Womens National Team Handball Team to Compete in Final 2007 Pan American Games Qualifying Event

May 29, 2008, 2:48 p.m. (ET)
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - The U.S. Women's National Team Handball Team will begin competition tonight in the final 2007 Pan American Games Qualifying Event in Mexico City, Mexico. The U.S. must win the three team event, featuring Mexico, Chile and the U.S., to qualify for the 2007 Pan American Games which will be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, July 13-29.

Team USA will face the host country Mexico tonight, Thursday, March 29 at 5:00 p.m. and will play Chile, Friday, March 30, also at 5:00 p.m. Mexico will host Chile in the final game of the event on Saturday, March 31 at 12:00 noon. All games will be played at the Mexican National Olympic Training Center in Mexico City. All times are Central Standard Time, as Mexico does not switch to Daylight Savings Time until April 1.

The team that finishes the event in first place (as decided by a point system) will be awarded the eighth and final qualification slot for the 2007 Pan American Games. In their first opportunity to qualify for the 2007 Pan American Games, the U.S. women fell short; losing two games to none to Canada in the North Region 2007 Pan American Games Qualification Event, January 4-7, 2007 in Lake Placid, N.Y. and Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

"Two years ago, we completely rebuilt the U.S. Women's National Team Handball program, developing a full-time team residency program at Cortland University in New York," said Mike Cavanaugh, the United States Olympic Committee's Manager of High Performance for Team Handball. "This is a defining moment for this particular team. It is very, very important for them to qualify for the Pan Am Games. We have a bit of a tough ladder to climb, but I'm confident with the athletes we have and their desire, we should be able to prevail."

Qualifying for the 2007 Pan American Games is a crucial step in the qualification process for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China. The gold medal winning team at the 2007 Pan American Games will receive an automatic berth into the 2008 Olympic Games.

Please see below for the Team USA Roster for this weekend's event:

Name; Hometown; Current Residence; University; Position
Megan Ballard; Atlanta, Ga.; Cortland, N.Y.; Colgate University; Back Court
Edina Batar; Budapest, Hungary; Cortland, N.Y.; Lehman University; Back Court
Erika Bohn; Rutland, Vt.; Cortland, N.Y.; University of Notre Dame; Goal Keeper
Sunny Chen; Virginia Beach, Va.; Cortland, N.Y.; U.S. Military Academy at West Point; Left Wing
Jennie Choi;Valencia, Calif.; Cortland, N.Y.; U.S. Military Academy at West Point; Right Wing
Anne Coulter; Cortland, N.Y.; Cortland, N.Y.; TBD; Circle
Kathleen Darling; Milford, Del.; Cortland, N.Y.; Johns Hopkins University; Back Court
Tomuke Ebuwei-Holmes; Ft. Washington, Md.; Cortland, N.Y.; Penn State University; Back Court
Jennifer Farrell; Los Angeles, Calif.; Cortland, N.Y.; Duke University; Circle
Sarah Gascon; San Pedro, Calif.; Cortland, N.Y.; University of Southeastern Louisiana; Back Court
Tabitha Lowey; Cortland, N.Y.; Cortland, N.Y.; TBD; Left Wing
Melanie McCormick; Sachem, N.Y.; Cortland, N.Y.; SUNY Cortland; Right Wing
Jacquelyn Messel; Mt. Pleasant, Iowa; Cortland, N.Y.; U.S. Military Academy at West Point; Goal Keeper
Anca Stevens; Colorado Springs, Colo.; Colorado Springs, Colo.; TBD; Goal Keeper

Head Coach: Dawn Lewis
Assistant Coach: Thomas Brond

For more information, please contact Cecil Bleiker, United States Olympic Committee NGB Services Manager at 719-866-4608.

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