What does the Serra family do for fun during summer break?
Running and conditioning for a month in Flagstaff, Arizona, of course.
David, Kathryn, mom and dad traveled to Flagstaff, spending July there. With plenty of up-n-down hilly, rocky, sandy, paved, very physical, but beautiful terrain, David and Kathryn could prepare for the next phase of their athletic journeys.
David, also known as “Chuli,” a star in cross-country and track, will gear for his senior year at Ransom Everglades. Kathryn, a standout basketball player and crew team member, will continue rowing at Harvard in the fall.
Their father, David, a Cuban American, is a staunch advocate of conditioning, exercise, inspiring his kids to run, even before they could walk. He’s competed in half marathons, 10Ks and 5Ks. Living in Key Biscayne, he would jog from their home to David and Kathryn’s youth tackle football games (even the road games, including a 20-mile jaunt to Hialeah), when they were younger, competing for the Key Biscayne Key Rats. Those runs not only inspired his kids but also their teammates. Kathryn (OL) and David (RB) also competed together on the Ransom Everglades middle school level tackle football team.
Dad and kids developed a unique way of training. They would run up-and-down their family’s Key Biscayne apartment building — 27 flights up and then 27 flights down — repeating the cycle six times while wearing a weighted military vest. Their father, who was a doctor in Cuba and a nurse practitioner in Miami, also ran the 55-story Southeast Financial Center building in downtown Miami.
His motivation and their hard work, hard training, are paying off.
At 14, Kathryn even won a Spartan Race World Championship in her age group (14-17) in Lake Tahoe, California. “Chuli” placed second in boys’ 13-and-under.
A grueling course, a Spartan race features 13 miles of rocky, slippery and mountainous topography -- with a 200-yard swim in freezing water and about 40 obstacles.
At Ransom Everglades, Kathryn excelled in basketball (middle school three years, varsity four years). She was a Miami Herald All-Dade third team selection. She competed for the Breakdown basketball club, based in Broward, during her middle school years. She was named team MVP of the Ransom middle school division basketball team. She also earned the school’s Reach Award for community service and was twice named Most Athletic by her school for girls. Her brother, David, received that distinction, too, on the boys’ side recently as a junior.
Joining Ransom Everglades Crew as an 8th grader, Kathryn really excelled, leading to an academic and athletic opportunity at Harvard, where she will compete for Harvard Radcliffe Crew. She won a national championship in 2020 in Girls’ U17 1X. In 2021, she won a club national championship in Women’s 8+. This summer in Sarasota, she teamed with Florine Lijesen to place fifth in Girls’ Youth 2X at Youth Nationals at Nathan Benderson Park. They also won the Scholastic Rowing Association of America National Championship Regatta in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.
“Chuli” began playing competitive travel soccer at age 6. Soccer and football were his sports, until a friend told him to try track in his sophomore season to help the team and to condition for soccer. He ran the 800 in 1-minute 59-seconds and won districts in the 800 and 1600; he also won region in the 800 and 1600; and placed Top 10 in the state in the 800. He has committed to Wake Forest.
For the 2022-23 season at Ransom, “Chuli” was the Miami Herald All-Dade Boys’ Cross-Country Runner of the Year and All-Dade Boys’ Track & Field Athlete of the Year.
Since 2017, David and Kathryn are on the board of Thumbs UP, which pairs able-bodied athletes with differently-able athletes, running half marathons, 5ks and 10ks.
NOTE: Mom, Laura, does not participate in the training but is always there at events with moral support, while contributing photographic expertise and plenty of water.
Ramon Oseas de Leon, representing Miami Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired, is among 12 coaches and educators from across the United States attending the 2023 USABA National Blind Soccer Coaching Summit at Rutgers University.
In partnership with Reader’s Digest Partners for Sight Foundation, the U.S. Association for Blind Athletes (USABA) and Rutgers University Department of Kinesiology and Health and Center for Disability Sports, Health and Wellness, will host the blind soccer coaching summit for blind and visually impaired physical education teachers and adaptive sports organizations from across the country. The event will occur Aug. 4-5 on the Rutgers University campus.
The United States has never fielded a blind soccer team at the Paralympics, but that will all change in 2028 when the Games are in Los Angeles. Team USA will receive an automatic berth in the tournament as the host nation. The first USA Blind Soccer Men’s National Team was named in 2022 and began international play earlier this year.
Blind soccer is played on a rectangular field that measures 40 meters long and 20 meters wide. The whole length of the pitch is surrounded by rebound panels to prevent the ball from going out of play. The duration of the match is 50 minutes, divided into two 25-minute halves.
To ensure fair competition, all outfield players must wear eyeshades. Teams can also have off-field guides to assist them. The ball makes a noise due to a sound device located inside that helps players orient themselves. Spectators must remain silent while watching the game until a goal is scored.
Submit summer sports info
For coaches and teams in Broward and Miami-Dade counties, if you have high school level athletes competing in summer leagues, events and programs, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
They will run in the newspaper and online. Photos accepted, too. No deadline. Send after the game, the next day or weekly. You will be alerted when it will appear in the newspaper and online.
Roundup compiled by Jim Varsallone