King of the Mountain Tournament returns to Vail
VAIL, Colorado – Make way for the King.
That would the 37th annual King of the Mountain Volleyball Tournament Friday-Sunday the Vail Athletic Field.
“It’s one of the oldest events in the valley, except for ranching, skiing and drinking,” joked event organizer Leon Fell.
Fell does not exaggerate when it comes to the local sporting world. King of the Mountain is older than mainstays like the Vail Lacrosse Shootout, the Vail Invitational Soccer Tournament and the American Ski Classic.
The Teva Mountain Games, which just passed through town, is mere babe in the woods compared to this volleyball lollapalooza.
And with an expected 350 teams scheduled for the weekend, the event continues to grow, despite tough economic times.
“I was perfectly content to with having the same numbers as last year. I’m surprised, but I’m not surprised,” Fell said. “The hotels we’ve worked with directly have been great with getting competitive rates for the players for that weekend and we have developed a Vail monster with our junior clinic as well as our father-daughter and father-son competitions.”
It also doesn’t hurt that the NCAA has made beach volleyball an official sport for the spring of 2010. Not only does playing beach (or two-person volleyball) help a player with his or her play transitioning to the conventional six-person indoor game, but with a new college sport on the horizon, the junior ranks are swelling.
Among the 29 divisions to be contested at this year’s King of the Mountain, there are U-18, U-16, U-14 and U-12 competitions for both boys and girls.
“A month ago the NCAA decided that beach volleyball would be a sport starting next year. That opens an entire new world of volleyball possibilities for players,” Fell said. “Playing doubles also improves your indoor game. In doubles, you really learn the meaning of teamwork. You have to do everything a six-person team would do.”
The King of the Mountain includes a free junior clinic on Friday. Registration starts at noon and the clinic goes from 12:30-4:30 p.m.
Friday’s slate starts with men’s masters (35 and older), men’s seniors (45 and older), co-ed A and BB, as well as the new women’s masters division. All those titles will be decided on the first day of the tournament.
Saturday, the tournament blossoms all over the Vail Athletic Field with the men’s and women’s opens as well as men’s and women’s A, BB and B tournaments and multiple junior divisions.
Sunday is tournament day for those fields and also has the King of the Mountain’s traditional Father’s Day brackets for father-son and father-daughter competitions.
The men’s an women’s opens constitute the highest level of play at the King of the Mountain. While the field is still filling out, look out for Ryan Post, a former local, who’s come out of retirement and tournament regular Jamey Martin.
On the women’s side, Dawn Tischauser is also out of retirement and paired with Brazilian Flavia Gabinio.
Registration is still open for all divisions except for men’s and women’s open and available at kingofthemountain.com.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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