9:49 PM PDT, May 16, 2012
There will be two former Newport Harbor High volleyball standouts in the London Olympics.
April Ross, who starred at Newport Harbor, and Jennifer Kessy have qualified for their first Olympics. They will join Misty May-Treanor, also of Newport Harbor, and Kerri Walsh, the two-time gold medalists, in the Olympic beach volleyball tournament.
Ross and Kessy were the No. 3 team at the Beijing Olympics, but the duo clinched the second of two American women's berths after finishing fifth in the Beijing Grand Slam this past weekend.
Beach volleyball teams qualify for the Olympics by compiling points on the international pro tour. A country can have a maximum of two men's teams and two women's teams.
Matt Fuerbringer, an Estancia alumnus, is in contention to qualify for the Olympics for the men. Fuerbringer and Nick Lucena are tied in the standings with Sean Rosenthal and Jake Gibb for the second men's spot.
Todd Rogers and Phil Dalhausser, the defending men's gold medalists, have already locked up the other U.S. men's berth.
After a one-week break, the 2012 FIVB SWATCH World Tour will continue on May 22-27 in the Czech Republic with the men's Prague Open. There will be two more Olympic qualifying events after Prague: the Moscow Grand Slam on June 7-12 and the Rome Grand Slam on June 13-17.
Ross said Tuesday that making the Olympics was a dream she had, but never thought it could come true.
"I always watched the Olympics. I always found it super entertaining. But I never thought I would get there," she said at the U.S. Olympic Committee media summit on Tuesday. "It was a dream, but an unattainable dream. Everybody wants to go to the Olympics."
— From staff reports