Northern Mariana Islands Volleyball Association is pleased to announce athlete and coach selections for Pacific Games 2015 in Papau New Guinea this coming July. The men’s team will be Clay McCullough-Stearns partnered with Andrew Johnson and the women’s team will be Charnessa “Chenny” Lizama partnered with Toni Kasilyn Yamada. Jeff Carlucci will serve as head coach and his assistant coaches are Darcy Wylie and Codie Sayles.
NMIVA president Laurie Peterka stated, “NMIVA began setting up a plan for selecting players in late 2014. Unfortunately, then head coach Russ Quinn wasn’t able to continue volunteering, so it put the whole plan for going to the Pacific Games into question. The board had to decide whether the project could be rescued as our resources are stretched quite thin with other programs coming online.”
Peterka continued, “This was when the board agreed that a committee approach would be best to help formulate a plan, set up a structure and allow NMIVA to keep the project on its schedule. We tasked the PG2015 project committee to establish the structure and guidelines for the selection process during the month of January.”
Secretary/board member Amie McRoberts commented, “While in previous years, NMIVA followed a qualifier series model-type for selecting athletes, time being of the essence, the committee decided to try a different model of approach. The model consisted of a combination of athletes’ playing experience, athletic ability, commitment, and sportsmanship. The board supported their re-modeled vision.”
Requests for expressions of interest were posted on NMIVA’s blog and noticed in the newspapers the first week of February. The notice asked that players and coaches notify NMIVA of their interest via email by Feb. 15. By the deadline NMIVA received emails from three coaches and eight players (four male and four female). Two applicants were former residents living in the mainland. NMIVA communicated further instructions to athletes regarding anticipated commitments, tryouts, resumes, and next steps. The tryout was held Feb. 21, 2015 for on-island athletes, while off-island athletes submitted video tryouts; each of them meeting the required Feb. 28, 2015 deadline.
Resumes from all athletes were received by the Feb. 20, 2015 due date. Five evaluators were present at the on-island tryout: former head coach Russ Quinn, new head coach Jeff Carlucci, former national team player and coach Tyce Mister, and current youth development coaches Darcy Wylie and Codie Sayles. Coaches kept independent notes for each athlete, which were turned over to the committee. The video tryouts were also reviewed.
The committee made its recommendations to the NMIVA board, which included structuring for coaches and a timeline for selecting athletes. Their recommendation was for a head coach and as assistant coach (or coaches) as opposed to a men’s team coach and a women’s team coach. The head coach would be responsible for selecting and organizing assistant coaches and selecting athletes. This model allows for flexibility and best availability of volunteer coaches for the athletes. It also assures the highest quality training programs for athletes.
Carlucci’s professional experience includes playing professional competitive beach volleyball with the AVP and at FIVB events and motivational training skills. Carlucci was nominated to be the head coach by the committee and approved by the board last week. Carlucci accepted the position and will be utilizing both Wylie and Sayles along with Quinn, Mister, and Kathy Winkfield to fill in as their schedules allow. Coaches are 100 percent volunteers, as NMIVA does not have the resources to hire any staff.
Beginning March 8, 2015, Carlucci began informing athletes of his decisions via email and/or in person. Those athletes not named as “selected” will remain on the coaches’ roster as alternates for the games to be called upon if injuries or extenuating circumstances might cause those selected to withdraw.
Carlucci will be meeting with assistant coaches early next week to map out the training calendar, to prepare athlete contracts and plan the first athletes’ meeting. “Basically, athletes will be actively engaged in some type of training no less than three days per week and working on creating new daily personal health habits,” stated Carlucci.
Elaborating further, Carlucci shared, “Much of their time will be spent on cross-training and plyometrics in order to improve endurance and strength as well as overall health and fitness. Training will also focus on strategy and honing position-specific skills, sportsmanship and communications. Former CNMI national team beach volleyball players will participate in scrimmages to simulate real-time implementation of the foregoing training plan. I will be relying on assistant coaches for some very intense one-on-one training.”
The committee’s next steps will include organizing athletes, and coaches’ paperwork required by Northern Marianas Sports Association. Additionally, athletes, coaches, and committee members will meet to discuss fundraising plans. Due to limited resources, NMIVA will only be able to provide equipment and contribute to uniform costs. All other costs will be the personal responsibility of the athletes and coaches.
Pacific Games 2015 will be held in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea from July 1 to 18, 2015. NMIVA has approved and is assisting one each men›s and women’s teams to attend the beach volleyball portion of the competition slated for the second week of the event. (NMIVA)