ROSARITO, Mexico (March 22, 2022) – Members of the U.S. Beach National Team will receive an early-season test this weekend as eight pairs compete at the Beach Pro Tour’s Elite 16 event in Rosarito, Mexico.
Five women’s and three men’s teams will compete in the star-studded event. Starting in the women’s main draw are Kelly (Claes) Cheng/Betsi Flint, Terese Cannon/Sarah Sponcil and Emily Day/April Ross. Sara Hughes/Kelley Kolinske and Lauren Fendrick/Emily Stockman must first participate in the qualifier, a 16-team, two-round competition for four main draw berths.
Trevor Crabb/Tri Bourne will start in the men’s main draw, and Chaim Schalk/Theo Brunner and Chase Budinger/Troy Field will attempt to join them via the qualifier.
Play begins Wednesday, March 23, with both qualification rounds. Main draw action starts Thursday, March 24, and ends with the medal matches Sunday, March 27.
Elite 16 tournaments are the highest of three competition levels on the new Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour. The 12 highest-ranked teams in the world are selected for the main draw, and four qualifying teams will fill out the 16-team field. From there, teams will be split into pools of four. After a three-match round robin, the top two teams from each pool will compete in a single-elimination bracket for the title.
Five of the six individual women’s medalists from Tokyo 2020 will compete in the Elite 16 contest: Ross, who won gold with Alix Klineman, silver medalists Taliqua Clancy/Mariafe Artacho del Solar (Australia) and bronze medalists Anouk Verge-Depre/Joana Heidrich (Switzerland). Nine of the 12 main draw teams have at least one Olympian from last summer.
For the men, Tokyo gold medalists Christian Sorum/Anders Mol (Norway) and bronze medalists Cherif Younousee/Ahmed Tijan (Qatar) headline the field. Again, nine of the 12 main draw teams feature at least one 2020 Olympian.
Cheng/Flint and Tr. Crabb/Bourne will both make their season debuts this weekend. The other pairs competed last week in the Tlaxcala Challenge. Day/Ross posted the highest American finish, tying for fifth. Schalk/Brunner, Hughes/Kolinske and Fendrick/Stockman also finished in the top 10.
Every match of the Rosarito Elite 16 will be streamed live on VolleyballWorld.tv. Follow USA Volleyball on social media and online for additional coverage (@usavolleyball, @usavbeach, usavolleyball.org).