Youth Beach Volleyball Championships praised for great atmosphere as competition comes to a close on the Gold Coast
It was all smiles and high-fives at the end of four days of intense youth beach volleyball competition on Coolangatta Beach yesterday, where some of the best up-and-coming talent from all across Australia and beyond had just finished competing at the Australian Youth Beach Volleyball Championships.
The premier youth beach volleyball event on the Volleyball Australia calendar, included in the 2022 Gold Coast VolleyFest, was contested from 28-31 March with teams from ACT, New South Wales, Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia, Victoria and New Zealand battling it out on the sand from the Under 14s age group all the way up to the Under 18s.
It was an amazing experience for all junior players participating, who not only had a chance to showcase their growing talents in front of the Australian audience, but also the opportunity to make new friends while competing in a positive setting full of enthusiasm and camaraderie.
“Being at nationals was more than just winning gold. I made friends from different states and I got to learn a lot from watching other games and players,” said Victorian representative Milla Smith, stoked to take home the title of Australian Youth Beach Volleyball Champion in the Girls Under 18 category, playing alongside Samantha Pila.
“Winning the championship has been a goal of mine ever since I started playing beach. Sam and I have been training really hard for the past few months, both together and separate, to achieve this. It really means a lot to us.
“I hope to continue training super hard and playing in national tour events. Hopefully options open up in the future for me, if I work hard enough,” she said.
The winners for the Boys Under 18 categories came from across the pond, as Juraj Krajci
and Ryan Jefferson of New Zealand made the most of their experience on Coolangatta Beach, taking gold in their first international tournament.
Krajci said he loved the opportunity to see how well he and Jefferson could compete against their age group, and was really proud of their partnership. Alongside his gold medal, it was the atmosphere on Coolangatta Beach that he cherished the most at the end of the event.
“I had a great time playing here. I especially enjoyed the atmosphere while playing the final,” Krajci said. “It was really intimidating, but cool to hear the chanting from the New South Wales supporters.
“Getting first place of course is a big highlight from this week, but we had a lot of fun, and it was great meeting a ton of amazing people that swapped their gear with us. I’d like to thank Volleyball Australia for having us and being amazing hosts,” he said.
His partner Ryan Jefferson was also grateful for the opportunity to compete and make new friends on Australian soil.
“I really want to thank everyone who was able to make this happen. It was a dream and an event that will stay with me for the rest of my life,” Jefferson said.
“Being able to play with Juraj was a great experience and it helped to strengthen our relationship. The team culture and environment here was fantastic to be in. Everyone is so supportive and friendly and it made the whole experience so much more enjoyable,” he said.
You can find the winners of all Australian Youth Beach Volleyball Championships below, with full results from the tournament available here.
Under 18 – Boys
1. Juraj Krajci / Ryan Jefferson (NZ)
2. Benjamin Schickinger / Harley Sinclair (NSW)
3. Benjamin Carrol / Mitchel Croft (VIC)
Under 18 – Girls
1. Milla Smith / Samantha Pila (VIC)
2. Alexandria Smith / Parri Barrele (NSW)
3. Cate Smith / Luella Greer (VIC)
Under 17 – Boys
1. Jett Rocker-Graham / Killian Donovan (NSW)
2. Kye Van Beest / Timothee Philippe (QLD)
3. Hudson Clarke / Samuel Garvin (NSW)
Under 17 – Girls
1. Jasmine Rayner / Kayla Stevens (QLD)
2. Cameron Zajer / Saskia Naismith (SA)
3. Anna LeBlang / Jessica Hunter (NSW)
Under 16 – Boys
1. Benjamin Larsen / Luka Sazdov (QLD)
2. Asher Gill / Felix Birke (NSW)
3. Ayush Kharel / Luke Huddleston (SA)
Under 16 – Girls
1. Ella Bourke / Sienna Orde (SA)
2. Chloe Sumich / Molly Clark (QLD)
3. Ava Tweedie / Rosie Alchin (WA)
Under 15 – Boys
1. QLD U15B: Chase Patterson, Ethan Grocott, Hugh Clague, Tom Bergemann
2. NSW U15B: Cian Bligh, Levi Beard, Mathew Olsen, Rohan Kumar
3. QLD U15B: Benjamin Trenow, Dylan Brown, Mingyuan (Eddie) Li, Raiden Kyaw
Under 15 – Girls
1. QLD U15G 2: Florence Liu, Sienna Arthur, Zara Duclo
2. QLD U15G 1: Annabel Ryan, Lily Callum, Lily Fox
3. VIC U15G 1: Ellie May Jury, Jessamine Turner, Madera Famous, Ruby Smith
Under 14 – Boys
1. QLD U14B 1: Lincoln Mowen, Mathew Marshall, Ryan Edgar, Samuel Stumer
2. QLD U14B 2: Archie Mellor, William Basten, William Green, Zane Gabriel
3. QLD U14B 3: Ben Kelly, Finley McCowen, Kennedy Evans, Lachlan Smith
Under 14 – Girls
1. QLD U14G 1: Allegra Conlon, Georgia Grocott, Ruby Owen
2. QLD U14G 2: Brooke Paynter, Charlie Hannan, Daisy Axton
3. VIC U14G: Ella McDonell, Rosie O’Bryan, Shalomi Samuel, Sophie Kay