COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Kelley Larsen and Betsi Flint earned bronze for the U.S. at the season opening NORCECA Continental Tour beach tournament in La Paz, Mexico.
The U.S. experienced a tough first outing on the NORCECA circuit with Flint and Larsen’s third place being the top finish. Jon Mesko and Skylar Del Sol finished fourth, Brittany Hochevar and Emily Day in sixth, and Stafford Slick and Reid Priddy in ninth.
In pool play, both women’s teams went 3-0 for berths into the quarterfinals. There, Flint and Larsen defeated Costa Rica in two sets, 21-11, 21-9. Hochevar and Day suffered a loss to No. 1 Heather Bansley and Brandi Wilkerson of Canada, 28-26, 15-21, 15-9. In the semifinals, Flint/Larsen dropped the match, 21-17, 21-17, to the eventual winners, Lidiannis Echeverria/Leila Martinez from Cuba. The duo rebounded five hours later with a win for bronze against Canada’s Taylor Pischke/Kristina May, 21-18, 21-17.
It marks Larsen and Flint’s fifth NORCECA podium finish, individually and as a team. Hochevar and Day secured one win against Costa Rica before playing for fifth against Mexico. The pair lost their final match in three frames to finish sixth.
In Mesko and Del Sol’s first international tournament since 2012, the pair were just short of the podium after falling to Mexico in the third-place match. Mesko/Del Sol had a rocky 1-2 start in pool play but earned a three-set victory against Guatemala in the quarters, 16-21, 21-18, 15-9. Unfortunately, two more losses followed for USA, losing in two in the semifinals to Cuba and in three to Mexico in the bronze medal match.
NORCECA first-timer Priddy, with partner Slick, went 1-2 in pool play but shuffled into the loser quarterfinal bracket. A 2-0 win against Trinidad and Tobago saw the pair play for ninth against Costa Rica, a match they swept, 21-16, 21-10.
|NORCECA La Paz Roster|
|Betsi Flint||Kelley Larsen||Main Draw|
|Brittany Hochevar||Emily Day||Main Draw|
|Jon Mesko||Skylar Del Sol||Main Draw|
|Stafford Slick||Reid Priddy||Main Draw|
|Spencer Mack||Sports Medicine, ATC, CES|
Women | La Paz | April 7-9
1. Lidiannis Echeverria/Leila Martinez, CUB
2. Heather Bansley/Brandie Wilkerson, CAN
3. Betsi Flint/Kelley Larsen
6. Brittany Hochevar/Emily Day
Men | La Paz | April 7-9
1. Karell Pena/Daisel Quesada, CUB
2. Juan Virgen/Lombardo Ontiveros, MEX
3. Josue Gaxiola/Jose Rubio, MEX
4. Jon Mesko/Skylar Del Sol
9. Stafford Slick/Reid Priddy
Women | Playoff #1 | March 22
1. Betsi Flint/Kelley Larsen
2. Brittany Hochevar/Emily Day
3. Lara Dykstra/Jace Pardon
Men | Playoff #1 | March 22
1. Casey Patterson/Theo Brunner
2. Jon Mesko/Skylar Del Sol
3. Stafford Slick/Reid Priddy