COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Sep. 19, 2023) – This edition of the beach update details the winners of the 2023 Men’s Beach Collegiate Challenge. We also preview coming events and check in on the latest FIVB rankings.
2023 Men’s Beach Collegiate Challenge
Carson Barnes and Ayden Keeter, representing Webber University, are your 2023 Men’s Beach Collegiate Challenge winners. The duo outlasted a total of 32 teams at the third annual competition in Owings Mills, Md., hosted by Stevenson University. The challenge was preceded by an NTDP Beach Accelerator (Chesapeake Region) on Sept. 15.
Barnes and Keeter defeated Mason Andrade/Jonathan Pincince of Wentworth, as well as Martin Radomski/Quinten Zilch of Lewis in their first two matches of the main draw. In the semifinals, they beat Carter Dittman and Will Kuhns of Penn State. Barnes and Keeter once again claimed a 2-0 victory (21-8, 21-10), which sent them in the final against Matthew Gentry/John Luers of LMU.
Keeter and Barnes took gold without playing a third set. They defeated Gentry/Luers 2-0 (21-15, 21-11) and claimed victory.
Barnes and Keeter are both U21 Beach National Team athletes. They took second place at the U21 FIVB Beach World Championship Trials at Hermosa Beach in June. Both took part in the Summer Training Series held in July by USA Volleyball at the elite athlete training center in Chula Vista.
Ryan Merk and Michael Valenzi, returning champions from 2022, defeated fellow Penn State competitors Kuhns/Dittman for the bronze medal. Valenzi was on the 2022 Men’s Beach Collegiate National Team, and Merk was the libero on the U.S. Men’s U21 Indoor National Team that won silver at the 2023 Pan Am Cup.
The 2023 USA Volleyball Beach Tour continues with the North Texas Region College Showcase in Plano Texas. This is a regional qualifying event taking place on Sept. 23. More information about the event can be found HERE.
The SSOVA – September Anna Maria Regional Qualifier in Bradenton Beach, Fla., will be held on Sept. 24. This event is also a regional qualifying event. More information can be found HERE.
The 2023 NTDP Beach Fall Training Series is also fast approaching. The training camp will be held Sept. 29 – Oct. 1 in Virginia Beach, Va.
Beach Pro Tour Futures – Halifax runs Sept. 21-24 in Halifax, Canada.
The U.S. will have two pairs representing in the men’s bracket, Logan Webber/Hagen Smith and Charlie Siragusa/Wyatt Harrison.
Fresh off a silver at BPT Miguel Pereira with Katie Lindstrom, Teegan Van Gunst will partner with Kim Hildreth for the fifth seed in the women’s bracket. Kylie DeBerg and Carli Lloyd are the second U.S. pair set to compete and are currently seeded 10th.
Rankings remain stagnant as we await world championships in Mexico at the end of September.
Kelly Cheng and Sara Hughes are number two in the world behind Ana Patricia/Duda (BRA). Taryn Kloth and Kristen Nuss are just 200 points behind Hughes/Cheng, taking third place in the world rankings with 7280 points.
Julia Scoles and Betsi Flint are inside the top 10, sitting at ninth with 5860 points.
In the men’s rankings, Miles Partain and Andy Benesh are still tied for number three in the world with Qatar’s Cherif Younousse and Ahmed Tijan.
Trevor Crabb and Theo Brunner are ranked No. 25 with 4,180 points. Just below them are Tri Bourne and Chaim Schalk, who have 4,160 points.