Top ranked local mens’s beach volleyball pair Fabien Whitfield and Daneil Williams will face a tough challenge to repeat their historic bronze medal performance when the 11th and final stage of the North Central American and the Caribbean (Norceca) Beach Volleyball Circuit begins at Oranjestad in Aruba, today. The competition runs until Sunday.
Two weekends ago on their home turf at Missions Beach, Toco, the T&T duo, both 24 years old, won this countrys’s first-ever medal in the seven-year history of the competition, when they overcame USA-2 of Weston Carico and Curt Toppel, 27-25, 19-21, 15-13.
This after four-year veterans of the Norceca circuit, lost to USA-1 and eventual winners, William Montgomery and Antonio Ciarelli in the semifinals, 11-21, 17-21. Montgomery, winner of the previous stop in St Lucia with Johan Mesko, will be going after a third straight gold medal on tour, this time partnering with James Avery Drost.
He will be attempting to match the feat achieved at the beginning of the season by Puerto Rican Roberto Rodriguez, who won three straight crowns, playing with different partners on each occasion. The potent mens’s field for Aruba also include Cubas’s Karell Pena and Sergio Gonzalez, winners in Chiapas, Mexico and also at home in Varadero, as well as Mexico’s Juan Virgen, who won at his own soil in Toluca with Lombardo Ontiveros, after finishing second in Chiapas with Aldo Miramontes.
Nicaraguas’s Gerald Umana and Henry Hernandez are fresh from their first-ever medal in the circuit a silver at T&T while the other previous medalists in this years’s competition St Lucians Julian Biscette and Joseph Clercent, who won a bronze medal playing at home, will also be in contention.
The womens’s field will be led by another American duo—Summer Ross, winner of the previous stop with Emily Day, who will be joined now with Tealle Hunkus, who finished second in T&T playing with Tracylyn Weamer.
The powerful womens’s event features Mexico’s two-time winner Bibi Candelas, who claimed the titles of Cayman Islands and Toluca with Mayra Garcia. She will now combine with Martha Revuelta, whom she paired to win the bronze in Chula Vista.
Earlier in the year, Revuelta played with Vanessa Virgen to finish second at Cayman Islands, Toluca and Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, and at third in Boca Chica, Dominican Republic and Chiapas. Other strong teams are the Puerto Rico-A of Yarleen Santiago and Yamileska Yantin, who won in Boca Chica and Mayaguez and Costa Rica-A of Ingrid Morales and Natalia Alfaro, who ended second in Boca Chica and St Lucia and emerged third in Toco.
For T&T, Shenelle Gordon and La-Teisha Joseph, who were quarterfinalists on home soil, will be the lone representatives after top local pairing and fourth placed finishers in Toco, Nancy Joseph and Ayana Dyette were forced out due to work commitments.
The double-gender event consists of brackets of two 16 teams groups which will compete under a double-elimination format with a US$5,000 total purse per gender.
At the conclusion of the Aruba event, the Norceca Confederation will present a US$5,000 prize of per gender to the 2012 top-ranked countries per gender. USA has secured the top place in the mens’s division with an insurmountable 1,260 points but Canada (1,250), USA (1,240) and Mexico (1,080) are still in contention for the womens’s top ranked place.