Youth Sports

American High School cheerleaders win nationals

The American Senior High School Patriots competition cheerleading squad entered and won four tournaments, before winning nationals. The champs are Lakeitha Brennen, Cristal Smith, Brittanie Johnson, Jenell Jenkins, Coach Arial Hethington, Toddra Martin, Nathalie Hervia, Tamia Climpson, Fransheska Morel, Nyia Johnson, Tomyia Clayton, Coach Kennisha Miller, Crystal Presume, Aryahna Abraham, Jabrielle Thomas, Amari Thomas, Kayla Williams, Kaniah Clark, Chelsea Clare, Kianna Robinson, Melanie Bailey, Diamond Weeks, and Ka'Tia Maycock.
The American Senior High School Patriots competition cheerleading squad entered and won four tournaments, before winning nationals. The champs are Lakeitha Brennen, Cristal Smith, Brittanie Johnson, Jenell Jenkins, Coach Arial Hethington, Toddra Martin, Nathalie Hervia, Tamia Climpson, Fransheska Morel, Nyia Johnson, Tomyia Clayton, Coach Kennisha Miller, Crystal Presume, Aryahna Abraham, Jabrielle Thomas, Amari Thomas, Kayla Williams, Kaniah Clark, Chelsea Clare, Kianna Robinson, Melanie Bailey, Diamond Weeks, and Ka'Tia Maycock.

The American Senior High School Patriots competition cheerleading squad won the Florida Cheer & Dance Asociation Grand National Championship in Orlando.

It’s been 12 years since AHS had a competition squad, let alone one that qualified for nationals.

Prior, this season’s competition squad went undefeated at 4-0, earning the titles of American Cheer & Dance Association Beach Bash Grand Slam Champions at Nova Southeastern University in Davie, FCDA Grand Champions for cheerleading division at Norland High School in Miami, US Championships Association Best Dance at Nova Southeastern University, and FCDA State Champions at St. Thomas University in Miami. They also finished first in their divisions.

The squad’s coaches, Kennisha ‘Coach K’ Miller and Ariel Hethington, are AHS cheerleading alum. They do an exceptional job with the young ladies -- promoting high scholastics, sportsmanship, sisterhood, leadership and school spirit.

Their history making team features 21 dedicated and talented young ladies in grades 9-12. Each member takes Honors/AP Honors courses and is involved in other extra-curricular activities. Some of the seniors have been accepted to the University of Florida, Howard University, Florida International University and more.

They are humbled to continue the AHS cheer legacy. The champions are Kaniah Clark, Amari Thomas, Cristal Smith, Nathalie Hervia, Crystal Presume, Diamond Weeks, Aryahna Abraham, Tamia Climpson, Brittianie Johnson, Kayla Williams, Lakeithia Brennen, Jabrielle Thomas, Nyia Johnson, Kianna Robinson, Jenell Jenkins, Toddra Martin, Chelsea Clare, Fransheska Morel, Melanie Bailey, Ka’Tia Maycock, and Tomyia Clayton.


Mike LaMonica is the fastest swimmer in the United States over age 40. By the way, he is 55.

So it’s no surprise that most days this longtime South Miami resident smells like chlorine.

“I train in the pool at least six times a week and three dry land workouts in the gym,” he said.

He is ranked No.1 in the nation in the US Masters 55-59 category for the 200-yard butterfly and No.1 in the nation in the 200-meter butterfly. He is on target to break the American record in the 200-yard butterfly and is now the second fastest man in the world in the 200-meter butterfly behind Hugo Bregman of The Netherlands. He is also ranked No.3 in the United States in the 100-yard butterfly.

LaMonica, who is coached by Derek J. Gelber, trains with the Gulliver Masters Swim Team in Pinecrest. He is in great training company at Gulliver where his teammate, Ricardo Valdivia, is ranked No.1 in the world in the 400-yard freestyle and 400 individual medley.

“These guys were already fast before I got a hold of them,” Gelber said. “They train at an extremely high level, and it shows in their results. Both are great example that you can be 50 and fast.”

To compete at this level, everything has to be done right. Water work, weights, stretching, nutrition, rest. LaMonica, who has a resting pulse in the 40’s, shows no signs of slowing down and has added training sessions at the newly reopened Gibson Park Pool in Overtown.

“I’m not sure what they think when this old guy shows up and is the fastest guy there,” LaMonica jokes. “But it’s all in good fun.”

While he has won hundreds of medals in his career, he is most fond of his most recent race, Swim Miami at Jungle Island, where he escorted Special Olympians in the 800 meter distance. The crowd went wild when his escort, Marcos Silvera, broke into butterfly as he headed for the finish.

“These kids inspire me,” LaMonica said. “To me, they are ranked No.1.”

South Beach Triathlon

Pennsylvanian Brian Duffy thought he was closing in on his second consecutive victory at the International distance of the South Beach Triathlon when the humid air from morning rain storms over South Florida got the best of him and Oscar Galindez, a 45-year-old Argentinian thriving in the conditions, went sprinting by him.

Galindez caught the 28-year-old Duffy three miles into the 6.1 mile running portion of the race and extended his lead by more than a minute by the time he reached the finish line in 1:55:04.

Lauren Woodring from Bethel Park, Pa. won the women's International race in 2:14:43. New Yorker Andrew Kalley (1:32:15) and Miamian Stephanie Reinhold (1:46:05) won the shorter Classic Distance races.

But the day’s real winners were the kids who will benefit from approximately $400,000 that was raised through the event for the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital which is leading the way the world understands, treats and defeats childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases.

The South Beach Triathlon has raised almost $2 million for the kids of St. Jude in the past nine years, helping to ensure families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food.

A lineup of sports and entertainment celebrities helped the triathlon make the significant impact for St. Jude. The celebrities included: Jason Collins - retired pro basketball player who played 13 seasons in NBA, most recently w/Nets; Parker Young - best known for Enlisted, Suburgatory, upcoming Family Fortune; Steven McQueen - best known for Chicago Fire, Vampire Diaries Bryan Greenberg - best known for One Tree Hill and October Road; Claire Holt - best known for The Vampire Diaries, Pretty Little Liars and Mean Girls 2; Scott Eastwood - best known for Gran Rotino, Fury, Invictus; Jennifer Fletcher - professional triathlete; Geoff Stults - best known for roles in The Finder and Enlisted, also regular roles in 7th Heaven, October Road and Happy Town.

With a backdrop of the Atlantic Ocean and Miami Beach's Art Deco district, a field of 2,500 athletes started the grueling race produced and presented by Life Time - The Healthy Way of Life Company. They began with a salt-water swim (0.93 miles for International competitors and 0.5 miles for Classic) in the Atlantic waters off Ocean Drive. A bike ride across the MacArthur and Julia Tuttle Causeways (24.25 miles / 20.7 miles) into downtown Miami was next, and the event culminated with a run (6.2 miles / 4 miles) through South Beach and a celebration on the sand.

Reinhold, a 31-year-old Jupiter native who now lives in Coconut Grove and is a member of the Alien Racing Team, won the women's Classic race for the first time in five attempts after finishing second last year.

“I felt a lot better running the race,” Reinhold said. “Last year was a lot hotter, so the weather helped and the No. 1 thing is having my teammates out there.”

Reinhold started later than others on the classic course, but as she passed teammates, they would cheer her on.

As opposed to last year, she ramped up her training for the race and studied who the top competitors were. She knew who she needed to pass and counted off the red bibs as she went along, passing the last one during the run.

“It's amazing how far you can go,” Reinhold said. “I didn't start off doing triathlons with any kind of athletic background. It's something that you achieve for yourself.”

Emily Wareham and her friends, Laura Moye, Colette Stern, traveled from Asheville, N.C. to Miami to celebrate their 40th birthdays and literally stumbled into the triathlon.

“We couldn’t pass up the opportunity to do a tri [even] without our gear or bikes,” Wareham said via email. “So we registered, bought the least expensive helmets we could find -- youth sizes we can hand down to our children -- and rented 24 hours worth of time on the Citi Bikes 20 yards from the registration table.”

With those obstacles and more, they still completed the Classic course (0.5-mile swim, 20.7-mile bike, 4-mile run).

“The whole process was an absolute blast,” Wareham said. “We truly loved the amazing support we received from the volunteers, fans and other athletes. I never thought I would complete a triathlon without months of planning, training and hundreds of dollars worth of equipment. [Miami] made the experience amazing. Thank you Miami, Lifetime Fitness and Citi Bike for making this birthday trip one to remember.”

The South Beach Triathlon was the first of the 11-race Life Time Tri Series scheduled across the country through October to provide premier triathlon experiences in beautiful destinations. Miami will also play host to the Mack Cycle Escape to Miami Triathlon on Sept. 25.

For information and updates on the Life Time Tri series, visit, "Like" the Life Time Tri Facebook page or follow @lifetimetri on Twitter. More information about Life Time Athletic Events is available at, on Twitter @lifetimefitness and the Life Time Athletic Events Facebook page.




Palmer Trinity volleyball

Palmer Trinity School junior volleyball player Ashley Quero was presented with a Copa Dorada (Golden Cup Award) for being an Outstanding Hispanic High School Athlete at the Premios Copa Dorada at the InterContinental Hotel in Doral.

She was also honored with this year’s People’s Choice Award, having received more than 3,000 votes as the county’s Most Popular Athlete.

“We are so proud of Ashley for having been recognized as the talented and dedicated student athlete that she is. She serves as a great example to her fellow students,” said Patrick Roberts, Palmer Trinity, Head of School.

Premios Copa Dorada is a sports awards luncheon created to honor the top Hispanic athletes in Miami-Dade County. This community-focused event, established in 1988, recognizes talented locals for their athletic achievements. Among the nominees are various levels of competitors from youth leagues to professional athletes, featured in categories including: Youth, High School, College, and Pros.

About Palmer Trinity School:

Palmer Trinity School—a coeducational, Episcopal day school—is dedicated to promoting academic excellence that integrates knowledge, compassion, global citizenship, and social responsibility. Providing a supportive environment, Palmer Trinity School serves students from a broad range of socio-economic, ethnic, and religious backgrounds in grades 6-12. For information about the school, visit To follow Palmer Trinity School on Facebook, click here.

Belen lacrosse

The Belen Jesuit School boys’ varsity lacrosse team won its first district championship by defeating Columbus 16-8.

The champs are Danny Tunon, Gabriel Garcia, Brian Pascual, Alejandro Gonzalez, Oscar Ortega, Mathew Salas, Luis Corps, Nick Arias, Daniel Martinez, Daniel Dager, Richie Perez, Luke Hernandez, Diego Rivera, Danny Hondal, Ted Huertas, Patrick Arean, Johnny Powell, Carlos Rodriguez, Adrian Rey, Raphael Perez-Blanco, Joshua Lara, Ricardo Mayo, Robert Fernandez, Carlos Romero, Lucas Verdeja, Ignacio Lopez-Castro, Deiter Prussing, Rogelio Consuegra, Eloy Fernandez, Nicolas Smith, Nicholas Perez-Blanco, Joseph Cruz, Maurice Milton, and Andres Poveda.

The head coach is Alan Bellando, and the assistant coaches are Christopher Baiocco, Angel Diaz, Joseph Bellando and Roger Lara.

St. Brendan lacrosse

St. Brendan High School senior Carlos Clavijo, a midfield and attack player on the boys’ lacrosse team, became Florida’s record holder for goals in a high school season.

Clavijo finished with 110 goals in 17 matches, averaging 6.5 goals a game. Against North Broward Prep, he scored 12 goals, his highest of the season.

St. Brendan Coach Doug Shanahan said: “Scoring 110 goals is an amazing accomplishment in just his second year of playing lacrosse.”

Miami Country Day sports

Miami Country Day School: Middle School Female Athlete of the Week: Yakira Wardlaw (tennis) advanced to the semifinals of No.2 singles and semifinals of No.2 doubles in the South Florida Middle School Championships.

Middle School Male Athlete of the Week: Daniel Tzalik (tennis) advanced to the finals of No.5 singles and semifinals of No.2 doubles in the South Florida Middle School Championships.

Upper School Male Athlete of the Week: Jorden Gross (baseball) threw a complete game against Hialeah Educational Academy, allowing eight hits and striking out four.

FIU softball

The Florida International University softball team defeated host Florida Gulf Coast 3-1 in Fort Myers. Junior first baseman Stephanie Texeira (Gulliver Prep) doubled for the first hit of the game for FIU and scored for a 1-0 lead in the fourth.

The Panthers added two runs in the fifth. Junior second baseman Ashley Leon (Gulliver Prep) walked and scored, and Texeira added an RBI single in the frame.

FIU improved to 25-24.

Broward College baseball

Broward College sophomore Orlando Rodriguez (Coral Gables H.S.) was named NJCAA Region 8 Pitcher of the Week. Rodriguez pitched a complete game to help the host Seahawks defeat Miami Dade College 4-0. The right-hander fired a two-hitter and struck out 10 to record his fourth victory of the season.

Nova Southeastern athletics

The Nova Southeastern University Athletic Department held its annual Athletics Banquet, commemorating the 2015-16 season and commending student-athletes for their academic and athletic prowess in a ceremony at the Don Taft University Center in Davie.

The Senior Speech was presented by volleyball player Caitlin Donahue, a graduate of Southwest Miami Senior High School. She is majoring in Exercise & Sports Science with a minor in Psychology.

More events, leagues, programs

5K Walk/Run

The PFC Bruce W. Carter Young Marines of Miami Dade is hosting its first 5k Walk/Run in honor of the Medal of Honor recipient who sacrificed his life fighting in Vietnam. The event is May 7 at the Village of Virginia Gardens Pavilion, 6500 NW 38 Ter.

Raised in Virginia Gardens, PFC Carter was a native Floridian, who diligently served his country.

Previously known as the Young Marines of Miami-Dade County, the unit was proud to have adopted the name PFC Bruce W. Carter Young Marines of Miami Dade because the legacy of this fine young man has inspired many boys and girls to pursue a life of dignity, respect and leadership. Though he left us too soon, PFC Carter’s life has stood as a testament to his courage and fortitude.

Community service is an integral part of the PFC Bruce W. Carter Young Marines ofMiami Dade unit’s day-in and day-out activities. As a 501 (3) c, non-profit organization, making this 5k Walk/Run possible is yet another testament of how these kids work conscientiously to remind others how important it is to give back to their community, while choosing a life of service and loyalty.

As a fundraiser, the 5k Walk/Run will help support the PFC Bruce C. Carter Young Marines of Miami Dade’s mission and also provide scholarships and leadership school opportunities for the unit.

The PFC Bruce C. Carter Young Marines of Miami Dade 5k Walk/Run will run on the very street named after PFC Carter, which is a great way to involve the Virginia Gardens community in something positive.

Sponsorship opportunities are available by calling Lisbeth Colon at 305-607-3030. Volunteers can contact Zenith Gordillo at 305-606-4011. For information about the program visit or log on directly to the Facebook Page

Orange Bowl Paddle

The sixth annual Windhaven Insurance Orange Bowl Paddle Championship benefiting Big Brothers Big Sisters of Miami is Saturday, May 7 at the Miami Marine Stadium Flexpark, 3601 Rickenbacker Causeway.

The Windhaven Insurance Orange Bowl Paddle Championship is one of the largest Stand Up Paddle events on the East Coast. The Championship welcomes paddle boarders of all levels from around the world to the waters of Biscayne Bay.

The event will feature several races throughout the day. The Elite Race presented by Adventure Sports follows a challenging 8.13 mile course rounding historic Virginia Key. Elite Course paddle boarders will compete for cash and prizes totaling $4,000.

The Recreational Race is a 2.5 mile family-friendly loop in protected waters on the southwest side of the key.

The Corporate Challenge, presented by Blue World Paddle, features a relay race complete with a short paddle course and finishing on land. Last year, 24 teams from various South Florida businesses fielded four-person teams. Previous paddling experience is not required for the Corporate Challenge, which is a fun and exciting way to join co-workers in an introduction to paddle boarding.

There will also be a Sprint Race presented by JP Australia, which is a 100-yard timed race.

Milla Navarro, a 17 year-old competitive SUP professional among the nation’s best, will lead a youth paddle clinic. The Miami native will teach children of all ages the basics of paddle boarding, as well as additional water activities for the entire family. Big Brothers Big Sisters of Miami, as well as Special Olympics Florida – in association with TD Bank – will be participating in the day’s activities.

The Windhaven Insurance Orange Bowl Paddle Championship is a charity-driven event with a focus on children and community. All funds raised by the event will go to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Miami to fund mentorship activities in the area. Since the inception of the championship, the event has raised approximately $140,000 for the South Florida community.

Registration begins at 7:30 a.m., and the first race (Elite) will start at 9 a.m.

To pre-register and save $10 on the Elite Race and $15 on the Recreational Race, go to

To register your business for the Corporate Challenge, call 305-341-4745 or email

The continued success of the Orange Bowl Paddle Championship in supporting Big Brothers Big Sisters Miami is in large credit due to title sponsor Windhaven Insurance, as well as associate event sponsors Corona Light, Panera Bread, TD Bank, Wizard Creations, Adventure Sports, BOTE, Blue World Paddle, Fanatic, JP Australia, Riviera Paddlesurf and The Kite Shop.

About the Orange Bowl

The Orange Bowl is a 360-member, primarily-volunteer non-profit sports organization that promotes and serves the South Florida community. The Orange Bowl features a year-round schedule of events culminating with the Capital One Orange Bowl on December 30, 2016.

Other Orange Bowl core events and programs include the MetroPCS Orange Bowl Basketball Classic, Orange Bowl Youth Football Alliance presented by Sports Authority, Orange Bowl Drive for Excellence Girls Golf Program, Orange Bowl International Tennis Championships, Orange Bowl International Youth Regatta, Orange Bowl Swim Classic and Orange Bowl Paddle Championship.

For information on the 2016-17 Orange Bowl events and programs, including promotional and volunteer opportunities through the Ambassador Program presented by Panera Bread, log on to

Follow Orange Bowl: @OrangeBowl

Facebook and Instagram.


The Ultimate Tennis Flex League will be growing into Miami in September.

“We have partnered with the owners of the Broward County Flex League to expand flex leagues to all of South Florida in 2016,” said organizer Scot Nunn. “On May 1, the Broward Flex League will switch to Ultimate Tennis, and we will further expand service to Miami and Palm Beach later this Fall. South Florida will be divided into three separate league markets.”

The Broward County/Fort Lauderdale deadlines are May 20 for men’s and women’s singles and men’s 50+ singles, July 1 for men’s and women’s doubles and mixed doubles, and all Southeast Florida leagues will have the same deadlines for fall leagues.

Flex leagues are specially designed to meet the demands of today’s busy lifestyle by providing competitive match play for those with limited playing time. The leagues are popular with working people or anyone that would like to join a tennis league but can’t commit to the same schedule each week or weekend league play. Flex leagues match players of equal skill levels into local playing divisions using a convenient flexible match scheduling system. Seasons consist of 5-7 matches, and top players in each division may continue playing for city championships.

In addition, provides players with state-of-the-art online tools to efficiently manage their season. Players can review match results, scout opponents, follow friends, report scores, and access playoff draws all with the click of a mouse.

For info, including discounts for USTA members, go to

Kendall cheer, football

The Kendall Hammocks Warriors Tackle program announces the registrations dates and times for the 2016 Football & Cheerleading season.

Tackle season starts 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 5.


All potential players must be present during the registration process.

MAY 6 and 20: 6:30-8:30 p.m.; MAY 21: 11 a.m.-3 p.m.; JUNE 4: 11 a.m.-3 p.m.


Registration fee includes: Home Game Jersey that players keep at end of the season, secondary Insurance, participation awards, referee cost and the rental of helmet, shoulder pads, game pants. All issued equipment is to be returned at end of season. Also includes NFL Stephen Tulloch Football Camp and Free Rookie Camp for all new players,



Registration fee break down: $185 initial deposit includes Practice T-shirt, shorts, Game Day socks, hair bow, cheer brief, shoes, secondary Insurance, and participation awards .

The remaining $200 includes for the competition: body liner, shoes, socks, warm up, cheer bag, uniform rental and all competition fees.


MAY 6 and 20: 6:30-8:30 p.m.; MAY 21: 11 a.m.-3 p.m.; JUNE 4: 11 a.m.-3 p.m.

Requirements to play tackle football and cheer for The Kendall Hammocks Warriors.

• 1.) Current Color Photo (2x2 face picture-passport size)

• 2.) Copy of Birth Certificate

• 3.) Current 2016 Physical

• 4.) Copy of 2016 final Report Card (with the four grading periods)

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

For added information email Football Commissioner Mike Pintado at and for Cheerleadingemail our Cheer Commissioner Meylin Castro at or visit the web site at

The Warriors Football program is under the Optimist Club of Kendall Hammocks and is an all volunteer organization, serving our community in sports for more than 29 years.

Suniland flag football

Sundevils Invitational Flag Football Two-Day Tournaments are May 14-15, May 28-29, June 11-12.

Divisions are 8U-5on5-$100 per team; 12U-7on7-$125 per team; 15U-7on7-$125 per team.

Registration is 6:30-8 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays from now-June 9 at Suniland Park, 12855 S. Dixie Hwy., Village of Pinecrest

Contact Ken Hannah 786-606-4404,, or Alfred Dallas 305-310-5611.

Sunshine State Games

Get into the 2016 Olympic Games spirit by competing in one of more than 25 Sunshine State Games sports between now and November. The 37th annual Sunshine State Games are Florida’s own Olympic-style Sports Festival.

The Games continue May 13-15 when Figure Skating and Rugby are contested in Broward County. Online registration is now open for both sports of the Broward Spring Festival and all other sports of the Games at and more information is available by email at or calling toll-free 866-354-2637.

The Broward County Spring Festival begins a plethora of SSG activity with six of the next seven weekends featuring amateur sports competitions through June 25.

Two multi-sport festivals will be in Manatee and Sarasota counties the weekend of June 11-12 and Palm Beach County June 18-19.

Two sports that returned to SSG action in 2015 (BMX Cycling and Boxing) are back for 2016, and Baton Twirling debuts in 2016 as part of a Fall Festival in Vero Beach, along with Lacrosse. Beach Ultimate returns in 2016 as part of a Beach Festival in Clearwater in September, featuring Beach Tennis and other sports.

The Sunshine State Games are an annual program presented by the Florida Sports Foundation, in conjunction with local sports commissions.

For more information visit, email or call toll-free 866-354-2637. Follow the Sunshine State Games on Facebook

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

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.

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

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

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

Gifts in Golf

PGA Certified Pro Philip Argianas, program director of GIG-Gifts In Golf, is proud to bring his expertise to special people with special needs to Coral Gables.

GIG programing -- like Golfing with Autism and Kids Swing Into Golf -- enrich the quality of life for families in the community.

Coach Phil said in a release: “Our fun programing impacts kids by teaching them life skills while providing physical and mental training through learning the game of golf.”

For information about registration including schedules and release forms, go to GIG’s website

To volunteer or for any other questions on the Autism and Down syndrome golf programs, call Coach Phil at 888-909-5709, check the website and Facebook page for updates.

GIG was founded in 2009 and has been serving several communities in Miami-Dade County. The organization provides fun instruction and mentoring while empowering special people with special needs. Integrating families and community, it provides all the benefits that golfing delivers with a focus on a person’s ability.

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


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

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The NFHS Network ( 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

or on Twitter @USAFootball

NFL Football Matters

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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






The international sport Footgolf is being introduced to the South Miami-Dade community at Killian Greens Golf Club, 9980 SW 104th St.

Footgolf (18 holes) can be played in two hours and is a great source of exercise for those who enjoy kicking a soccer ball. Times are available everyday of the week after 4:30 p.m. to players of all skill levels, families and groups. Balls are available for rent for $5 to those who do not already own one.

Killian Greens is an accredited Footgolf course with the American Footgolf League. Call 305-271-0917.


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

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

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

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

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

Tennis classes, programs

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

Physically Challenged

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

Submit info to Sports Scene

Sports Scene spotlights news and notes from youth sports activities in your neighborhood. The aim is to feature game notes and the accomplishments of athletes from Miami-Dade County.

We rely on the directors and coaches of each league, as well as community members, parents and schools to submit information. We accept photos but ask that everyone pictured be identified with a first and last name and the name of the team or park they represent.


Youth sports online

For more area sports photos, go to

YouTube youth sports and more

YouTube at the Jim Varsallone (the jimmyv3 channel)

Be honored for academics, sportsmanship at Miami Marlins game

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 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, 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.

To nominate someone, e-mail Miami Herald Youth Sports Editor Jim Varsallone at or call 305-376-3621.