Junior Maccabi Games coming to town

050214_maccabbiMore than 700 young Jewish athletes from 15 cities will pour into the Owings Mills Jewish Community Center next week to compete in the Junior Maccabi Games.

“It’s looking pretty good,” said Bradley Kerxton, middle school program director at the JCC of Greater Baltimore, of the local delegation’s odds of success this year. As the host, Baltimore gets to bring more athletes than any other community. This year, the team is 145 athletes strong.

The kids will compete in sports that include soccer, basketball, swimming, tennis, table tennis and baseball. Tryouts were held in March to assemble the teams, which will be coached by Avi Krief, Richard Waxman, Hector Vento, Barry Flaks, Rebecca Chinsky, Shawnise Crawford, Adam Stein and Eddie Hutchins.

Last year, Baltimore took home its first-ever gold medal in girls’ basketball. This year, they’re hoping for even more success, said Paul Lurie, Maccabi experience director at the JCC. In the past, Baltimore has been strong in the individual sports, but with two teams competing in many of the sports this year, the chances of success are even greater.

The day kicks off at 8:30 a.m., when the kids, ages 10 to 12, march in the opening ceremony parade at the Owings Mills JCC. From there, the day breaks into round-robin tournaments before lunch is served. After lunch, the day splits into single-elimination medal rounds before the conclusion of the day at 5:30 p.m.

“It’s a pretty big undertaking,” said Lurie. “It’s a lot of stuff in one day.”

In addition to the JCC campus, competitions will also be held at New Town High School, Owings Mills High School, McDonogh School, Beth Tfiloh Dahan Community School and Stevenson University.

Volunteers are still needed for many of the events, and more information can be found at jcc.org/teens/jcc-jr.-maccabi-2014.

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