Cayman NORCECA teams announced

The Cayman Islands Volleyball Federation has announced the teams that will compete for Cayman in the NORCECA Beach Volleyball Tournament set to take over Seven Mile Public Beach April 26 to 28.

The Cayman men’s teams will consist of Richard Campbell/Nathan Dack and Casey Santamaria/Jesse Parham. The female contenders are Marissa Harrison/Ileann Powery and Jessica Wolfenden/Stefania Gandolfi.

“These eight athletes are very strong players and we expect some fierce court action from them,” said Kennedy McGowan, president of the volleyball association.

This will be Wolfenden’s 11th NORCECA tournament appearance. She finished fourth in the 2016 Cayman NORCECA tournament; was the 2015 gold medallist at the NatWest Island Games in Jersey; the 2015 silver medallist at CAZOVA Olympic Qualifier in Jamaica and the 2013 silver medallist at the NatWest Island Games in Bermuda.

She has also been selected for the Cayman Islands beach volleyball team that will travel to the 2019 Island Games in Gibraltar in July.

“The Cayman NORCECA stop is always a special one on the tour and I am thrilled to have the opportunity to represent Cayman again,” said Wolfenden. “I am excited to be back on the court with Stefania and look forward to battling it out on the sand together.”

Ileann Powery will be competing in her seventh NORCECA tournament this month.  Powery, 21, has been playing volleyball since her days at George Hicks High School and was at one time the youngest member of the Cayman Islands Women’s Volleyball National Team. She transitioned to beach volleyball in 2013 and has represented Cayman at the World Championship Qualifiers, NatWest Island Games, Nanjing Youth Olympic Qualifiers, Pan American Games and Central American and Caribbean Games.

She won her first NORCECA game in April 2017 against Trinidad and Tobago.

Stefania Gandolfi and Marissa Harrison compete in 2017.

“It is always an honour to represent the Cayman Islands and it is my absolute favourite thing to do. I am very thankful to have been selected once again to represent these Islands in front of my home crowd,” said Powery. “As I always say, I will put my all in while playing, and I will take everything in this tournament as a learning experience.”

The event has received a boost in the form of support from Dart, who has come on as the title sponsor.

“Hosting world-class competitive events like NORCECA, gives Cayman the opportunity to showcase our islands’ natural beauty and welcoming people and at the same time promote sports as an important component of community development,” said Pilar Bush, executive vice president marketing at Dart. Cayman will be one of the first stops on the 2019 NORCECA tour as teams try to accumulate points in order to qualify for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

Countries confirmed to participate are the Bahamas, Canada, Cayman Islands, Cuba, Curacao, Dominica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, St. Kitts and Nevis, Trinidad and Tobago, US and US Virgin Islands.

Tickets for the NORCECA Beach Volleyball Tournament are on sale at www.eventpro.ky. A day pass for general covered seating is $10. A VIP day pass is $100. A VIP three-day weekend pass is $250. Free uncovered seating is available, and children 12 and under are free in covered seating when accompanied by an adult.