Beach Pro Tour - News

Trevor Crabb & Theodore Brunner

Trevor Crabb & Theodore Brunner

Following their victory at last week’s Guadalajara Challenge on the Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour, Trevor Crabb & Theodore Brunner became the highest-placed American team in the men’s provisional Olympic Ranking, surpassing Miles Partain & Andrew Benesh in the race for the country’s maximum of two tickets to Paris 2024.

With their success in Mexico, Crabb & Brunner improved their ranking by 400 points and have now collected a total of 7,720, which is 100 more than their compatriots Partain & Benesh, who have yet to start their participation on the 2024 Beach Pro Tour. However, Crabb & Brunner’s total is based on the 12 best results of the 16 qualifying tournaments they have played, while, with 10 participations so far, Partain & Benesh have two “free” events to play, in which they will net the entire amount of points they earn without dropping points from less successful appearances.

The other two contenders with a reasonable shot at the US berths in Paris are not that far behind in that race. Chase Budinger & Miles Evans have 7,240 points, while Chaim Schalk & Tri Bourne stand on 6,580.

Crabb & Brunner also improved their position in the general FIVB World Ranking, climbing from number 14 to number 11, which is the highest ever for the team.

The Brazilian race for the country’s two men’s Olympic berths seems to get more and more settled after their second highest ranked pair, Evandro Oliveira & Arthur Mariano, claimed the Guadalajara bronze and further widened the gap to the next closest contenders, Pedro Solberg & Gustavo Carvalhaes (Guto). With a new total of 8,660 points in the Olympic Ranking, Evandro & Arthur are now 1,540 points above their compatriots.

Meanwhile, Noslen Diaz & Jorge Alayo achieved their third consecutive strong result on the Beach Pro Tour and continued climbing up the charts. After the silver medals at the Challenge events in Recife and Saquarema, the young Cubans finished fourth in Guadalajara and improved their Olympic ranking to 5,580 points from nine tournaments. They are still well below the cut-off for Paris, but with three “free” tournaments, Diaz & Alayo are well within reach, especially if they continue the excellent season they’ve been having so far. They also climbed three spots to number 21 in the World Ranking to match their best position in the chart from just after Saquarema two weeks ago.

The scuffle for Switzerland’s two women’s tickets to Paris is getting more and more interesting, with three great teams in the neck-in-neck race. Esmee Bobner & Zoe Verge-Depre won their first Beach Pro Tour gold in Guadalajara last week and regained the position of the second highest placed Swiss team in the Olympic ranking. They netted 340 of the points they earned in Mexico and improved to 7,360, surpassing Zoe’s older sister Anouk and her partner Joana Mader, who failed to make it past the qualifiers and added only 40 points to their total, now standing at 7,140.

Meanwhile, Nina Brunner & Tanja Huberli pocketed the entire 460 points that came with their ninth place in Guadalajara and not only overtook Mader & Verge-Depre in the Olympic ranking, but also widened the distance from Esmee & Zoe to 200 points, standing on a total of 7,560. Furthermore, the event in Mexico marked the 12th qualifying tournament for Brunner & Huberli, which means that now they officially hold one of the provisional spots at Paris 2024, but also means that, from now on, it will be more difficult to improve their total, as with every new tournament they will have to drop their 13th best result from the accounts.

The fourth place in Guadalajara was not enough for Karla Borger & Sandra Ittlinger to jump back above fellow Germans Louisa Lippmann & Laura Ludwig in the Olympic Ranking, but they narrowed the distance to just 40 points. The highest ranked German pair, Cinja Tillmann & Svenja Muller, are another 400 points above, so anything could happen in this domestic race for spots under the Eiffel Tower in July. However, Borger & Ittlinger climbed five positions up the World Ranking and joined the top 20 for the first time along their journey as a pair.

One Canadian spot at the Games already seems to be booked for Melissa Humana-Paredes & Brandie Wilkerson, who are fifth in the Olympic ranking and need just one more appearance to meet the 12-tournament criterion. However, an exciting domestic race may shape up for a second Canadian berth between Sarah Pavan & Molly McBain and Heather Bansley & Sophie Bukovec, although both teams are currently below the cut-off. The latter are in a better position to attack the Olympic quota. After their bronze in Guadalajara last week, they are up to 5,140 points, still 940 points behind Pavan & McBain, but with two “free” tournaments in hand before reaching the 12-tournament milestone.

A little further above Pavan & McBain are the last teams, who formally hold qualifying spots at the moment. With their fifth place in Guadalajara, Spain’s Liliana Fernаndez & Paula Soria got a hold of one of those provisional spots, taking it away from Pavan & McBain, and would qualify for Paris if the cut-off were today. But that spot will become intangible as soon as Melissa & Brandie play their 12th tournament. Since the latter are the last high-ranked team that have not met that requirement yet, the next lowest spot, currently held by Finland’s Taru Lahti-Liukkonen & Niina Ahtiainen, who also finished fifth in Guadalajara, seems safe for now.