COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (July 25, 2023) – The 2023 USA Volleyball Beach National Championship in Ft. Lauderdale wrapped up over the weekend with champions crowned in 10 divisions.
The 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.
Girls 18U Open
For 18U Open champions Macy Bolyard/Calinda Kok, this gold medal might just be the beginning. Next year, Bolyard/Kok will enter USC as freshmen in the fall of 2024, and the Trojan beach volleyball team has won the NCAA title the last three years.
That USC connection helped bring them together, and they defeated Brianna Luoma/Skylar Skrabenek in the final, 24-22, 21-16. It was only Bolyard/Kok’s second tournament as a team.
The pair took a few matches to get their groove in the tournament, losing two of their four matches in round one of pool play, including one to Luoma/Skrabenek. But they won seven straight matches for the title.
The pair had four tough battles in Sunday’s blistering heat to win gold, including a 21-15, 19-21, 15-12 victory over Anna Bayes/Olivia Clines in the semifinal. Kok said hydration was a key part of keeping their stamina up.
“Staying up on electrolytes the night before is really important,” she said. “Lots of water, lots of Gatorade.”
Gracie Behneke/Danielle Hernandez won bronze.
Boys 18U Open
In contrast to Bolyard/Kok, 18U Open boys champions Trent Massey and Camryn Sheehan have known each other for years and have played sports together since third grade. Last year, they finished fifth in this event.
“It feels great,” Massey said. “A lot of really good teams out here, and to know we finished on top is awesome…thank you to our parents and all our other fans. They kept us healthy, helped us recover real well, especially in the last match when everyone is drained and you gotta give it your all.”
Both players are moving on to the collegiate ranks. Massey is going to Webber International where he will play beach and indoor, and Sheehan will play indoor at McKendree.
The pair did not lose a match in the event and defeated Daniel Kwekel/Brian Rumsey in the final, 21-14, 23-21.
Malachi Brewington/Titus Lance won the bronze medal, just as they did in the 16U division.
Boys and Girls 14U Open
Luis Campo and Spencer Smith lost one match en route to the 14U Open title. They defeated Sam Dicken/Asher Labreche, 21-19, 21-14 for gold. Elias Mowrey/Cash Summers were third.
On the girls side, Brooke Codey and Dreya Scherenberg defeated Lyla Paulsen and Izzy Ramos, 21-15, 21-19, to win the title. Codey and Scherenberg did not lose a match in the tournament. Third went to Makenna Hertless and Kiah McCoy.
Boys and Girls 12U Open
Aeden Estes and Wilson Mowrey defeated Parker Fong/Preston Le, 21-18, 21-16, for the boys 12U title. Kohen and Krue Shanks were third.
The girls 12U gold went to Milana Rivera/Elle Sossong, 21-13, 21-16 winners over Brynli Burgess/Ella McNeal. Third went to Alaina McGuire and Brylie Milo.
Girls American Divisions
Aubrey Sheppard and Natalie Villalon emerged victorious in 18 American with a 21-15, 21-14 win over Hope Dicken and Margaret Mallow. Sheppard and Villalon went 12-0 en route to the title. Jaryn Button and Samantha Kepple were third.
In 16 American, Lauren Leach and Megan McLarty won a three-set battle for gold over Jada Goodwin and Madeline Lee, 21-17, 19-21, 15-10. Leach and McLarty lost their first match in pool play but won nine straight for the title. In the semifinal, they faced Alana Joiner and Samantha Rodriguez, the team that beat them earlier in the tournament. But Leach and McLarty won the rematch, 12-21, 23-21, 17-15. Joiner/Rodriguez were third.
14 American champions Victoria Azarov and Garrin Coy were undefeated in the division, taking down Taylor Barcel and Nevaeh Hilderbrand in the final, 21-19, 21-15. Claire Newell and Brooke Smith were third.
Undefeated Zoey Kincaid and Gracie Liggett won 12 American with a 21-14, 21-17 win over Hope Rockwell and Karsen Sheehan. Third place went to Emma Eisenman and Adriana Shorter