Tuesday, 28 May 2024

Open Nationals Brings Together Volleyball Enthusiasts of All Ages

The Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in Dallas is bustling with excitement as the 89th USA Volleyball Open National Championships kick off. With 517 teams competing over six days, the event promises thrilling matches and fierce competition. Athletes ranging from 18 to 89 years old are taking to the courts, vying for one of the 27 divisional championships up for grabs.

A Long-Standing Tradition:
The Open Nationals, established in 1928, has been a staple in the volleyball community. Its annual occurrence is a testament to the sport’s enduring popularity. The tournament has only paused twice, during the challenging years of World War II.

A Wide Representation:
Teams from three USA Volleyball regions in Texas, including 36 from the host North Texas Region, make up a significant portion of the participating teams. The Garden Empire Region leads the pack with 54 teams, and the New England Region closely follows with 46 teams. Almost every regional volleyball association in the country is represented, with 39 out of 40 associations having teams in the event.

International Flavor:
This year’s Open Nationals welcomes 43 teams from outside the United States. Among them, Canada and Brazil are strongly represented, with 17 teams each. Other nations, including Mexico, Bermuda, Australia, Peru, Puerto Rico, and Venezuela, also have teams competing. Notably, Skinfolds, a Men’s BB Division team, is the first-ever Australian team to participate in the Open National Championships.

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A Celebration of Volleyball as a Lifelong Sport:
USA Volleyball Chief Executive Officer, Jamie Davis, expressed his pride in the event, stating that it is the organization’s signature and longest-running tournament. The Open Nationals caters to players of all skill levels, from top-tier athletes in the Open division to age-group competitions in various skill-level and master’s divisions for both men and women. Davis emphasized that while the matches are competitive, the event fosters a positive social atmosphere, providing an opportunity for players to relax and build relationships off the court. It embodies the love of volleyball that brings people together.

What to Expect:
The championship rounds for 13 divisions will conclude on May 27, whereas the Open Divisions for both men and women will take place on May 29. The remaining 13 division titles will be settled on May 30. Notably, two of USA Volleyball’s most decorated Olympians, Lloy Ball and Danielle Scott-Arruda, are competing in this year’s event. Ball, a four-time Olympian and 2008 Olympic Games gold medalist, represents Beam Pineapple in the Men’s 40-and-Over Division. Scott-Arruda, a five-time Olympian and two-time Olympic silver medalist, plays for Hoosier Exterminators in the Women’s Open Division. Both Ball and Scott-Arruda are esteemed members of the International Volleyball Hall of Fame.

Age is Just a Number:
This year’s tournament showcases players of all ages, with Bob Lichtsinn, who will turn 89 later this year, competing in the Men’s 78-and-Over Division and Men’s 76-and-Over Division. Lichtsinn, from AA Adults Toy Storage based in Lakewood, Colorado, is the oldest participant in the tournament.

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Sitting Volleyball Exhibitions:
The U.S. Women’s and Men’s National Sitting Volleyball Teams are hosting Canada in a series of exhibition matches alongside the Open National Championships. These matches, held from May 25 to May 27, will see the two countries go head-to-head five times in each gender category. The U.S. Women’s Sitting Team, ranked No. 1 in the world, clinched gold at the 2016 Paralympics, while the U.S. Men’s Sitting Team made their comeback to the Paralympics for the first time since 2004. Both teams have qualified for this year’s ParaVolley World Championships.

The Official Athletic Flooring:
Sport Court has been designated as the official athletic flooring for the USA Volleyball Open National Championships, further enhancing the players’ experience on the courts.

FAQs

Q: What is the USA Volleyball Open National Championships?
A: The USA Volleyball Open National Championships is an annual tournament that brings together volleyball enthusiasts of all ages, providing an opportunity for players to compete and showcase their skills. With divisions catering to various skill levels and age groups, the tournament embodies the spirit of volleyball as a lifelong sport.

Q: How many teams are participating in the Open Nationals?
A: A total of 517 teams from across the United States and around the world are competing in the Open Nationals, making it a highly anticipated and competitive event.

Q: Are international teams participating in the Open Nationals?
A: Yes, the Open Nationals welcomes teams from countries such as Canada, Brazil, Mexico, Bermuda, Australia, Peru, Puerto Rico, and Venezuela. This international representation adds an exciting global element to the tournament.

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Summary
The 89th USA Volleyball Open National Championships have commenced, attracting teams from all over the world. With divisions for various skill levels and age groups, the tournament promotes volleyball as a lifelong sport. Notable athletes, including Olympians Lloy Ball and Danielle Scott-Arruda, are competing, adding to the excitement. The event fosters a positive social atmosphere, allowing players to build relationships off the court. Additionally, the tournament features exhibition matches with the U.S. Sitting Volleyball Teams and Canada. Overall, the Open Nationals bring together volleyball enthusiasts of all ages, celebrating the love of the sport and creating memorable experiences for everyone involved.