Beach Volleyball Clubs of America crowns individual, club champs

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Maddison Fitzpatrick digs in the U-18 gold final/Ed Chan, VBshots.com

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to correct the winners of the Collegiate pairs and 18U club.

The Beach Volleyball Clubs of America held its championships last week at Hermosa Beach, Calif., with a whopping 470 teams for the age-group event.

When it was over, five pairs claimed titles:
12U — Jaelah Taylor and Sydney Bold, 692 West
14U — Kelly Belardi and Savannah Standage, Manhattan Beach VB
16U — Audrey Nourse and Nicole Nourse, Elite VB
18U — Halley Hallgren and Sammy Slater, Valley Girls
Collegiate Division — Hailey Harward and Claire Coppola

The club winners:
12U — 692 West
14U –Endless Summer Volleyball Club Hermosa
16U — Elite VB
18U — Valley Girls
Best Beach Clubs of 2017 — Elite Volleyball Club

The first championship was in 2013 with 127 teams and less than 20 beach clubs.  This year’s event saw 470 teams, from ages 12 to 18, competing over four days. The college division was for two days. The organizers said that 150 of the competing athletes are already committed to college programs.

“When I started 692 in 2008, there were less 30 beach clubs in the U.S.,” Jeff Smith, founder of the BVCA, said.  “There were a lot of tournaments for my players but I felt there was something missing. I wanted to see a championship for our clubs. 

“When more clubs started up, it validated what I was doing and all of the new directors wanted a national championship. I reached out to several organizations with my idea, and it seemed nobody really understood my vision or scoffed at the idea.”

Finally, the JVA came on board.

“When I met (JVA executive director) Jenny Hahn, she got it, and actually gave me the support needed to make our event great,” Smith said. “I knew nothing about the JVA at the time, but I had a great feeling we would work well together. 

“When Jeff approached us about partnering on the event, there was no hesitation,” Hahn said. “The mission of the BVCA aligns perfectly with our mission, to help junior clubs grow their programs and share knowledge to improve our programs and our sport. Jeff’s idea to provide a great championship to celebrate the hard work of the athletes and their coaches, was something we wanted to support.”

The event is only open to BVCA member clubs, but becoming a member is free.

Smith begins his selection process by inviting members to participate, along with the number of bids that the club is allocated at each age division. This decision is based on size and strength of club, year-round clubs vs part-time beach, amount of clubs in each region, past performance and history with the BVCA.

The BVCA web site: http://beachvolleyballclubs.com/

For results:  https://bvca.bracketpal.com/tournament/1

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