endorsed by a combined total of 32 state high school athletic associations and high school football coaches associations spanning 26 states. USA Football, a member of the U.S. Olympic Committee, is the sport’s national governing body and certifies more high school and youth coaches combined than any organization in the U.S
About USA Football
USA Football designs and delivers premier educational, developmental and competitive programs to advance and grow the sport. As the sport’s national governing body, member of the U.S. Olympic Committee and organizer of the U.S. National Team for international competition, USA Football partners with leaders in medicine, child advocacy and athletics to support positive football experiences for youth, high school and other amateur players. Follow USA Football on Facebook or on Twitter.
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; email@example.com
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 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:
The Miami Backgammon Club plays 7 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.
Free live play. Tournament entry fee $10.
Contact Leo at 305-669-5260 or Leo@MiamiBackgammon.com.
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)
Send nominations to recognize student athletes at Miami Marlins games
In an effort to recognize deserving South Florida youth baseball and softball players for doing well in school and displaying sportsmanship on the diamond, the two-time champion Miami Marlins have once again partnered with The Miami Herald to co-sponsor the Team Player spotlight on the Sunday Youth Sports pages in the Neighbors section of The Miami Herald in print and online.
Youth league coaches, team representatives, teachers, schools, friends or family members can nominate youth baseball or softball players, who display sportsmanship and good grades or academic improvements. Eligible nominees are from the recreational in-house league, travel league or school league (elementary school or middle school aged) from any season of the year.
Honored players – selected by random drawing – will be invited to a Marlins game where they will receive a certificate of achievement and a Marlins item during a recognition ceremony at Marlins Park.
There are three ceremonies - June 2, July 18, Aug. 15.
To nominate someone, e-mail Miami Herald Youth Sports Editor Jim Varsallone at
firstname.lastname@example.org or call 305-376-3621.