COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (July 21, 2023) – Open division winners in the 16U age group were named for both girls and boys at the 2023 Beach National Championship in Ft. Lauderdale this week.
The USA Volleyball Beach National Championship is the culminating event of the USA Volleyball Beach Tour, a year-long joint effort between USA Volleyball and the nation’s 40 USAV regions. Open division competitors earned a berth by placing among the top four at Beach National Qualifiers. American division athletes earned their berths at a Beach Regional Qualifier.
Boys 16U Open
The duo of Brock Harvick and George Stevens cruised through the quarterfinals on Wednesday morning with a 2-0 win over Alexander Brey/Zachary Jarboe that set them up for a semifinal match with Malachi Brewington/Titus Lance in the early afternoon. Harvick and Stevens were pushed to three sets, but pulled out a 15-13 win in the third to advance to the gold medal match.
Harvick/Stevens faced Asher Gill and Luka Sazdov for the top spot on the podium. Harvick/Stevens were victorious in a closely contested first set with a 21-18 win, and then finished things off with a 21-15 win in the second set to take the top spot on the podium.
“It feels amazing, I’ve been training up for this all year,” Stevens said.
Harvick and Stevens have been playing on opposite sides of the net since they were 8 years old but teamed up in Ft. Lauderdale to go for gold.
“It’s been long awaited for the past couple years,” Stevens said. “But we finally got together to make this happen.”
Brewington/Lance took home bronze.
Girls 16U Open
The pair of Hannah Taylor and Ella Keeven took care of business with a 2-0 win in their morning match to set up a meeting in the quarterfinals with Clara Evans and Alina Ryan. The Girls 16U quarters were decided with one match to 28 points. Keeven/Taylor built a seven-point margin in the final stage to win 28-21.
In the semis, the format returned to best of three sets. Keevan/Taylor won by an identical score in two (21-17) over Elena Lam/Brielle Taylor to put them through to the gold medal match. There, they faced the team of Brielle Dorish and Catherine Hamilton. Keevan and Taylor knocked their opponents back on their heels with a commanding 21-3 win in the first set. They closed out the championship match in a more tightly contested second set, ending it with a 21-18 score.
“She actually brought me into beach,” said Taylor of her partner Keeven after taking gold. “We have come close, but this tournament was really [the first] where we got to take the win.”
Lam/Taylor bested Juliana Johnson/Allison Spittal in two sets to earn the bronze medal.