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p1440 Developmental Program

Chinese National Team, Mewhirter-Villela Win Fourth p1440 Developmental Tournament


Walking off the court after a finals appearance – another finals appearance – Madison Willis and McKenna Thibodeau wanted to confirm that Friday was the last of the p1440 intrasquad tournaments.


“There’s one more,” p1440 staff member Fernando Sabla said, laughing. “Don’t cash that check just yet.”

Not yet. But Willis and Thibodeau, who took second on Friday to the Chinese national team, who also won on March 29, have established a substantial enough lead in the developmental program standings — a ranking system coined BVR and headed by Pepperdine head coach Marcio Sicoli — that they may as well begin thinking about what to do with the $4,000 in cash they’ll win as leaders of the female group.

Yes, that, along with training and improving as players, is what the developmental program athletes have been competing for. After tryouts in December – all of which are open – teams were selected, with 11 women’s and seven men’s teams making the cut. With three practices a week for the women and two for the men, led by a world-class coaching staff, athletes have been training in a fashion that will build them up to begin peaking in May. Throughout, there have been four intrasquad tournaments to see how the reps and practices have been paying off in competition.

With one more tournament to go, on April 26, Thibodeau and Willis have the top spot shored up, with the second place – also awarded a $4,000 prize – still up in the air. Jade Hayes and Kirsten Overton, Kristen Petrasic and Heather Friesen, Tani Stephens and Tina Toghiyani, Jessica McGuire and Lacey Fuller are all within 40 points of one another, making the final tournament an incentive-filled affair.

The men’s side, too, remains wide open. In the finals on Friday were Travis Mewhirter and Kevin Villela and Chris Austin and Kris Johnson, the second time in which Mewhirter has played against Austin and Johnson in the finals.

Villela and Mewhirter won, 18-21, 21-15, 15-12, in Villela’s first appearance in a developmental tournament (Mewhirter’s usual partner, Myles Muagututia, had coaching duties with Concordia).

In the hunt on the men’s side are Hagen Smith and Steve Irvin, Austin and Johnson, Aidan Brown and John Schwengel, and Cody Caldwell and Jay Panther, which is virtually every team in the program.

The final tournament of the spring session is April 26. Tryouts for the summer session will be held on May 13-14 at the Huntington Beach Pier. More information will be made available early next week.

Friday’s Matches

Women’s first round

Men’s First Round

Women’s Second Round

Men’s Semifinal

Women’s Semifinal

Women’s Final

Men’s Final