COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Betsi Flint and Kelley Larsen had a remarkable start to their 2017 FIVB World Tour season, winning gold on Sunday at the Nanjing 1-Star tournament in China.

Flint and Larsen went 5-0 over three days to earn their first individual and team FIVB World Tour medals, taking gold without dropping one set. Also at the event, Emily Stockman/Kimberly DiCello tied for fifth and Amanda Dowdy/Irene Pollock tied for ninth.

In Nanjing, the tournament was a single-elimination, 24 team format. Flint/Larsen and Dowdy/Pollock opened play with victories in the Round of 24. In the Round of 16, Stockman/DiCello joined the ranks, but Dowdy/Pollock were eliminated with a loss to China, to tie them for ninth.

In the quarterfinals, Flint and Larsen notched their third win of the tournament, this time against Thailand’s Varapatsorn Radarong/Tanarattha Udomchavee, 21-15, 21-18. Stockman and DiCello met their end, falling to the Czech Republic in two sets, to tie them for fifth. Flint and Larsen went on to defeat that same Czech team, Martina Bonnerova/Sarka Nakladalova, 23-21, 21-15, in the semifinal. For gold, the pair completed the perfect sweep of all their sets and matches by defeating China’s Shuhui Wen/Xini Xia, 21-19, 21-12 in 33 minutes.

“We’re so excited, this was a great tournament with some really good teams and I thought Betsi and I came out here and played really well against each and every team,” Larsen said to the FIVB. “It’s our first FIVB tournament of the year, so we’re excited to start off strong,” added Flint.

Flint and Larsen are the third USA gold medal on the 2017 FIVB World Tour, following Phil Dalhausser/Nick Lucena, who won in Moscow (3 Star) and Stockman/DiCello, who won in Malaysia (1 Star).

From the third FIVB World Tour event this weekend, Americans Lara Dykstra and Jace Pardon tied for ninth in Monaco. The two-day, 1 Star tournament went quickly after opening with a Round of 16 in single elimination play. Dykstra and Pardon were eliminated in that first round, losing their first career FIVB World Tour match to Brazil’s Juliana Silva/Carolina Maximo, 16-21, 24-22, 15-11.

Hague 3-Star
– Tied for 5th: Brooke Sweat/Summer Ross, in three events, duo has finished in the Top 5 each time
– Tied for 9th: Brittany Hochevar/Emily Day, duo has five T25 finishes in 2017, the most for a USA women’s team, fourth finish in T10
– Tied for 17th: Stafford Slick/Billy Allen, their third consecutive t17th finish; Sean Rosenthal/Trevor Crabb, their third T25 finish and second tying for 17th
– Tied for 25th: Casey Patterson/Theo Brunner, their fourth T25 finish of the year, but earliest exit

Nanjing 2-Star
– First place: Betsi Flint/Kelley Larsen, their first FIVB World Tour medal (individual and as a team) in their first FIVB event of 2017
– Tied for 5th: Kimberly DiCello/Emily Stockman, the third T10 finish for the duo in 2017
– Tied for 9th: Amanda Dowdy/Irene Pollock, their first World Tour event of 2017

Monaco 1-Star
– Tied for 9th: Lara Dykstra/Jace Pardon, their first career FIVB World Tour event

FIVB Nanjing 2-Star Roster
Athletes    Entry
Kimberly DiCelloEmily StockmanMain Draw
Betsi FlintKelley LarsenMain Draw
Amanda DowdyIrene PollockMain Draw
FIVB Monaco 1-Star Roster
Athletes    Entry
Lara DykstraJace PardonMain Draw