Chicago tryouts and tournament kick off Friday

Oct. 13, 2008, 12 a.m. (ET)

USA Team Handball's first major Chicago event is less than five days away - with many exciting developments.

At least nine Olympians will be attending the tryout or Chicago Inter Challenge, the second annual tournament for the Midwest's premier handball club. Five former members of the U.S. Olympic Handball Team will be competing for the New York Athletic Club as they battle West Point, Atlanta Team Handball and others: Tom Fitzgerald, Mike Thornberry and Bobby Dunn of the '96 Olympic team, and Mike Sullivan and Bob Hillery of the '88 Olympic team.

Randy Dean, member of the '76 Olympic handball team and former Giants quarterback will also be in attendance, in addition to Yaro Dachniwsky, member of the '96 team, and Chick Lillis, a member of the '80 team and inductee of the Chicago 16-inch Softball Hall of Fame. All of the Olympians will be available to the media at 7 p.m. on Oct. 17.

Accomplished athletes from around the Midwest and United States will be arriving in the Second City to try out for USA Team Handball's national teams. (Limited spots are still available at Athletes from Big Ten baseball rosters, professional handball players from Europe and Olympic athletes from other events are among the dozens registered to test their athleticism Oct. 17.

Lauren Lappin, 2008 softball silver medalist and member of Northwestern's softball coaching staff, will try out for the women's national team as she works to restore softball as an event for the 2016 summer games.

"Softball is out for 2012, which has been really heartbreaking. We have a lot of great people working hard to get it back in the Olympics for 2016 where we think it belongs, but while we do that, we're trying something new," Lappin said. "The Olympics are such a special thing that there are a few of us who want to be a part of it in any way and help out Team USA. I'm excited to see what team handball is all about, and see if I can contribute."

Bojan Arnautoivc, member of the Chicago Inter, played handball professionally in Serbia for three years. He is ready for the United States to realize its handball potential.

"I'm excited. I believe we can be the best nation. We can be better than Europe, because of the fast-paced sports and athletic abilities we have in the United States, along with our trainers and facilities," Arnautoivc said. "I believe with the right people, there's no limit for this sport."

USA Team Handball has reached agreement with AthletiCo, Chicago's leading provider of rehabilitation, fitness and performance, to administer the physical testing of the USA National Team tryouts and to provide Athletic Trainer coverage for the length of the tournament as Arnuatoivc and the rest of the Chicago Inter clash on the court with seven other elite handball clubs from around the United States. The Chicago Inter Challenge will also see the first reunion of the U.S. women's national team since 2007 while its members prepare for the Pan American Championships qualifying tournament in Mexico next month.

All matches are free and open to the public at Northeastern Illinois University at 5500 St. Louis Ave in Chicago, IL.

The three-day event, a collaboration between USA Team Handball, Chicago Inter, World Sport Chicago and Chicago 2016, will be an exciting step as the U.S. national teams forge their way to London 2012. Come check it out!


USA National Team Tryouts

Friday, Oct. 17

9:00 - 4:00 PM

Chicago Inter Challenge tournament

Friday, Oct. 17

4:30 p.m. W Chicago Inter / Furman
5:45 p.m. M Army / Chicago Inter
7:00 p.m. W USA WNT / Army
8:15 p.m. M New York AC / Atlanta TH

Saturday, Oct. 18

8:30 a.m. W USA WNT / Furman
9:45 a.m. M Chicago Inter / NY AC
11:00 a.m.  W Chicago Inter / West Point
12:15 p.m.  M Atlanta / Army
1:30 - 2:15 PM Break
2:15 p.m.  W West Point / Furman
3:30 p.m.  M Chicago Inter / Atlanta
4:45 p.m.  W USA WNT / Chicago Inter
6:00 p.m.  M NY AC / West Point

Sunday, Oct. 19

8:30 a.m.   Game W7: Women - 3 vs. 4
10:00 a.m. Game M7: Men - 3 vs. 4
11:30 a.m. Game W8: Women - 1 vs. 2
1:00 p.m.   Game M8: Men - 1 vs. 2
2:30 p.m.   Closing Ceremony