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U.S.A. leaves bonaire decorated

United States Brings Home Gold, Silver and Bronze From NORCECA Bonaire

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BONAIRE — It was, as NORCECA tournament director, Daymian Stewart said at the medal ceremony, a tournament of firsts. It was Allie Wheeler and Aurora Davis’s first time playing together. Heck, it was the first time they’d ever played a NORCECA as individuals. It was the first time Bonaire had hosted an event.

And then the players competing together for the first time, on the NORCECA Tour for the first time, finished first.

How about that?

“The gold medal match was a ton of fun and such a battle,” said Wheeler, who beat Mexico 25-23, 21-19 to win gold. “Mexico is a really solid team and there were many long rallies and scramble plays. I’m so grateful that I got to play with Aurora, she balled out all weekend long. I feel really lucky I got to play in such a beautiful place and win our first NORCECA together.”

Wheeler’s and Davis’s gold medal was sandwiched by a pair of American men’s medals. In the match preceding Wheeler and Davis winning gold, Kyle Friend and Travis Mewhirter beat their Canadian roommates Ivan Reka and Simon Fecteau-Botin, 21-16, 21-19 to win bronze. It’s their second medal together on the NORCECA Tour, after taking silver in La Paz in June.

An hour after Wheeler and Davis beat Mexico, 25-23, 21-19 for their gold medal, Kris Johnson and Chris Austin, who beat Friend and Mewhirter in the semifinal 16-21, 21-17, 15-13, claimed silver, falling to Mexico in the finals.

“Great showing for the U.S.A. in Bonaire,” Friend said. “The biggest compliment of the weekend came from an official, who came up to us afterwards and said ‘You guys look like you have fun playing volleyball. I love that.’ I had a lot of fun playing volleyball this weekend.”

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