It was a toasty day in the sun at Deerfield Beach Pier as volleyball lovers and beach goers came out in droves to cheer on their favorite local athletes as they competed against the best players the southeast has to offer at the Red Bull Spiked finals.
Four winning teams -- two men’s and two women’s -- from each qualifying round in Nashville, Atlanta, South Florida and Wilmington took to the nets for their shot at the title. Teams put it all on the line as they dug, rolled and spiked their way through the ranks for over six hours in hopes of earning the top two seeds -- i.e. the teams who would take on the pros in the final round.
A total of 20 teams battled at the net in a “best of three” format until only two teams remained standing. Deerfield proved to have the home advantage, claiming both the men’s (Andrew Mallin & Carlos “CJ” Macias) and women’s (Marcella Gamarra & Claire Yonutas) finals, along with the opportunity to showcase their skills against the pros.
Todd Rogers, 2008 Bejing Olympic Gold medalist, was unable to compete (unfortunately sidelined by injuries) but was on site giving pointers to competitors as they braved the heat in and out of bounds.
“There’s a lot of talent on the court today," Rogers pointed out. "The top four teams were all at a level that could play professionally.”
In the final round, it was every man and woman for themselves, with the highest individual score after three games to 15 points. After each individual round, players would rotate teammates in a King and Queen format, giving the finalists a chance to play against and alongside beach volleyball legends.
Marcella Gamarra and Claire Yonutas, the women’s division finalists, took to the court with Brazilian powerhouses Maria Clara and Carolina Salgado. In the men’s division, Andrew Mallin and Carlos “CJ” Macias played AVP and FIBV superstar Casey Jennings and Olympic Gold medalist Phil Dalhausser.
In the end, only two could be crowned King and Queen of the beach -- when it was all over, Carolina Salgado and Casey Jennings took the ultimate titles at Red Bull Spiked.
Follow Red Bull on Twitter for more news, updates and exclusive info.