By Jon D. Gaede
Huntington Beach – Less than one month after the London games, top teams competed in the Cuervo Beach Volleyball Championships at Huntington Beach.
Cuervo’s association with the beach game can be traced back to 1979 when they became the initial sponsor of professional beach volleyball.
During the 1980’s, the “Cuervo Gold Crown” events were considered the pinnacle of the sport. These events were nationally televised which eventually led to the sport’s legitimacy and the adoption of beach volleyball into the competition at the Olympic games.
The seven city summer tour culminated at Huntington Beach for the Cuervo National Championships for men and women. Up for grabs, the championship and a piece of the $150,000 in prize money.
On the women’s side, the team of Jenny Kropp and Whitney Pavlik have reached the finals at eleven tournaments over two years. With momentum and intensity, Kropp and Pavlik dominated the field at Huntington. In the final, they took Lauren Finbeck and Rachel Scott in straight sets 21-14 and 21-18.
For the men, the most successful team this year has been the duo of John Hyden and Sean Scott. They won at Manhattan Beach for the second consecutive year and were top seeded at Huntington.
In Sunday’s final, Scott and Hyden drew 2012 Olympians Sean Rosenthal and Jake Gibb, playing their final match as a team. The first set went to Hyden and Scott 21-15. The second set featured several great digs and long rallies, but Rosenthal and Gibb came up short, losing the final 21-12. Hyden and Scott win for the 5th time in 2012.
The well attended event is sure to grow next year. Free to fans, Cuervo completes another successful year on the beach. 2013 promises to be bigger and better as professional beach volleyball grows in popularity, once again.
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