Roenicke to Carry U.S. Flag at Australian Sports Festival

Jan. 09, 2009, 11:05 a.m. (ET)

B.J. Hoeptner Evans
Manager, Media Relations and Publications
Phone: (719) 228-6800       

COLORADO SPRINGS (Jan. 8, 2009) – Tara Roenicke (Alta Loma, Calif.), one of two U.S. beach volleyball players competing at next week’s Australian Youth Olympic Festival in Sydney, has been voted to be the U.S. flag bearer for the opening ceremonies on Jan. 14.

Roenicke and partner Summer Ross (Carlsbad, Calif.) will begin competition at the Festival on Jan. 15. The beach volleyball tournament is scheduled to take place at Maroubra Beach and the medal matches will take place on Jan. 18. The fifth Australian Youth Olympic Festival will host 1,500 athletes from 25 nations at the Olympic village at Homebush in Sydney.

Roenicke is the fourth USA Volleyball athlete to be named a flag bearer in the last 18 months and the first beach volleyball player. In July 2007, Danielle Scott-Arruda (Baton Rouge, La.) of the U.S. women’s indoor team was selected as the U.S. flag bearer for the opening ceremonies of the Pan American Games in Brazil.

That same year in August, U.S. men’s indoor player David Smith (Saugus, Calif.) was selected to be the flag bearer for the opening ceremonies of the World University Games in Thailand and Brad Johnson (Pompano Beach, Fla.), a member of the U.S. men’s sitting team, was named flag bearer for the opening ceremonies of the Parapan American Games in Brazil.

Roenicke’s nomination for the flag bearer slot told of her sister, who was diagnosed with terminal cancer when she was 10 years old. While Roenicke’s mother cared for her daughter, Roenicke turned to the beach and beach volleyball for comfort.

Roenicke’s sister survived and Roenicke has continued her beach volleyball career, representing the United States in two FIVB youth world championships. Roenicke and partner Caitlin Ledoux (Phelan, Calif.) finished fifth at the 2008 FIVB Under-19 World Championship in The Hague, Netherlands.

Roenicke also played indoor volleyball for Los Osos High School (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.) and the Mizuno Long Beach Volleyball Club team. She has signed a national letter of intent with the University of Houston for fall of 2009.

The web site for the Australian Youth Olympic Festival is at