The second annual Sitting Volleyball Tournament at the Genuine Volleyball Club in Vista brought athletes from across California together this weekend.
Eight teams competed this year including three from the USA Volleyball Developmental Program, one from the Challenged Athletes Foundation, two from Northern California and San Diego State University’s Aztec Adaptive Sports. The event is supported by the Challenged Athletes Foundation, San Diego ACES Sitting Volleyball Program and the Genuine Volleyball Club.
Patrick Lawrence of the Challenged Athletes Foundation helped put the event together and said the tournament is for everyone.
“It’s a great opportunity for people to come learn about sitting volleyball with both able-bodied and disabled players coming together. It’s an equal opportunity sport and something that USA Volleyball is interested in elevating to a similar level as the indoor game and the beach game.”
Katie Holloway, who is one of the athletes that traveled from Northern California, brought a certain mystic with her. Last summer Holloway was a key part of the United States Sitting Volleyball team that upset China to win gold at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Summer Paralympics.
Holloway said that representing the United States was humbling and winning gold was a great experience for her that didn’t end when she returned stateside.
“Getting to represent the U.S.A. across the world but also in your community, it means so much more to you. And then to be able to come home and come to these events in the community and be able to spend time with people and give back to the sport that has given you that opportunity is just so special” said Holloway.
Aztec Adaptive Sports is also active in their community. President Nidhi Desai and her organization are trying to help athletes at the collegiate level get involved.
“There are no collegiate adaptive programs in California and so we’re trying to start that at SDSU.”
Desai went on to add that Aztec Adaptive Sports doesn’t just have a sitting volleyball team but have branched out to other sports like wheelchair basketball and are looking to add more in the near future. They’re always welcoming new members and you can get more information on their social media pages or email the club at SDSUAdaptiveSports@Gmail.com.
The Challenged Athletes Foundation is also located right here in San Diego. You can go to ChallengedAthletes.Org or their Facebook page for more information on upcoming events or how to get involved.