Just received a call a little bit ago from Los Osos senior volleyball player Tara Roenicke, who is competing in the Australian Youth Olympic Festival in Sydney. Roenicke and beach volleyball partner Summer Ross of Carlsbad have cruised thus far, defeating teams from Australia, China and the United Kingdom to move to 3-0 in the tournament.
“It’s going pretty well,” Roenicke said. “The winds were really crazy and it was hard to get used to, but we are playing pretty well right now.”
Roenicke and Ross defeated Australia’s No. 2 team, 21-16, 21-14 ,and China, 22-20, 21-13 Thursday while adding a victory over the United Kingdom, 21-11, 21-11, Friday to move on in the playoff round, where they’ll next play Norway on Saturday. Play ends Sunday with the medal round.
The volleyball has been part of a whirlwind few days for Roenicke, who took a 14-hour trans-Pacific flight out of Los Angeles Sunday night that landed in Sydney Tuesday morning Australian time. Of course, losing a day was made up by the cushy ride, as Roenicke and Ross were upgraded to business-class seating.
“The flight out was nice,” Roenicke said. “We had these huge seats that we could stretch out, watch movies and sleep. It was weird losing a day, but we were ready to go once we got off the plane.”
Roenicke carried the United States flag in Wednesday’s opening ceremonies, giving her a chance to mingle with athletes from all 25 competing countries. And although Roenicke is no stranger to international competition, the experience of carrying the flag was something that will always stay with her.
“The opening ceremonies were so awesome,” Roenicke said. “They were so organized and everything was just so beautiful and well-run. It was such an honor to hold the U.S. flag and getting to meet the athletes from other countries and talk to them. It’s been such a rewarding experience.”
We’ll continue updating Roenicke’s progress at the Olympic Festival throughout the weekend, so check back. Results also can be found here.