Assistant, Media Relations and Publications
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Nov. 9, 2011) – The U. S. Men’s Sitting Volleyball Team will compete in the 2011 Parapan American Games on Nov. 12-20 in Guadalajara, Mexico hoping to secure a spot in the 2012 London Paralympic Games.
The 10 members making up the U.S. Men’s Sitting Team are heading to Mexico with a win-only mentality as winning gold at the Parapan Am Games remains the last tournament-option to qualify for London.
The pressure is on, but the team’s recent success has given it ample opportunity to iron out the kinks and perfect its execution strategies.
“Ultimately our goal is to go in there and win a gold medal to qualify for London,” U.S. Sitting Volleyball Head Coach Bill Hamiter (Bethany, Okla.) said. “We believe that we have the personnel and athletic ability to beat the teams at the tournament. It is just a matter of getting the job done.”
Six of the 10 athletes that Hamiter is taking to Guadalajara have had Parapan Am experience in the 2007 edition of the games. Those players include Team Captain Brent Rasmussen (Omaha, Neb.), Hugo Storer (Greensboro, N.C.), Eric Duda (Fort Lauderdale, Fla./Edmond, Okla.), James Stuck (New Kensington, Pa./Edmond, Okla.), Roderick Green (West Monroe, La./Edmond, Okla.) and Edgar LaForest (San Juan, Puerto Rico).
At the 2007 Parapan American Games the team lost a heart-breaking final match to Brazil for the gold medal and the trip to the 2008 Beijing Olympics. This year the U.S. and Brazil will face each other in the first match of the tournament, a rematch from four years ago and quite possibly the toughest match-up for both teams.
Rasmussen and Duda were also a part of the 2004 Paralympic team that finished sixth in the Games in Athens.
Making their Parapan Am Games debut will be J. Dee Marinko (Newcastle, Okla.), Ed O’Neil (Amherst, Mass./Edmond, Okla.), Dan Regan (St. Louis, Mo./Edmond, Okla.) and Charlie Swearingen (Gulfport, Miss./Edmond, Okla.).
The team will also be participating in politics as Swearingen is nominated for a position on the Americas Paralympic Committee (APC) Executive Board. Swearingen was elected on Sept. 9, 2011, as the United States Paralympic Athlete Representative giving him the automatic nomination for the APC. ‘Aa’ athletes will be able to vote for their representative Nov. 10-19 in Guadalajara. Swearingen joins only five other athletes representing different countries and sports on the ballot.
The team has used the 2011 season to prepare for the Parapan Am Games. In July, the team finished in eighth place at the 2011 Continental Cup with a 3-4 record. Most recently, the team held a joint training camp with Canada on Oct. 21-22 at the University of Central Oklahoma Wellness Center in Edmond, Okla. The teams participated in two exhibition matches, both wins for Team USA.
“In the past few training camps we have been focusing on playing more consistently and to accomplish that we have to stay emotionally consistent during the match,” Hamiter said. “We can’t stress out or let our emotions get away with us when we are and are not playing well. We have to play point-by-point, stay in the moment and execute.”
For more information about the games, click here.
2011 Men's Sitting Team Parapan Am Games Roster
Name (Hometown/Resident athletes at the University of Central Oklahoma are noted)
Eric Duda (Fort Lauderdale, Fla./Edmond, Okla.)
Roderick Green (West Monroe, La./Edmond, Okla.)
Edgardo Laforest (San Juan, Puerto Rico)
J. Dee Marinko (Newcastle, Okla.)
Ed O'Neil (Amherst, Mass./Edmond, Okla.)
Brent Rasmussen (Omaha, Neb.)
Dan Regan (St. Louis, Mo./Edmond, Okla.)
James Stuck (New Kensington, Pa./Edmond, Okla.)
Hugo Storer (Greensboro, N.C.)
Charlie Swearingen (Gulfport, Miss./Edmond, Okla.)
U.S. Men's Sitting Team Parapan American Games Staff
Head Coach – Bill Hamiter (Bethany, Okla.)
Assistant Coach – Dixie Collins (Marshall, Va.)
Athletic Trainer- Brian Farr
2011 U.S. Men’s Sitting Team Parapan American Games Schedule
12 p.m. USA vs. Brazil
5 p.m. USA vs. Mexico
12 p.m. USA vs. Canada
12 p.m. USA vs. Costa Rica
8 p.m. USA vs. Colombia
4 p.m. Semifinals (match 1)
7 p.m. Semifinals (match 2)
7 p.m. Final