Wednesday, 22 May 2024

Beach Update: Half of My Heart is in Havana

The U.S. under-19 beach team of Devon Newberry and Lindsey Sparks has achieved an incredible milestone by qualifying for the 2018 Youth Olympic Games. Their outstanding performance secured them a second-place finish at a NORCECA qualifying tournament held in Havana, Cuba.

In an intense final match against Puerto Rico’s Allanis Navas and María González, Newberry and Sparks fought hard but fell short with a final score of 13-21, 21-15, 15-13. Nevertheless, their victory in the semifinals against Mexico’s Atenas Gutiérrez and Karla Romero with a score of 21-15, 21-18 sealed their ticket to the Youth Olympics, which will take place from October 6th to 18th in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Newberry expressed her excitement and gratitude in an Instagram post, stating, “This has been the most amazing experience of my life, and I have learned so much. I couldn’t be more stoked about this achievement.”

While Newberry and Sparks claimed their place at the Youth Olympics, the U.S. boys’ team of Tim Brewster and John Schwengel unfortunately missed out on qualifying. They finished in a respectable third place after a tough match against Cuba’s Miguel Ángel Ayón and Jorge Luis Alayo, losing with a final score of 21-18, 21-17. However, Brewster and Schwengel showed their resilience in the third-place match against Mexico’s Leonel Garza and Franky Hernandez, winning with a score of 21-16, 17-21, 15-13.

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Reflecting on their performance, Brewster shared his thoughts on Instagram, saying, “Although we didn’t achieve the finish we wanted, reaching the podium was an awesome accomplishment for us. It truly was an amazing experience.”

In other news, Kelly Claes, known for her beach volleyball skills, participated in the Sitting Volleyball division at the USAV Open National Championships held in Dallas. Claes was invited by U.S. Women’s Sitting Assistant Coach John Aharoni to try out sitting volleyball earlier this year at the Wave Volleyball facility in Southern California. After trying the sport, Claes fell in love with it, stating, “I absolutely loved everything about sitting volleyball. I’ve made a lot of friends among the players, and I am fully committed to being involved in growing both beach volleyball and sitting volleyball. This event is truly amazing, and I believe we can mutually support and enhance each other.”

Looking ahead, six U.S. teams are getting ready to compete at the FIVB two-star event in Jinjiang, China, from May 28th to June 3rd. The participating teams are 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. Additionally, mark your calendars for the next AVP event happening in New York City from June 7th to 10th.


Q: What is the Youth Olympic Games?
A: The Youth Olympic Games is an international multi-sport event held every four years, featuring young athletes between the ages of 15 and 18.

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Q: What is NORCECA?
A: NORCECA stands for the North, Central America, and Caribbean Volleyball Confederation. It is the continental governing body responsible for volleyball and beach volleyball in the region.

Q: What is FIVB?
A: FIVB stands for the International Volleyball Federation. It is the governing body for the sports of volleyball, beach volleyball, and snow volleyball worldwide.


The journey of the U.S. beach volleyball team continues with their remarkable achievements and determination. Devon Newberry and Lindsey Sparks have earned their spot at the Youth Olympic Games, showcasing their immense talent and dedication. Tim Brewster and John Schwengel demonstrated their resilience, proving themselves as formidable competitors. Kelly Claes’s venture into the Sitting Volleyball division highlights her passion for growing both beach and sitting volleyball. Stay tuned for more thrilling performances from the U.S. teams as they compete on the international stage and make their mark in the world of beach volleyball.

To learn more about the exciting world of beach volleyball and stay updated with the latest news and events, visit Alpinetgheep.