Aspen’s Smith wins ‘Lode title on 7th try
Seven may be Kenny Smith’s lucky number. In his seventh year of competing in the MotherLode Volleyball Classic, Aspen’s Smith captured his first title with partner Hans Shilgalis of San Francisco in the Men’s BB grass division at Wagner Park. The duo was one of seven teams crowned as USA National Park Volley Champions and MotherLode champions on Monday. This marked the first year USA Volleyball sanctioned the MotherLode’s amateur grass divisions as the national championships.Smith and Shilgalis beat Cary Leppert of Westminster and Desi Vigil of Albuquerque 15-9 in the finals. “I thought about last year the entire year – it really haunted me every day,” Smith said. “I only play with Hans in this tournament, so it takes us awhile to play as a team. We may go to sand tournaments next year.”In the Men’s Open grass division, Matt Wilson of Mount Wolf, Pa., and Brady Shellenberger of York Haven, Pa., took home the title with a 15-7 win in the finals. They defeated Chris Powers and Daryl Garcia of Littleton. In the Men’s A division, Chris Eide of Denver and Ben Shamrokh of Minneapolis beat Louis Chip Smith of Boulder and Billy Pascua of Castle Rock 15-8. This was only the second MotherLode for Eide, who recorded a third-place finish last year.”The MotherLode is a great place to meet fellow volleyball players and have fun,” said Eide.Ron James and Derek Eriacho of Santa Fe, N.M., won the Men’s B division after climbing up the loser’s bracket. They beat Rob Phelps of Council Bluffs, Iowa, and Matt Longcor of Oakland, Ind.The Women’s A division was won by Laurie Johnson of Arlington, Va., and Janet Miller of Columbia, Md. They lost the first game of the finals 15-6 before winning the final six points of the second game to win 7-4. The second-place prize went to Leslie Delaney of Murrieta, Calif., and Gina Hazard of San Diego. The Women’s BB title went to Kim Marske of Urbandale, Ill., and Tari Luczak of Milwaukee 15-8. They finished second last year in the same division. Taking home the silver medal was Jodi Johanson of Tijeras, N.M., and Christy Rodgers of Albuquerque.Jazzy and Nicky Sapp, 14-year-old twins from Castle Rock, lost to Sheree Brock of Colorado Springs and Teresa Staples of Castle Rock in the Women’s B division finals. The Sapps won the first match 15-8, then lost the second 7-2. In the first game, the Sapp sisters overcame an 8-1 deficit and won 14 straight points. Jazzy finished fourth in the Coed A division earlier in the tournament.”The first match was tough, we took it one point at a time, but it was an amazing run,” Nicky said.”We plan to play A division next year,” added Jazzy.
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Had Hailey Swirbul decided against going to Europe, she would not have finished with a career-best result in Friday’s World Cup opener. Yes, there was a time, and not long ago, when the U.S. ski team member and Roaring Fork Valley native questioned her desire to put on a race bib.