Youth Sports

Miami Marlins honor student athletes for July

Miami Marlins starting pitcher Wei-Yin Chen and mascot Billy the Marlin congratulated Tom Maxwell (Henry S. West Laboratory School/South Miami Youth Baseball League), Cameron Araujo (Glades Middle School/Glades Baseball & Softball League), Alexander De La Cruz (David Lawrence K-8 School/Latin American Baseball League), Santiago Ramirez (Aventura City of Excellence School/North Miami Beach Little League) and Danny Saydkhuzhin (Miami Country Day Middle School baseball) for being the Miami Marlins Team Player Honorees for July in conjunction with the Miami Herald. They were recognized for their academics in the classroom and sportsmanship on the field, before the Marlins/St. Louis Cardinals game at Marlins Park.
Miami Marlins starting pitcher Wei-Yin Chen and mascot Billy the Marlin congratulated Tom Maxwell (Henry S. West Laboratory School/South Miami Youth Baseball League), Cameron Araujo (Glades Middle School/Glades Baseball & Softball League), Alexander De La Cruz (David Lawrence K-8 School/Latin American Baseball League), Santiago Ramirez (Aventura City of Excellence School/North Miami Beach Little League) and Danny Saydkhuzhin (Miami Country Day Middle School baseball) for being the Miami Marlins Team Player Honorees for July in conjunction with the Miami Herald. They were recognized for their academics in the classroom and sportsmanship on the field, before the Marlins/St. Louis Cardinals game at Marlins Park.

Cameron Araujo (Glades Middle School/Glades Baseball & Softball League), Alexander De La Cruz (David Lawrence K-8 School/Latin American Baseball League), Tom Maxwell (Henry S. West Laboratory School/South Miami Youth Baseball League), Santiago Ramirez (Aventura City of Excellence School/North Miami Beach Little League) and Danny Saydkhuzhin (Miami Country Day Middle School baseball) are the Miami Marlins Team Player Honorees for July in conjunction with the Miami Herald.

They were recognized for their academics in the classroom and sportsmanship on the field. Marlins starting pitcher Wei-Yin Chen and lovable mascot Billy the Marlin congratulated them during the ceremony, before the Marlins/St. Louis Cardinals game at Marlins Park.

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.

About the honorees

Cameron Araujo, 11, competes for the Glades Middle School softball team and Glades Baseball & Softball League.

Very well behaved and a good sport, she plays softball in the fall and basketball in the winter.

Glades Middle School Coach Walter Araujo said: “Cameron is an incredible athlete, but most importantly, she’s a really nice person. She works hard at school, and she brings that same work ethic to the athletic field. She’s an amazing basketball player, and I’m glad that she loves to play softball, too. She brings a good vibe and work ethic to her teams, and as a coach, I want as many student athletes like her as possible.”

Academically, Cameron is an excellent student. She is a 4.0 Honors student.

Carrie Funcia, South Dade YMCA basketball coach: “Cameron is an extremely talented young student athlete with an incredibly high basketball IQ. She is eager to learn and consistently produces results on the basketball court, both offensively and defensively.”

Alexander De La Cruz, 11, compete for the Latin American Baseball League at Grapeland Park. He completed fifth grade at David Lawrence Jr. K-8 Center.

Alex has been playing baseball since age 7. He played with the North Miami Little League and Hialeah Athletic Association, before joining the Latin American League.

Alex has a very mild form of autism. In fifth grade, Alex was placed in a general education class for the first time. He did so well academically and socially that he was phased out of special education. He maintained A’s and B’s in all subjects, except Reading where he has a C average.

Alex is popular and well liked by his teammates and friends. Most importantly, he works hard. He always has a positive attitude in school and on the baseball field. He has a true love for baseball. He regularly goes to Marlins games and even travels to see them. He went to San Francisco to watch them play the Giants.

Tom Maxwell, 10, competes for the South Miami Youth Baseball League. He is an avid baseball fan and player.

Tom was first coached in baseball in kindergarten at Henry S. West Laboratory School. When the baseball program ended at his school, he joined the South Miami Youth Baseball League. His favorite position is catcher, and he also pitches.

He expressed a desire to give back to the community by teaching baseball to kids who have not been exposed to it. He realized that baseball was no longer taught to the kids at his school. He didn't want the younger kids to miss learning the game, and falling in love with, the game of baseball, as he did in kindergarten. So he created a free baseball class: an after school program on Fridays at his school.

He applied and got approval from his principal, Ms. Barbara Pujadas, to offer the free class and taught those classes every Friday during last semester of the school year. He recruited two friends (Liam Forand and Hugh La Fontisse) to co-coach the practices. Together they taught 15 children (first and second graders) the rules and skills of baseball. He juggled teaching his own class and playing for the South Miami Youth Baseball League on the Tornados 10U first tier team. He attended practice twice a week and made all the games.

Academically, Tom made Honor Roll multiple times. He is a wonderful and patient big brother to his 8-year-old sister, Patty.

Santiago Ramirez, 10, competes for North Miami Beach Little League.

Santiago has been playing baseball since age 5, starting with the Aventura Little League. He has been an all-star multiple times (2013-16). He also plays travel baseball, competing for the NMBLL Landcrabs and the South Florida Knights.

Nicknamed ‘Manny Machado’ by his teammates, he displays sportsmanship on the field and excellent grades in the classroom. A standout student, he completed fourth grade at ACES (Aventura City of Excellence School).

North Miami Beach Little League Landcrabs Coach Pete Viola said: “Santi is not only a terrific ballplayer, but he is a terrific young boy who always gives 100 percent in the classroom and on the field. He is a great teammate and a pleasure to coach.”

Danny Saydkhuzhin, 14, competes for the Miami Country Day Middle School baseball team.

Born in Russia, Danny moved to South Florida when he was 5, attending Miami Country Day School. His grandfather introduced him to baseball, and Danny fell in love with the game.

A catcher, Danny played youth ball for Miami Shores, Grapeland Park and the Key Biscayne Key Rats. He works hard at his game, improving.

Danny started at catcher for Miami Country Day Middle School, playing every game behind the plate except one where he covered third base. He batted third, leading the team in hits and RBI.

As an eighth grader last season, he was called up to the high school varsity team, where in his first varsity game, he went 2 for 2. He was a Miami Country Day School Athlete of the Week.

Miami Country Day Coach Simpson: “Danny is a player with a lot of heat and desire for baseball.”

Danny is also a very good student, an Honors student, excelling in math, science and Spanish. He was the school’s 6th Grade Science Student of the Year.

US rowing

Nicholas Montalvo of Miami will represent the US National Team at the 2016 Rowing World Championships in Rotterdam in the Netherlands.

Montalvo qualified for nationals by winning the under 23 lightweight double with teammate Sam O’Brien at Mercer Lake in New Jersey. They are being sponsored by the Craftsbury Rowing Camp in Vermont.

Montalvo, a 2014 graduate of Immaculate/La Salle High School in Miami, rowed seven years at the Miami Rowing Club where he won several national championships. He now rows at the University of Wisconsin. O’Brien rows at the University of Washington. They said this is their first step in a long, hard road that hopefully will lead to the 2020 Olympic Games.

Barry rowing

Former Barry University rower Anna Boada is competing in the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

Boada is representing Spain in the 2-coxless pairs event with partner Aina Cid.

“Anna, since Day 1, she always talked about the Olympics,” said Buccaneers rowing coach Boban Rankovic, a former Serbian Olympian. “She always wanted to go to the Olympics.”

Boada rowed for the Bucs Varsity 8 in 2013 when Barry finished second in the nation. She was an All-Sunshine State Conference selection and a Pocock Scholar All-American.

This year, Boada and Cid won the FISA Olympic Qualifying Regatta in 7:10.16 in Lucerne, Switzerland. They finished third at the World Rowing Cup in Varese, Italy with a time of 7:39.51.

“Anna, when she came in, she was a great talent and hungry for knowledge and new experiences,” said Rankovic, who was an assistant coach in 2013. “She was a great asset for us, when we finished second in the nation. That year, the wheel started revving up. She definitely a big part of it.”

He continued: “Seeing her grow and get faster was always exciting for me. Seeing her success ... all the work you have to put in and the dedication is great to witness.”

Barry, based in Miami Shores, is an NCAA Division II affiliate.

S.E.E.K. Foundation Fit Fair

S.E.E.K. Foundation Inc. (SEEKING EDUCATION EMPOWERS KNOWLEDGE) hosted its fourth annual “Get Hip and Fit” Fair at the Miami Beach Flamingo Park Baseball Field.

S.E.E.K. teamed with the Miami Beach Police Athletic League for a fun filled afternoon of fitness, sports, games, science activities and Beauty Anatomy Institute’s express beauty makeovers. More than 500 kids from Miami-Dade and Broward counties attended from organizations including Miami Beach Police Athletic League, Honey Shine Mentoring Program, HANDY, SES Girl Talk and Belafonte Tacolcy.

The event was free and open to the public.

Retired NFL Defensive End Adewale Ogunleye and NBA Forward Amar’e Stoudemire spoke to the children along with Miami Beach police officers. The Miami Beach Police Department had activities including a K9 demonstration for the kids. Some of the other highlights of the community coming together to help children included the Miami Marlins and their MLB Play Ball Initiative.

Hooters provided healthy food including grilled chicken and pasta salad. Hooters Girls joined newly crowned Miss Hooters International Sable Robbert, a South Florida resident. Beauty Anatomy Institute instructors and students provided hair cuts and polish changes for the second consecutive year for the children. KimmyB of Hits 97.3 radio was the emcee for the event.

The kids enjoyed playing tug-a-war, dancing, hula hooping and the Marlins drills.

The mission of S.E.E.K. Foundation Inc. is to empower teenagers, parents, teachers and the community to help protect lives and discover educational diverse programs that promote lifelong problem solvers beyond the classroom. S.E.E.K provides program in the areas of Fitness, Community Involvement, Anti-Bullying Character Education and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics).

For information on SEEK Foundation visit


Sponsors and participants of the event include the Miami Beach Police Athletic League, Beauty Anatomy Institute, Miami Marlins, Hooters, Pro Performance Powered by Workout Kings, TD Bank, Mount Sinai and Suja.

Maccabi basketball

The Maccabi Hunter Haifa professional basketball team of the Israeli Basketball Super League recently announced they have signed center/power forward Evan Ravenel through the 2017-18 season. Per club policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Ravenel, 26, appeared in 57 contests last season for Ryukyu Golden Kings Okinawa in Japan, averaging a double-double on 16.7 points and 10.5 rebounds along with 1.6 assists in 26.7 minutes per game. He was named All-Japanese BJ League Center of the Year and helped lift his team to their fourth championship after being awarded Finals MVP, registering a double-double on 22 points and 12 rebounds in 33 minutes.

The 6-foot-8, 249-pound center/power forward appeared in 12 games in Poland for Polpharma Starogard Gdanski during the 2014-15 season and tallied 18.5 points, 9.3 rebounds and 1.0 steals. Prior to Poland, he spent the 2013-14 season in Bulgaria for Rilski Sportist Samokov, where he averaged 13.3 points, 7.0 rebounds and 1.7 assists in league games, and tallying 12.3 points, 7.5 rebounds and 1.3 assists in the Eurochallenge.

“We have been following Evan for the last two seasons, and we believe that he has the right skill set to perform well in the Israeli league,” said Maccabi Hunter Haifa head coach Offer Rahimi.

“Evan is a versatile player who brings toughness to our team, and the ability to do everything well on the court,” said Maccabi Hunter Haifa team owner Jeff Rosen.

A native of Tampa, Ravenel played his collegiate ball at Boston College (2008-10) and Ohio State (2011-13). During his junior year at Ohio State, Ravenel helped guide his team to a NCAA Final Four appearance.

About Maccabi Haifa

Maccabi Haifa, an Israeli Basketball Super League team, has a long and storied legacy as they were one of the original eight teams to form the Premier League for the 1953-54 season.

Under the ownership of American businessman, Jeffrey Rosen, the team earned its first title in franchise history after being crowned the 2012-13 Israeli League champion. The team was purchased by Jeffrey Rosen in July 2007.

For more information about Maccabi Haifa, visit

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

Wrestling Night at Marlins Park

Wrestling Night at Marlins Park is Saturday, Aug. 27 when the Miami Marlins face the San Diego Padres.

Nasty Boy Brian Knobbs is coordinating the talent for the event. There will be autograph and photo ops throughout the game.

Scheduled are WWE Hall of Famer Booker T, The Warlord of the Powers of Pain and the Nasty Boys (Brian Knobbs and Jerry Sags) and Brutus the Barber Beefcake who replaces Jimmy Hart. They will also be involved in the ceremonial first pitch, interviews on Marlins Vision and other in-game fun.

There is a Wrestling Night package. If fans purchase tickets through this special event link on, they can sit together and receive the special Marlins-themed luchador mask...while supplies last.

Fans are encouraged to dress as their favorite wrestlers, too.

First pitch is 7:10 p.m.


More events, leagues, programs

Ali Boxing Center

Miami-Dade County Commissioner Javier D. Souto and the Miami-Dade Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Department celebrated the renaming of Tropical Park’s Boxing Center to the “Muhammad Ali Boxing Center” at Tropical Park Boxing Center, 7900 SW 40 St., Miami.

“Back in September 2015, the Board of County Commissioners adopted my resolution for the Tropical Park Boxing Center to be named after the great Muhammad Ali, since I was privileged to have met the man in person and behold his many boxing victories,” said Commissioner Souto. “He was bigger than life and an inspiration to all. His memory will live on at this center as it grooms future generations of boxers.”

In honor of Ali – the late three-time heavyweight boxing champ - dignitaries joined members of the local boxing community.

Ali, born Cassius Clay, died on June 3 at age 74, following a 30-year battle with Parkinson’s disease. Considered one of the greatest boxing legends of all-time, Ali was famous in and out of the ring for his strength, power, speed, stamina, flamboyant personality and global presence.

Beyond The Game

Sports and history intertwine in HistoryMiami Museum’s new exhibition Beyond the Game: Sports and the Evolution of South Florida.

The exhibition -- open now thru Jan. 15, 2017 -- highlights the way South Florida sports have shaped and reflected the cultural growth of South Florida.

Since the 1920s, sports events and teams have both mirrored and molded the development of the area. Miami Jai-Alai, featuring the “world’s fastest” ballgame, and Hialeah Park, showcasing horse racing, were two early sporting attractions that lured northern tourists and fueled the public’s growing fascination with the area.

By the early 1960s, the Fifth Street Gym in Miami Beach, home to champion boxers like Muhammad Ali, emerged as an island of democracy amid the realities of Jim Crow segregation. Meanwhile, the newly opened Miami Marine Stadium was gaining popularity, and the sport of powerboat racing symbolized “sun and fun.” The Professional sports franchises followed, as did the rise of the University of Miami’s football program, confirming Miami’s status as a modern metropolis.

“From a historical perspective, the thing that is most striking is how central South Florida’s sporting scene has been to its identity almost from the very beginning. Hialeah Park and Miami Jai-Alai date to the mid-1920s, and both were not only important tourist destinations, but really shaped the way that people understood South Florida,” said exhibition curator Gaspar Gonzalez. “These kinds of attractions conveyed a sense of South Florida as a unique place.”

Curated by HistoryMiami and Gaspar González, a Yale-trained historian known for creating Emmy-winning documentary programming that has been featured on PBS, ESPN and others, the exhibition tells this story of evolution through photographs, trophies, uniforms, and never before seen items related to South Florida’s sport scene. In addition, two short films -- one on Hialeah Park, the other on the Marine Stadium, as well as a series of short video interviews with some of South Florida's most iconic former athletes -- will be played throughout the exhibition.

Presented by Hialeah Park and HistoryMiami, the exhibition will be displayed in more than 5,000 square feet of space in the Museum’s third floor gallery and will showcase artifacts from HistoryMiami's own collection, individuals in the community, as well as the area's professional sports teams and venues.

Notable items include:

Original Miami Heat floor from the Miami Arena; Dan Marino’s contract; Don Shula Play Sheet; Footage Muhammad Ali at 5th Street Gym; Orange Bowl trophy from University of Miami; Memorabilia from Marlins’ inaugural year; Hialeah Park infield sign; Video interviews with local sports icons Mike Lowell, Mercury Morris, Randal Hill

“The exhibition appeals to a diverse audience,” said Stuart Chase, President and CEO of HistoryMiami. “From the days of horseracing to the players who graced the grid iron Beyond the Game not only celebrates sports history, but offers a fresh perspective on the impact it had on Miami becoming the world-class city it is today.”

For information on becoming a member of HistoryMiami Museum contact Hilda Masip at 305-675-1618 or visit

About HistoryMiami Museum

HistoryMiami Museum, a Smithsonian affiliate, is the premier cultural institution committed to gathering, organizing, preserving and celebrating Miami’s history as the unique crossroads of the Americas. It accomplishes this through education, collections, research, exhibitions, publications and city tours.

Located in the heart of downtown Miami, HistoryMiami Museum is a 70,000 square foot facility and home to more than one million historic images and 30,000 three-dimensional artifacts, including a 1920’s trolley car, artifacts from Pan American World Airways, and rafts that brought refugees to Miami.

For more information, call 305-375-1492 or visit

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The city of North Miami is providing a fresh way to cool off with free swim lessons at the Thomas Sasso Pool & Playground, 1100 NW 125 St.

North Miami residents, age 3 and older, can register for beginner, intermediate and advanced swim lessons at no cost. Classes will be administered on a first come, first serve basis. Residents may register for one free session. Space is limited. To register, visit the Parks and Recreation Department Administrative Office at 12300 NE 8 Ave. in North Miami, 33161.

For more information about swimming lessons, summer camps and programs offered in the city of North Miami for residents and non-residents call 305-895-9840 or view the 2016 Summer Program Guide online at


USTA Florida will be hosting four Development Camps for Diverse Backgrounds in 2016 in different areas of the state, for junior tennis players, age 12-18, who are currently participating in USTA tournaments, are looking to improve their game and learn about college scholarship opportunities and the latest in sports science and physical training.

“This will be the second year we are hosting more than one Diversity Camp to give more players around the state the opportunity to participate in this great learning experience,” said USTA Florida Player Development Coordinator Andy Gladstone. “The more players we can impact through the camps, the better it is for our sport and for the participants to improve in areas such as match play, strategy, and learning the amazing experiences they can have as college players.”

Pros and college stand-outs that have attended USTA Florida Diversity Camps in the past include Sloane Stephens, Victoria Duval, Sachia Vickery, and former University of Florida star Sekou Bangoura.

The cost for the one-day camp is $50. The fee includes drills, match play, a camp t-shirt, classroom improvement sessions for parents and players, and lunch.

South Florida - Oct. 29

9 a.m.-4 p.m.

William H. Kerdyk Biltmore Tennis Center

1150 Anastasia Ave.

Coral Gables 33134

To register visit:


For more information visit:

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

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.


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