Top Spring Developmental Teams Presented With $16K in Winnings
The goal, from the outset, from before p1440 hosted its first event, in San Jose last fall, was to provide opportunities for beach volleyball players not only to compete, not only to improve, but to get rewarded for their efforts.
On Thursday morning at the Pasea Hotel in Huntington Beach, the top teams in the p1440 Developmental Program reaped those rewards.
Of the 18 teams in the inaugural p1440 Developmental Program, which began in December and finished on the final weekend of April, four, in a ceremony presented by p1440 co-founders Kerri Walsh Jennings and Casey Jennings, were compensated with $4,000 each for finishing as the top two teams in their respective genders.
Madison Willis and McKenna Thibodeau won comfortably on the women’s side, in a ranking system devised by Developmental Program Director Marcio Sicoli, coined BVR. Coming in second, in comeback fashion, was Tina Toghiyani and Tani Stephens, whose win in the final Intrasquad Tournament pushed them into the money.
That’s the exact type of situation Sicoli and the program aimed to imitate: a high stakes environment one might not be able to get elsewhere. The only other matches where $4,000 may be on the line are in the later rounds of AVP or FIVB tournaments. The intrasquad tournaments simulate that environment on a regular basis, without need for qualifiers and the stress of travel.
It’s aimed to improve the players not just in typical tournament situations, but the high-stakes ones.
The men’s side, too, was intriguing, as Travis Mewhirter and Myles Muagututia jumped two spots to finish first in winning the final tournament of the year. Closely in second was Hagen Smith and Steve Irvin. Both teams will be competing in next week’s AVP Austin qualifier.
This is only the beginning for the Developmental Program, which continues to tweak and improve its systems and processes. Session two begins with tryouts in Huntington Beach on May 13 and 14, and it will present more opportunities, more competition, more incentives to improve and grow and develop in this sport.
Meet the winners
Madison Willis, McKenna Thibodeau
Travis Mewhirter, Myles Muagututia
Hagen Smith, Steve Irvin
Tani Stephens, Tina Toghiyani
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