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Free fun, exercise and teamwork is in the mix this spring as Louisville Parks and Recreation is offering a free tee-ball league for children ages six and under.

Sign-ups will continue through March 6, and again, participation is free. Parents can sign up at louisvillerbi.leagueapps.com or at the following community centers:

  • Beechmont Community Center, 205 Wellington Avenue, 40214
  • California Community Center, 1600 W. St. Catherine Street, 40210
  • Cyril Allgeier Community Center, 4101 Cadillac Court, 40213
  • Douglass Community Center, 2305 Douglass Boulevard, 40205
  • Molly Leonard Community Center, 640 N. 27th Street, 40212
  • Newburg Community Center, 4810 Exeter Avenue, 40218
  • Parkhill Community Center, 1703 South 13th Street, 40210
  • South Louisville Community Center, 2911 Taylor Boulevard, 40208
  • Southwick Community Center, 3621 Southern Avenue, 40211
  • Sun Valley Community Center, 6505 Bethany Lane, 40272

Games begin April 11 and will be played at Wyandotte Park, 1104 Beecher Street, 40215. Louisville Parks and Recreation is also seeking coaches and volunteers to help run the league. For more information, call (502) 574-4515 or e-mail Brady Buckley.

Louisville Parks and Recreation is partnering with Major League Baseball (MLB) and the Reviving Baseball In Inner Cities (RBI) program to increase interest and participation in the game of baseball and softball as well as to encourage academic participation and the value of teamwork. RBI operates in 200 cities worldwide.

The Beechmont Community Center and Louisville City FC will be hosting the second annual Soccer Skills Clinic at the outdoor futsal court on Saturday, September 21 and Saturday, September 28.

Beechmont is located just off Southern Parkway at 205 W. Wellington Avenue, 40214. The clinic, which is targeted for boys and girls 5-13 years of age, is free of charge. The clinic will begin at 10 a.m. sharp and end at noon each day.

Jacob Hazel, an organizer of the clinic, says that while experienced players may find something to learn at Beechmont, the fun, interactive games put on by Louisville City FC reps are meant to appeal to beginners and intermediate players.

To register for the clinic, please call (502) 361-5484, e-mail Jacob.Hazel@louisvilleky.gov.

The Associated Press has been ranking the best teams in college basketball for more 68 years with over 1,100 polls.  Through all that, a total of 200 schools have been ranked with 59 of them earning the number one spot.  The AP recently came up with a formula to rank the Best College Basketball Team of All Time using data from those polls with the University of Kentucky squeaking out a win in the top spot.

The Wildcats’ all-time-best victory by a margin of just 1.17% over runner-up UNC might be some small measure of consolation for #2 seed UK fans after last week’s 73-75 loss to the #1 seed Tarheels in the 2017 NCAA tournament quarter-finals.

To rank the all-time Top 100 teams, the AP formula counted poll appearances at one point each to reward consistent winners and awarded two points each when teams appeared in the number one spot to acknowledge elite programs. National championship wins are not factored into these rankings since the Associated Press does not release a poll after the tournament.

University of Kentucky’s Wildcats appeared in more than 75% of all AP polls with 124 No. 1 rankings, earning them a total of 1,111 total points, just ahead of UNC’s 1,098.  The Tarheels had more overall appearances in polling but only 110 appearances in the top spot.

After a sharp drop-off in overall points, Louisville fans were not left out; the Cardinals finished the ranking at No. 7 behind Duke, UCLS, Kansas, and the Indiana Hoosiers.  The Cards earned 627 overall points with appearances in more than 54% of AP’s polls and two No. 1 appearances.

Arizona, Syracuse, and the Cincinnati Bearcats rounded out the top 10 positions with Jacksonville and Mississippi only just making the cut tied for #100.  Maryland toped the list of “never Number Ones” at #17 all-time, one of only two top-25 teams to have never earned the top spot in any AP poll.

The 2017 NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament continues with semi-finals games Saturday between South Carolina and Gonzaga at 6:09 PM and UNC facing Oregon at 8:49 PM.  The winners of those games will face each other April 3rd to determine the 2017 champion.

Race Expo Temporarily Moves to Kentucky Exposition Center

The Kentucky Derby Festival is re-routing a small portion of the 2017 Kentucky Derby Festival Marathon/miniMarathon presented by Walmart and Humana due to the renovation of the Kentucky International Convention Center (KICC). The races are set for Saturday, April 29. The courses for both the miniMarathon and Marathon will be diverted one block to Second Street. This will affect the half marathon between mile 12 and 13; and the full marathon at mile 25. Marathon runners will also notice small changes between mile 13 and 14, to make up some additional distance. Overall, the changes affect less than one mile of the entire race.

“All downtown traffic is being rerouted to avoid the construction and the Kentucky Derby Festival is no exception,” said Matt Gibson, Senior Vice President of Events for the Kentucky Derby Festival.  “Fortunately these are minor changes and will have minimal impact on the runners’ experience.”

The Festival is working with Louisville Metro Police to ensure the route is safe for the runners and still accessible to traffic. As they do along the entire race route, LMPD will assist with vehicle cross traffic at intersections, to ensure residents and businesses can still reach their destination when breaks in the race permit.

Along with changes to the course, the Race Expo will also temporarily move to the West Wing of the Kentucky Exposition Center (KEC) on April 27 and 28, 2017. The Expo is traditionally held at KICC, but will relocate to KEC for both 2017 and 2018, until the renovations are complete. Complimentary shuttles will be provided to transport runners from Downtown to the Kentucky Exposition Center. Parking fees will also be waived for runners picking up their race packets at the Expo. Runners will receive all the details in their confirmation packets and can also find it online at DerbyFestivalMarathon.com.

“We’re partnering with the Kentucky Exposition Center and the Convention & Visitors Bureau to make sure this move is seamless for the runners and our vendors,” said Shanna Ward, Race Director.

Operations, parking and other amenities at the start, finish and along the course remain unchanged. Both races will still start at 7:30 a.m. on Main Street in downtown Louisville and finish at Preston and Witherspoon Streets. The runners will also run through the main gate at Churchill Downs for their lap through the infield.

The Marathon and miniMarathon marks the largest annual day of road racing in Kentucky. Registration is still available online at www.derbyfestivalmarathon.com. Current registration is $85 for the mini and $95 for the Marathon.

The UofL Alumni Association will host local and national events for alumni and fans to celebrate the NCAA Tournament play this week.

UofL’s #2-seeded men’s team will face #15 Jacksonville State at 2:45 p.m. Friday in Indianapolis in the first round, while #4 women’s basketball will face #13 Chattanooga at 1:30 p.m. Saturday at the KFC Yum! Center.

On Friday, March 17, in Indianapolis, two locations are available for UofL alumni and fans to gather. They are: Colts Grill at 10 a.m. and Scotty’s Brewhouse at 11 a.m.; both are one block from Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Entry is free and the first 50 fans at each location will receive a special giveaway. Seating is first come, first serve with no reservations. If the Cardinals advance, the pre-game gathering locations will remain the same for Sunday’s games.

Fans are also invited to support the 12 Cardinals competing in the NCAA Division 1 Swimming & Diving Championship, which will be March 15-18 at IU Natatorium.

On Saturday, March 18, the UofL and UK alumni chapters in Indianapolis will co-host a Collaborative Community Service Project from 9 a.m.–noon at Gleaners Food Bank. While rivals off the court, the two schools will come together to give back during the event.

Alumni regional chapters will also host national game watches in more than 30 locations across the country including the Sport & Social Club for local fans. A full list of men’s and women’s tournament-related news can be found at: UofLalumni.org/UofLNCAA.

For more information, on-site interview opportunities or photos, contact Lindsay Wehr, Director of Advancement Communications, at 502-262-5434 or lawehr01@louisville.edu.

Ballard High School has inducted its inaugural Athletic Hall of Fame class, recognizing alumni who achieved outstanding accomplishments in their athletic careers or service to the athletic department at Ballard.

The Ballard Bruins Athletic Hall of Fame recognizes graduates and school supporters who are at least 10 years out of high school.  In addition to acknowledging athletic success, the award also recognizes recipients’ post-Ballard graduation accomplishments and service.

Inductees include (by graduation year unless otherwise indicated):

  • Marty Bailen, was involved in Ballard athletics for more than 40 years in all capacities, including announcer and statistician. The football press box is named after him.
  • Pat Crawford, served as Ballard’s first principal, from 1968 to 1985. The football stadium is named after him.
  • Allan Houston, 1989, played on Ballard’s 1988 Kentucky state championship team, and went on to play at the University of Tennessee, graduating in 1993 as the school’s all-time leading scorer.  He also played for the Detroit Pistons and New York Knicks.
  • Jeremi Johnson, 1999, rushed for more than 2,000 yards and scored 35 touchdowns his junior and senior seasons. He played football at Indiana University and Western Kentucky University, and was selected by the Cincinnati Bengals in the 2003 National Football League draft.
  • Jeff Lamp, 1977, was on Ballard’s 1977 state championship basketball team, voted Kentucky Mr. Basketball in 1977, and starred at the University of Virginia. He was selected by the Portland Trailblazers with the number 15 pick in the 1981 draft. He also played for the Milwaukee Bucks, San Antonio Spurs and Los Angeles Lakers.
  • Gary Plock, 1974, was a four-time Kentucky state champion and two-time All American in tennis. He was also an NCAA doubles finalist at the University of Texas, and was elected to the Kentucky Tennis Hall of Fame in 1985.
  • Jim Reuther, served as Ballard’s first athletic director. The basketball gymnasium is named after him.
  • Sally Sligar, 1975, earned multiple state championships in track and cross country in what were then state record times, and went on to run cross country and track at the University of Tennessee.
  • Jeremy Sowers, 2001, threw four no-hitters in high school and led the team to consecutive appearances in the state championship game. Was named the Kentucky Gatorade Player of the Year, starred at Vanderbilt Univeristy, and was selected the sixth overall pick in the 2004 Major League Baseball draft.
  • Susan Stoddard, 1982, ran track, played volleyball and softball, and excelled in basketball, which she played at the University of Florida.
  • Kent Taylor, 1973, held school and regional records in the 2-mile, participated in the 1973 Mason Dixon Games, and went on to run track and cross country at University of North Carolina.

Inductees will be recognized at the Ballard Athletic Hall of Fame banquet which begins at 6 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 14 at the Marriott East Hotel, 1903 Embassy Square Blvd. For ticket information, visit Eventbrite.

dsc_0770While the 2016 NAILE continues through November 17, providing ample opportunity to visit the Giant Country Store, see livestock including cattle, goats, sheep, and swine, tonight marks your last chance to experience the thunder of the North American Championship Rodeo in the circuit finals of the Pro Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA).

Top cowboys and cowgirls from Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin are competing for over $80,000 in prizes as well as the title of Regional Champion.

The circuit finals include a variety of events including the bucking of bareback and saddled bronco riding, the action of roping and wrestling calves and steer, the speed of barrel racing.  The night culminates with the thunder of bull riding as cowboys seek to hang on for a full ride of eight seconds as a bucking bull weighing up to a ton or more tries his best to shake the cowboy from his back.

The rodeo starts at 7:30PM tonight with tickets starting at $32 for adults and $10 for children.  Be sure to show up early to experience everything else that the North American International Livestock Expo has to offer, including more animal excitement like the Draft Horse show and Cowboy Mounted Shooting events, in which Cowboys and Cowgirls race through the arena at full speed atop their horse while attempting to hit all of the targets with real firearms (shooting specialized blanks, of course) in less time than their opponents.   Continue reading

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