Drost and Caldwell reign at NORCECA Beach Tour in Varadero sands

VARADERO, Cuba, May 5, 2024 - Avery James Drost and Cody Caldwell, from the United States, reigned on the sands of this resort by defeating the host top pair of Jorge Luis Alayo and Noslen Díaz 2-0 (21-13, 22-20) in the men's grand final of the NORCECA Beach Volleyball Tour.

The bronze medal went to Evan Cory and Robert Harrison (USA-1), who defeated Puerto Ricans Arnaldo Torres and William Rivera 2-0 (21-17, 21-16).

In the semifinals, while Alayo and Díaz overcame the Puerto Ricans relatively easily 2-0 (21-16, 21-13), while the American duos engaged in a tight battle that extended to a tie-break, with Drost and Caldwell ultimately prevailing 2-1 (28-26, 20-22, 15-11) in the only match of the tournament that exceeded one hour of play (1.08).

Visibly moved after securing the final winning point against Alayo and Díaz, a pair aiming for Olympic qualification through the FIVB world ranking, champion Drost humbly acknowledged the quality of his opponents. “They are great players and good people,” said the experienced 37-year-old athlete.

“We are happy for this victory, thanks to Cuba for their support and love. I won the gold medal here in 2018 with another partner, and it’s a satisfaction and blessing to keep playing at my age, and for my family to continue enjoying my successes.”

Drost added in Spanish, which he learned in Mexico,  “I dedicate this medal to my new partner Cody and especially to my wife, who is celebrating her 37th birthday today, as well as to my three children, a seven-year-old girl, and two boys aged five and fourteen months."

For fifth place, Rouzbeh Rahnavard/Tynan Gannett (CAN-1) defeated Tyler Penberthy/Bryce Mayer (ISV-2) 2-1 (21-11, 17-21, 15-13), while Garret Bucklin/Robert Cronshaw (ISV-1) secured seventh place by defeating Arran Chambers/Robert Kemp (CAN-1) in two identical sets of 21-15.

The young international debutant duo of Damián Gómez/Eblis Veranes (CUB-2) secured ninth place by defeating El Salvador’s twin brothers Christopher and Yoel Guardado 2-0 (21-17, 21-15).

In eleventh place were Nicaraguans Rubén Mora and Denis López, who defeated Guatemalans José Izaguirre/Luis García 2-0 (21-13, 21-11); in fifteenth place, Clair Hodge/Clerique Ward (SKN) received a bye, and in seventeenth place, Gino Naarden/Keven Sporkslede (SUR-2) defeated their compatriots Joshua Dwarkasing/David Pinas 2-0 (21-15, 22-22-20).