King of the Mountain crowns five in Vail
VAIL- As incongruous as it may seem, Southern California has arrived in Vail, but mercifully without the smog.
The 38th edition of the King of the Mountain Volleyball Tournament again turned the Vail Athletic Field into Malibu at 8,000 feet Friday with 24 grass courts and three on sand with bumping, setting and spiking going until the last light of Friday.
The tournament crowned champions in five of 29 divisions on Day 1 with much more to come as most everyone one from the juniors to the men’s women’s open divisions start play today.
Friday featured the finals of the two co-ed divisions, men’s and women’s masters (35 and up) and men’s and women’s seniors (45 and up), begging the question, “Is a 45-year-old really a senior, ready for social security?
“We’re as old as we look and we play that old too, just a little wiser,” said Chris Stroup, who was playing with Rocky Basile in the men’s seniors division.
“We’re in our fifties,” Basile added. “We need a new division for us.”
And doubtless, tournament organizer Leon Fell will get right on that when he’s not handling the more than 400 squads expected for this weekend. Friday at the King of the Mountain is generally lighter day. The competition is serious, but there is a lot of fun to be had.
“We’re serious about it, but you can’t play well without having fun,” said Denver’s Chad Bomgarrs, who was in the master’s division with teammate Brian Kennedy.
Music blared all day and spectators gathered especially near the eastern end of the field with the sand. Banter was light not only from the players themselves on the courts, but from the peanut gallery as well, perhaps enhanced by postcard day’s worth of sun at 8,000 feet combined with some cold ones.
“We’re trying to keep hydrated, 50-50 bear and Gatorade,” Kennedy said. “O.K., 70-30”
In actually volleyball news, Basile came up short in his bid for a sixth-straight seniors title. Instead, Tom Schmidt of Colorado Springs and Steve Gouner of Monument wrested that title.
A very familiar combo – Ryan Post, who now lives in Englewood, but grew up locally, going to Battle Mountain, along with Jamie Martin topped the masters field.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 or email@example.com.
King of the Mountain results
1. Kris Bredehoff, Englewood, and Jeannette Kelder, Denver
2. Nanci Lee and Karen Klem, Denver
1. Tom Schmidt, Colorado Springs, Steve Gouner, Monument
1. Ryan Post, Englewood, and Jamie Martin, Thornton
2. Paige Harrington, Denver, and Jason Wyrick, Littleton
1. Jonny Chan, Golden, and Andrea Hatcher, Denver
2. Bryce Walsh, Kailua, Hawaii, and Aurora Santos, Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands
1. Arlen Goodwin, Montrose, and Bria Lovato, Delta
2. Taz Bartling, Atlanta, and Katie Pyles, Highlands Ranch