Youth Sports

Highland Oaks track & field teams excel at Miami-Dade Middle School Championships

The Highland Oaks Middle School varsity girls’ track & field team capped off an undefeated season by winning the Miami-Dade Middle School Championship at Ferguson Sr. High School. The champs are front from left, Kyara Walters, Amaya Strange, Jadae Barrett; back, Kayla Castor, Naomi Taylor, Vashti Claybrook, Jadae Joseph, Tekiyah Lyttle, and Coach Matt Tomlinson.
The Highland Oaks Middle School varsity girls’ track & field team capped off an undefeated season by winning the Miami-Dade Middle School Championship at Ferguson Sr. High School. The champs are front from left, Kyara Walters, Amaya Strange, Jadae Barrett; back, Kayla Castor, Naomi Taylor, Vashti Claybrook, Jadae Joseph, Tekiyah Lyttle, and Coach Matt Tomlinson.

In the most exciting day in the history of Highland Oaks Middle School track & field, three of its four teams won county titles during the Miami-Dade Middle School Championships at Ferguson Sr. High School.

The Highland Oaks JV girls repeated as county champions, defeating 18 teams. The Panthers outscored their nearest competitor, Palmetto Middle, 122-61. Highland Oaks’ Paris Baker won the meet’s Outstanding Female Competitor Award, after finishing first in the 100, 200 and 400. Jada Joseph won the high jump and the long jump and was runner-up in the 100. Brook Couri repeated as triple jump champion.

Anissa-Lespinase-Casimir took fourth in the 800 and 1,600. Khamani McMullen placed fourth in the 400. Destiny Desrivieres was fifth in the 800, and Aniyah Brown was seventh in the discus. The girls swept the 3,200, 1,600 and 400 meter relays. McMullen, Saint Louis, Desrivieres, Baker were on the winning 1,600 unit and Joseph, Couri, McMullen, Annika Grosfeld on the first place 400 group. The 3,200 relay (Jada Saint-Louis, Brianna Easy, Desrivieres, Lespinase-Casimir) set a county record at 11:09.

The Highland Oaks varsity girls topped 15 teams to win the county championship and cap off an undefeated season for the Panthers’ JV and varsity girls. Ammons Middle led by half a point entering the final event, the 1,600 relay. Jadae Joseph, Amaya Strange, Jadae Barrett, and Captain Vashti Claybrook won that relay over Ammons to clinch the team title.

Claybrook led the varsity squad by winning the 400, placing third in the 100 and taking fifth in the 200. Joseph won the triple jump and was third in long jump. Barrett placed third in the 800 and fourth in the discus. Amaya Strange finished third in the 400 and seventh in the 200. The 400 relay (Strange, Naomi Taylor, Kyara Walters, Joseph) was second, and Tekiya Lyttle placed fourth and Kayla Castor seventh, respectively, in the shot put.

The Highland Oaks JV boys bested 15 teams to become county champs. Gaethan Bernadel led the way by winning the discus and placing third in the shot put. Cawa Fernandes was third in the long jump and fourth in the 200. Bradley Mesa finished third in the high jump. Maleek Saint-Louis was fourth in the 1,600.

Braxton Lee and Jeremiah Rivera took sixth and eighth, respectively, in the triple jump. The boys took second in the 400 relay (Mesa, Jason Pifferrer, Saint-Louis, Fernandes), third in the 1,600 relay (Zachary Henry, Lee, Fernandes, Saint-Louis) and fifth in the 3,200 relay (Henry, Rivera, Lee, Saint-Louis).

The Highland Oaks varsity boys team, despite having only six competitors, finished a respectable sixth of 19 teams. Ezekiel Figueoroa was second in the shot put and Giovanni Davis third in the discus. Kemoni Brown placed fourth in the triple jump and fifth in the 400. The 1,600 relay (Deandre Richards, Julian Davis, Giovanny Davis, Brown) was fifth.

Ponce de Leon track

The Ponce de Leon Middle School boys’ varsity track team won the Miami-Dade Middle School Championship Qualifier at Ferguson High School.

The Ponce boys’ JV track team was runner up in its division, and the Ponce girls’ JV and varsity teams each finished in the Top 5 of 21 schools.

Dolphins Cancer Challenge

The Miami Dolphins had another successful Dolphins Cancer Challenge.

The sixth edition of this annual community endeavor boasted more than 3,300 cancer fighters who biked, ran, walked, volunteered and donated with a goal to tackle cancer. The event culminated with a Concert Celebration presented by Pepsi at the stadium on the Hard Rock Stage by Grammy Award winners Sheryl Crow and Melissa Etheridge.

“The Dolphins Cancer Challenge is about everyone working together to fight cancer,” Miami Dolphins President & CEO and DCC VI Chair Tom Garfinkel said. “One hundred percent of participant fundraising goes directly to Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center for essential cancer research that changes lives.”

Participants in 2016 had the option of six bike routes, the 5k run/walk and attending the Concert Celebration presented by Pepsi. The DCC continues to solidify its position as the largest event fundraiser in the NFL.

Participants included Grand Marshals and Dolphins Executive Vice President of Football Operations Mike Tannenbaum and Head Coach Adam Gase, as well as Dolphins players and alum such as Dan Marino, Nat Moore, Dick Anderson, A.J. Duhe, Kim Bokamper, Chris Conlin, John Offerdahl, Mark Duper, Michael Thomas and Ndamukong Suh.

“We are tremendously grateful to everyone who participated in the Dolphins Cancer Challenge,” Sylvester Director Stephen D. Nimer, M.D. said. “We are so excited the community has embraced and supported this remarkable event to raise critical funds for cancer research at Sylvester. Finding new treatments and cures for cancer is a challenging task and every dollar makes a difference in helping us to develop more pinpoint diagnostic tests and targeted treatments.”

The Dolphins Cancer Challenge will donate 100 percent of the participant-raised funds to innovative cancer research at Sylvester. Funds are still being collected through March 31. As the DCC’s beneficiary, the University of Miami had a team of more than 800 participants which included Head Football Coach Mark Richt to kick off the Hurricanes Hundred loop.

For the first time, the DCC ended with a Concert Celebration presented by Pepsi at the AutoNation Finish Line with artists Sheryl Crow and Melissa Etheridge performing in front of more than 5,000.

“It was an honor to play in front of thousands of cancer fighters today,” Grammy-Award winner Sheryl Crow said. “The electric atmosphere at the stadium, surrounded by people all united for one cause – what an amazing day.”

The Dolphins Cancer Challenge will continue raising funds for cancer research with its inaugural DCC Celebrity Golf Tournament hosted by Turnberry Isle Resort & Golf Club on April 4. Co-Chaired by Don Soffer and James Caan, the tournament will offer cancer fighters a chance to golf and interact with athletes and other celebrity guests. One hundred percent of the funds raised from the golf tournament will benefit Sylvester.

For more information,

visit www.DolphinsCancerChallenge.com.

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 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.

St. Brendan lacrosse

Entering its second season, the St. Brendan High School lacrosse team welcomes the challenge of competing against some with of the top teams.

According to Head Coach Doug Shanahan, “Our goal is simple. There are six teams in our district vying for four possible spots. We want to find a way to be in the top four.”

With a full year of playing club and last year’s season behind them, Shanahan has seen tremendous growth in his players. With an influx of new players, the goal will be to develop team communication and structure practices so that everyone can advance their skills and knowledge together as a team.

The team recently participated in The Pope Cup. This was a great experience for the young men to build rapport with one another before the regular season. It was also an opportunity for Shanahan to analyze his team.

Pace wrestling

Monsignor Edward Pace High School senior wrestler Alex Perez became the first wrestler in Pace history to win four district championships after his victory in the 138-pound weight class during the FHSAA District 15-1A Championships at Jackson High School.

In 2015, Perez was a regional champion and placed fourth at state.

Miami Country Day sports

Miami Country Day: Middle School Female Athlete of the Week: Maria Salazar (tennis) won No.1 singles matches in team victories against Riviera Prep and Westminster Christian.

Middle School Male Athlete of the Week: Jack Finvarb (lacrosse) combined for 4 goals and 2 assists in games against Belen.

Upper School Female Athlete of the Week: Kelsey Marshall (basketball) led the Spartans to their third consecutive FHSAA State Championship by 20 points in the finals against Jacksonville-University Christian.

Upper School Male Athlete of the Week: Jonathan Abramowitz (water polo) combined for 20 goals, 10 assists and 15 steals in matches against Mast Academy, Cooper City, University School, Spanish River, and Lake Brantley.

Westwood Christian sports

Westwood Christian School named sophomore James Ametepe its Player of the Month. He is a second year starter on the boys’ varsity basketball team where he averaged 14 points and eight rebounds per game. Carrying a 3.8 GPA, James is in his second year at Westwood after moving from Ghana, Africa.

FIU softball

A pair of three-run homers from junior Stephanie Texeira (Gulliver Prep), including a walk-off in the bottom of the sixth, highlighted FIU’s 10-1 win in six innings over visiting Central Connecticut State during the Felsberg Invitational at the FIU Softball Stadium.

A walk to senior Ashley Leon (Gulliver Prep) opened FIU’s bottom half of the first. She stole second and later scored on a two-out single to left center from senior center fielder Gabby Spallone (Palmetto HS) to start the onslaught.

Texeira finished with three hits and six RBI. Leon scored three times.

North Miami baseball

North Miami Little League Baseball registration is open to boys and girls, age 4-14. The program provides the youth a safe structured environment to learn and enjoy the game. Contact Lucas Bailey 786-266-2738 or Brian Jinks 786-999-9130.

Miami Midnites basketball

The Miami Midnites held off the Daytona Beach Sharks 115-103 to earn their 18th victory of the ABA season.

Miami’s Miguel Paul hit a big 3-pointer with 4:44 left in regulation to put the Midnites up 96-90, after the Sharks nearly erased a 19-point deficit in the second half. Four Midnites players scored in double-figures, led by power forward Antonio Hester, who had a game-high 31 points, 13 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 steals, followed by Paul’s 26 points (7-of-19 from 3-point range), 6 assists, 5 rebounds and 5 steals.

Shooting guard Kevin Thomas added 23 points and 7 assists, and guard Amir Celestin chipped in 18 points and 5 assists after returning to Miami from Maccabi Haifa in Israel to bolster the Midnites roster for their playoff run.

The Midnites (19-3) also beat the Daytona Beach Sharks 131-118. George Gray had 40 points and 5 steals. Hester scored 25 points with 9 rebounds, and Keion Palmer totaled 19 points, 13 rebounds and 6 blocks.

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 Junior Tennis Cup

Youth tennis players, age 8-12, are invited to register for the Miami Junior Tennis Cup.

The prestigious youth tennis tournament is an opportunity for intermediate and advance level players living in Miami-Dade County to realize their dream to play at the world-famous “Miami Open” professional tennis tournament at the Crandon Park Tennis Center on Key Biscayne.

The first two rounds will be March 19 and 20 at the Tamiami Park Tennis Center, 11201 SW 24th St., Miami. The winners of the first round qualifiers will compete in the semifinals and finals, April 1 and 2, at the Miami Open.

Registration is open until March 16. Entry cost is $48.88 per player. Register online at PlayMiami.org

http://www.miamidade.gov/youthsports/.

For more information, the public can contact Chris Evans at 850-384-9033 or ChrisEv@MiamiDade.gov.

The Miami Junior Tennis Cup is sponsored by the Youth Sports Championship Series, an initiative created by Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez that aims to increase participation in youth athletics for kids ages 14 and under. As a father, grandfather and lifetime advocate of the long-term health benefits of regular exercise for children, Mayor Gimenez knows first-hand the esteemed values developed from continuous involvement in athletics.

“The Miami Junior Tennis Cup provides kids who love tennis with an extra incentive to compete and play their very best,” said Mayor Gimenez. “Thanks to Miami-Dade Parks’ long-standing partnership with USTA Florida, youth tennis is flourishing in our community. Through a sport like tennis, kids have fun staying active, improve their self-esteem and important life skills, such as good sportsmanship, fair play and respect for one another.”

For information about the Youth Sports Championship series, visit

http://www.miamidade.gov/youthsports/about-us.asp

For information about USTA Florida, visit

https://www.ustaflorida.com/

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

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.

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.

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

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

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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