COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Big news on the beach circuit this week includes Team USA playing in the FIVB Beach World Championships, starting Friday in Austria.

Eight American teams will compete in the 2017 FIVB Beach World Championships from July 28 until August 6, in Vienna, Austria. One professional team will make the trip to Portugal for an FIVB 2-Star tournament, and domestically, the High Performance program will host its USA Junior Beach Championships starting July 31. More on all things, below.

The last time the U.S. was at the World Championships, Nick Lucena placed fourth with then-partner Theo Brunner, a best for USA in 2015. The U.S. has had a team place in the final four each year of the FIVB Beach World Championships, which dates back to 1997. The U.S. is looking to improve on 2015’s finishes, with four teams per gender playing for the gold.

Following an injury to her right shoulder while in Olsztyn, Poland on July 22, Kerri Walsh Jennings officially withdrew from the World Championships. Her partner Nicole Branagh will team up with Emily Day. Due to Walsh Jennings/Branagh earning their spot in the World Championships via a NORCECA quota, the quota goes to the country and the National Federation will be able to register the players meeting FIVB eligibility.

In 2017, Phil Dalhausser/Nick Lucena are the top ranked men’s duo, at third. Seeded 17th are Casey Patterson/Brunner, No. 18 Jake Gibb/Taylor Crabb, and No. 22 John Hyden/Ryan Doherty. American women’s teams see Brooke Sweat/Summer Ross lead the way at fifth, followed by No. 14 April Ross/Lauren Fendrick, No. 16 Kelly Claes/Sara Hughes, and No. 25 Day/Branagh. No American partnership at the 2017 edition has played at the World Champs together before.

2017 FIVB Beach World Championships roster
Athletes    Coach Entry
Brooke SweatSummer RossMain Draw
Lauren FendrickApril RossJon DazeMain Draw
Kelly ClaesSara HughesJose LoiolaMain Draw
Emily DayNicole BranaghMarcio SicoliMain Draw
Phil DalhausserNick LucenaJason LochheadMain Draw
Casey PattersonTheo BrunnerRich LambourneMain Draw
Jake GibbTaylor CrabbMarcio SicoliMain Draw
John HydenRyan DohertyTy TramblieMain Draw
Sean ScottTeam Lead/Video
Aimee MiyazawaUSAV Beach Head Athletic Trainer
Anthony DarmientoUSAV Strength and Conditioning
Kevin PierceSports Medicine, DC DACBSP
Elmo AgatepTeam Doctor, M.D.
Tyler WiddisonScout

Espinho 2-Star roster
Athletes    Coach Entry
Trevor CrabbAvery DrostMain Draw

The U.S. is sending one men’s team to the men-only FIVB Espinho 2-Star tournament in Portugal, from July 28-30. The tournament will run on a 24-team single elimination Main Draw bracket. Trevor Crabb typically plays with Sean Rosenthal, but is entered into the event with Avery Drost, who has one other World Tour appearance in 2017, placing fifth in Xiamen with Ryan Doherty. The last time Crabb/Drost played together, the duo finished 33rd at the Lucerne Open in 2015.

Unique to the USA Volleyball High Performance department, the USA Junior Beach Championships will be hosted in Hermosa Beach, California, from July 31 – Aug. 2. The Championships will be staged for the Under 13, 15, 17 and 19 age groups, with 128 teams participating. Athletes earned their way through qualification at the High Performance Zonal Championships in June, and winners of the Junior Beach Tour Championships will also earn invitations to next weeks’ event.

The USA Junior Beach Championships will also feature teams from Canada, Czech Republic, Qatar and Puerto Rico. Of the teams registered so far, 21 USAV regions will be represented in the tournament. The schedule, with brackets and seeding, will be released on July 30 following the technical meeting.

The USA Volleyball Junior Beach Tour Championships continues through July 25 as the final day of competition in Siesta Key, Florida. An adventure for the 430-plus teams that competed for titles at the event, weather was often strikingly beautiful, but also severe storms swept through the area on many of the days. Parents, volunteers and athletes pitched in on Saturday after the biggest storm hit the event, helping clear flooding waters from the courts so competition could continue. Winners of the tournament will be offered bids to the USA Junior Beach Championships in California, which starts July 31.

Olsztyn 4-Star
– 2nd Place: John Hyden/Ryan Doherty, Doherty’s best finish since taking silver on June 22, 2014 with Nick Lucena in Berlin; best team finish
– 4th Place: Kerri Walsh Jennings/Nicole Branagh, their best finish since winning the Phuket Open on Nov. 7, 2010
– Tied for 5th: Phil Dalhausser/Nick Lucena; Brooke Sweat/Summer Ross
– Tied for 9th: April Ross/Lauren Fendrick
– Tied for 17th: Kelly Claes/Sara Hughes
– Tied for 25th: Casey Patterson/Theo Brunner
– Lost in country quota: Kimberly DiCello/Emily Stockman fell to Kerri Walsh Jennings/Nicole Branagh, 28-26, 16-21, 15-12

Ulsan 1-Star
– 1st Place: Betsi Flint/Kelley Larsen beat Thailand in their second gold medal victory of the year
– Tied for 5th: Amanda Dowdy/Irene Pollock, have four Top 10 finishes, two in the Top 5

Agadir 1-Star
– Tied for 9th: Bill Kolinske/Miles Evans lost in the opening round to tie for ninth