COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (July 25, 2011) – The 2011 USA Beach Volleyball Junior Tour National Championships was the largest ever, with 200 teams from 17 states and 20 USA Volleyball regions competing on 45 courts on Saturday on North Avenue Beach in Chicago.
It was the largest USA Beach Junior National Championship since the event began in 2006.
Weather was a big concern because of overnight thunderstorms. Flash floods closed sections of roads all over the Chicago metro area on the route to the North Avenue Beach event location.
The forecast called for a potential storm midway through the competition but the storm passed far to the north of the event. During pool play, overcast skies provided a break from the heat wave that Chicago had been experiencing all week. The sun came out and heated up the competition as the players entered brackets and finals.
There were 118 teams in the Bid Winners Open Division and 82 teams in the National Division.
The twin sister act of Sydney and Kiersten Braasch from Colleyville, Texas (North Texas Region) won the girls’ under-18 open division defeating Aren Cupp (Holt, Mich.; Lakeshore Region) and Ashley Prince (Allen, Texas; North Texas Region) in the final, 30-23. Christina Vucich (Morrisville, N.C.; Carolina Region) and Megan Gravley (Carolina Region) finished third with a score of 30-20.
In the girls’ U16 open division, Paige Hines (Encinitas, Calif.; Southern California) and Morea Wagner (Encinitas, Calif.; Southern California) won the title, defeating Ciana Wagner (Encinitas, Calif.; Southern California) and Lacey Knuttila (San Diego, Calif.; Southern California) in the final, 30-24.
Amelia Held (Festus, Mo.; Gateway) and Alexa Ethridge (Lee’s Summit, Mo.; Heart of America) tied for third with the North Texas Region team of Jourdan Durante (Kennedale, Texas) and Christina McAfee (Kennedale, Texas).
The girls’ U14 open division title was won by the North Texas Region team of Madison Ligon (Euless, Texas) and Ali Eager (Highland Village, Texas) with a 30-25 victory over the Hoosier Region team of McKenzie Haite (LaPorte, Ind.) and Alyssa Kvarta.
The Southern California Region team of Brianna Goldberg (Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.) and Gabby Eyl (Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.) tied for third with the Lone Star team of Elyssa and Kelsey Purcell, both of Alvin, Texas.
The North Texas Region team of Haley Hallgren (South Westlake, Texas) and Ashley Robert (McKinney, Texas) won the girls’ U12 open title, defeating the Carolina Region team of Moriah Tavana (Apex, N.C.) and Mia Fradenburg (Durham, N.C.), 30-24 in the final. The Pioneer Region team of Macy Reihing (Lexington, Ky.) and Keyton Kinley (Lexington, Ky.) tied for third with the Heart of America team of Peyton Uhlenhake (Olathe Park, Kan.) and Katlyn Geifer (Overland Park, Kan.).
Age divisions for boys were combined in order to foster better competition.
In the boys’ U18 open division, the Great Lakes Region team of Dan Weishar (Chicago, Ill.) and Kevin Morrison defeated the Ohio Valley team of Wesley Meyer (West Chester, Ohio) and Logan Williams (Clarksville, Ohio), 24-22, 21-19. The Badger Region duo of Chris and Nick Corporale, both of Big Bend, Wis., finished third with a score of 21-14, 21-13.
In the girls’ national division, for players who did not qualify at USA Beach Junior Tour events, the Great Lakes team of Emily Casaletto (Lake Barrington, Ill.) and Julia Thompson (Fox River Grove, Ill.) won the U16 title with a 30-25 victory over the Southern California duo of Riley Porter (Carlsbad, Calif.) and Sarah Allen-Baines (Carlsbad, Calif.). The Hoosier team of Elizabeth Kloos (Munster, Ind.) and Morgan Switalia (Munster, Ind.) tied for third with the Southern California duo of Kaytlin Barr (Carlsbad, Calif.) and Caihla Petiprin (Carlsbad, Calif.).
The Hoosier Region team of Olivia Witsaman (Highland, Ind.) and Amanda Witsaman (Highland, Ind.) won the U14 title with a 30-12 win over the Great Lakes team of Killeen Murphy (Tinley Park, Ill.) and Erin Shannon (Frankfort, Ill.). The Great Lakes team of Toni Leitshuh (Manhattan, Ill.) and Mariel Leibovitz (New Lennox, Ill.) tied for third with the Great Lakes duo of Brooke Mayer (Orland Park, Ill.) and Grace Murphy (Tinley Park, Ill).
Teams from the Great Lakes region swept the U12 division. Marissa Anderson (Cary, Ill.) and Madison Katchen (Fox River Grove, Ill.) won the title with a 30-28 victory over Sinead Prentis (Libertyville, Ill.) and Sophie Sorenson (Kildeer, Ill.). Raquel Perinar (Channahon, Ill.) and Taylor Baranski (Morris, Ill.) tied for third with Kamryn Johnson (Channahon, Ill.) and Nina Schulte (Channahon, Ill.).