Doubles tourney draws talented players
Some of the top doubles sand volleyball teams in the Mountain West area flocked to Park City on Monday for a full day of action.
The 34th annual July 4 tournament drew both former and current college players to City Park for the men’s and women’s open division contests.
The women’s tournament featured plenty of exciting play, with Angela Peterson and Traci Walsh eventually making their way back from the losers’ bracket to defeat a team that included former Park City High School standout Sammee Thomas (who now plays for Long Beach State University).
Peterson and Walsh, both mothers of four children, were thrilled to be able to earn a tournament victory.
“That was a good win for us,” Peterson said. “Plus, they’re like 10 years younger than us. [Thomas] is a fantastic player. Sometimes it just takes a minute to get used to how a team plays. If you can figure them out, hopefully you can win.”
The final match wasn’t easy for Peterson and Walsh. After losing the first game, the duo had to fight to win the second game and hold off their opponents’ comeback attempt in the third.
“We were doing well in the third game, but then they came back with some awesome serves,” Peterson said. “But we prevailed, finally.”
Walsh, who lives in Idaho, said the whole day was full of tight matches.
“We played some really awesome teams,” she said. “To play them and win, it was so much fun. I love playing with Ang — it’s the best time ever, win or lose. When we pull out wins like that, it’s so fun.”
Peterson played collegiately at New Mexico State after her high school career at Provo High School ended. She said she enjoys getting back in the sand to play whenever she can.
“I’m a mother of four,” she said. “This is my relief, my getaway. I don’t feel like a mom when I’m playing. I feel like an athlete, a competitor. To win a tournament like this, it means I’ve still got it.”
They are among the best doubles teams in the state, and Walsh said she and Peterson are successful because they have so much fun playing.
“We love it,” she said. “It’s something that is fun for us. Even though we’re competitive about it, it’s not our life. We have really supportive husbands. Because we enjoy it, we play some during the week, but it’s not like every day we go train. We do it for the joy of it and I think that’s just enough.”
Coming to Park City to play is an added bonus, Walsh said.
“I don’t know that there’s anything more fun than beach volleyball in Park City,” she said. “It’s so beautiful up here. It cooled off for us in the finals, too, and that helped.”
For Peterson, the scenery and the crowd make the Park City tournament a special event.
“For one, we’re in the center of the mountains,” she said. “There’s no better place to play than in the middle of the mountains. I love that about it and I love that it’s the Fourth of July and there are people walking through. It makes it a fun atmosphere to play in.”
Walsh and Peterson expect to be back in Park City next July 4 to defend their title. Walsh said they’ll do everything they can to come back and play again.
“We always plan on it,” she said. “We’ll be here, barring any complications.”
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Chase Campbell, a Park City High School sophomore, has a busy summer schedule, including the USA Cycling Mountain Bike National Championships on July 22-23.