Beach Update: Half of My Heart is in Havana

By B.J. Hoeptner Evans (bj.evans@usav.org) | May 30, 2018, 3:42 p.m. (ET)
Beach volleyball teams on the podium in Cuba
Front row left: Devon Newberry and Lindsey Sparks; Back row right: John Schwengel and Tim Brewster
 

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (May 30, 2018) – The U.S. under-19 beach team of Devon Newberry and Lindsey Sparks qualified for the 2018 Youth Olympic Games with their second-place finish at a NORCECA qualifying tournament in Havana, Cuba.

Newberry/Sparks fell to Puerto Rico’s Allanis Navas/María González in Sunday’s final, 13-21, 21-15, 15-13. But their semifinal victory over Mexico’s Atenas Gutiérrez and Karla Romero (21-15, 21-18) qualified them for the Youth Olympics, Oct. 6-18 in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

“Most amazing experience of my life and so much learned,” Newberry said in an Instagram post. “Couldn’t be more stoked.”

The U.S. boys’ team of Tim Brewster and John Schwengel just missed qualifying and finished third. The pair fell to Cuba’s Miguel Ángel Ayón and Jorge Luis Alayo, 21-18, 21-17. They came back to defeat Mexico’s Leonel Garza and Franky Hernandez in the third-place match, 21-16, 17-21, 15-13.

“It truly was amazing,” Brewster said via Instagram. “Although we didn’t get the finish we wanted, getting on the podium was so awesome and a huge accomplishment for us.”

CLAES TAKE A SEAT

Kelly Claes played in the Sitting Volleyball division at the USAV Open National Championships this week in Dallas.

Earlier this year, U.S. Women’s Sitting Assistant Coach John Aharoni invited Claes to try the sport at the Wave Volleyball facility in Southern California.

“I went down to San Diego and I absolutely loved everything about sitting volleyball,” Claes said. “I met a lot of the players and we are friends now. It is an amazing game.

“I am just trying to get as involved as I can because I love what they are doing. I think beach and sitting volleyball needs to grow more. I think this is an amazing event. I think we can both help each other.”

COMING UP

Six U.S. teams are schedule to compete at the FIVB two-star event on May 28-June 3 in Jinjiang, China: Amanda Dowdy/Irene Pollock, Caitlin Ledoux/Kendra VanZwieten, Bree Scarbrough/Aurora Davis, Lindsey Fuller/Kaley Melville, Trevor Crabb/John Mayer and Eric Zaun/Troy Field.

The next AVP event is June 7-10 in New York City.