Struggle is Real for Men's Collegiate Beach Athletes

By B.J. Hoeptner Evans (bj.evans@usav.org) | May 10, 2018, 11:30 p.m. (ET)
Pepperdine's men's beach volleyball team receives the ball
Pepperdine’s Owen Yoshimoto, right, and Robert Mullahey are the top seeds in the men's playoff at the Beach Collegiate Championships.

 

TV SCHEDULE

Women's Final: May 12, 4-6 p.m. ET on NBCSN
Men's Final: May 12, 7:30-8:30 p.m. ET, Olympic Channel

HERMOSA BEACH, Calif. (May 10, 2018) – After winning two, three-set pool-play beach volleyball matches on Thursday, Brett Rosenmeier and Colton Cowell were particularly grateful to their coaches and staff at the University of Hawaii.

The pair was competing at the Bridgestone USA Volleyball Beach Collegiate Championship just a couple weeks after finishing their indoor season with Hawaii, where they just missed making it into the NCAA Men’s DI-II Championship tournament.

“Beach volleyball works different parts of the body, that’s for sure,” Rosenmeier said. “Endurance is something you really need when you come out here. All the cramping and the running we’re doing really takes a toll on you.”

“There should be a lot of credit given to our indoor coaching staff, Charlie Wade, Milan Zarkovic and Josh Walker,” Cowell added. “And especially our strength and conditioning coach Josh Elms. He’s really gotten us into, hopefully, tip-top shape to help us finish out the tournament.”

Their two pool-play victories put the pair directly into Friday’s men’s semifinals where they will play the winner of the match between Penn State’s Will Bantle and Matt McLaren and Quincy’s Anthony Winter and Collin Merk.

On the other side of the bracket, Pepperdine’s Owen Yoshimoto and Robert Mullahey will play the winner of UC Irvine’s Dante Chakravorti and Grant Friedman versus Florida State’s Adam Wienckowski and Jon Justice.

Most of the players on the seven men’s beach teams competing in Hermosa are indoor players who now get to play outside. While women’s beach volleyball is one of the NCAA’s fastest growing sport, men’s beach volleyball is not an NCAA sport.

The difference was clear on Thursday as many of the women’s 30 competing pairs had university uniforms and coaches on the sidelines while the seven men’s teams were mostly on their own.

Cowell and Rosenmeier both hope to pursue beach volleyball professionally after their college careers and also hope to see more collegiate men's teams competing.

“We both wish they did have NCAA men’s beach because we both really enjoy it,” Rosenmeier said.

Cowell added, “The growth and development of men's beach volleyball is just with how many athletes we can get out here who are willing to try something new.”

The winners of both the men’s and women’s tournaments will qualify to compete at the 2018 World University Championships in Munich, Germany. The second- and third-place teams will be invited to train with USA Volleyball beach staff in Torrance, Calif., and possible compete in Germany if the United States receives a second berth for each gender.

On the women’s side, 24 out of 30 teams have advanced from Thursday’s pool play. Cal Poly’s Emily Sonny and Torrey Van Winden are the top seeds in the Round of 24. Sonny and Van Winden upset Pepperdine's Corinne Quiggle and Deahna Kraft, who were the top seeds going into the tournament, 21-17, 21-18. Florida State’s Tory Paranagua and Vanessa Freire are No. 2 and Florida State’s Hailey Luke and Katie Horton are No. 3.

Play begins at 9 a.m. on Friday and will be live streamed on the USA Volleyball web site.

To view complete results, click here.