Youth Sports

Nautilus tennis third at Miami-Dade Middle School Championships

The Nautilus Middle School Sharks were third of 25 teams at the Miami-Dade County Middle School Tennis Championships at Tropical Park. The talented team features front from left, Ana Demetriades, Lilly Mccloud. Lucy DiDonna, Nina Vera, Coach Jorge Suarez; back, Naiam Tugender, Roberto Campoverde and Yosue Noa.
The Nautilus Middle School Sharks were third of 25 teams at the Miami-Dade County Middle School Tennis Championships at Tropical Park. The talented team features front from left, Ana Demetriades, Lilly Mccloud. Lucy DiDonna, Nina Vera, Coach Jorge Suarez; back, Naiam Tugender, Roberto Campoverde and Yosue Noa.

Nautilus tennis

The Nautilus Middle School Sharks were third of 25 teams at the Miami-Dade County Middle School Tennis Championships at Tropical Park.

Yosua Noa and Roberto Campoverde won the county boys’ doubles championship.

Naiam Tugender and Ana Demetriades were runners-up in mixed doubles, reaching the finals. Santiago Sosa also advanced to the county finals in boys’ singles, finishing second.

Florida Tennis Tour

Cocoa Beach senior Santiago ‘Smooth’ Garcia, 18, came from behind against two pro players to earn his first Florida Tennis Tour win. The event was in Hialeah at the Goodlet Tennis Center on their pristine hardcourts. Facility manager Ricardo Martinez graciously hosted players from Orlando, Jacksonville, Cocoa Beach, and throughout Miami representing Spain, Peru, Brazil, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Philippines, Cuba and America.

The diverse field included players of all ages and all skill levels wanting their share of the FTT experience in its unique one tournament for all players style.

With the victory in Miami, Garcia not only earned a cash payday but moved up No.2 in the rankings. Escotto maintained his No.1 spot. Sykes, Jackson and Miotto moved into the FTT Top 10, and Miotto is the sole No.1 in the Doubles rankings with Sykes and Jackson moving into the No.2 spot.

Emilio Tenacio, 14, (ESP) of Miami won the Top Teen Titan Award after his come-from-behind victory over Jacksonville’s Jason Sykes, currently ranked No.7 FTT. Down 4-6, Tenacio actually thought he lost the match and walked off the court, not realizing it was an 8-game pro set in the early rounds. They resumed the match, and Tenacio came back to win an exciting tiebreak 9-8 (8-6). He then went onto defeat FTT No.5 Cesar Andini of Orlando 8-2. He eventually lost to Santiago Garcia in the semifinals but had already cashed in the tournament with his third place finish and leaped into the No.11 ranking in the FTT. His parents and coach Gerardo Villaescusa of Spain came to support him and were incredibly excited with his results.

Teenager Matias Molina of Miami also was playing in his first tennis tournament and played a stellar match against FTT Doubles No.2 Dennis Turner of Jacksonville.

Robert ‘Miami Machine’ Antich was the king of the courts as he played in everything available. His typical answer of “Whatever you want me to play in, I’m in.” Antich, while losing in the first round to tough ATP pro Luiz Miotto, rebounded in the FTT Miami Consolation Tournament defeating Charlie Williams, Cesar Andini, and Carlos Pau thus earning himself the equivalent of fifth place in FTT Ranking points. Antich’s FTT premiere establishes himself as the No.21 ranked player on the Florida Tennis Tour.

In the doubles finals, Miotto of Brazil picked up Giancarlo Escotto as his partner which led to another win for Miotto. The path was made a little easier with Sykes/Jackson withdrawing because Sykes sustained some minor cramps. Sykes/Jackson had an excruciating, hard fought 8-6 win over Turner/Williams in the semifinals.

The event was sponsored by Orlando Commissioner Regina I. Hill, Dragon Promotions, Orlando Synergy, Khoa Nguyen Realty, Ari Events, Kurt Collis Tennis Academy, Florida Tennis Resurfacing, David Roberts & The Sounds of Sinatra, Tennis Plaza, GayneGirl Photography and Tennis Resorts of Disney World. The Official Ball used in the event was Dunlop who was also the Official Racquet and Official Strings of the FTT Miami Open.

The singles, doubles, and consolation tournaments were accomplished and ran by the expert FTT team with President Charlie Williams at the helm along with Ricardo Martinez and his capable crew at the Goodlet Tennis Center.

Official Top Results: Singles: 1. Santiago Garcia (Cocoa Beach); 2. Giancarlo Escotto (Dominican Republic); 3. (Tie) Emilio Tenacio (Spain), Ricardo Martinez (Peru); 5. (Tie) John Jackson (Jacksonville), Dennis Turner (Jacksonville), Luiz Miotto (Brazil), Cesar Andini (Orlando). Doubles: 1. Luiz Miotto (Brazil) and Giancarlo Escotto (Dominican Republic); 2. Jason Sykes (Jacksonville) and John Jackson (Jacksonville); 3. (tie) Dennis Turner (Jacksonville) and Charlie Williams (Orlando), Robert Antich (Miami) and Cesar Andini (Orlando).

Southwest baseball

Southwest High School senior baseball player Jason Graña had an outstanding season.

Graña was named’s District 15 Player of the Year and Hitter of the Year. He led the Eagles in batting (.412), RBI (17) and on-base-percentage (.500), but it was his performance on the pitching mound that truly stood out.

Graña, the pitcher, tied the school mark for most starts with 13. The Eagles won 14 games this season, and Graña was the winning pitcher in 11 of them, the second highest win total in school history -- only behind Carlos Castillo, a former major leaguer. Three of his wins came against rival Columbus, and he became only the third Eagle ever to strike out more than 100 batters in a season. Entering the final game of the season, he posted the lowest ERA in school history.

U.S. water polo

Ransom Everglades graduate and current Princeton student Ashleigh Johnson will be in goal for the U.S. Olympic women’s water polo team when it plays an exhibition match against Hungary at Ransom Everglades on June 27, just six weeks before the start of the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro.

The match will be part of a seven-city, cross-country, pre-Olympic tour.

Johnson, a 2012 Ransom grad, grew up in the Redland area of Miami-Dade County, played water polo as a youth with the Cutler Bay Riptides club and won five state titles at Ransom Everglades (one in swimming). She was named international “Water Polo Player of the Year” for 2014 and 2015 by Swimming World magazine.

Tickets for the 6 p.m. contest are available only through USA Water Polo. They are $20 at the door, $15 for members of USA Water Polo.

They can be purchased here

Pace sports

Monsignor Edward Pace High School celebrated the success of three student athletes.

Standout wrestler Alexander Perez signed a letter of intent with NAIA Missouri Baptist University in St. Louis. Basketball star Destiny Wilson and tennis talent Josvany Lesende signed letters of intent with NAIA St. Thomas University in Miami during a ceremony at the school.

Perez won the Class 1A state wrestling championship at 138 pounds, pinning all of his opponents at state in under two minutes combined.

Wilson is a standout girls’ basketball and flag football player, helping both teams reach regional competitions several times during her Pace career.

Lesende is one of Pace’s star tennis players and was named Honorable Mention on the 2015 Miami Herald All-Dade tennis team.

The trio signed their scholarships for their respective universities in front of their families, the Pace student body and Pace administration.

Belen Jesuit sports

Belen Jesuit School is proud to announce that 15 student athletes signed their national letters of intent to play sports at the collegiate level. The signing ceremony occurred in the school’s Roberto Goizueta Athletic Center.

CREW: Christian Norniella-Burke - St. Joseph’s University, Philadelphia; David Gonzalez – Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.

SOCCER: Francisco De la Camara - Pennsylvania State University, State College, Pa.; Diego Puig-Corve – Suffolk University, Boston.

BASEBALL: Ernesto Ruiz-Sierra – Clarkson University, Potsdam, N.Y.

FOOTBALL: Ariel Jimenez - John Carroll University, University Heights, Ohio; Fernando Pujals - University of West Florida, Pensacola; Andres Cesin - Central College, Pella, Iowa; Andres Guisasola - Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, N.Y.; Edel Abad - Anna Maria College, Paxton, Mass.

LACROSSE: Ted Huertas – Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C.; Luis Corps – Oglethorpe University, Atlanta; Mathew Salas – Guilford College, Greensboro, N.C.; Oscar Ortega - Wheeling Jesuit University, Wheeling, W.Va.; Gabriel Garcia - Dowling College, Oakdale, N.Y.

Miami Country Day lacrosse

The Miami Country Day School boys’ middle school varsity lacrosse team finished the season 12-4. The Spartans had key wins over Gulliver, Belen, Westminster Christian and Ransom Everglades.

In the conference semifinals, Ryan Mendelson had two goals and two assists, and Jack Finvarb added a goal and three assists as MCD defeated Ransom 6-3.

Throughout the season they were led by Jack Finvarb, Noah Markofsky, Ryan Mendelson and Dylan Turk. Most of the roster will move up to high school next year and will add great depth to its junior varsity and varsity high school teams.

*The middle school JV lacrosse team opened the season with a win against Belen. The Spartans had a strong showing for such a young team.

They worked hard throughout the season and improved. The Spartans were led offensively by Aden Karp on face-offs, Romain Vinois at midfield and Nicholas Altman at attack. Defensively, Jack Russakoff and Julian Chariff kept the Spartans in a lot of games.

With a young sixth grade class returning next year, Head Coach JoJo Tesini looks forward to the future.

*Miami Country Day School boys’ JV lacrosse team was a young group that gained a lot of experience. The roster consisted of mostly ninth graders.

The Spartans had key wins against Belen, Ransom, Immokalee and Palmetto Ridge, and they held multiple opponents to two goals or less.

MCD was led by 10th graders Christian Nguyen, James Dunbar, Noah Florin and Ben Horn. Some ninth graders saw action throughout the season to prepare themselves for varsity next season, including Marlon Robins, Evan Mendelson and Noah Reines.

*The varsity lacrosse team went 7-9. The Spartans recorded key wins against St. Brendan, Palmer Trinity and Florida Christian. They advanced to the district playoffs for the first time in four years.

The top players throughout the season were Ryan Finvarb, Ian Spence, Tyler Grosman, Corey Altman, Matthew Barron and Sam Robins. Freshman goalie David Burger played most of the season and will be ready to help the Spartans contend for a district championship next season.

St. Thomas sports

St. Thomas University senior third baseman Cesar Ramirez (Miami Coral Park HS) was named a Sun Conference Player of Week after leading the Bobcats baseball team to a three-game sweep at 23rd ranked Keiser University.

Ramirez was also named to The Sun Conference Championship All-Tournament team where the Bobcats finished second.

Outfielder Jose Gomez (Brito Miami Private HS) was named First-Team All-Sun Conference after hitting .390 and stealing a team-high 17 bases on the season. Michael Centeno (Miami Sunset HS), Brandon Pomeranz (Hillel School), Frankie Rodriguez (Felix Varela HS), and Brandon Valentin (John Ferguson HS) were named to The Sun Conference’s All-Academic team.

Softball: St. Thomas University sophomore outfielder Michelle Murch (American Senior HS) was selected as one of 16 new representatives to the Association of Student-Athletes, the NAIA’s student-advocacy arm in its governance structure. Murch, who holds a 4.00 grade point average as a Sports Administration major, will represent The Sun Conference as a conference representative on the Association of Student-Athletes with a term running through 2018.

Freshman catcher Melody Grafals (Doral Academy) was named First-Team All-Sun Conference after hitting .347 with a team-best 23 RBI.

Women’s Tennis: St. Thomas University junior Naomi Maehama (Miami Beach HS) was named an NAIA National Player of the Week after going 8-0 in singles and doubles including wins over nationally ranked opponents Southeastern and SCAD Atlanta. Maehama was also named to The Sun Conference’s All-Academic Team.

Barry golf

Barry University senior Nico Cavero of Doral was named to the Division II PING All-South Region Teams as announced by the Golf Coaches Association of America.

Cavero, a graduate of Ronald Reagan High School, carries a 73.57 stroke average through 10 tournaments. He has two Top 10 finishes. He has eight par-or-better rounds, while shooting in the 60s three times.

Cavero has four eagles and 88 birdies. He is coming off a sixth place finish in the NCAA South/Southeast Super Regional in which he carded a season-low 68 in the opening round.

FIU softball

In a vote of the Conference USA coaches, FIU softball landed five players on the All-Conference USA lists, including two from Miami. Junior Stephanie Texeira (Gulliver Prep) took a Second-Team infield spot, and junior Gabby Spallone (Palmetto HS) earned a Second-Team outfield selection.

Nova Southeastern rowing

The No.3 Nova Southeastern University rowing team had a banner day to open competition at the Dad Vail Regatta with the varsity heavyweight four and varsity heavyweight eight advancing to the finals in Philadelphia.

Kamaye Nichols (So., Miami) helped the varsity heavyweight eight reach the finals. In a close race, they finished second behind Barry in their first race of the morning. This moved the Sharks onto the repechage where they earned a spot in the final with a third-place finish (7:10.33).

Miami Midnites basketball

The Miami Midnites basketball team beat the Space Coast Stars 101-81 in FBA action at Bethany Ministries Church in Melbourne.

Power forward Antonio Hester paced Miami with 22 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists. Former FIU star Adrian Diaz registered a double-double on 19 points and 11 rebounds, and George Gray added 19 points.

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 (FBA) championship, and followed up with back-to-back FBA titles after winning the 2015 FBA title.

The Midnites joined the American Basketball Association 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 at the David Posnack Jewish Community Center in Davie. For information on the Miami Midnites, visit the team’s official website at

More events, leagues, programs

Self defense

Philip Glikman, expert OIS Krav Maga instructor, will conduct the class “How to Defend Against an Active Shooter” from 1-4 p.m. Sunday, June 5 at the Alper Jewish Community Center, 11155 SW 112 Ave. in Kendall.

For more than 15 years, Glikman had a Krav Maga school in Paris where he taught 450-plus students. He joined the Israeli Operative System where he continues to study directly under Aaron Elbaze in Israel. In early 2012, he became technical director in charge of recruitment and evaluation of future instructors. In this capacity, he participated alongside Elbaze to the various training he organized for civilians in France and abroad.

Glikman is certified by the Operative Israeli System and by the Academic College at Wingate in Israel. Since September 2014, he is in charge of the OIS Emeth Krav Maga USA and the training of future teachers, based in Miami-Dade County. Currently, he conducts regularly-scheduled Krav Maga classes in Hollywood, Aventura, Miami Beach, Kendall and Pinecrest.

For cost of the class and information, call 305-271-9000, ext. 284.

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.

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.


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 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.

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


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

Mayor Gimenez knows first-hand the values developed from continuous involvement in athletics. “We look forward to another great year for the USATF Future Stars track and field meet, as part of the Youth Sports Championship series,” he said. “Youth sports foster an environment where children can learn essential skills like discipline, sportsmanship, and how to work well with others. These lessons will help get them on track for success in life.”

“Miami-Dade Parks remains committed to bettering the health and well-being of Miami-Dade youth through active recreation and outdoor sports activities,” said Miami-Dade County Parks Director Jack Kardys. “Our partnering with USATF, allows us to provide this community with more great youth sports competitions, like track and field, which in turn gives young athletes the opportunity to excel and compete in their favorite sport.”

“USATF developed the Future Stars Meets program to continue the robust participation of community organizations in the sport that had been fostered previously by Hershey’s Track & Field Games,” said USATF CEO Max Siegel. “Our first year of Future Stars Meets gave us a great foundation for expanding the program. We want to ensure these meets can flourish in their communities and continue to introduce children to competitive track and field and to USATF.”

USATF Future Stars meets are designed to provide significant support to mid-level, competitive track and field meets around the country and to foster participation by children nationwide. For information, visit

For information about the Mayor’s Youth Sports Championship Series visit the website.

Miami-Dade Parks is supported by the Parks Foundation of Miami-Dade and focused on Placemaking, Health and Fitness, and Conservation and Stewardship.

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.

Online registration is open 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.