Beach: Young Stars Lead NORCECA Trials

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It may have been the coldest weekend of the year, but the action was hot at the Beach Full-Time Training Centre this past weekend for the NORCECA Trials. Some of the top beach players in the country congregated on Downsview Park to determine the seeding list for the first half of the 2015 NORCECA season. 

The 2014 FIVB Rookie of the Year Melissa Humana-Paredes (Toronto, ON) and Taylor Pischke (Winnipeg, MA) took home the top spot for the women, defeating 2014 U21 FIVB Champions Tia Miric (Toronto, ON) and Sophie Bukovec (Toronto, ON) 21-17, 21-14 in the finals.

On the men's side, Sam Pedlow (Barrie, ON) and Grant O'Gorman (Toronto, ON) took the top seed after Christian Redmann (Oro Station, ON) and Maverick Hatch (Comox, B.C.) pulled out of the final due to injury. 

The youth movement is alive and well in Canadian beach volleyball. The men's and women's finals featured five players under the age of 23, all of whom have previously won FIVB medals. On the women's side, Bukovec/Miric upset NORCECA and FIVB veterans Kacie MacTavish (Sharon, ON) and Caleigh Whitaker (Sharon, ON), a pair who  have multiple NORCECA medals on their resume.

Kacie and Caleigh defeated Brandie Wilkerson (Toronto, ON) and Camille Saxton (Calgary, AB) in the 3rd place match, while Dan Dearing (Toronto, ON) and Garret May (Scarborough, ON) bested Ryan Vandenberg (Cambridge, ON)  and Aaron Nusbaum (Aurora, ON) to take third spot on the men's side. Wilkerson and Nusbaum are are 22 while Saxton, who was competing at a National team event for the first time, is 23.

Here's the full list: 

Women's NORCECA List

  1. Melissa Humana-Paredes and Taylor Pischke
  2. Sophie Bukovec and Tia Miric
  3. Kacie MacTavish and Caleigh Whitaker
  4. Brandie Wilkerson and Camille Saxton
  5. Victoria Altomare and Julie Gordon
  6. Claudia Seguin and Alexandra Poletto

Men's NORCECA List

  1. Sam Pedlow and Grant O'Gorman
  2. Christian Redmann and Maverick Hatch
  3. Daniel Dearing and Garrett May
  4. Ryan Vadenburg and Aaron Nusbaum
  5. Michael Plantinga and Cam Wheelan
  6. James Battiston and Simon Fecteau-Boutin

The top teams in each gender will have first shot at attending NORCECA tournaments for the first half of the season. If the top teams do not go, the spot goes to the next team on the list.