HERMOSA BEACH, Calif. — The whole crew was out there on Thursday. A significant chunk of the top United States men’s teams, save for Florida-based Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena, was practicing on Thursday morning at 16th Street, at the unofficial headquarters of American beach volleyball.
Tri Bourne and Trevor Crabb were battling with Chaim Schalk and Theo Brunner as well as Jake Gibb and Taylor Crabb. One court down, Avery Drost was practicing with Billy Allen and Andy Benesh. A platoon of coaches, including Mike Dodd and Patty Dodd, Jose Loiola, Sean Scott, and USA Volleyball strength and conditioning trainer Christian Hartford, ran the show.
What the schedule will look like this season, nobody knows for sure. But this much is certain: We are officially one month out from the onset of the 2021 Olympic race.
The Doha four-star is scheduled to begin on March 12. For the first time in history, the event will feature women as well.
As expected, given that there was next to no beach volleyball to play in 2020, the entry list is loaded. Eight American women’s teams signed up (only three will get into the event, with the next three highest-ranking teams playing off for one additional spot in a country quota match): April Ross and Alix Klineman, Kerri Walsh Jennings and Brooke Sweat, Kelly Claes and Sarah Sponcil, Emily Stockman and Kelley Kolinske, Sara Hughes and Emily Day, Terese Cannon and Kelly Reeves, Traci Callahan and Crissy Jones, Corinne Quiggle and Allie Wheeler.
Seven American men registered: Bourne and Trevor Crabb, Dalhausser and Lucena, Taylor Crabb and Gibb, Casey Patterson and Chase Budinger, Miles Evans and Bill Kolinske, Chaim Schalk and Theo Brunner, Billy Allen and Andy Benesh. If nobody drops out, the country quota will feature Evans and Kolinske, Schalk and Brunner, and Patterson and Budinger.
The country quota has been tentatively set for February 18.
The Rapidly Growing AVP Family
Betsi Flint was amiss this summer during the AVP Champions Cup, though it was for the best of reasons: She was pregnant. And she was also working out a ton. If you don’t follow her on Instagram, she became a Super Mom before she was even a mom, working through the Expecting and Empowered weight training program.
No more need for the expecting program, whose final week is hilariously dubbed “eviction notice.” Flint gave birth to 8-pound, 20.25-inch Cora Flint on January 31, adding another youngster to the growing roster of them on the AVP.
Nick Lucena and Brooke Niles had their third son, Ryder, in early January. Stafford Slick’s newest member of the clan, Camille, arrived in November.
Kim DiCello’s second child is also due relatively soon, and Riley McKibbin will also be welcoming the first of the next line of McKibbins with Carli Lloyd. On a related note, Maddison McKibbin recently proposed to his longtime girlfriend, Chelsea Hayes (she said yes).
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Waupaca Boatride scheduled for July 8-11
The Waupaca Boatride, annually one of the biggest beach and grass volleyball events in the United States, has announced that the event is scheduled for July 8-11.
In 2020, Julia Scoles and Hailey Harward — likely a court one pairing at USC — beat Katie Spieler and Delaney Mewhirter in the finals of the beach. Miles Evans and Bill Kolinske beat Max Martin and Tomas Goldsmith. On the grass, Joe and Gage Worsley — with a last-second substitution of Chris Shaffer — beat Tim Bomgren, Brian Bomgren, and Troy Field, while Mewhirter, Spieler and Carly Skjodt beat Iya Lindahl, Chelsea Ross and Jessica Gaffney.
FIVB receives $300 million investment
Spend enough time around beach volleyball players and you’ll hear a common motif: There’s no money in this sport.
That changed on February 3.
The private equity giant, CVC, pledged a massive investment to the FIVB: $300 million. Per Inside Sport, it will “lead to the creation of Volleyball World, a new commercial entity that will operate international events such as the FIVB World Championship, qualifiers for the Olympic Games and the Nations League national team tournament.”
Already, Volleyball World is a live website, with the FIVB publishing its Roster 100 project on the platform, featuring the top 100 players and teams in the sport of volleyball over the past decade.
In a press release announcing the partnership, the FIVB and CVC said: “The partnership will focus on event hosting, fan experience, media, data/digital opportunities, and sponsorship to grow commercial revenues for reinvestment, which will ensure the long-term success of the sport.”
Tavares the new home of ParaVolley
On Jan. 18, the USA Volleyball Florida Region announced that Hickory Point Beach, the same site used for the November Best of the Beach, won by Phil Dalhausser and Avery Drost and Delaney Mewhirter and Kelly Claes, will become the new National Training Site for the USA Volleyball BPV Program.
The announcement comes on the heels of a $100,000 private donation from the Norelli Family Foundation to support the program.