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SPOTLIGHT | ON PARTICIPANT SPORTS

'Top Gun' star to host annual flag football challenge in Key West

jvarsallone@MiamiHerald.com

Women and girls from around the world will gather in Key West for hard-fought sporting action Feb. 1-9 during the Kelly McGillis Classic International Women & Girls' Flag Football Championship.

According to Diane Beruldsen, president and founder of the International Women's Flag Football Association, more than 60 teams from the United States, Canada, Mexico and Europe have been invited to join McGillis in the island city for the 18th annual championship.

The sporting challenge is endorsed by the critically acclaimed actress, a former Key West resident who starred in Top Gun and Witness, among other films.

During the Key West championship, flag football teams compete in divisions based on age and skill level. Women 18 and older can compete in beginners, middle and higher divisions. Separate girls' divisions accommodate players ranging from 8 to late teens.

The opening ceremonies are 3 p.m. Feb. 4 at the Rum Barrel, 528 Front St., with presentations by Key West city officials and guests.

After the opening ceremonies, competing teams will proceed through Key West's renowned Duval Street in the annual Fairvilla Players Parade.

McGillis, who is the parade's grand marshal, will address the teams at their official registration at the Doubletree Grand Key Resort, 3990 S Roosevelt Blvd. McGillis also plans to participate in the tournament's main social events.

Games begin at 9 a.m. Feb. 5 and continue through Sunday's final World Challenge Game II, which pits the top U.S. team against the top international team. Games are at Key West's Wickers Field on Kennedy Drive off Flagler Avenue.

Award presentations are at Dante's Restaurant, 951 Caroline St.

Spectators are invited to participate in daily halftime games. In addition, social events, parties, water sports, fundraising activities and more are planned, including one at 9 p.m. Feb. 6 at Fat Tuesday, 305 Duval St. A number of Florida Keys and Key West nonprofit organizations also will benefit.

Among the tournament's highlights is a chance to win a date with Kelly McGillis. A drawing to choose the winner is Feb. 7 at Pearl's Rainbow, 525 United St.

The lucky winner and six friends will join McGillis for a gala brunch Feb. 8 at Key West's popular La Te Da, 1125 Duval St.

For information and a schedule of events or for information about the International Women's Flag Football Association, call 888-464-9332 toll-free or e-mail iwffa@iwffa.com. Visit iwffa.com.

For lodging information in Key West, contact the Key West Chamber of Commerce at 1-800-LAST-KEY or visit the Keys website at fla-keys.com.

 Tiffany Enos, 38, of Miami Beach won the women's title during the Bay Harbor Islands 5K on Jan. 18 at Town Hall, Bay Harbor Islands.

Enos completed the 3.1-mile run in 22 minutes 13 seconds. Bal Harbour's Jen Walter, 25, followed in 22:45. Helga Brandenburg, 64, was third in 23:47.

On the men's side, it was a Miami sweep. Jeffrey Tait, only 14, won in 17:22. Jon Williams, 40, placed second in 17:30, and Alfredo Javier, 33, was third in 18:47. Visit multirace.com.

 The Joe DiMaggio Legends Baseball Game is 1 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 24 at Fort Lauderdale Stadium. See former major leaguers from the Yankees, Mets, Phillies, Orioles, Dodgers, Marlins and more compete in a friendly old-timers exhibition.

The event is a fundraiser for the Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital Foundation, which funds programs for children and their families.

A players' reception, open to the public, is 7 p.m. Jan. 23 at the Signature Grand in Davie. Meet the players and participate in a silent auction. Call 954-265-3454.

 

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