Students to be volleyball ambassadors

Ilihia Huddelston, Cayman’s Marissa Harrison and Sierra Caffo are three of the student athletes visiting Cayman as volleyball ambassadors.

The Cayman Islands Volleyball Federation will be hosting six student athletes during the week of June 18 to serve as ambassadors for the sport of volleyball, both indoor and on the beach.

Led by Cayman National Beach Team member and youth player Marissa Harrison, for five days the athletes will do an outreach to students at elementary, middle and high schools; sharing the stories of their volleyball journeys and bringing awareness of the student athlete opportunities available to local students.

The athletes will make a day trip to Cayman Brac where they will speak to students and run a volleyball clinic.

The visit will conclude with a beach volleyball youth clinic on Saturday, June 23, and an exhibition beach volleyball tournament and fundraiser for the CIVF Youth Beach Volleyball Programme on Sunday, June 24. Both events will be on Public Beach on West Bay Road.

Three of the athletes visiting Cayman play for top-10 beach volleyball programs in the U.S. Madi Yeomans plays for #1 ranked UCLA. Riley Young plays for #8 Louisiana State University and Hi’ilawe Huddleston plays for #3 University of Hawaii. All three universities will be competing in this weekend’s NCAA beach volleyball championships in Alabama, which will air on ESPN from May 4-6.

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The three younger members of the group are high school 11th graders who have verbally committed to play beach volleyball at Florida State University, University of Hawaii and Louisiana State. The players are Marissa, and Americans Ilihia Huddelston and Sierra Caffo.

Volleyball Federation President Kennedy McGowan said: “It is our hope that meeting these visiting athletes, participating in the clinics and watching the exhibition event on June 24, will spike the interest of many school-age kids to participate in this fun sport. CIVF is committed to the development of our young athletes and our hope is to see volleyball become a focus sport in the Cayman Islands.”

The Saturday, June 23, beach volleyball youth clinic on Public Beach is free of charge and open to children aged 10 years and older. Participants do not need to have any volleyball experience. Mr. McGowan encouraged children and their parents to come to the clinic, saying “the clinic is a great opportunity to get a feel for this great sport and to have some one-to-one interactions with the visiting elite youth athletes.”

Parents who would like to register their child for the clinic can simply email their child’s name and date of birth to [email protected]

The exhibition beach volleyball tournament and fundraiser for the CIVF Youth Beach Volleyball Programme will take place on Sunday, June 24. This event will be a fun opportunity to watch the six visiting youth athletes play each other in a tournament format. The event is free to attend and funds for the program will be raised from the sale of food, drinks and merchandise.

Beach volleyball continues to grow in popularity around the world. Already one of the most popular sports at the summer Olympics, beach volleyball made its debut this year at the Commonwealth Games. “Volleyball is a family entertainment sport and due to our small population, beach volleyball is ideally suited in the Cayman Islands for aspiring young athletes to pursue academic opportunities abroad,” Mr. McGowan said.

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