DPHS diver on track for 2020 Olympics … and more Southwest Sports!

compiled by Lauren Salinero


The Gift of Swimming will hold its 10th annual Run for the Gift 5K on Nov. 11. The event supports the organization’s mission to provide access to drowning-prevention resources and education for the community’s underprivileged, mentally or physically challenged, or otherwise disadvantaged. Since its inception more than 12 years ago, The Gift of Swimming has provided swim lessons to more than 3,600 children.The Gift of Swimming will hold its 10th annual Run for the Gift 5K on Nov. 11. The event supports the organization’s mission to provide access to drowning-prevention resources and education for the community’s underprivileged, mentally or physically challenged, or otherwise disadvantaged. Since its inception more than 12 years ago, The Gift of Swimming has provided swim lessons to more than 3,600 children.

Registration fees are $25 through Oct. 16, $30 after Oct. 16, and $35 on the day of the race. The 5K begins at 7 a.m. and will be followed by a free Kids Run and SeaWorld-sponsored award ceremony with animal meet-and-greets. Top race participants in each age group win SeaWorld and Aquatica tickets.To register, visit www.run4acause.org/#!run-for-the-gift-5k/c1gca. For more information, visit www.giftofswimming.org.


Orlando Magic representatives chose 20 women to represent the 2017-18 Orlando Magic Dance Team. Each dancer performed a pair of routines in front of a live audience at the Amway Center, and fans were able to watch online at orlandomagic.com and Facebook Live. The performances capped off an exciting audition process. Each of the finalists participated in rehearsals, physical fitness assessments and interviews with Magic representatives.

©Fernando Medina, Orlando Magic

(Front, l. to r.) Nikki, Katrina, Julia, Victoria, Nicole F., Cierra, Lily, Zuli, Kara, (back, l. to r.) Kiki, Robyn, Erika, Nicole H., Jessica, Chenise, Olivia, Bethany, Desiree, Lauren and Mileyka comprise the 2017-18 Orlando Magic Dance Team.

Throughout the season, the dancers contribute at various community events and help put smiles on children’s faces. This season’s dancers are Bethany, Chenise, Cierra, Desiree, Erika, Jessica, Julia, Kara, Katrina, Kiki, Lauren, Lily, Mileyka, Nicole F., Nicole H., Nikki, Olivia, Robyn, Victoria and Zuli.


Windermere resident Randy “RJ” Ruiz has been playing baseball since he was 6 months old, when he first could hold a bat. The Thornebrooke Elementary School student plays for Windermere Little League, where he was selected for its All-Star team for the past four years.

Randy “RJ” Ruiz of Windermere joins the USSSA All American Showcase10u Atlantic Region baseball team.

Ruiz also plays competitive travel baseball with the WBA Warriors. His latest accomplishment was being selected to the USSSA All American Showcase 10-U Atlantic Region team, which covers Florida, Georgia and South Carolina. He was one of 24 children chosen from thousands and played at Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. His father, Randy Ruiz, is a former MLB player. Ruiz is on his way to following in his father’s footsteps.


Beads for Beats Inc. representatives announced the Beads4Beats EnduRUNce 5K walk/run will take place Sept. 23 at 8 a.m. at Dr. P. Phillips Community Park. The not-for-profit organization, founded in 2011, helps terminally and chronically ill children and their families.“Beads” (bracelets) represent a circle of love that is given to sick children to help them remember that they are thought of and loved.

“Beats” stands for keeping the heartbeats going for as long as possible.

B4B anticipates more than 200 individuals and families participating in the run/walk. Its goal is to raise $10,000 to support its mission. One-hundred percent of the proceeds, after expenses, will be used for outreach services.

For more information, call 407-394-6567 or visit www.beads4beats.org.


On Nov. 11, Give Kids The World Village will present its Challenge for Hope Walk, Run, Roll or Stroll. Formerly known as the Gingerbread Run, GKTW’s signature event returns for its ninth year with a new name.

Challenge for Hope will celebrate the happiness that has inspired hope for thousands of children and families at GKTW. The day will include the Kid’s Zone, a Zumba dance warm-up, and the 5K. Adult registration starts at $40 with juniors at $20 with a paid adult. Virtual Challengers can join the fun for $35.For more information or to register, visit support.gktw.org/site/pagenavigator/cfh_hmpg.html.


A recent independent study provided compelling evidence that Girls on the Run is highly effective at driving transformative and lasting change in the lives of third- to fifth-grade girls. The program’s intentional curriculum places an emphasis on developing competence, confidence, connection, character, caring and contribution in young girls through lessons that incorporate running and other physical activities.

Throughout the course of the 10-week after-school program, girls learn critical life skills, including managing emotions, resolving conflict, helping others and making intentional decisions.

The independent study was conducted by Maureen R. Weiss, Ph.D., a leading expert on youth development.

“Girls on the Run participants scored higher in managing emotions, resolving conflict, helping others and making intentional decisions than participants in organized sports or physical education,” Weiss said. “Being able to generalize skills learned in the program to other situations, such as at school or at home, is a distinguishing feature of Girls on the Run compared to traditional youth sports and school physical education, and suggests that the intentional life skills curriculum and coach-training program can serve as exemplars for other youth programs.”

For more information, visit www.gotrorlando.org.


Coach Stephen Raymond (center) of Stick-It Gymnastics congratulates Madison Marshall (left) of Provence and Nina Vicker of Windermere Wylde on their medal-winning performances at the USA Gymnastics Championships.

Southwest Orlando is home to not one, but two national trampoline and tumbling medalists. Madison Marshall and Nina Vicker train at Stick-It Gymnastics under coaches Tyler Aycock and Stephen Raymond.

Marshall, who lives in Provence and attends Bridgewater Middle School, brought home the gold medal in the 11-12 age group level 8 trampoline division from the USA Gymnastics Championships held in Milwakee. She also came in 10th in the double-mini competition.

Olympia High School student and Windermere Wylde resident Vicker earned a sixth-place medal in the 15-older level 8 double-mini event and a seventh place in the trampoline competition. National medals were awarded first through sixth place.


Shawn Coutloff, 10, of Winter Garden places third at the 2017 Kids World Golf Championships.

Winter Garden resident Shawn Coultoff played in the 2017 Kids World Golf Championships held in Pinehurst, North Carolina. He was in a field of the best 173 10-year-olds from around the world, and more than 50 countries were represented.

Coultoff finished on the podium with third place at 10 under par.Coultoff was also chosen as the male 2016 U.S. Kids Golf Player of the Year. The award is presented to the top-rated boy and girl for their competitive golf season.


West Orange Chamber of Commerce will hold its 2017 Golf Classic on Nov. 3 at Orange County National Golf Center and Lodge. As one of WOCC’s most popular events, the classic is an ideal setting for business leaders to bring their best clients, top prospects and/or office staff for a fun afternoon of golf and relationship building. Prices start at $120 per person or $420 per foursome.

For more information, sponsorship opportunities or to register, visit www.wochamber.com/chamber_events/golf.


Dr. Phillips High School student Emanuel Vazquez prepares to represent Puerto Rico in diving at the Pan American Junior Championships.

Dr. Phillips High School student Emanuel Vazquez was selected to represent Team Puerto Rico at the Pan American Junior Championships for diving, which will be held in Victoria, Canada, from Sept. 28-Oct. 1. Vazquez is on a journey to qualify for the 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo, and this elite event will see him compete against some of the best divers in the Western world.

He has been training through YMCA of Central Florida’s diving team with Olympian Mark Ruiz, who represented the U.S. in the 2000 and 2004 Olympics. Ruiz is also from Puerto Rico and a graduate of DPHS.

Although we try to ensure that all information presented above is the most current, correct and dependable available, we do rely on others for the source of our news. Therefore, the Southwest Orlando Bulletin and Cornerstone Publishing & Multi-Media LLC cannot be held responsible for the validity of the information presented here, nor does mentioning it constitute an endorsement. Sports information is welcome and may be mailed to P.O. Box 851, Windermere, FL  34786; or emailed to Lauren@kearneypublishing.com.

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