World-class volleyball coming to Tulsa
USA Volleyball High Performance Pipeline athletes play volleyball.
The best youth volleyball players in the country will gather in Tulsa in late July for an elite training camp followed by a massive, high-level tournament during the USA Volleyball High Performance Championships.
The competition will be split into five different age brackets, featuring boys from ages 14-17 and girls 13-18, pitting the top regional teams in the nation against each other as well as against national teams from other countries, including Canada, Australia, Puerto Rico, and Dominican Republic.
The training camp takes place from July 19-23, and the tournament runs from July 24-28, all at the Cox Business Center in downtown Tulsa.
Fierce, young volleyballers from across the country try out for this prestigious event, but only the best in their regions are chosen to participate.
“Between January and May, we’ll put on 58 tryouts all around the country and we’ll have about 6,000 athletes attend those tryouts,” said Sam Hubbard, USA Volleyball’s coordinator of indoor high performance. “Each athlete will be evaluated and given a score and, from there, the top athletes will be selected and invited to compete in the High Performance Championships.”
During the training camp, the 128 different teams—regional all-star squads that have never actually played together—will formulate strategies and determine which players will take on which roles for the tournament. Four different Oklahoma teams will be participating across varying age categories.
“A lot of that time is spent developing your teams, working on the chemistry, and just getting used to each other,” Hubbard said of the training camp. “You may be playing with somebody that you don’t know, so we’re trying to get them as used to each other as possible, before they go and compete against the region teams and other national teams that have been together for typically longer.”
This will be the second time in the last four years that Tulsa has hosted this tournament.
“Tulsa hosted in 2014. They were an incredible host then, and when they put their bid together for this year, it was kind of a no-brainer to go back,” Hubbard said. “The Tulsa Sports Commission is incredibly supportive of the event and they’re so easy to work with, and the Cox Business Center event staff is phenomenal.”
The 2014 event was a success, and Hubbard doesn’t expect 2018 to be any different.
“We have tickets available online right now, and then we’ll have the box office open,” Hubbard said. “It is without a doubt, the highest level of volleyball that will be played in a tournament in this country this year. It’s $10 a day to come in and check it out. There are 16 courts playing anywhere from 5-7 matches on each court for the day, so you can really see a lot of volleyball.”