By Ellen Zoe Golden
The fourth stop of the NORCECA Beach Volleyball Circuit, the tour organized by the sport’s international federation, was Tamarindo Beach, and the weekend of April 15-17 spectators were treated to competition by men and women’s teams from around the world.
Edgar Alvarado, president of Costa Rican Volleyball Federation (Fecovol), represented the home hosts of the tournament. Costa Rica itself had two women’s teams—A (Karen Cope/Nathalia Alfaro), B (Marcela Araya/Valeria Valenciano)—and three men’s teams—A (Richard Smith/Sebastian Valenciano), B (Alejandro González/Marco Miranda), C (Bryan Monge/Ronald Calvo). Although they played at an expert level, the Ticos did not make it into the finals.
Regardless, Lisseth Villalobos of the Costa Rican Institute of Sport and Recreation (ICODER), said that “for us this event is important because it represents and promotes Costa Rica at the Central American and Caribbean level. We also are able to learn that we have to do a lot of work to grow the sport and recreation. You inspire people to pursue their dreams.”
Michael Plantinga and Cameron Wheelan of Canada-A beat out such men’s teams as Cuba, Puerto Rico and the United States to obtain their first gold of the 2016 NORCECA Beach Volleyball Tour. Their final was against Daneil Williams and Fabien Whitfield of Trinidad and Tobago, and the Canadians won 25-23 and 21-15.
The men’s final standings were 1. Canada-A, 2. Trinidad and Tobago, 3. Guatemala, 4. USA-A, 5. USA-B, 6. Costa Rica-A, 7. Costa Rica-B, 8. Puerto Rico, 9. El Salvador, 10. Honduras, 11. Nicaragua, 12. Costa Rica-C, 13. Canada-B, 14. Guadeloupe, 15. St. Kitts & Nevis
Allison McColloch and Kelly Reeves of the United States scored their second NORCECA gold in a row in Tamarindo having picked up their first medals in Guatemala City recently. This latest win came over the Cubans Yanisleidis Sanchez and Lidiannis Echeverria 21-14 and 21-18.
“I am extremely happy, we had an excellent tournament,” Reeves said. “We worked great as a team with Allison. It was a very tough tournament, the other couples played well and strong. The heat, the sun and the wind were also factors in the tournament. The key was to work on the passing and setting, all were affected by the wind, but we learned to control the ball and made good passes, that helped us better to finish the moves.”
The women’s final positions were 1. USA-A, 2. Cuba, 3. USA-B, 4. Costa Rica-A, 5. Mexico-A, 6. Canada-A, 7. Canada-B, 8. Costa Rica-B, 9. Mexico-B, 10. El Salvador, 11. Cayman Islands, 12. Nicaragua, 13. Guatemala, 14. Honduras, 15. U.S. Virgin Islands and 16. Trinidad and Tobago.