Rising Stars Netball Club continues to provide local and overseas skill-building opportunities for their players.
The club participated in the annual Florida Netball Classic, which took place recently in Fort Lauderdale. There were 22 teams in the tournament, with four being mixed teams.
Coach and manager Tricia Skyers-Palacio lauded the team for their positivity, focus and hard work in preparation for the trip.
“Our girls really worked to fundraise and took on extra practice days to ensure that they were properly prepared for this tournament,” said Skyers-Palacio. “The club has participated in this tournament several times in the past, but for most of these players this would have been a new experience for them. They rose to the occasion from the very first game and truly pushed and supported each other on the court.”
On day two, the team played and lost their only group game by one goal against Pacesetters (Florida). The loss was disappointing after coming off a winning streak the day before, but as it was their only loss of the group, that was enough for them to make it through to the top eight of the tournament. In the quarterfinals, Rising Stars were knocked out of the competition after losing to Alliance Netball (a mixture of ladies from Florida, Jamaica and New York).
Scotiabank of Jamaica, Pacesetters, Alliance and Friendship Sports Club from Jamaica took the top four places of the tournament, respectively.
The president of 4 Tors Inc., Allister Roper, who partners with the Florida Netball Association to organize the tournament, commended the teams.
“The 2014 Senior Florida Netball Classic was a resounding success with teams travelling from Jamaica, New York, California and Grand Cayman,” Roper said. “After a few years’ absence, this year we welcomed back two teams from the Cayman Islands, the All Stars Netball Club and Rising Stars. Both teams were a joy to have in the tournament and exhibited much improved skills within their player contingent. Their behavior and commitment to success was clearly evident to onlookers and we hope to see more Caymanian teams entering in future years.”
Both Cayman teams made the trip after taking part in the Cayman Islands Netball Association annual opening ceremony. Both sides are preparing to compete in the national women’s league.
Team captain Hannah Peralta expressed that it was her first time attending the Florida Classic, so she didn’t know what to expect, especially since she was chosen as one of the captains.
“The experience was one to remember – spending the entire day playing netball and socializing with our team mates between games, encouraging each other when we fell short and acknowledging each other when we played well, was a role that we all played,” Peralta said. “This experience is something I would definitely do again. I love my team!”
Echoing Hannah’s sentiments was Patriann Monteith, who shared the title of team captain and the novelty of traveling to the Florida Classic for the first time. She noted that the overall experience was worthwhile, “It was a great learning experience to be able to compete with other teams from different countries. I also felt that the trip helped us grow and made us stronger as individuals and as a team.”
Rising Stars would like to thank all the individuals who donated to and supported the many fundraisers. Also, they thanked the other members of the Rising Stars family who assisted in many ways to ensure that the club was well represented in Florida.
Team manager Kady Myers has been on many trips before but this was her first one in this role and said the result bodes well for the club’s future.
“This trip was a very encouraging experience for me, I’m usually on the court, but seeing my team in competition from a management viewpoint made me very grateful and proud,” Myers said.
“Our family, mentally, showed [up] on and off the court, this is a trait I think is vital in any team situation – but even more so in sports. I would personally like to thank our coaches for their hard work, dedication and passion for their team and for all the personal time that they have so willingly given to Rising Stars.”