|Gabi Bramante, left, and Chase Teal celebrate during their 16U National Division final.|
SIESTA KEY, Fla. (July 21, 2018) – Beach volleyball teams from Florida, Ohio and North Carolina battled opponents and strong winds to win National Division titles on Saturday at the USA National Beach Tour - Junior Beach National Championships at Siesta Key Beach.
Girls’ teams from Florida and Alabama took Regional Division titles.
Saturday’s matches closed out play in the 12-and-under and 16U division. On Sunday, the 14U and 18U divisions will begin three days of competition.
In the Girls’ 16U National Division, Gabi Bramante and Chase Teal of the Sinjin Beach Volleyball Club (Carolina Region) won a battle against Cecilia Harness and Bella Lockwood of the GCVA Beach Team (Lone Star Region), 21-16, 19-21, 18-16.
Bramante called the tournament a learning experience.
“There were a lot of learning opportunities along the way, especially with the wind every day,” Bramante said. “It was a chance to learn something new and we reached our goal.”
Teal added that the wind was a big variable.
“I competed in this tournament last year and it was nothing like this,” she said. “It was so different. It was definitely not what we expected but we are really glad with how it turned out.”
In the third-place match, Kailin Newsome and Kaleigh Shultz of GCVA beat Camryn Mather and Isabela Mitchell of Ohio Valley Beach (Ohio Valley Region), 21-16, 20-22, 15-10.
On the boys’ side, the relatively new team of Caleb Kwekel and Jay Cravens of 352 Elite Volleyball Club (Florida Region) beat their club teammates Eric Winn and John Ziska, 21-19, 21-15.
Kwekel and Cravens said they have only been training together about a month and a half.
“We’re both setters indoors,” Kwekel said. “I think our control helped us in the wind.”
Cravens added, “The wind was crazy. On this side, with the wind blowing against you, it was crazy. On that side, it wasn’t so bad. One side was hard to pass on and one side was hard to serve on.”
Cravens also said that he and Kwekel were tested in their semifinal match against Hunter Haas and Jerry Beckelhimer of Ohio Valley Beach, which Cravens/Kwekel won 21-19, 21-10.
“In the first set they took an 8-4 lead,” he said. “We battled back and won, but they surprised us because that was a team we had beaten before in pool play.”
In the third-place match, Jairon Hsieh and Louie Batang of Chicago Sand Volleyball beat Haas and Beckelhimer, 19-21, 21-11, 15-13.
In the Girls’ 12U National Division final, Kayleigh Schmehl and Myriah Massey of Ohio Valley Beach beat Katrina Oswald and Mary Claire Oswald of Louisville Beach (Pioneer Region), 23-21, 21-19. In the third-place match, Alyssa Phegley and Sam Crosby of Montverde Academy (Florida Region) beat Mackenzie Miller and Reese Emerick of Austin Juniors (North Star Region), 21-11, 21-11.
Twins Maddox and Mason Snyder won the Boys’ 12U National Division championship, beating Ryder Barrett and Caleb Kidder in the final, 21-19, 21-16. In the third-place match, Luke Schall and Thomas Thoman of the Rockwood Thunder (Gateway Region) beat Jacob Bounds and Logan Thompson of CHRVA (Chesapeake Region), 21-6, 21-14.
In the Girls’ 16U Regional Division, Lauren Quigley and Marti McLaurin of PIVC Sand Storm (Gulf Coast Region) won the title with a 21-16, 16-21, 15-9 victory over Madison Binkley and Mckenna Flaherty of SRQ/Wave Beach (Florida Region).
Haley Sawyer and Jaime Harrington of South County Juniors (New England Region) took third, beating Karla Cantero-Garcia and Nicole Perekhodko of Quicksand (Florida Region), 15-21, 24-22, 15-10.
In the Girls 12U Regional Division, Alexa Haley and Zara Stewart of the Vibe Volleyball Academy (Florida Region) beat Emma Parker and Mia Scanlon of Rockwood Mizuno (Gateway Region), 21-4, 22-20.
Isabella Lee and Shea Swain of OTVA (Florida Region) took third, defeating Hattie Belle Poland and Sierra Wendt of Pineapple Beach (North Texas Region), 21-17, 21-15.