Locals to play rugby with Team USA


Palo Alto resident Zack Test and East Palo Alto residents Folau Niua and Milemoti Pulu were named to the 12-man rugby sevens squad heading to Guadalajara, Mexico on Monday to join Team USA at the 2011 Pan-American Games, USA Rugby announced Friday.

Competition begins a week from Saturday, when the Americans play Brazil, Chile, and Canada in pool play. The other pool consists of Argentina, Mexico, Uruguay, and Guyana.

The Pan Am Games serve as an Americas preview of the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

"You can imagine that in a multisport event with over 2,000 athletes, we have to be prepared for anything and everything to be thrown at us," USA coach Al Caravelli said. "On the field of play, we will not take anyone lightly. Every game we play, we'll have the attitude that it is a final, the players have embraced this and are executing."

For the past week, the squad has been training at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista. That high performance training environment is paramount in the preparation for such a high-stakes and compressed tournament.

"It's always a positive to be at the OTC training alongside current and former Olympians," Caravelli said. "Now for the first time, they will be with them and part of Team USA. The team knows what a huge honor this is to represent our sport and country at the Pan-Am Games."


Stanford grad's Eugene Godsoe, Julia Smit and Elaine Breeden combined to win a medal in every event they entered at the Pan Am Games, finishing off the first week with eight medals, including two on Friday in Guadalajara, Mexico.

Breeden, swimming the butterfly, was a part of the Pan Am record morning swim of the 400 medley relay (4:04.52), before watching from the sidelines and earning a gold medal as her American teammates broke that mark in the evening session with a time of 4:01.00.

Godsoe, who did not swim in the morning, instead led off the meet's final event, the 400 medley relay, winning a silver. Godsoe put the Americans in the lead after the first 100 meters but Brazil's Felipe Franca overtook Marcus Titus on the second leg to lead Brazil to the gold at 3:34.58, nearly three seconds ahead of the U.S. (3:37.17).

Godsoe picked up the most medals this week by winning four silversb-- in the 100 back, 100 fly and as a member of the 400 free and 400 medley relay teams.

Smit added gold in the 200 IM and 400 IM, while Breeden won bronze in the 100 fly and added a gold Friday.

Stanford freshman Kristian Ipsen and graduate Cassidy Krug will dive next week at the Pan Am Games starting on Oct. 24.

— Palo Alto Online Sports

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