Cartagena improves Cayman Islands team
GRAND CAYMAN, Cayman Islands, September 13, 2012 - Juan
Cartagena has made big inroads with local volleyball players in
a limited time.
The North, Central America and Caribbean Volleyball
Confederation instructor is being credited for the Cayman
Islands’ recent success on the NORCECA circuit. Female pairing
Cristin Alexander and Jennifer Bily placed fifth at the tour’s
Alexander, 25, points to the Puerto Rican’s instruction as the
reason for the high finish.
“The reason we did so well is because of top coaching from
Juan,” Alexander said. “He was training us for three weeks
leading up to the tournament. We want to continue to get better.
It’s easy to go back to old habits without someone like a
(national) coach keeping up the intensity.”
The duo made history for Cayman in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico by
becoming the first local team to finish in the top five at a
NORCECA circuit event. Alexander and Bily advanced to the
quarterfinals against 11 other teams representing nine nations.
They would go 3-1 during group play, beating the US Virgin
Islands, El Salvador and the Dominican Republic while losing to
Canada. The pair lost in the quarterfinals to Mexico.
Cartagena came to Cayman for the first time back in February for
a youth clinic at the University College of the Cayman Islands.
He returned last month for another clinic at Camana Bay’s Arts
and Recreation Centre. On both occasions, the level five
Fédération Internationale de Volleyball coach worked with
prodigies aged 10-18, like April Ebanks and Chante
Cayman Islands Volleyball Federation Public Relations Officer
Carl Brown states Cartagena greatly impacted the sport locally.
“A big reason why we’re doing well is because of Cartagena,”
Brown said. “Whenever an instructor comes, our ranking rises.
All of the rankings put us in line to enter bigger competitions
and puts Cayman closer to the epicentre of world volleyball.
“It provides an inch forward for the world championships, which
Cayman is participating in and hopes to host. Reaching the
Olympics one day gets closer with these sort of rankings.”
For Alexander and Bily, it’s the second straight quarterfinals
berth on the NORCECA circuit after being knocked out at the same
stage by Cuban pair Kirenia Ballard and Onayamís Sinal back in
In Mayaguez, Cayman were also represented by the male pairing of
Shervin Rankin and Richard Campbell. The duo was eliminated in
the opening stages after losses to Canada and Aruba.
The eighth stop of the circuit is slated to be the US city of
San Diego on 26 September-1 October. From there, the tour is
expected to head to Trinidad and Tobago on 10-15 October,
Antigua on 17-22 October and Puerto Rico on 7-12 November.
Alexander states Cayman would be well served with a national
coach in time for next year’s tour.
“How would we do next year without a national coach? It’s
difficult to say. If things stay the same, our chances of
breaking the top three is very, very low. We really want to
break through and continue to compete.”
Written by Matthew Yates of CayCompass.com