UCO Endeavor Games Sitting Volleyball Competition

June 29, 2009


Media Contact: Ryan Wilson, UCO Wellness Center, (405) 974-3127, rwilson18@uco.edu


UCO ENDEAVOR GAMES SITTING VOLLEYBALL COMPETITION A "HIT"


The sitting volleyball tournament debuted as a "hit" at the 2009 University of Central Oklahoma Endeavor Games for Athletes with Physical Disabilities. It was the first time the tournament was included as one of the 11 sport competitions offered at the Endeavor Games.

The 2009 Games took place June 11-14, with the sitting volleyball competition taking place on Saturday, June 13, at the UCO Wellness Center.

The tournament allowed athletes of all levels, from able-bodied to elite Paralympians, to register as individuals. Organizers hoped the tournament would help cultivate the sport by acting as an introduction for most of the athletes.

Elliot Blake, tournament coordinator, said that the Paralympians who participated were divided among all of the teams competing.

"We wanted to make sure that all of the teams were equal so we can have some really competitive matches," said Blake. "We wanted our experienced athletes to teach, train, and mentor the others on their team who have not played the sport before."

UCO is the host Paralympic Training Site for the U.S. Men's and Women's Sitting Volleyball team.

"Our athletes that live and train here at UCO know how fun and fast paced sitting volleyball is," said Blake. "The Endeavor Games gave us a way to spread the sport with people from around the country."

Over 350 athletes from 32 states and four other countries participated in the 2009 UCO Endeavor Games.

The sitting volleyball tournament included 40 athletes competing on six teams. Each of the teams was led by one of the U.S. national team members.

Sitting volleyball was the only sport competition to include able-bodied athletes, having 11 athletes of the 40 total come from two junior club volleyball teams.

The gold medal winning team, led by Paralympian Eric Duda, went undefeated to win the round-robin tournament. The team was comprised of four 13-year-old able-bodied players and a coach from Oklahoma Peak Performance, and Travis Ricks of San Diego, an amputee athlete with the Challenged Athletes Foundation.

The Endeavor Games is recognized by U.S. Paralympics, Disabled Sports USA, United States Association of Blind Athletes, USA Track ; Field, and Wheelchair Sports USA.

The Games started in 2000 by the Sports Group, Inc., hosting 119 athletes at UCO and other venues. The event was created to meet the need for a multi-sport competition for athletes with physical disabilities. In 2004, The Sports Group, Inc., merged with UCO to become UCO Disabled Sports, and has continuously grown, now hosting 300-plus athletes from the U.S. and abroad.

For more information about the UCO Sitting Volleyball Program, contact Blake, Sitting Volleyball coordinator, at (405) 974-3153 or jblake1@uco.edu.

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Editor's Note: Art for publication with this release may be downloaded at www.uco.edu/photo/EGvolleyball09.

Cutline: Athletes compete in the 2009 UCO Endeavor Games debut sitting volleyball tournament, one of the 11 sports featured in the event for athletes with physical disabilities June 11-14.