The USA Basketball Men’s National Team practiced for a couple of hours in the nation’s capital and then visited the Arlington National Cemetery with a special tour guide: General Martin E. Dempsey, the 18th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The tour featured a stop at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, a tour of the Memorial Display, witnessing a Changing of the Guard and placing a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and finally a private tour of Arlington National Cemetery.
“We’re hoping that these last two days gave our guys an opportunity to feel their country, be proud of their country,” USA coach Mike Krzyzewski said. “Not that they’re not proud of representing the United States but maybe they understand what representing the United States is more about, a little bit deeper.”
On behalf of the USA squad, USA Basketball Chairman Jerry Colangelo and 2012 U.S. Olympians Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant and LeBron James had the honor of placing a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
“Words can’t describe how excited I was to get that opportunity (presenting the wreath),” said Durant, who grew up in the Washington, D.C., area. “Not too many people get that. Also, being from here, that was my first time experiencing that. It really puts everything in perspective for you, how much people sacrificed – that you don’t even know – for your lives and that’s big.”
Both the men’s and women’s basketball teams spent much of the weekend interacting with American military members and their families in Washington, D.C., in a program called, “Hoops for Troops”. Among the activities were: basketball clinics, special appearances, and access to USA Basketball exhibition games. The programs were coordinated with the U.S. Department of Defense, Let’s Move (an initiative to solve the problem of childhood obesity within a generation), and Joining Forces, an initiative to support and honor America’s service members and their families. The activities also were part of the World Basketball Festival, run in partnership with NIKE, Inc. and its leading basketball brands – Converse, Jordan Brand and Nike Basketball.
The World Basketball Festival ends today in Washington, D.C., where both the men’s and women’s teams will play exhibition games against Brazil. The women play at 5:30 p.m. and the men play at 8 p.m. Both games will be played in the Verizon Center.
The U.S. women’s team opens Olympic pool play at the London 2012 Olympic Games against Croatia July 28 while the men’s first game is against France on July 29.
Olympians Jake Gibb and Sean Rosenthal came within one win of a third straight FIVB World Tour beach volleyball gold medal Saturday at the Grand Slam Berlin.
Gibb and Rosenthal went against Brazil’s Emanuel Rego and Alison Ceruti in the final for the third straight time, but had to settle for a silver medal after losing, 21-17, 15-21, 15-11. The U.S. team reached the final with a 21-18, 21-14 win over Poland’s Mariusz Prudel and Grzegorz Fijalek in the semifinals.
“We’ve had a good tournament,” Gibb said. “They played better than us, so good for them. We now have one more big tournament next week in Klagenfurt so hopefully we will do well then.”
The tournament in Austria will be the last FIVB event before the London 2012 Olympic Games. Gibb and Rosenthal lost in the quarterfinals at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.
Jennifer Kessy and April Ross, who qualified to compete in their first Olympic Games in London, finished fifth while Lauren Fendrick and Brooke Hanson finished seventh in the women’s event. Elsewhere, Casey Patterson-Ryan Doherty and Whitney Pavlik-Jenny Kroop won titles in the Chicago Open, a Jose Cuervo Pro Beach Volleyball Series event.
The win was the third straight for Patterson-Doherty in the series and the second straight for Pavlik-Kroop.
A young group of national team players led the United States to a 29-27, 25-20, 25-11 victory against Argentina Saturday in the final of the Pan American Cup in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.
Both teams were 4-0 entering the final. The United States has won the tournament five times in the last seven years.
Outside hitter Taylor Sander was named Most Valuable Player, outside hitter Tony Ciarelli was named Best Attacker and middle blocker Dustin Warren earned Best Defense honors. Carson Clark had 18 kills and an ace in the championship match. Sander had nine attacks and a block. Ciarelli added seven kills. Dylan Davis and Matt Rawson each had four attacks and two blocks.
Elsewhere, the United States defeated Bulgaria, 22-25, 25-18, 16-25, 25-22, 15-11, Saturday at Canyon High School in Anaheim, Calif., in the first match of a three-match women’s Challenge Series. Jordan Larson had 26 points, including 24 kills. Destinee Hooker added 19 points, including 14 kills and four blocks.
The series continues with matches Monday and Wednesday at the University of Southern California. The team heads to London Friday in preparation for the Olympic Games.
The United States is 3-1 at the Women’s Pan American Cup in Juarez, Mexico, following a 25-27, 25-21, 25-13, 25-17 win over Colombia Sunday afternoon.
Pool play concludes Monday with a match against the Dominican Republic.
Lauren Gibbemeyer scored 22 points, including 11 on blocks, against Colombia. The United States handled Puerto Rico, 25-15, 25-12, 25-14, Friday. Cuba defeated the United States, 25-18, 25-23, 18-25, 25-19, Saturday despite 18 kills by Kristin Richards.
TRACK AND FIELD
Aries Merritt ran a world-leading and meet record time to lead the way as the United States swept the top six spots in the men’s 110-meter hurdles Saturday at the Samsung Diamond League event in London.
Merritt won in 12.93 seconds, matching his winning time at the Olympic Trials. Jason Richardson was second in 13.06, followed by Ryan Wilson, Jeff Porter, Joel Brown and Antwon Hicks. Merritt, Richardson and Porter will represent the United States in the event at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Kellie Wells came from behind late in the race to edge Australia’s Sally Pearson in the women’s 100-meter hurdles finals. Wells finished in 12.57 to win by two-hundredths of a second over Pearson, who has the top three times in the world and had been unbeaten in 2012. Wells, the 2011 U.S. national champion, will compete in London.
Olympian Tyson Gay won his second straight Diamond League 100-meter dash title in 10.03. Ryan Bailey was second in 10.09. Reigning world triple jump champion Christian Taylor had the top three jumps while winning the men’s triple jump title. Taylor qualified to compete in London.
Chaunté Lowe, who will make her third trip to the Olympic Games in London, won her fourth Diamond League high jump title of the season. Reese Hoffa won the men’s shot put while Molly Beckwith won the women’s 800 and Charonda Williams won the women’s 200 meters.
Elsewhere, the U.S. boys and girls each won 4x100 relay titles at the IAAF World Junior Championships in Barcelona.
The U.S. men’s and women’s eights won gold medals Sunday as the World Rowing Under-23 Championships came to a close in Trakai, Lithuania.
The United States also earned silver Saturday in the men’s four with coxswain.
The men’s eight of Sam Ojserkis, Ian Silveira, Tom Dethlefs, Alex Bunkers, Ryan Schroeder, Ambrose Puttmann, Gardner Yost, Rob Munn and Jim Voter defended its world title.
“We were kind of down at the 1,000, and I think with the chemistry and the attitude of the boat, we were able to stay together and push through in the second 1,000 and close when we needed to,” Silveira said.
The winning women’s eight team consisted of Kendall Schmidt, Kristine O’Brien, Madison Culp, Heidi Robbins, Chrissy Holm, Gabbie Cole, Taylor Goetzinger, Amanda Elmore and Emily Walsh.
Seamus Labrum, Max Mannisto, Patrick Marre, Garrett Rinden and Alex Kornick combined for the silver medal Saturday.
The men’s pair of Austin Hack and Dariush Aghai finished fourth Sunday. The lightweight men’s double sculls team of Nick Trojan and Austin Meyer also finished fourth.
The lightweight women’s quadruple sculls team of Samantha Brecht, Sarah Giancola, Carolina Paini and Cornelia Willias finished fourth Saturday.
Olympian Caroline Queen placed ninth Sunday in the U23 Women’s K1 Final Sunday when the ICF Junior/U23 Slalom World Championships concluded in Wausau, Wis.
The United States placed sixth in the Junior Men’s C1 and ninth in the Junior Women’s K1 team events.
Rick Powell, a 2008 Olympian, earned the bronze medal in the U23 Men’s K1 Saturday while Michael Smolen finished fifth. Micki Reeves finished sixth in the U23 Women’s C1 Final.
The U23 Women’s C1 team placed fifth and Junior Men’s K1 team was seventh.
Lukas Verzbicas finished sixth in the ITU World Cup triathlon event in Tiszaujvaros, Hungary, while William Huffman and Tony Smoragiewicz finished 1-2 in the Tiszaujvaros Junior European Cup. Verzbicas finished the sprint-distance event (750-meter, 20-kilometer bike, 5-kilometer run) in 52:21. Huffman needed 37:20 to finish the 500-meter swim, 12-kilometer bike and 3.2-kilometer run.
Jennifer Valente won six gold medals at the USA Cycling Juniors Track National Championships, which came to a close Sunday. Valente and Chloe Chepigin, who finished fifth in the world together last year, won the women’s team sprint. They qualified for the Junior World Championships with a time of 49.405. Valente won the women’s keirin and women’s 17-18 7.5-kilometer scratch race Saturday.
Samantha Fischer drove in five runs while Jackie Traina threw a one-hitter with six strikeouts Sunday when the United States pounded Puerto Rico, 13-0, in the ISF Women’s World Championships in Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada. The United States outscored its first three opponents, 30-0. It plays South Africa Monday, China Tuesday, Netherlands Wednesday and the Dominican Republic Thursday.
The United States Collegiate National Baseball Team defeated Japan, 4-1, Saturday and Cuba, 5-2, Sunday to begin play in the Honkball Week in Haarlem, Netherlands. Mario Gonzales struck out 10 in seven innings and combined with David Berg to retire the last 19 batters against Japan. Trea Turner was 3-for-4 against Cuba.
Cassy Herkelman won the 115-pound Cadet freestyle title on her 16th birthday in the ASICS/Vaughan Junior and Cadet Nationals in Fargo, N.D. Autumn Rux (154) was the only repeat champion and Teshya Alo (124) was named Outstanding Wrestler.
Collin Martin (163 pounds), Joseph Chamish (185), Donald Simmons (211.5) and Charles Fish (heavyweight) won Senior Men’s titles Saturday at the U.S. Beach Wrestling National Championships in Rochester, N.Y.
Alexa Tchekmarev won the solo free, Beatriz Feres and Branca Ferez won the duet free and the Menomonee Falls Dolphinettes combination of Emily Emanuele, Anna Goetze, Emmorie Jossie, Molly Lucas, Kimberly Lurenz, Samantha Paddock, Alexandra Starrett and Lane Starrett won the team title in the synchronized swimming U.S. Open National Championships, which ended Saturday in Henderson, Nev.
Story courtesy Red Line Editorial, Inc. Tom Robinson is a freelance contributor for TeamUSA.org. Material from various news services and press releases from National Governing Bodies was used to compile this report. This story was not subject to the approval of any National Governing Bodies.