COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (April 12, 2013) – After a competition layoff of more than a year, members of the U.S. Men’s Sitting Team will return to the floor on April 15-20 in San Jose, Costa Rica.
|Eric Duda, right, passes the ball as Charlie Swearingen (3) watches
at the 2010 Sitting Volleyball World Championships.
In an event that U.S. Men’s Sitting Team Head Coach Bill Hamiter (Bethany, Okla.) calls a “cultural exchange,” the U.S. Men will travel from their headquarters at the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond to play sitting teams from Costa Rica, Mexico and Colombia.
“Costa Rica is using it as a promotional piece and a chance for its teams to play more,” Hamiter said. “We’re taking a combination of veterans and newer players to see how they do in competition.”
The last time the U.S. Men’s Sitting Team competed was at the Intercontinental Cup on March 3-10, 2012 in Cairo, Egypt. The team finished eighth, failing in its final attempt to qualify for the 2012 Paralympic Games.
Eric Duda (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.), who has taken over as team captain for Brent Rasmussen, who has retired from the team, said the players are anxious to compete again.
“It’s going to be testing out the muscles and getting a full sprint in,” Duda said. “It will be nice to see how far the team has come in all our practices and camps.”
Other veteran players who will be traveling to Costa Rica are Edgar Laforest (San Juan, Puerto Rico), J. Dee Marinko (Newcastle, Okla.), Daniel Regan (St. Louis, Mo.) and Charlie Swearingen (Gulfport, Miss.).
Newcomers on the team for San Juan are Rejy Bacchus (Byan, Texas) and Thomas Davis (Detroit, Mich).
Both Hamiter and Duda agreed that the U.S. Men’s Sitting Team has put the disappointment of missing the 2012 Paralympic Games behind it and is now focused on qualifying for the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
“It was definitely a disappointment not to qualify,” Hamiter said. “But after some time off, they bounced back pretty quickly. They said, ‘Hey, we’re committed and ready to go. Let’s start training for Rio now.’”
“You know what? This is our greatest chance to qualify and medal,” Duda said of the 2016 Paralympic Games. “We have raised the stakes and we are going for a medal now.”
U.S. Men’s Sitting Volleyball Team
2 Daniel Regan (St. Louis, Mo.)
5 Eric Duda (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)
7 Thomas Davis (Detroit, Mich.)
10 Edgar Laforest (San Juan, Puerto Rico)
13 Charlie Swearingen (Gulfport, Miss.)
17 Rejy Bacchus (Bryan, Texas)
18 J. Dee Marinko (Newcastle, Okla.)