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Palo Alto Weekly

Sports - July 6, 2012

Stanford puts two on women's volleyball team

Cardinal grad Camarena-Williams makes team in track and field

Stanford grads Logan Tom and Foluke Akinradewo will bring varying degrees of experience to the U.S Olympic women's volleyball team after the two were the 12 athletes named to the squad for the 2012 Summer Games.

Tom will make her fourth appearance in the Olympic Games when the Americans arrive in London later this month. Akinradewo was named to her first Olympic team. Danielle Scott-Arruda, at age 39, was named to her fifth Olympic team.

Stanford grads Kristin Richards and Cynthia Barboza were named as replacement players as the U.S. carried 25 players on its training roster.

The Americans were the silver medalists at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, after placing fifth in Athens in 2004 and fourth at the 2000 Sydney Games.

Also named to the 12-player roster were Lindsey Berg, Courtney Thompson, Christa Harmotto, Megan Hodge, Jordan Larson, Tayyiba Haneef-Park, Destinee Hooker, Nicole Davis and Tamari Miyashiro.

"We've developed a lot of depth in this program over the course of the Olympic quadrennial and, as you would expect, it was very difficult to determine the final composition of this team," Team USA coach Hugh McCutcheon said. "However, after a lot of time and deliberation, we all believe that the group we've selected gives our program the best possible chance of being successful in London."

Tom started the first six matches of the FIVB World Grand Prix and did not travel to the Final Round. She averaged 2.50 points, 2.95 digs and 1.65 points to help Team USA qualify for the Final Round and eventually win its third straight title.

Tom, who earned Best Scorer at the 2008 Olympic Games, becomes just the third four-time Olympian for the U.S. in women's volleyball.

Akinradewo started five matches in the first two legs of the FIVB World Grand Prix preliminary round, averaged 3.06 points and 0.71 blocks per set. She was named the MVP of the 2010 FIVB World Grand Prix after helping the U.S. to the gold medal and 11 consecutive victories to end the tournament.

"I can't believe my Olympic dream is finally coming true," Akinradewo said. "I'm so excited to represent the USA in London. I'd like to thank my family, coaches of the past and present, and friends who have supported my journey."

Scott-Arruda becomes the first U.S. volleyball player, male or female, to compete in five Olympic Games and just the third female worldwide, matching Brazilian setter Hélia Rogério de Souza (Fofão) and Russia's Yevgeniya Artamonova-Estes.

The 12-team Olympic tournament will take place on alternating days at Earls Court beginning July 28. The preliminary round consists of two pools of six teams playing a round-robin format with the top four teams in each pool advancing to the quarterfinal round. The U.S. is part of Pool B with No. 2 Brazil, No. 5 China, No. 6 Serbia, No. 11 Turkey and No. 15 Korea.

The top pool finisher crosses over to play the fourth place team in the quarterfinals, while a drawing of lot decides the crossover matches for second- and third-place finishers. Semifinals are on Aug. 9 with the medal-round matches on Aug. 11.

The U.S., ranked No. 1 in the world by the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) since November 2011, qualified for the 2012 Olympic Games in the first qualification tournament by claiming silver at the 2011 FIVB World Cup held in November.

Team USA beat host China, 26-24, 25-21, 27-25, in Sunday's finale to finish the FIVB Grand Prix final round unbeaten in five matches (14-0 overall in Grand Prix competition) and win the $200,000 prize money in Ningbo.

The U.S. won its third straight Grand Prix title and fifth overall. Only Brazil, which finished second, has won as many in a row.

Brazil beat Turkey, which finished third, earlier in the day, forcing the U.S. into a must-win situation. It was exactly the way the Americans wanted it.

"We're extremely happy with the win," McCutcheon said. "Our team played some wonderful volleyball over the course of these four weeks and to be able to win this event for the third time in a row is certainly special. Our team works hard and they play together; it's a special group. As our focus now shifts towards London, we will continue with our plan and we hope to play our best volleyball of 2012 at the Games."

Swimming

For the first time since 1956, Stanford will not have a single swimmer on the U.S. Olympic team. The closest the Cardinal came was a pair of third-place finishes at the recent U.S. Team trials in Omaha, Neb.

Stanford's last hope came Monday when recent graduate Chad La Tourette finished third in the men's 1,500-meter freestyle in the final event of the meet.

La Tourette, who was sixth in the Sunday prelims, finished with a time of 14:57.53, five seconds short of Andrew Gemmell (14:52.19) and Connor Jaeger (14:52.51). Gemmell and Jaeger both caught and passed La Tourette over the final 250 meters.

Stanford's other close finish came in the men's 200 fly, where recent grad Bobby Bollier also finished third. Stanford junior Maya DiRado twice finished fourth (200 and 400 IM) and graduate Eugene Godsoe reached finals in the 100 back and 100 fly.

Track and field

Stanford graduate Jillian Camarena-Williams was a heavy favorite to win the women's shot put at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials last week in Eugene, Ore. She didn't disappoint.

The 2004 graduate won the U.S. title in the shot put, tossing 62-10 1/2 to earn a spot on her second straight Olympic team.

"I am so happy I made it through," Camarena-Williams said. "I did it and I am so excited to get to go out to London.

"Last year I injured a joint in my hand and occasionally it'll still slip, but it is always a little tough on the first throw. But I can acclimate for the next five throws pretty well."

Camarena-Williams came into the competition as the favorite but, after a poor throw and a foul, unleashed a huge toss that blew away the competition. She will now set her sights on London where she is a definite medal contender off her personal best of 66-2 1/2, which she threw outdoors in 2011 to tie the American record.

"Today was not a good example of my technicality," she said. "Now I just need to calm down and get ready for London."

Men's volleyball

Two Stanford grads were named as replacement athletes for the U.S. Olympic team, coach Alan Knipe announced Thursday.

Kevin Hansen and Gabe Gardner just missed making the 12-man roster for the reigning Olympic champions. Gardner played in the 2004 and '08 Olympics whereas Hansen competed in Beijing.

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