COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (June 23, 2023) – The winning pairs at the U23 and U21 Beach National Team Trials have earned the right to represent the U.S. at the 2023 NORCECA U23 Beach Championship and the 2023 U21 FIVB Beach World Championship. Teams competed in pool play and single elimination brackets over the course of four days at Hermosa Beach, Calif.
On the women’s side, Grace Seits (LSU)/Ella Larkin (LSU) will represent USA at the U23 division. Samaya Morin (Grand Canyon)/Taylor Wilson (Stanford) have qualified for the U21 division.
The team of Seits/Larkin advanced to the final on Thursday after defeating Delaynie Maple (USC)/Anna Long (Florida State) 2-1 (17-21, 21-16, 15-11). They faced Alli Hansen/Kate Reilly (Stanford) in the final match, winning 2-0 (21-15, 21-13) to claim the championship.
Morin/Wilson advanced past the semifinal match with a victory over Jessie Smith (UCLA)/Ella Connor 2-0 (21-14, 21-17). This earned the team a place in the final across the net from Alexa Fernandez (UCLA)/Sally Perez (UCLA). The second game went to 25-25 before Fernandez/Perez forced game three. Morin/Wilson would go on to win 2-1 ( 21-12, 25-27, 15-13).
“I am super pumped, super proud of us,” said Morin after the victory. “Definitely didn’t have a lot of training together but we just clicked really well from the beginning, so I’m honored and blessed to be able to play with someone who just complements me so well and we are so excited to be able to represent USA.”
For the men, Tate Calles/Brendan Onishchenko will represent USA for the U23 division. The team of Thomas Hust/Gage Basey (Colorado) are the representatives for the U21 division.
Calles/Onishchenko advanced to the final after defeating Cody Price/Logan Mister 2-0 (21-18, 21-19). In the final, the team faced Akhil Tangutur (UC Irvine)/Alex Knight (UCLA). Like the women’s final, the men also went three games with Calles/Onishchenko claiming a 2-1 victory (21-19, 19-21, 15-11).
“It was super stressful, just every single game was tight it felt like,” Calles said. “So glad we were able to pull it out and really [it was] a lot of fun.”
The U21 division saw Hurst/Basey matched up against Leo Tuncer/Zephyr Dew in the semifinals. Hurst/Basey advanced with a 2-0 victory (21-17, 21-12) to face Ayden Keeter/Carson Barnes in the final. Keeter/Barnes forced a game three after winning the second game 24-22. Ultimately, Hurst/Basey were victorious by final score of 2-1 (21-16, 22-24, 15-13).
The U23 winners have earned the right to represent the U.S at the 2023 NORCECA U23 Beach Championship in the Cayman Islands. U21 winners earn the right to represent the U.S. at the 2023 FIVB U21 Age Group World Championships taking place in Roi-Et, Thailand from November 8-12, 2023.