One of the great many gifts this off-season, among Thanksgiving, time off, family, limited international travel, has been the recent reinvention of Theo Brunner’s Instagram.
He’s been single. In the volleyball sense, anyway. After making the finals of AVP Hawai’i with John Hyden, he and Hyden split, with the 47-year-old ageless wonder turning to Bill Kolinske. It left Brunner on the search as one of the highest-sitting free agents on the market.
And so he went to – where else? – Instagram to document his free agency, which ended today as he and Tim Bomgren announced their partnership for the upcoming season.
“I just want to have fun, play with a good guy who’s fun to play with and I feel like Tim’s the perfect guy for that,” said Brunner, who played with Reid Priddy and Hyden in 2019. Fun has certainly been had this past month throughout Brunner’s partnership search.
First came a selfie of Brunner with his cat dressed as Hermit the Frog, the caption on Instagram reading: “Beach volleyball dating profile: My name is Theo Brunner. I like bump setting, hitting deep seam, and long practices at the beach. I also used to like the AVP freeze rule and now I randomly don’t! It’s that time of year again!! The top three teams are locked in their fantasy suites but there might be some major shuffling happening soon.”
Then came Brunner’s post of an old high school portrait, with the hashtag #sexappealmode. It was funny and whimsical and a great look at a different, playful side of Brunner. And yet it was also a little serious, seeing as it is his career he was discussing there, and he was, indeed, a free agent.
When Chase Budinger dropped Casey Patterson for Chaim Schalk, and Troy Field then scooped Patterson, it left Brunner with a menagerie of options: veterans like Bomgren and Priddy, with whom Brunner had already played; or up-and-comers like Miles Evans and Eric Beranek.
Bomgren, who hasn’t expressed interest in playing overseas, where Brunner has played for much of his career, would be a domestic partnership only.
Brunner and Priddy would have had enough FIVB points to enter most any event outside of the majors and popular four-stars, but that ship had sort of sailed, derailed by inconsistent finishes in 2019.
Evans, who Brunner said was among his final two candidates with Bomgren, had proven a top-flight talent both internationally and domestically.
In the end, Brunner chose Bomgren.
“Super pumped to partner with someone as experienced as he is,” said Bomgren, who made a career-high $32,050 in 2019 with Field. “Our personalities get along well and I anticipate a fun and successful season.”
Indeed, Bomgren has a reputation as one of the easiest guys to play with on Tour, a welcoming blend of intensely competitive and supportive all the same. And in Bomgren, Brunner will get a chance to play every AVP this season, something he hasn’t done since 2014. Brunner said the only situation for which he’ll skip an AVP is if he has an opportunity to compete in a major. Aside from that, he’ll look to play a few FIVBs that do not conflict with the AVP, finding a partner, perhaps Evans, who will make the trip before returning to their AVP partners upon returning home.
“It’ll be a lot of fun,” Brunner said. “He’s so solid. I watched him play the last couple years, and I don’t know how he gets better from the fact that he lives in the tundra, but the fact that he just keeps getting better is impressive.”
Quiggle’s new clothing line — Still on the hunt for Christmas gifts? Corinne Quiggle, a former All-American at Pepperdine who enjoyed a breakout 2019 AVP season, recently dropped a new line of performance clothing.
You can purchase the clothing, which has her initials, “CQ” on it, here. The line includes running shorts, a tank top, leggings, two different crop hoodies, a t-shirt, and two sports bras.
In 2019, Quiggle partnered with Amanda Dowdy, finishing in the top-10 in six of seven AVPs and taking a silver medal in the Cambodia two-star at the beginning of the year.
AVP Tweet of the Week — Off-season means there’s less content to be had from the AVP and FIVB, as they gear up towards the 2020 seasons. Which means it’s time for the social media curators to get creative, and creative the AVP got this week, throwing in a classic Dodgeball line with a picture of Kelly Reeves, who will be on SANDCAST: Beach Volleyball with Tri Bourne and Travis Mewhirter, this upcoming Wednesday.
— The AVP (@avpbeach) December 4, 2019
Instagram post of the week — Now — or, you know, anytime — seems to be a good time to drop in an old school Sean Rosenthal highlight. Kudos to Judd Smith in Mississippi for digging the Vegas Line back up.
In case you missed it — The AVP announced its 2020 schedule, which includes the same stops and dates as it did in the 2019 season. Read the full story here …
Mike Dodd may have dropped the f-bomb on SANDCAST this week, but R rated or not, it’s one of the best episodes Tri Bourne and Travis Mewhirter have had in their two-plus years doing the show. If you haven’t listened to it, do yourselves a favor and do so. Read the full story, and listen to the episode, here …
Brazil’s indoor stars, Mari Steinbrecher and Paula Pequeno, are moving to the beach, adding yet another top-notch team to a loaded Brazilian federation. Read the full story here …