Youth Sports

Alexander Smith of Miami Gardens wins MLB Pitch, Hit & Run

Alexander Smith, 8, of Miami Gardens won the Scotts MLB Pitch, Hit & Run Championship in the 7-8 age group during MLB All-Star Week at Petco Park in San Diego. Representing the Miami Marlins, Smith qualified for the finals by winning the Marlins area competition and also having one of the best three scores of the 30 MLB area winners in his age group.
Alexander Smith, 8, of Miami Gardens won the Scotts MLB Pitch, Hit & Run Championship in the 7-8 age group during MLB All-Star Week at Petco Park in San Diego. Representing the Miami Marlins, Smith qualified for the finals by winning the Marlins area competition and also having one of the best three scores of the 30 MLB area winners in his age group. Photo By Juan Leonel Garciga

Major League Baseball announced the winners of the Scotts MLB Pitch, Hit & Run Championships, and Alexander Smith, 8, of Miami Gardens won the title in the 7-8 age group.

The finals were part of the MLB All-Star Week at Petco Park in San Diego.

In June, Alexander won the Miami Marlins area competition at Marlins Park. Then from a pool of 30 champions in his age group (one from each of 30 MLB teams), he was one of the top three scorers, thus qualifying for the finals. It has been several years since the Marlins had an athlete represent their club in the finals.

The competition is under the “PLAY BALL” initiative, a joint program from MLB, USA Baseball, USA Softball and Minor League Baseball that focuses on the fun nature of the game and encourages widespread participation in baseball- and softball-related activities.

Scotts MLB Pitch, Hit & Run Finals

Ages 7/8 (Softball): Rylee Kalocay, Upper St. Clair, Pa. (Pittsburgh Pirates). Ages 7/8 (Baseball): Alexander Smith, Miami Gardens, (Miami Marlins). Ages 9/10 (Softball): Kate Verhoef, Aliso Viejo, Calif. (Los Angeles Angels). Ages 9/10 (Baseball): Elias Bosang, Santee, Calif. (San Diego, Padres). Ages 11/12 (Softball): Kaiea Higa, Maple Valley, Wash. (Seattle Mariners)

Ages 11/12 (Baseball): Elijha Hammill, Oakville, Ontario (Toronto Blue Jays). Ages 13/14 (Softball): Abby Larson, Marlborough, Mass. (Boston Red Sox). Ages 13/14 (Baseball): Jack Bulger, Bowie, Md. (Baltimore Orioles)

They were recognized prior to the 2016 MLB All-Star Game presented by MasterCard.

Beginning in March, approximately 625,000 youth participated in more than 4,600 competitions in either the baseball or softball divisions throughout the United States and Canada.

Scotts MLB Pitch, Hit & Run encourages youth players to develop their skills by competing in pitching, hitting, and running competitions, which begin at the local level and continuing through sectional and team championships. Team championships are hosted by each of the 30 MLB ballparks between the end of May and into late June.

Scotts, the Official Lawn Care Company of Major League Baseball, is in its fourth year sponsoring the competition. Eric Hosmer of the Kansas City Royals, Chris Parmelee of the New York Yankees and Matt Wisler of the Atlanta Braves are all Pitch, Hit & Run alum. As a youth, Hosmer represented the Marlins.

Golf

Jessy Huebner of Miami Beach won the boys’ 7-year-old division of the U.S. Kids World Golf Championships on the Mid Pines Golf Club in Pinehurst, N.C.

The three-day tournament attracted more than 2,200 junior golfers, various ages, from 60 countries.

Huebner shot 7-under par (35-32-34--101), finishing five strokes ahead of the runner-up.

Huebner is a six-time regional and state champion. He is a two-time Doral/ Publix International and Honda Junior Classic champion.

Fencing

Diego Cano, a seventh grade student at Palmer Trinity School, was selected to join the USA Fencing team.

He participated in the 2016 Pan American Youth & Veteran Championships in Ponce, Puerto Rico.

“We are very proud to have one of our students representing the U.S. on an international level. Diego’s dedication at such a young age is notable, and we wholeheartedly support him in his pursuit of excellence in fencing,” said Patrick Roberts, Head of School.

The Pan American Youth & Veteran Championships for fencing occurred at the Salvador Dijois Coliseum. Diego competed in his weapon and age category. He has trained year-round for three years.

USA Fencing is the recognized national governing body for the sport of fencing in the United States.

About Palmer Trinity School:

Palmer Trinity School—a coeducational, Episcopal day school—is dedicated to promoting academic excellence that integrates knowledge, compassion, global citizenship, and social responsibility.

Providing a supportive environment, Palmer Trinity School serves students from a broad range of socio-economic, ethnic, and religious backgrounds in grades 6-12. For more information about the school, visit

www.palmertrinity.org. To follow Palmer Trinity School on Facebook, click here.

Barry rowing

Former Barry University rower Anna Boada placed sixth with her parter Aina Cid in the finals of the coxless pairs at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Boada and Cid, representing Spain, crossed the finish line in 7:35.22. Great Britian's Helen Glover and Heather Stanning took gold in 7:18.29. New Zealand's Genevieve and Rebecca Scown were second in 7:19.53, and Denmark's Hedvig Rasmussen and Anne Andersen captured bronze in 7:20.71.

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

Kendall Hammocks football

The Kendall Hammocks Warriors opened the 2016 Miami Xtreme Youth Football Season.

The Warriors 7U team defeated the host Suniland Sun Devils 13-0. Alek Diaz and Ricky Montalvan each forced fumbles to key the shutout. RB Ivan Houston scored on a 40-yard run to highlight the offense.

In Pee Wee action, Kendall Hammocks won its opener with a 27-12 victory over the North Miami Beach Sun Devils.

In 9U, the Warriors started the season with an 18-0 victory over the Miami PAL Jets. The defense was led by Bernard Oliva and Jace Garcia who combined on nine tackles for loss. Offensively, Ellijah Peterson rushed for more than 90 yards and two touchdowns, and Evan Arellano added a 40-yard touchdown run.

Miami PAL 10U edged Kendall Hammocks 18-14. Khamani Alexander and Bryce Casas scored for the Warriors.

Miami PAL 12U beat Kendall Hammocks 38-20. Warriors QB Bryan Jacobson was 3 of 6 passing for 68 yards.

In other action: 8U: North Miami 20, KH 0. 11U: Miami PAL 20, KH 6. 13U: Miami PAL 26, KH 6.

USTA Florida

Miami-Dade South (Doral) won the Men’s 4.0 Division for the third consecutive year at the 2016 USTA Florida 18 & Over 3.0/4.0/5.0+ League Sectional Championships at the Florida Tennis Center in Daytona Beach and Sanlando Park in Altamonte Springs.

18 & Over Men’s 4.0: Finals: Miami-Dade South (Doral Park Country Club, Doral) d. Miami-Dade North (Williams Island Club, Aventura) 3-2.

Championship Results: No. 1 Singles: John Narus (South) d. Eric Cohen 6-1, 6-0. No. 2 Singles: Stephane Camguilhem (South) d. Ivan Vigo 6-2, 6-2. No. 1 Doubles: Jorge Rodriguez/Alejandro Arraiz (North) d. Jairo Furniel/Jean Paul Texier 7-6, 4-6, 1-0 (super-tiebreaker). No. 2 Doubles: Eli Panell/Lynn Vance (South) d. Aldo Daole/Cesar Aviles 6-3, 6-2. No. 3 Doubles: Todd Sadacca/Joel Namad (North) d. Guillermo Brito/Diego Mujica 3-6, 6-3, 1-0 (super-tiebreaker).

Champions: Miami-Dade South Season Roster: Eli Panell (captain), Luciano Cuneo, Guillermo Brito, Armando Cabane, John Narus, Jean Texier, Stephane Camguilhem, Jairo Furniel, Octavio Gomez, Cristian Mateluna, Patrick Kettel, Tom Buetikofer, Lynn Vance, Alfredo Lomeli, Diego Mujica, Diego Mateluna, Frank Fernandez, Ricardo Morales.

Skyforce tryouts

The Sioux Falls Skyforce announced the team will hold open tryouts for the 2016-17 season on Sunday, Oct. 9 in Miami. The Skyforce, an NBA Developmental League affiliate in South Dakota, is associated with the three-time NBA champion Miami HEAT.

Open tryouts offer players an opportunity to showcase their talents in front of Skyforce coaches and Miami HEAT personnel while they compete to earn an invitation to the NBA D-League team’s training camp in November.

Miami Tryout

Sunday, Oct. 9 from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. (8 a.m. check-in)

$150 pre-registration fee.

Registration deadline: Friday, Oct. 7.

Ransom Everglades High School, 3575 Main Hwy., Miami 33133.

Applicants must be eligible to play in the NBA D-League and are required to pre-register by submitting the registration, release and health information authorization forms along with a $150 nonrefundable fee. Tryout forms are available online

skyforceonline.com. For information, contact the Skyforce at 605-332-0605 or tryout@skyforceonline.com.

Florida Panthers Learn to Play

The Florida Panthers in conjunction with the NHL, NHLPA and USA Hockey will be hosting “Florida Panthers Learn To Play” for boys and girls, age 4-8, who are new, first time ice hockey participants who have never registered with USA Hockey.

The program was developed in an effort to reduce cost barriers to ice hockey participation by providing free equipment. The Learn To Play program primary goal is to create the next generation of hockey players and fans who will remain engaged with the game throughout the rest of their lives.

Cost of entry is $100. Every participant will receive six weeks of on-ice training with Florida Panthers Alumni and USA Hockey Certified Coaches, as well as free registration into USA Hockey for the 2016-17 season. Each participant will also be custom fitted for a full set of brand new Florida Panthers branded CCM hockey equipment, including skates that they will use during the program and keep at the conclusion of the six weeks.

Finally, each participant will receive a voucher for two free tickets to a select Florida Panthers weekend home game with the opportunity to purchase additional tickets at a discounted rate.

The Florida Panthers Learn To Play curriculum is designed in conjunction with USA Hockey’s “Gold Standard” which utilizes an age appropriate Long Term Athlete Development structure known as the American Development Model. This model ensures that the program structure is both fun AND effective.

Visit https://learntoplay.nhl.com/panthers

More events, leagues, programs

Miami Midnites basketball

The Miami Midnites men’s professional basketball team announced it will host parent club Maccabi Haifa of the Israeli Basketball Super league in a charity game on Thursday, Oct. 6 at 7 p.m. at Scheck Hillel Community School in North Miami.

The proceeds from the game will go toward Maccabi Haifa’s charity program, “Haifa Hoops for Kids,” a joint initiative between Maccabi Haifa and the Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest New Jersey, which has hosted more than 27,000 underprivileged and special needs children in Israel at Maccabi Haifa home games.

Maccabi Haifa’s trip to the United States will mark the sixth time in seven years the team will travel to North America to play against NBA competition. After Maccabi Haifa’s game against the Miami MIdnites, it will travel to Sacramento to face the NBA's Sacramento Kings and Israeli native Omri Casspi at the brand new Golden 1 Center on Monday, Oct. 10 at 7:30 p.m. Pacific Time. Maccabi Haifa will be the Kings’ first opponent in the new Golden 1 Center. Maccabi Haifa played against the Kings on Oct. 18, 2014, falling 91-59 at Sleep Train Arena.

In five tours to North America, Maccabi Haifa has faced 11 NBA opponents (New Jersey Nets, Golden State Warriors, Minnesota Timberwolves, Phoenix Suns, Detroit Pistons, Memphis Grizzlies, Washington Wizards, Portland Trail Blazers, Sacramento Kings, Toronto Raptors and Los Angeles Lakers). Maccabi Haifa ranks second all-time among international basketball teams in games played against NBA opponents (12).

“We're looking forward to playing against the Sacramento Kings and Israeli star Omri Casspi again, and it’s even more special that we'll be the opening act at their brand new arena,” said Maccabi Haifa and Miami Midnites team owner Jeffrey Rosen. “Our charity game in South Florida against our own Miami Midnites team is going to be a lot of fun, and it will be for a great cause.”

As one of the original eight teams to form the Israeli Premier League for the 1954 season, Maccabi Haifa has a long and storied legacy in Israeli basketball. Under the ownership of American businessman Jeffrey Rosen, Maccabi Haifa won its first Israeli League championship in franchise history during the 2012-13 season and were an Israeli League Finalist in the 2013-14 season.

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

www.miamimidnites.com.

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

www.historymiami.org.

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

historymiami.org.

Social Media: twitter.com/historymiami, facebook.com/historymiami360, Instagram.com/historymiami,

Tennis

USTA Florida will be hosting FREE Team up Events across the state to help kids and parents join a Junior Team Tennis fall leagues. JTT Leagues are for children ages 6-18 of all levels, who want to join and play locally in a fun format.

Team Up events are a great opportunity for kids and parents to gather and meet other players in the area, talk to team captains, join teams, and sign up for the upcoming local leagues. Gift bags will be available to players who sign up on the spot (Quantities are limited and vary depending on location).

“Team Up events are great for organizers, players and parents,” says USTA Florida Junior Team Tennis Coordinator Liz Coates. “It is a great opportunity for all involved in the local Junior Team Tennis League to meet each other, find out their levels, join teams and to educate parents about the program while having fun on the courts.”

Team Up Event Details:

Sept. 10

JTT Team Up Miami

11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

Tamiami Tennis Center

To register visit: https://falljttmiami.eventbrite.com

Sept. 11

JTT Team Up Miami

11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

Michael-Ann Russell JCC

To register visit: https://falljttmiami.eventbrite.com

Junior Team Tennis leagues have kids playing on compatible teams of similar age and ability, with new formats introduced in 2016 for greater flexibility and more fun. There were about 1400 children participating in the different local leagues around the state the past Spring season and it estimated that about 2,500 total children will participate in leagues this year in both local and regional events throughout the state.

Younger participants will receive credits and ranking points applied to the 10 and Under Youth Tennis Tournament Pathway in Florida.

For information about the 10 and Under Youth Tennis Tournament Pathway visit

USTAFloridaYouthTennis

To get more information about Junior Team Tennis, levels of play, local leagues and details, visit

www.ustaflorida.com/JTT. Additional information is also available at the USTA national JTT page at

www.usta.com/JTT.

Tennis

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:

TennisRegistration

For more information visit:

www.USTAFlorida.com/events

Swimming

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

www.northmiamifl.gov/Parks.

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.

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

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