Youth Sports

Miami’s RYAN Football wins two NFL national titles

Representing the Carolina Panthers, RYAN Football of Miami won the NFL Flag Football Championship, powered by USA Football, in the 13-14 Boys’ Division in San Francisco. Pictured with Oakland Raiders LB/Super Bowl MVP Malcolm Smith, the champs are front from left, AJ Garcia, Kelvin Durham, Khoby Rouviere, Nico Casares, Dylan Dylewski; back, Coach Daniel Pettihome, Keshawn Washington, Sean Moore, Jalen Sloan, Jamari Brown, Smith, Jaheim Jerry, and Coach Rudy Fernandez.
Representing the Carolina Panthers, RYAN Football of Miami won the NFL Flag Football Championship, powered by USA Football, in the 13-14 Boys’ Division in San Francisco. Pictured with Oakland Raiders LB/Super Bowl MVP Malcolm Smith, the champs are front from left, AJ Garcia, Kelvin Durham, Khoby Rouviere, Nico Casares, Dylan Dylewski; back, Coach Daniel Pettihome, Keshawn Washington, Sean Moore, Jalen Sloan, Jamari Brown, Smith, Jaheim Jerry, and Coach Rudy Fernandez. @nflflag

Two Miami teams won titles during the NFL Flag Football Championships, powered by USA Football, in San Francisco.

RYAN Football of Miami won its third consecutive NFL Flag Football Championship with a 7-0 victory over YYFFL from Youngstown, Ohio. Representing the Jacksonville Jaguars, the RYAN Football team competed in the 9-10 Coed Division.

Going 4-2 in the tournament, they were led by captains Jonjon Delgado, Christian Sosa and Nicholas Sosa.

The champs also feature are Jocob Henry Albert, Jorge Caleb Cascudo, Kevin Andres Cascudo, Stanquan Daron Clark, Keyone Jenkins, Kiran Ramese Joyner, Jose Luis Leon Jr., and Coach Johan Betancourt.

Miami’s RYAN Football, representing the Carolina Panthers, also won a championship by finishing first in the 13-14 Boys’ Division.

Led led by captains Nico Casares and Koby Rouviere, RYAN Football went 5-1 including beating Manzella’s Steelers from Kenner, La., 20-7 in the finals. Receiver Sean Moore had seven catches with two touchdowns against the Steelers, and rusher Jalen Sloan pressed the opposing quarterback throughout the tournament.

This team has been playing together seven years, and for half of the players, it marked their final chance to win a national title.

The champs also feature Jamari Bernard Brown, Kelvin Durham, Dylan Dylewski, Adrian Garcia, Jahiem Jerry, Keshawn Washington, and Coach Ryan Fernandez.

Four divisions (9-10 coed, 11-12 coed, 13-14 boys, 13-14 girls), eight teams in each, crowned champions during the annual culmination of the country’s premiere youth flag football program.

Teams qualified for the national championships by winning regional tournaments hosted by USA Football in eight NFL club markets. Regional tournaments were hosted by the Arizona Cardinals, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints, New York Jets, Oakland Raiders and Washington Redskins.

The 32 teams participating in the NFL FLAG Championships wore jerseys representing the NFL’s 32 clubs. Of those 32 teams (from 14 states), six were from Miami.

In 2015, more than 300,000 boys and girls ages 5-17 were part of NFL FLAG powered by USA Football, a fun and dynamic non-contact football experience for kids to enjoy the sport’s fun and fitness while developing skills in an exciting team-centered atmosphere.

Coral Reef cheer

Coral Reef High School won two major titles during the National High School Cheerleading and Dance Team Championships, winning the Large Varsity Hip Hop and Large Varsity Jazz divisions at the Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista.

This year’s National High School Cheerleading Championship and National Dance Team Championships, produced by the Universal Cheerleaders Association and the Universal Dance Association, recently hosted more than 18,000 of the country’s top high school cheerleaders and dancers during two weekend events. This year’s number of participating athletes increased by nearly ten percent.

These groups have spent months on the sidelines cheering on their high school sporting teams, and all the hours of diligence and preparation were highlighted on the famous competition floor. The two events showcased nearly 5,400 dancers from 345 teams and nearly 13,000 cheerleaders from 667 teams.

Cheerleading teams are judged on their stunting and tumbling skills, crowd-leading abilities and overall performance, while the dance competition is judged on choreography, technique, execution and overall effect. Teams competing in the championship had to qualify at a regional event or camp in order to participate.

Varsity Spirit will be posting segments of each performance on

www.varsity.com so fans can watch their favorite teams. The competitions will also air on ESPNU and ESPN2 starting in March and will continue through mid-April. Viewers can check their local listings for air times.

St. Brendan cheer

The St. Brendan High School varsity cheer team won the state title in the Class 1A Extra Large Varsity Division of the FHSAA Competitive Cheerleading Championships at the Sun Dome at the University of South Florida in Tampa.

It marks the first FHSAA state title won by a Miami-Dade school in competitve cheerleading.

The champion Sabres are Lourdes Diez, Valentina Espinoza, Gabrielle Ureta, Amanda Morejon, Elizabeth Rubio, Ashley Fernandez, Mattie Ortiz, Cassie Cortes, Carolina Iglesias, Diana Ortega, Isabella Codinach, Meagan Nasco, Katia Sierra, Amanda Azan, Zeleen Ondriezek, Jessica Moreno, Veronica Garcia, Katiya Pedrouzo, Madison Perez, Cristina Perez, Ana Fernandez, Natasha Codinach, Angela Cabrera, Melanie Regueyra, Daniella Caballero, Samantha Ordieres, and Katherine Hrach.

The coaches are Cecilia Espinosa, Daniel Hernandez, Victoria Salazar, and Arlenee Suarez.

Tropical 5K

Miami Beach’s Bryan Huberty has run 27 marathons, 80 half marathons and more than 55 5K races since he took up racing nine years ago. But the 37-year-old was still giddy on the morning after running a personal-best 15:48.32 to defend his title in the Tropical 5K, the annual warm-up for the Miami Marathon and Half Marathon.

“I had really fresh legs for this race,” said Huberty, who sheared 12 seconds off his former best time (16:00.00) and 40 seconds off his 16:28.36 winning time from 2015. “You need a 5:09 average to break 16 minutes. I was doing the math the whole time in my head since no one was with me. I took 12 seconds off my personal best.

“I’m not a 5K runner; I’m a marathoner. I do the 5K twice a year, and I did this one last year and won it. I love running out here.”

The 7:30 a.m. race drew 2,400 runners on a clear but windy 61-degree morning that provided ideal conditions. It didn't hurt that the 25 mph gusts served as a tailwind for much of the point-to-point race that began at the Miami Children's Museum east of Watson Island and ended on the Southern tip of Miami Beach with several cruise ships in port providing a picturesque backdrop.

Strong winds also helped account for a personal best for Dean Frankel, 26, also of Miami Beach. Huberty’s sometimes training partner finished second in 16:42.28.

“It was perfect running conditions where we had tailwinds for most of the race,” said Frankel, a marketing analyst for emerging technologies who focuses on batteries. “The wind definitely helped.”

Huberty is training to run his sixth Boston Marathon in April.

“I love the Miami Marathon weekend,” said the ultra-hyper Huberty.

Out-of-towners from the snow belt were the top finishers in the women's division with collegian Tricia Serres of Division III Luther College (Iowa) running away with first place in 18:34.39.

In town on a three-week physical therapy internship at the Debbie School on Miami Beach, Serres is a 1,500-meter track and field national champion.

“I wanted to run a race while I was in Florida, and this was a fun way to do one,” said Serres, a Wisconsin native. “It was windy but a good day to run hard. I didn't know what the field was like, so I just went out to see if I could compete or be pushed along to run fast.”

Sayaka Tiessen, 28, of Toronto, Canada, who arrived the day before for a week-long stay with her triathlon club (19:25.35), finished second. The 28-year-old shared the lead with Serres for a short time.

“I saw her pass me within the first or second kilometer,” said Tiessen, a physiotherapist on her first trip to Miami. “She looked like a gazelle. I said to myself that I just needed to run my own race and stick to my game plan, and it paid off. This is a great race and a beautiful course.”

Other local top finishers: Men: 10. Brian Solis, Miami, 18:29.1; 16. Serge Coudert, Miami; 19:22.9; 17. Brandon Reed, Miami Beach, 19:39.6; 20. Lucas Pineiro, Miami Beach, 19:58.3.

Women: 5. Stella Shalem, Miami Beach, 20:18.7; 6. Fabiola Morales, Miami, 20:33.3; 13. Tracy Jurgus, Miami, 22:59.9; 21. Ivelissa Aparicio, Miami, 24:02.2; 22. Desiree Lavin, Miami, 24:04.2; 23. Gabriella Chacin, Miami, 24:23.6.

Boosterthon Fun Run

More than 1,000 students ran in the Boosterthon Fun Run at Aventura City of Excellence School. The Boosterthon Fun Run was the culminating event of the nine-day Boosterthon program themed Big World Recess, where students learned character through sports in other cultures.

During the nine days, students at Aventura City of Excellence School experienced up-close how sports bring people together. Documentary-style videos taught students how to develop teamwork, curiosity, practice, humility, confidence and endurance through the every day stories of six kid-athletes from around the world.

From the hard work of the students and the community, Aventura City of Excellence School will profit more than $20,000 from the nine-day fundraiser at the school. The funds raised by the students will be used to improve technology and beautify the campus.

Pace soccer

Juliette Dubon, a senior soccer player for Monsignor Edward Pace High School, signed her Letter of Intent to compete for NCAA Division I Campbell University in Buies Creek, N.C.

A special signing ceremony was inside the Spartan Center. Wearing a Campbell University jersey, Dubon was surrounded by family, friends, coaches, and teammates as she was praised for her hard work on and off the field. A star player for the Pace girls’ varsity soccer team, she says she chose Campbell University after visiting the campus.

“I love the coaches, the teammates, the staff, and the campus,” she said. “Everything is beautiful there.”

Miami Country Day sports

Miami Country Day School: Middle School Male Athlete of the Week: Milledge Cossu (varsity tennis) won his No.1 singles match against Westminster Christian.

Upper School Female Athlete of the Week: Samantha Provenzano (basketball) combined for 29 points, 10 assists, 7 rebounds, and 7 steals in regional wins against Somerset Central Miramar Academy and Archbishop Curley.

Upper School Male Athlete of the Week: Mick Lynott (basketball) led the Spartans to the district championship with a combined 45 points, 20 rebounds, 9 assists, and 8 steals in wins against Archbishop Curley and SLAM Academy.

Archbishop Curley sports

Coach Greg Magner, the athletic director at Archbishop Curley Notre Dame Prep, named junior Sarisha Wiggins the Female Athlete of the Week. Wiggins scored 22 points with 12 steals to lead the Knights basketball team over David Posnack Jewish Day School 55-20 in a Class 3A region quarterfinal.

Suniland Sports Camp

The Suniland Sundevils Sports Conditioning Camp is now-May 29 at Suniland Park, 12855 S. Dixie Hwy.

The fee is $75 for boys and girls, age 5-15. That Includes:T-shirt, awards and secondary insurance.

Registration open 6-8 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays.

For information, contact Jose Regalado 305-458-1966 or josearegalado@att.net.

More events, leagues, programs

Kendall Hammocks NFL flag football

The Kendall Hammocks NFL Flag Football program announces the registrations dates and times for the upcoming season.

Registration is open to boys and girls, age 5-16. Can not turn 17 in 2016. Copy of birth certificate is requested for age verification only during the registration process.

No weight requirements for Flag. Teams are based by age only. Regular season is 12 games with season running April 25-June 25.

Fee includes NFL Flag Jersey, flag belts, secondary insurance, participation trophy and referee cost.

Registration: March 4 (6:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m.); March 19 (11 a.m.-3 p.m.).

Tryouts and draft will be Sunday, April 17.

Registrations, practices and games are at Devonaire Park, 10411 SW 122 Ave., Kendall.

Discounted rates for head coaches.

Email khnflflagfootball@aol.com, khwfootball@aol.com

Visit www.khwarriors.org

or www.khwarriors.org/kendallhammocks

The NFL Flag football program is under the Optimist Club of Kendall Hammocks and is an all volunteer organization, serving the community in sports for more than 28 years.

Gridiron Cooking Challenge

The Dairy Council of Florida is hosting its third annual Gridiron Cooking Challenge, a fun-filled food competition for elementary and middle school students throughout Florida.

The initiative is created and supported by the Florida Dairy Farmers and is part of Fuel Up to Play 60, an in-school nutrition and physical activity program launched by the National Dairy Council and NFL to help encourage today’s youth to lead healthier lives.

Elementary and middle school students in groups of four are encouraged to create and submit an original recipe that features dairy products, such as milk, cheese and yogurt. The deadline for submissions is Feb. 29.

The top four student teams in each Florida NFL market – represented by the Miami Dolphins, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Jacksonville Jaguars – will compete for the grand prize at the Gridiron Cooking Challenge as they create their recipe on-site in under 60 minutes. The students’ creations will be judged by a select group of distinguished professionals including NFL players, local celebrity chefs, Florida Dairy Farmers and Fuel Up to Play 60 student ambassadors.

The winning team in each NFL market will receive a prize pack for their school valued at up to $2,500. Each student on the team will receive an iPad mini 2, among other prizes.

“The Gridiron Cooking Challenge was developed to highlight the health benefits of dairy products and to emphasize the importance of an active lifestyle,” said Vanessa Hodak, VP School Health & Wellness for the Dairy Council of Florida. “Each year, we look forward to reviewing the recipes submitted and interacting with the students during the competitions in Miami, Tampa and Jacksonville.”

Recipe entry forms can be found on the Florida Dairy Farmers website and can be submitted via mail or email.

For more information, visit

www.floridamilk.com

Tennis

The Miami Junior Team Tennis League is running until mid-March.

The league will feature divisions for boys and girls, age 6-18, at all skill levels. Registration is now open, and kids are encouraged to sign up as soon as possible.

Junior Team Tennis leagues have kids playing on compatible teams of similar age and ability, with new formats introduced in 2016 for greater flexibility and more fun. USTA Florida is expecting to have more than 2,500 children participating in leagues this year in local and regional events throughout the state.

Younger participants will receive credits and ranking points applied to the 10 and Under Youth Tennis Tournament Pathway in Florida.

“I am excited to start a new Junior Team Tennis season in the Miami area,” said USTA Florida Tennis Program Coordinator for the Miami-Dade area Cathy Nordlund. “It is a great opportunity for kids to have fun with their friends and meet new ones on the tennis courts.”

To find out more information about Junior Team Tennis, levels of play and details, visit

www.ustaflorida.com/JTT. Additional information is also available at the USTA national JTT page at

www.usta.com/JTT.

Israel Tennis Center

It was 1976 - the U.S. Bicentennial - a hugely momentous occasion in the United States. In Israel, 1976 was also the year of another extraordinary event - the launch of what has become the largest social service organization for children in Israel.

The Israel Tennis Centers.

On April 25, 1976, the first ITC center opened its doors to the children of Israel in Ramat Hasharon. Forty years later, the ITC has positively impacted over a half million Israeli children with programs designed to help them reach their full potential in life.

“When we opened our first center 40 years ago no one could have dreamed how much our work has transformed the lives of so many Israeli children,” said ITC Founder Bill Lippy. “And to see how the organization has grown from a single center to 14 locations strategically built in underprivileged communities throughout Israel is gratifying beyond belief.”

In recognition of this enormous accomplishment, the Israel Tennis Centers Foundation is planning a yearlong celebration in both Israel and the Diaspora calling attention to what the ITC continues to accomplish for the 20,000+ children and their families who utilize the centers each year.

The activities will be fully covered on the ITC website (www.israeltenniscenters.org), including a unique look at a group of ITC alums whose experiences and teachings at the centers as children helped them become accomplished and successful adults. The first of these stories can be viewed in a special sub-section entitled “Great Achievers” under the “What We Do” tab on the home page.

The celebration will culminate with the ITC’s 40th Anniversary Journey to Berlin and Israel from Nov. 1-13.

An exhibition will be 3 p.m. Feb. 28 in Coconut Grove.

http://www.israeltenniscenters.org/40th-anniversary-journey/

A diverse team of Israeli players and coaches representing various Israel Tennis Centers will be flying to the United States to share their personal stories about what the ITC has meant to them, their families and the communities in which they live.

This is especially timely right now as part of Israel continues to be terrorized by attacks on its citizens. The ITC represents a safe and nurturing environment in which these children can learn vital life values while sharpening their tennis skills.

The focus of the ITC is on changing 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 as seen in its highly successful Coexistence Program.

The Israeli players include Daniella, a 12-year-old Ukrainian immigrant who came to Israel last year with her father to escape persecution. The ITC has become a ‘second home’, helping her become acclimated to Israeli society. Joining Daniella will be a 10-year-old Arab Israeli boy from Jerusalem whose life is an inspiration to everyone he meets. Also marking this very special exhibition series will be an appearance in several cities by legendary Israel Davis Cup team member and former Grand Slam winner Andy Ram.

Miracle Games

The ninth annual Miracle Games 3 on 3 Basketball Tournament is 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 27 at the Miami Palmetto Senior High School Gym, 7460 SW 188th St., Pinecrest, 33156..

A tournament for high school student aged teens, the event is open to individuals, pairs or teams of three. Individuals and pairs will be placed onto three player teams prior to the start of the event. Admission $15 per player.

Proceeds got to the Miami Transplant Institute, affiliated with the Miller School of Medicine at the University of Miami in Coral Gables.

The Miracle Games debuted nine years ago by high school students who saw the need to raise awareness on the importance of organ donation. Since then, more than $30,000 has been raised in support of the Transplant community. The MTI is strongly committed to advancing the understanding and effective treatment of transplant related issues.

Community service hour provided to players and volunteers.

For information email miraclegamesbasketball@gmail.com or contact Matthew Hellinger 305-322-9282 or Jonathan Roth 305-951-1919.

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.

Miami-Dade County Fair sports

The Miami-Dade County Youth Fair and Exposition has released the schedule for its 2016 winter-spring middle school sports invitational meets.

The middle school golf and tennis invitational meets will occur at various locations throughout Miami-Dade County in April.

Students competing in the tournaments must be officially enrolled in the school they are representing. If a school is not represented at a Youth Fair sports activity, parents may enter their children with written approval from the school principal.

Golf - Briar Bay Golf Course: Wednesday, April 6 at 10 a.m.

Tennis - Tropical Tennis Center: Saturday, April 9 at 8:30 a.m.

Visit fairexpo.com

http://www.thefair.me/thefair/index.php

or call 305-223-7060.

Miami-Dade Fair sports

The Miami-Dade County Youth Fair and Exposition has released the schedule for its 2016 winter-spring middle school sports invitational meets.

The middle school golf and tennis tournaments are in April. All events will occur at various locations throughout Miami-Dade County.

The Middle School Golf Invitational is 10 a.m. Wednesday, April 6 at the Briar Bay Golf Course, 9373 SW 134th St., in Miami. The nine-hole tournament will accept a four-player team or a maximum of four individuals.

Matches for the 2016 tennis invitational begin at 8:30 a.m. Saturday, April 9 at the Tropical Tennis Center, 7900 SW 40 St., in Miami. Team entries must include one boys’ team and one girls’ team for singles competition, one co-ed doubles team, one girls’ doubles team and one boys’ doubles team. Individual competitors are permitted to enter in one event only.

Students competing in the Miami-Dade County Youth Fair and Exposition sports program must be officially enrolled in the school they are representing. If a school is not represented at a Youth Fair sports activity, parents may enter their children with written approval from the school principal.

Participants must complete a school certified field trip form and be accompanied by a school coach or a school approved chaperone. All Miami-Dade County Youth Fair activities within the department of athletics will be held in accordance with the official rules of the National Federation of State High School Association, Florida High School Activities Association and G.M.A.C. All events are open to students in grades 6-8. Middle school students who participate on high school teams are not allowed to participate in these events.

The Youth Fair and the Miami-Dade County Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Department work together to promote a year-round athletic program. Annually, there are more than 6,000 public and private school students who participate in the various sporting events: swimming and diving, cross country, tennis, track, golf, bowling, wrestling and badminton. The events are open to middle and high school students.

The Miami-Dade County Youth Fair & Exposition (The Youth Fair) is the largest charity event in South Florida. The not-for-profit association is dedicated to promoting education and agriculture while showcasing and rewarding youth achievement and providing quality family entertainment, all without taxpayer dollars.

The annual Youth Fair exhibits more than 53,000 student projects to more than 650,000 Youth Fair guests and awards more than $300,000 annually in college scholarships, cash premiums and awards to students. To date, The Youth Fair has presented well above $10 million to the Miami-Dade community. It was recognized in 2015 as the Leisure & Entertainment Services Firm of the Year by the Latin Builder's Association, the Non-Profit Organization of the Year by the South Florida Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and was the Diamond Award Winner for Outstanding Hospitality Entity by the Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce.

The Fair Exposition Center, which is the second largest convention center in Miami-Dade County, hosts an additional 70 community events each year.

Visit fairexpo.com

http://www.thefair.me/thefair/index.php

or call 305-223-7060.

Panthers hockey clinics

The Florida Panthers announced as part of promoting youth hockey in South Florida, they are holding “Try Hockey for Free” clinics in Broward, Palm Beach and Miami-Dade counties.

Try Hockey for Free clinics are at the Florida Panthers IceDen (Broward County), Palm Beach Skate Zone and Palm Beach Ice Works (Palm Beach County) and Kendall Ice Arena (Miami-Dade County). Boys and girls, age 4-9, are encouraged to learn the game of hockey for the first time free of charge. All equipment including skates will be provided.

To register for one of the clinics or for information, visit

FloridaPanthers.com/TryHockey.

The schedule includes:

Kendall Ice Arena, 10355 Hammocks Blvd., Miami, 33196.

March 6: Noon-2 p.m. March 13: Noon-1 p.m. March 20: Noon-1 p.m. March 26: 1-2 p.m. April 10: Noon-1 p.m.

SSAC sports

The Sunshine State Athletic Conference, a multiple sport athletic organization made up of 35 private and charter schools created in 2008, announced that two additional sporting opportunities are being introduced for the 2016-17 school year.

SSAC currently offers four sports, including football and basketball at the middle and high school levels, but in keeping with its pledge to student-athletes and their families, the conference will grow to offer a second football classification and the formation of girls’ beach volleyball.

The second football classification of a Developmental Football League, debuting next fall, will provide member schools that are starting, growing or rebuilding programs with a competitive, but level, playing field in which to compete. This will not replace nor negate the highly successful championship Florida Bowl Series but will instead compliment all football programs and schools in the SSAC. The only criteria for schools to participate in the new Developmental Football League is for teams to have less than 23 players, and the championship Florida Bowl Series will be open to them, if they desire to participate.

The second addition to SSAC athletics is an exciting opportunity that perfectly captures the spirit of Florida’s athletic environment. Starting in spring of 2017, the SSAC will debut girls’ beach volleyball. This up-and-coming sport is quickly spreading around the nation and will undoubtedly be a natural fit for Florida student-athletes. This addition will help build exposure and opportunity for female student-athletes and will add value to SSAC’s independent athletic conference.

“Including girls’ beach volleyball was a decision that just made sense; it only requires a few players and we are blessed with an abundance of sun and sand,” said Stuart Weiss, president of Sunshine State Athletics Conference. “We believe that by adding these two new opportunities for Florida high schools, we are continuing to provide more choice and control to our partner schools addressing the need for a level playing field in high school athletics.”

Visit the SSAC website at

www.sunshinestateathletics.com.

NCSAA academics honors

The NSCAA annually recognizes high school soccer programs that have excelled in the classroom, in addition to their work on the field.

Three hundred and eight nine soccer teams (243 girls, 146 boys) from throughout the United States have earned the NSCAA Team Academic Award for exemplary performance in the classroom as a team during the 2014-15 academic year.

To qualify for the award, the team must have a minimum grade point average of 3.25 for the entire academic year. The team GPA is determined by adding every player's GPA, then dividing by the number of players.

For information about the National Soccer Coaches Association of America, visit

NSCAA.com.

FIU baseball

The FIU baseball program announced that former Major League pitcher and current Detroit Tigers color commentator Jack Morris will serve as the featured speaker at the annual Diamond Dinner on Saturday, Feb. 6 at the Graham Center Ballroom.

Morris -- who played for the Tigers, Minnesota Twins, Toronto Blue Jays and Cleveland Indians -- was a five-time all-star and four-time World Series Champion during his 18-year career.

Tickets to the Diamond Dinner cost $120 for an individual and $1,200 for a table of 10.

For information on the Diamond Dinner, contact Carla Garcia by email at garciacm@fiu.edu or phone at 305-348-7297.

Fans can follow the Panthers on Twitter (@FIUBaseball) and become a fan on Facebook (Facebook.com/FIUBaseball) for all the latest FIU Baseball news. Follow all of FIU's 18 athletic teams on Twitter (@FIUAthletics), Facebook (Facebook.com/FIUSports), YouTube (FIUPanthers), and Instagram (FIUathletics).

Marlins golf

Join new Miami Marlins manager Don Mattingly and 2003 World Series Champion Jack McKeon at the third annual Jack McKeon Celebrity Golf Classic on Wednesday, Feb. 17 at Crandon Golf at Key Biscayne.

Enjoy a day on the links with your favorite Marlins players, coaches and alumni. Guests will participate in a variety of hole contests, a silent auction, enjoy various food and cocktail stations, and win great prizes throughout the day.

Learn more at:

MarlinsGolf

Proceeds from the third annual Jack McKeon Celebrity Golf Classic will benefit the Marlins Foundation.

Pitch, Hit & Run

Scotts Major League Baseball Pitch Hit & Run is a free, exciting skills event providing boys and girls the opportunity to compete in four levels of competition including Team Championship events at all 30 Major League ballparks and the National Finals at the MLB All-Star Game.

To host a local competition for your community and be involved in the official skills competition of Major League Baseball, go to

https://secure.mlb.com/mlb/kids/mlb_pitch_hit_run_form.jsp

North Miami Beach baseball

North Miami Beach Little League is a sound organization run by volunteers to help keep children off the streets and on the fields.

Registration is open for boys and girls, age 4-14. Scholarships are available.

For information go to www.NMBLL.org.

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

http://giftsingolf.org/schedules-and-forms/

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.

Tennis

Florida continues a new era of tennis development for tournament players, age 10 and younger, with the introduction of the USTA Florida 10 and Under Tennis Youth Tournament Pathway, a graduated development path with established benchmarks at each level to guide parents and coaches through junior tennis.

From beginning “red ball” play on 36-foot courts, youth progress through “orange ball” and “green ball” at various tournament levels before graduating to full-court “yellow ball” tennis. Each level contains appropriate kids-sized racquets, balls and court sizes, along with participation or achievement benchmarks to progress between age groups or tournament levels.

The Pathway contains a “Grandfather Clause” for players that turn age 11 during 2015 who currently have the skill set to play full-court yellow ball tournaments.

The USTA Florida 10 and Under Tennis Youth Tournament Pathway roll-out is in partnership with the USPTA-Florida Division (United States Professional Teaching Association) and PTR (Professional Tennis Registry), the two largest tennis teaching professional certifying organizations in the U.S.

The USTA Florida 10 and Under Tennis Youth Tournament Pathway was also developed with solicited input from coaches and parents throughout Florida.

The red, orange and green ball levels correspond on the USTA Florida 10 and Under Tennis Youth Tournament Pathway with tournaments beginning at Level 9 (beginner) up to the start of advanced tournaments at Level 6 and higher.

The USTA Florida 10 and Under Tennis Youth Tournament Pathway was recently implemented in Florida tournaments.

For information on the Pathway, go to www.USTAFlorida.com/10UPathway

Tennis

USTA Florida and the USTA Florida Section Foundation announced a landmark three-way agreement with Special Olympics Florida to provide more tennis playing opportunities to athletes in Florida.

The formal agreement builds on the existing support that USTA Florida and its charitable arm have provided to local Special Olympics programs by offering free 10 and Under Tennis workshops, grants and other resources to providers that offer tennis programs to Special Olympics athletes.

Likewise, Special Olympics Florida will encourage their athletes to participate in USTA Florida programs and events.

To get a program started, Special Olympics coaches may apply for a USTA Florida Section Foundation equipment grant for adaptive tennis equipment and other program needs by contacting Jessica Flynn at Special Olympics Florida.

For additional training opportunities and training resources, contact Linda Curtis at the USTA Florida Section Foundation at www.USTAFloridaFoundation.com.

Tennis classes, programs

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

Team Moms

Olive Garden and the NFHS Network, the nation’s leading high school sports media company, are teaming up to recognize Team Moms and the high school athletes they support. This partnership includes the launch of GoTeamMoms.com, which will serve as a resource and destination to recognize Team Moms.

Team Moms volunteer to assist coaches and often lead team communications, fundraising, travel coordination and more. The website will feature Team Mom’s Best-Kept Secrets and game day highlights from high schools around the nation. In addition, coaches, athletes, family members and the community are invited to contribute shout-outs or photos of their favorite Team Mom using #GoTeamMoms on Twitter and Instagram to be featured on the website.

“The goal of the NFHS Network is to serve and support both the athletes and their fans,” said Christopher Young, senior vice president of sales for the NFHS Network. “There’s no bigger fan than a Team Mom and no better partner for the NFHS Network than Olive Garden, which resonates so deeply with our audience and shares our same commitment to families and the local community.”

To further assist Team Moms, each Olive Garden restaurant in the U.S. will be paired with a local high school to support through two national fundraising nights and Olive Garden VIP Passes that give teams access to exclusive discounts. With dining options that include ToGo and catering, Olive Garden is often the choice for feeding an entire team.

"Our restaurants are excited to support their hometown high schools and give back to their communities," said Jose Duenas, executive vice president of marketing for Olive Garden. “This partnership allows us to thank Team Moms nationwide as well as give families and teams chances to connect over meals and create memories during the busy sports season.”

Visit GoTeamMoms.com to view photos, videos and Team Mom tips and tricks. Visit NFHSNetwork.com for live streaming of high school events.

ABOUT OLIVE GARDEN

Olive Garden is the leading restaurant in the Italian dining segment with more than 800 restaurants, more than 96,000 employees and more than $3.8 billion in annual sales. Olive Garden is a division of Darden Restaurants, Inc., (NYSE: DRI), which owns and operates more than 1,500 restaurants that generate over $6.8 billion in annual sales.

Headquartered in Orlando, and employing more than 150,000 people, Darden is recognized for a culture that rewards caring for and responding to people. Olive Garden is committed to making a difference in the lives of others in the local community. As part of this commitment, Olive Garden restaurants have donated more than 33 million pounds of food to local community food banks across the country. For more information, visit www.olivegarden.com.

Connect with us on Facebook.com/OliveGarden, Twitter.com/OliveGarden and Instagram.com/OliveGarden.

ABOUT THE NFHS NETWORK

The NFHS Network (www.nfhsnetwork.com) captures the passion, pride, and energy of the high school experience by delivering live high school sports and events to family members and fans whenever they want, wherever they are.

The NFHS Network celebrates and showcases the unique accomplishments of high schools students, including the student-athletes participating in 27 different sporting events and the student broadcasters from schools around the country that produce events through the School Broadcast Program. The NFHS Network also broadcasts state playoff and championship events in 46 states.

The NFHS Network is a joint venture among the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS), its member state associations and PlayOn! Sports. The NFHS is located in Indianapolis, Indiana and is the national leadership organization for high school sports and performing arts activities. PlayOn! Sports is based in Atlanta, Georgia and is the nation’s largest high school sports media company.

Follow the NFHS Network on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram at @NFHSnetwork for the latest news and event information.

Heads Up Football

USA Football’s Heads Up Football program for high schools and youth organizations will include sudden cardiac arrest protocols andHeads Up Blocking fundamentals.

Both topics are now included in USA Football’s Level 1 coaching education course and its high school certification course.

USA Football is the national governing body of the sport and educates more high school and youth football coaches combined than any organization in the United States.

USA Football’s Heads Up Football program is supported by more than two dozen medical and football partners.

“Coaches should be prepared to respond to a life-threatening emergency if needed,” said Dr. Jonathan Drezner, past president of the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine and a member of USA Football’s Medical Advisory Committee.

“With prompt recognition, early CPR and use of an AED, sudden cardiac arrest is largely a survivable event if treated quickly. USA Football is committed to the safety of young athletes, and I am proud that a sudden cardiac arrest training module is being added to the Heads Up Football program. The module provides coaches the information they need to be prepared for sudden cardiac arrest.”

“Blocking is one of football’s basic skills that every player needs to be taught,” said Jeff Saturday, a former NFL All-Pro center and ESPN analyst. Saturday is a member of USA Football’s Football Advisory Committee.

“USA Football’s Heads Up Blocking technique helps coaches teach this fundamental – properly engaging with a defender, driving with the legs and maintaining the correct body position for effective and safer play. This is how blocking should be taught.”

Heads Up Football is a comprehensive collection of resources and medically approved protocols to establish important standards rooted in education to change behavior for the better.

In addition to sudden cardiac arrest and Heads Up Blocking, the program covers concussion awareness and recognition, heat and hydration protocols, proper tackling fundamentals and equipment fitting. More than 5,500 youth leagues and 750 high schools in 2014 participated in the program this past fall, benefiting nearly 1-million players.

Follow USA Football at www.facebook.com/usafootball

or on Twitter @USAFootball

NFL Football Matters

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Visit www.footballfoundation.org.

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

Twitter https://twitter.com/NFFNetwork

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

Footgolf

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.

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.

Email sportsscene@MiamiHerald.com.

Youth sports online

For more area sports photos, go to

www.miamiherald.com/sports/youth/miami-dade

YouTube youth sports and more

YouTube at the Jim Varsallone (the jimmyv3 channel)

www.youtube.com/user/jvarsallone/videos

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