King of the Mountain coming Friday |

King of the Mountain coming Friday

VAIL – Welcome to volleyball lollapalooza.It’s the 34th annual King of the Mountain Volleyball Tournament which turns the Vail Athletic Field at 8,150 feet into a scene straight out of spike-happy Southern California from Friday through Sunday.By mid-Saturday, there will be 29 courts – 26 on grass and three on the eastern sand pit – going simultaneously.

“No. 1, there’s volleyballs flying all over the place,” organizer Leon Fell said. “You’ve got 52 people yelling all at once (on the grass courts). You’ve got the music in the background. You’ve got the spectators cheering for their people and with the volley fair that’s going on, it’s a really remarkable and beautiful sight.”Wide-open OpenWhile there’s plenty of action all over the Vail Athletic Field the highlights are the Men’s and Women’s Open.

On the women’s side, Dawn Tischauser and Ingrid Selmins will be a pair to watch. They won the Motherlode in Aspen last year. Tischauser and King of the Mountain vet Krista Swartzendrubber are past winners in Vail. For the men, David Zerbecki, the top junior player in Florida, will be teamed with Curtis Griffith, one of the best in Colorado. The men’s field also features former national team members Vernon Podlewski and Keith Barnett.”This makes the Men’s Open the most exciting and toughest field in recent history,” Fell said.

Bump, set, spikeWhile registration for the Open divisions are closed, there is space in all the other divisions. Co-ed A/B, Men’s Seniors and Men’s Masters will be contested Friday. For those still interested in playing in these competitions, registration ends on site on Friday at 7:30 a.m.Friday is also the free High Performance Beach Camp, for juniors. The clinic will be directed by USA Volleyball’s John Kessel.”Basically, it for getting kids who haven’t had much exposure to beach volleyball the overview of the basic strategies, skills and fundamentals and showing the difference from the indoor game,” Fell said.

Registration is at noon and the camp runs from 12:30-4:30 p.m.Saturday, the Opens and all the other divisions – Men’s and Women’s A, BB and B, U-18s, U-16s, U14s and U-12s – start.Sunday will see the playoffs for all the divisions with the Open championships approximately at 5:30 p.m.For more information on the tournament, log onto

Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 748-2934, or, Colorado

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