The sun was shining, the waves were crashing and several Palisadians were spiking their way to medals last weekend in the Amateur Athletic Union Junior Volleyball National Championships at the Hermosa Beach Pier.
In the U14 boys division, local resident teamed with Woody Cook of West Los Angeles to capture the gold medal with a 28-24 win over the Manhattan Beach duo of Casey McGarry and Roy McFarland in the final.
Back in May, Douglas teamed with fellow Palisadian to reach the championship match in the same division at the AAU Southern Pacific Beach Volleyball Championships, also in Hermosa Beach.
Douglas was the setter and right side hitter on the 7th- and 8th-grade boys volleyball team that lost a thrilling three-setter to neighborhood rival in the Delphic League finals in the spring.
In the U16 boys division, Will Bantle's older brother and partner Matt Butler of Huntington Beach lost in Sunday's final, 28-18, to the Palos Verdes High pair of Cole Fiers and Brendan Hong.
Bantle and Butler had beaten the Palos Verdes duo in pool play Saturday but fell behind by nine points early in the rematch and couldn't catch up.
Having earned his “A” rating on the sand, Bantle excels in all aspects of the beach game--setting, blocking, spiking, passing and digging. Indoors, he plays outside hitter and will begin his junior year at perennial power Loyola High in the fall.
Jackson and Will's older sister graduated from in the spring after leading the Sailors to the CIF Southern Section Division I-A volleyball championship in November. She will be playing at Brown University in the fall.
Will, who just finished sixth grade at , did some winning of his own last weekend. He plays for Pacific Palisades' team that beat East Long Beach 10-4 to win the Pony Baseball Section 1 title Monday.
All three Bantles qualified for the 2011 USA Volleyball Junior National Championships in their respective age divisions--Taylor for Palisadian 's Sunshine Volleyball Club, Jackson for the Southern California Volleyball Club's Boys 16 Quiksilver team and Will with the Pacific Palisades Volleyball Club's 14-1's team.
In the U12 boys age group, Palisadian and his partner Jameson McKibbin of Honolulu, Hawaii, left with silver medals after losing 28-23 to Jake Choulijian and Shea Suzumoto, also of Honolulu, in the final.
Bagnard attends St. Matthew's and his older brother was a prep standout at and the starting outside hitter for PPVBC's team that medaled at the United States Junior Olympic Championships five years in a row from 2005-09.
Palisadian , who was teammates with Taylor Bantle on Marymount's CIF-winning team last fall, paired with Franny Hock of Manhattan Beach to claim the bronze medal in the U18 girls division.
As a sixth- and seventh-grader at Corpus Christi, Irvin won back-to-back USA Volleyball Junior Olympic Beach Championships with former Palisadian Skylar Dykstra. Irvin also plays for Sunshine Volleyball Club.
Irvin's older sister also excelled on the sand, being named AAU Beach Player of the Year in 2005 and representing the United State at the 2006 Swatch FIVB U19 Beach World Championships in Bermuda. Indoors, she was a standout at Marymount, played club for Gene's Team and played collegiately at Virginia and USC.
Brother , entering his sophomore year at Stanford, was the CIF Southern Section Division I Player of the Year his senior year at Loyola and led his Manhattan Beach Surf 18's to Junior Olympic national championships in 2009 and 2010.
Click here for complete results from last weekend's AAU Junior Volleyball National Championships.