COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (May 24, 2022) – Five U.S. Beach National Team pairs are in Ostrava, Czech Republic, this weekend for the first of back-to-back Elite 16 tournaments on the Beach Pro Tour schedule.

Two squads – Chaim Schalk/Theo Brunner and Kelley Kolinske/Sara Hughes – begin play in Ostrava’s main draw. Three will have to fight through “the hardest, nastiest qualifier there’s ever been on the international tour,” according to Schalk: Tri Bourne/Trevor Crabb, Terese Cannon/Sarah Sponcil and Corinne Quiggle/Sarah Schermerhorn.

The qualifier takes place Wednesday, May 25. Pool play begins Thursday May 26, and the medal rounds are Sunday, May 29.

It’s been a month since both Schalk/Brunner and Kolinske/Hughes played internationally, but all three qualifier squads took part in last week’s Challenge tournament in Kusadasi, Turkey. Cannon/Sponcil won bronze and Quiggle/Schermerhorn reached the knockout stage.

Ostrava is the second Elite 16 tournament of the season. The first came late March in Rosarito, Mexico, where Kelly Cheng/Betsi Flint finished fourth. Schalk/Brunner and Kolinske/Hughes each came through the qualifier to finish T-9th and T-5th, respectively. Cannon/Sponcil also placed in the top 10.

Rosarito gold and silver medalists Katja Stam/Raisa Schoon and Anastasija Kravcenoka/Tina Graudina headline the women’s field in Ostrava, and Kolinske/Hughes are the tournament’s No. 3 seed after their Challenge win in Itapema, Brazil, last month. On the men’s side, hometown duo Ondrej Perusic/David Schweiner are the top seed, followed by Cherif Younousse/Ahmed Tijan of Qatar and the Netherlands’ Alexander Brouwer/Robert Meeuwsen.

There is one more Beach Pro Tour event this week, a Futures tournament in Cervia, Italy, but no Americans are slated to compete. Most other BNT athletes are in New Orleans for the AVP Pro Series event that runs May 27-29.