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Yearlong Team USA Champions Series Continues With Plenty Of Intrigue, With USA Volleyball Collegiate Beach Championships Up Next

By Ryan Williamson | May 08, 2019, 12:02 a.m. (ET)

LSU's Claire Coppola/Kristen Nuss celebrate wining the USA Volleyball Collegiate Beach Volleyball Championships on May 11, 2018 in Hermosa Beach, Calif.


Familiar names stick out on both the men’s and women’s sides heading into this week’s USA Volleyball Collegiate Beach Championships.

With 45 women’s teams and 16 men’s teams competing in Hermosa Beach, California, for this year’s event, which is part of the 2019 Team USA Champions Series, presented by Xfinity, both fields feature the defending champions.

In the women’s division, LSU’s Claire Coppola and Kristen Nuss return as the top seeds after winning the event in 2018. Both Coppola and Nuss were part of the LSU squad that finished third at last weekend’s NCAA championship, marking the best finish in school history. They also competed in the inaugural Collegiate Beach Championships in 2017, having placed ninth.

Though the men’s side also features the 2018 champions, the two men will compete on opposite sides this year. After Adam Wienckowski and Jonathan Justice won the 2018 championship as Florida State teammates, they are now on different teams. Wienckowski, now with Florida Atlantic, and UCLA’s Tim Brewster enter as the top seed, while Justice will play alongside Bryce Edwards of Nicholls State as the second seed. 

Unlike the women’s division, men are allowed to play with partners from other schools. Men’s beach volleyball is not an NCAA sport.

Brewster is a Youth Olympian for Team USA, as was UCLA’s Lindsey Sparks, having competed at the Summer Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires 2018.

The tournament runs May 9-11. NBCSN will be broadcasting live May 11 from 6-7:30 p.m. ET. 

The Collegiate Beach Championships is one of eight events in this year’s series, which began with the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in January and highlights the journey of Team USA athletes as they prepare for Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 and Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022.

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Here is a look at the other upcoming events in the Team USA Champions Series:

Beach Volleyball – Collegiate Beach Championships

When: May 9-11
Where: Hermosa Beach, California
What To Watch For: Two years ago, USC’s Kelly Claes and Sara Hughes won the inaugural Collegiate Beach Championships, and now with new partners they’re among the top pros on the AVP and FIVB tours. The LSU team of Claire Coppola and Kristen Nuss could follow that lead, especially if they’re able to defend their title this year. The defending men’s champions are back too, but they are with new partners. Women’s beach volleyball became an NCAA sport in 2016 and the Tokyo 2020 Games could be the first Olympics to include athletes who played beach volleyball in college.
TV: NBCSN – May 11, 6-7:30 p.m. ET

Diving – Senior National Championships

When: May 20-26
Where: Indiana University Natatorium, Indianapolis, Indiana
What To Watch For: This event helps determine the divers who qualify for the 2019 Pan American Games, 2019 world championships and select grand prix competitions. Katrina Young, a 2016 Olympian, won her first national championship in women’s platform last year and is expected to return, along with five other Olympians. Among them is Olympic champion David Boudia, Olympic silver medalists Michael Hixon and Steele Johnson, and Amy Cozad Magaña and Jessica Parratto.
TV: NBC – May 25, 2-3 p.m. ET; NBCSN – May 25, 12:30 p.m. ET

Track and Field – Toyota USATF Outdoor Championships

When: July 25-28
Where: Drake Stadium, Des Moines, Iowa
What To Watch For: The top American track athletes will descend upon Des Moines for this year’s national championships as they look to qualify for the 2019 IAAF World Championships in Doha, Qatar. Among the highlights at the 2018 championships, DeAnna Price set an American record in the women’s hammer throw. She’ll be among the group of top athletes expected to be competing in this year’s event.
TV: NBCSN – July 26, 7-9 p.m. ET; July 28, 7-8 p.m. ET
NBC – July 27, 4-6 p.m. ET; July 28, 8-9 p.m. ET
All four days streamed live on NBC Sports Gold.

Swimming – Phillips 66 National Championships

When: July 31-Aug. 4
Where: Avery Aquatic Center, Stanford, California
What To Watch For: This event allows swimmers to post qualifying times for the 2019-20 USA Swimming National Team, while 18-and-under swimmers will vie for a spot at the 2019 FINA World Junior Championships. Though many of the best swimmers are expected to compete, the field may look different than previous years. The 2019 world championships (July 21-28) and Pan American Games (Aug. 6-10) occur around the same time as this year’s national championships, and the teams for those competitions are already set.
TV: NBCSN – July 31, 9-10:30 p.m. ET; Aug. 1, 9-11 p.m. ET; Aug. 2, 9-11 p.m. ET; Aug. 3, 10:30 p.m.-midnight ET; Aug. 4, 1-2:30 a.m. ET
NBC – Aug. 3, 2-3 p.m. ET; Aug. 4, 3-5 p.m. ET
Olympic Channel – Aug. 3, 9-10:30 p.m. ET; Aug. 4, 9-10:30 p.m. ET 

Gymnastics – U.S. Championships

When: Aug. 8-11
Where: Sprint Center, Kansas City, Missouri
What To Watch For: The U.S. Gymnastics Championships return to Kansas City for the first time since 1987 as the top American artistic gymnasts compete for national titles and spots on the national team. Front and center will no doubt be Simone Biles, who returned to the sport in 2018 after winning four gold medals and one bronze at the 2016 Olympics. Biles won her fifth U.S. all-around title last year and will be a heavy favorite to win number six. Two-time Olympian Sam Mikulak also captured his fifth all-around title at last year’s championships.
TV: NBCSN – Aug. 8, 8-10 p.m. ET; Aug. 9, 8-10 p.m. ET; Aug. 10, 8-10 p.m. ET
NBC – Aug. 11, 4-6 p.m. ET; 8-10 p.m. ET 

Luge – Lake Placid World Cup

When: Nov. 30
Where: Lake Placid, New York
What To Watch For: Top lugers from across the world will travel to Lake Placid, New York, for this world cup stop. The USA Luge team is likely to feature some familiar names. The eight-person world cup team named earlier this month featured seven sliders who competed on the team last year, including Chris Mazdzer. The Olympic silver medalist will race in both singles and doubles. Emily Sweeney, who won a bronze medal at the world championships, is also back.
TV: NBC – 4-5 p.m. ET

Ice Hockey – U.S. Women’s National Team Game

When: 8 p.m. ET, Dec. 14
Where: TBD
What To Watch For: The U.S. women’s national team, coming off of an Olympic gold medal in PyeongChang and its fifth consecutive world championship this spring, will hit the ice once again later this year to wrap up the 2019 Team USA Champions Series. 
TV: NBCSN – Dec. 14, 8-10:30 p.m. ET

Ryan Williamson is a sportswriter from Minneapolis-St. Paul. He is a contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.