Youth Sports

Tennis standout Culbertson makes history for Riviera Prep School

Senior Sara Culbertson made history by becoming Riviera Preparatory School’s first state champ by winning at No.1 singles during the 2016 FHSAA Class 1A State Tennis Championship in Orlando.
Senior Sara Culbertson made history by becoming Riviera Preparatory School’s first state champ by winning at No.1 singles during the 2016 FHSAA Class 1A State Tennis Championship in Orlando.

Senior Sara Culbertson posted a dominant 6-1, 6-1 victory in the No.1 singles finals of the 2016 FHSAA Class 1A State Tennis Championships in Orlando.

She made history by becoming Riviera Preparatory School’s first state champ.

Ranked as high as No.83 in the country, including No.14 in the state, Culbertson completed each of her rounds at states in record fashion, never dropping a set. She went undefeated in district and non-district matches in 2016, again without losing a single set.

“Sara’s not afraid of hard work, whether in sports or academics. She approaches her school responsibilities as she does her sport, with the understanding that hard work does pay off,” said Riviera Prep Athletic Director Courtney Young.

Culbertson has signed to play tennis for the NCAA Division I University of Miami Hurricanes.

“In just five years since Riviera expanded through high school and began offering varsity level athletics, we have advanced our athletes all the way to the state level on seven separate occasions in four different sports,” said Associate Director Peter Cohen.

“As an academic institution, Riviera also values the role sports can play in the holistic development of our students; therefore, Riviera continues its commitment to providing outstanding facilities, coaches and athletic leadership.”

Riviera Schools are full accredited, non-sectarian, co-educational, independent day schools for preschool through twelfth grade. Established more than 65 years ago, Riviera is dedicated to providing academic instruction and preparation for responsible citizenship and prides itself on the attention given to each student.

Doctors Charter baseball

In its second year, the Doctors Charter School Middle School baseball team won its final game of the season, beating Sagemont School from Weston 6-4.

The Hawks finished the season 9-12-1, an improvement from their inaugural campaign in 2015 when they finished 3-15.

In their inaugural season, the Hawks lost 19-1 and 11-2 to Sagemont. In this game, the Hawks overcame deficits of 3-0 and 4-1 to earn the victory, demonstrating their resiliency and determination.

Pitcher Charlie Calli had 13 strikeouts and allowed two walks, one hit and no earned runs en route to the complete game victory. He evened his record to 5-5.

Offensively, Chaz Royo went 3 for 3 with three runs scored and an RBI. Calli had a single and two RBI. Dom Tirado doubled, and Mike Michot, playing in his last game for Doctors Charter, delivered a single and a sacrifice bunt that led to the Hawks first run. Jackson Carney doubled, drove in two and scored. Ken Brown walked and scored. Antonio Longa singled. And Liam Magee, who logged the Hawks first hit and first run in program history in 2015, walked and scored.

On defense, Reza Pedram made a SportsCenter highlight reel catch in left field, and Jackson Carney and Dom Tirado turned a double play to quash a Sagemont rally. All 16 players for the Hawks saw action, contributing to the win.

In 2017, DCS will add a junior varsity baseball team to compliment its middle school team.

For a short video story on the team, click

http://current.miami/doctors-charter-hawks-baseball/

Miami Country Day baseball

A young Miami Country Day School varsity baseball team went 9-16 overall and finished tied for first in the South Florida Baseball Conference at 8-2.

Throughout the season they had key wins against Hialeah Educational Academy, Coral Shores, Ransom, Palmer Trinity two times, and Marathon two times. They had numerous All-Conference selections: Austin Pollak (1st Team), Jorden Gross (1st Team), Griffin Sennett (1st Team). Kian Andersen and Connor Goodman were named to Second Team All-Conference, and Kenny Byers was named to Third Team All-Conference.

Austin Pollak hit .429 with 30 hits and 19 runs. Griffin Sennett hit .343 with 24 hits and 17 runs. Kian Andersen led in home runs with five, and Jorden Gross was 6-4 with a 3.68 ERA as the ace on the staff.

The Miami Country Day Middle School baseball team was in a rebuilding year. The Spartans had three sixth graders and three seventh graders who all got playing time.

MCD had a thrilling win at Marathon defeating the Dolphins 8-7 in seven innings. They were led by Zac Wyka, Danny Saydkhuzhin, Jacob White and Griffin Steutel.

Sixth graders Dario Martin and Jacob Goldberg gained a lot of experience in their first season. Dhillon Murphy played first base, and Sean Finny rotated between second base and pitcher.

North Miami Beach baseball

The North Miami Beach Little League ended the regular season with some exciting games.

In Minors Juniors (8U), the Dodgers edged the Blue Jays 8-7. Ben Warner and Silas Dunn each went 3 for 3. Ari Wieder played solid defense at catcher. For the Blue Jays, Jacob Luck caught two fly balls, turned an unassisted double play and had two hits.

In other close game, the Angels edged the Braves 5-4. The Angels scored five times in the fourth inning with VIctor Mejia, Jayden Sardinas, Mateo Kurtz, Owen Schwartz and Michael Medina scoring. Anthony Ortega drove in the winning run.

In Minors (10U), the A’s took an early 3-0 lead, but the Marlins closed the gap, taking the lead for good in the bottom half of the fourth inning. Strong play by Jake Deangelis and Lane Parris for the A’s kept them in the game. For the Marlins, Matthew Greenspan was 2 for 2 with a triple, and Jed Hoffman was strong on the mound, allowing no runs, striking out five and walking one over 1 2 /3 innings.

The Cubs-Yankees game saw five lead changes in four innings with the Yankees winning in the top half of the fourth by scoring five times. The Yankees scored four runs in the top half of the first on hits by Abel Profetta and Matthias Sanchez followed by a 3-run home run by Brandon Babin. Yankees pitchers were struggling in the second inning when Jeremy Bronstein relieved with the bases loaded and no outs and retired the side. He allowed just one earned run over three innings, striking out seven to keep the Yankees in the game. For the Cubs, Dovid Budwick had one hit and three RBI. Gabe Vinderman, Zach Fischer and Axel Fink also had hits.

In Majors (12U), the Pirates defeated the Tigers 18-6. The Tigers were ahead 6-3 in the third inning on strong pitching from Toufic Khabie and clutch hitting from Kyle Ratzker, Benji Sherwin and Jake Wyka, when the Pirate bats exploded for 15 runs in the bottom half of the third. Timely hitting by Owen Ebner, Juan Suarez and Diego Rodriguez was capped by a suicide squeeze bunt by Matt Woods Jr.

In other action, the Nationals topped the Royals 9-7. Starting pitcher Alex Allocco held the Royals to one run, preserving a 6-1 lead as he handed the ball to the bullpen. The Royals plated two in the fourth inning on a hit by Ryan Pedram. In the fifth, Jovi Kurtz scored after getting caught in a pickle between third base and home. The Royals rallied in the bottom of the fifth, scoring four runs to tie the game at seven, but the Nationals won it on an infield single by Jacon Poletto and clutch doubles by Brandon Luz-Lopez and Mason Koczwara with two outs.

South Dade Express track

The South Dade Express Track Club was established eight years ago by head coaches Amir Rasul Sr. and Gene Mason.

The club is for boys and girls, age 5-18. There are more than 90 kids in the club with several ranked very high state-wide and nationally in the girls’ 6th-8th grade division, like Victoria Karr and Kasia Cooper. They are two standouts getting heavy training from Joey Scott, a personal technique coach.

And there’s more South Dade Express talent ranked high in that division.

The girls’ 400 relay team (Justyce Hill, Mkynzi Sanders, Victoria Karr, De Aria Smith) is ranked number No.1 in Florida with the fastest time this year. They are ranked fourth in the nation. In the 100 meter rankings, De Aria Smith is second in the state and eighth nationally. Victoria Karr is ranked third in Florida and 13th in the United States, and Mkynzi Sanders is seventh in the state and 22nd in the nation. Justyce Hill is ranked seventh in the 400 meters. Kasia Cooper, the star of the South Dade Express Track team, is ranked No.1 in the nation in the 400 meters. Those girls are also highly ranked in the 200 meters.

At the FLYRA Middle School South Regional Championship (6th-8th grade) at Southridge Park, the girls’ 400 relay team, coached by Dwight Crews Sr. and Ahmadd Jay, set a meet record in 48.71 seconds which put the team tops in Florida and fourth in America. De Aria Smith won the 100 meter race, and Victoria Karr was runner-up. Mkynzi Sanders was fourth. Meet MVP Kasia Cooper won the 400-meter race in 55.91, which ranked her No.1 in America. She also helped the 1,600 relay team win and placed second in the high jump.

Belen track & field

The Belen Jesuit School boys’ varsity track & field team won a district championship for the third consecutive year.

The Wolverines scored 187.5 points to finish ahead of Northwestern 124, Carol City 119 and nine other schools.

Capturing individual District Championships were Joshua Collins in the 1,600 meters and 3,200 meters; Kevin Valdes in the discus; Carlos Sosa in the pole vault; Don Chaney in the high jump; Luciano Bettocchi in the triple jump and the 3,200-meter relay with Bruno Zayas, Juan San Martin, Joshua Collins and Jaime Lopez.

Other team members who contributed were Christopher Garcia, Henry Souza, Sebastian Roa, Nicolas Roca, Daniel Mejia, Eric Labrador, Javier Fraga, Gabriel Abril, Carlos Vela, Michael Aparicio, Chris Avallone, Brandon Torricella and Basilio Garcia.

Track & field

Miami-Dade youth, age 5-18, will have an opportunity to show off their running, jumping and throwing skills during the county’s second annual “USATF Future Stars” Track and Field Meet.

The event is being presented by USA Track and Field (USATF) and the Miami-Dade Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Department on Saturday, June 4 from 9 a.m.-4 p.m., at Dade Christian School, 6601 NW 167th, Hialeah. The youth sporting event is part of the Youth Sports Championship Series, an initiative of Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez aimed at increasing participation in youth athletics.

The coveted “Mayor’s Cup” award will go to the top three track teams. In addition, awards will be presented to the top three individual performers in each race event.

The cost to participate is $5 per athlete. Participants must register

online.

For information, contact Chris Evans at 305-755-7885 or

ChrisEv@MiamiDade.gov.

Gulliver lacrosse

Gulliver Prep senior CJ Hassan committed to play lacrosse for the NCAA Division III Colby College Mules in Waterville, Maine.

Hassan, a second-year team captain for Gulliver, is a midfielder. With a team leading 68 goals and 30 assists this season, the versatile player not only faces off but also picks up the long pole on man-down defense.

In Gulliver’s regional semifinal win against rival Belen, Hassan scored twice, added an assist and had six ground balls.

“It was a team effort,” he said. “Playing at Belen is tough because we have a huge rivalry [with them], and that is hostile territory. It was a hard fought battle.”

The Raiders playoff run ended in the region finals against (Fort Lauderdale) St. Thomas Aquinas.

Hassan, 18, started playing lacrosse at Gulliver in the sixth grade under Coach Julio Diaz and with his first club team, the Makos, led by Coach Jim Delang. He then joined Team Florida, a club team for high level Florida players. He competed with Team Florida each summer. Last year he was chosen to play with the U19 elite national team in the Battle of the Hotbeds where they were runners-up.

In high school, Hassan was a varsity player as a freshman. He sacrificed his high school summers to participate in lacrosse camps and tournaments across the country. He participated in the Peak 200, New England Elite 180, Brine Pride Lacrosse, and Prep Lacrosse Showcase, as well as camps in the New England Small College Athletic Conference League.

Recently, Hassan was a South Florida All American nominee, and he was selected for the All-Star Game in Jupiter. He is a 2015 Miami Herald All-Dade first team selection.

FIU softball

Junior center fielder Gabby Spallone (Palmetto HS) had three hits and tied her career high with four RBI, and junior first baseman Stephanie Texeira (Gulliver Prep) hit her 13th home run of the season as the Florida International University softball team came from behind to defeat Marshall 6-4 in Conference USA action at Dot Hicks Field in Huntington, W.Va.

Junior second baseman Ashley Leon (Gulliver Prep) had two hits including a double and scored twice. Spallone added a run, and Texeira scored three times. FIU is now 26-25 (9-11 conference). Marshall falls to 26-24 (10-10 conference).

Miami Midnites basketball

All streaks inevitably come to an end.

The Miami Midnites’ 25-game Florida Basketball Association winning streak (dating to May 25, 2014) was snapped in their second game of the FBA season (April 30, 2016) with a 99-91 loss to the Tampa Bay Saints at the Orlando Downtown Recreation Center.

For the Midnites, George Gray had 21 points, and Amir Celestin added 13 points, 10 rebounds and four assists.

About Miami Midnites

The Miami Midnites, established in 2014, are the official Minor League affiliate of the 2012-13 Israeli Super League champions Maccabi Haifa basketball team. In their first season of existence, the Miami Midnites won the 2014 Florida Basketball Association championship, and followed up with back-to-back FBA titles after winning the 2015 FBA title.

The Midnites joined the American Basketball Association (ABA) for the 2014-15 season and finished runner-up out of 90+ teams across the country. The Midnites compete year-round, playing their home games out of the David Posnack Jewish Community Center in Davie. For information on the Miami Midnites, visit the team's official website at

www.miamimidnites.com.

More events, leagues, programs

Tennis

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, UltimateTennis.com 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

www.UltimateTennis.com.

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.

TACKLE REGISTRATION DATES:

All potential players must be present during the registration process.

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

TACKLE REGISTRATION FEE: $185

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,

WARRIORS CHEERLEADING:

CHEER REGISTRATION FEE: $385

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.

CHEERLEADING REGISTRATION DATES:

MAY 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 khwfootball@aol.com and for Cheerleadingemail our Cheer Commissioner Meylin Castro at cheer.4warriors@aol.com or visit the web site at www.khwarriors.org/kendall.

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, kenhanna12@gmail.com, 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

www.sunshinestategames.com and more information is available by email at

games@flasports.com 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

www.sunshinestatemgames.com, email

games@flasports.com or call toll-free 866-354-2637. Follow the Sunshine State Games on Facebook

www.facebook.com/sunshinestategames

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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

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

jvarsallone@miamiherald.com or call 305-376-3621.

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