TEAM USA Prepares for Americas Cup
After a day of travel and getting settled in the host hotel, Team USA turned their attention to a pre-tournament training camp. Team USA arranged time in the Americas Cup competition venue, the New Century Fieldhouse in New Century, KS for six hours of training, strategy sessions and last minute coaching suggestions from the three National Team coaches.
Kathy Brinker, Head Coach of the BC1 and BC2 players, feels this year’s squad has a good chance to score some hardware. “We had an amazing day of practice. We had a balanced attack from both our BC1’s and BC2’s. We consistently moved balls and showed our abilities to go up and over and block out. We are looking forward to a solid practice tomorrow and a great opening ceremony.” Five out of six players have had at least one international competition prior to the Americas Cup.
BC1 & BC2 Team: (left to right first row) AB Anwar (CA), Marck Harrison (OH), Cornelius Oatis (OH), Rafael DeJesus (NY), Elizabeth Flora-Swick (KS) and Christopher Viau (IL). Back Row: Sports Assistants Yadira Aguilar, Shannon Moore, Tracey Oatis, Kathy Brinker (Head Coach), Dwayne Hudson, Rebekah Flora-Swick and Jason Spitzer.
Team USA’s BC3 contingent has the most experience of the 13 player squad. Austin Hanson (KS) has competed in 6 international meets including the 2012, 2004 and 1996 Paralympic Games. New York’s Charlie Fleisch follows Austin with 5 international appearances. Fawad Zakai (GA) and Howard Cohen (NY) round out the BC3 squad and are both making their first international appearance. BC3 Head Coach, Gary Barraclough was happy with what he saw today. “ We did the job most of the day. We were off the mark a few times, but played consistently and looked very strong.”
BC3 Players: (left to right first row): Howard Cohen (NY), Fawad Zakai (GA), Austin Hanson (KS), Charles Fleisch. Back Row: Sport Assistants William Lowry, Mohammed Zakai, Gary Barraclough (Head Coach) and Kenneth Siderine.
Former Paralympian and 3-time National Team Coach, James Thomson had high hopes for the BC4 Pairs until rookie player and US Army veteran Robert Thomas and 2-time National Team player and Marine Corp veteran Charles Brown were classed out of the BC4 division for having too much arm function. Thomas, the winner of the National Veteran Wheelchair Games 1A division was invited to fill the last slot on Team USA. Charles Brown competed in the 2011 Para Pan Games where he was originally classified a BC4. Both players will be reclassified by another classification panel on Saturday.
BC4Team: (left to right first row) Jim Thomson (Head Coach), Robert Thomas, Denise DeMello and Charles Brown. Back row: Sport Assistants LaShon Thomas and Robert Broderick.
Team USA finished a good day of training successfully going through equipment check and classification. 11 of the 13 players were required to go through classification, 5 for the first time and 6 as part of a review process from being classified in a previous international competition. Team USA is protesting the classification of four players who will be reclassified by another classification.
Saturday, August 3 is Opening Ceremonies and Pairs and Team Play begins on Sunday, August 4.
GOOD LUCK TEAM USA!