Two Nanaimo beach volleyball players are hoping for smashes and hits in Winnipeg this week.
Jeff Webb and Isaac Bevis will represent Team B.C. for the 2017 Canada Summer Games, which begin Friday (July 28). Neither think it’s out of the question to finish in the top three.
“My goal is to medal, that would be honestly the best thing ever … I’m just excited to play all the top-level teams in Canada, see what each province has,” said Webb.
“I’m anticipating some pretty good competition and it’d just be nice to medal, being the younger guys in the competition and show them what we’ve got here in B.C.,” said Bevis.
As part of their preparation, the team went down to Huntington Beach, Calif. to take part in the U.S.A. Volleyball Collegiate Championships July 6-8, affording the team the chance to play against more high-level competition.
Rick Bevis, coach and Isaac’s father, said California is a mecca of beach volleyball and the two had the chance to see athletes that weren’t trained in indoor volleyball, but had a “plethora of skill sets adapted to the beach game.” It was a great experience, Rick said.
“We got to play college athletes from the States that were very highly skilled, so that was great experience and then basically, we got to play some of the top youth teams in the world in the Americans and the Brazilians at the U.S. collegiate championships. The team finished six there, which is a very respectable finish. It was really a great training atmosphere,” said Rick.
The coach thinks his players’ goal of finishing top three are realistic.
“They’re very good players, they’re very, very good athletes, they’re committed to the sport,” said Rick. “The challenge that they’ll have is they won’t be necessarily experienced as some of the athletes because they’re younger … Isaac is two years younger, Jeff is one year younger than many of the competitors.”
In all, a dozen representatives from Nanaimo are going to the Canada Games.
Rebecca Bassett, Miryam Bassett and Isaac Sandri will compete in track and field at the event along with coach Allen Johnston, Cameron Antifave will compete in canoe/kayak, Riley Knight will compete in Rowing, Charlie Andrews is part of B.C.’s softball team and Josh Laukkanen is a member of Team B.C.’s baseball squad.
“With such a strong roster of athletes from across the province, I know Team B.C. will be the team to watch at these games,” said Ryan Cochrane, Team B.C. honourary captain, in a press release.