Top 20 Men (2013)

1. Kyle Smith

Kyle, nicknamed "Sponylo" when he broke a part of his spine playing basketball his senior year in high school, thus ending his all-state career. After rehab and searching for a lower impact sport, Kyle was inspired to play in the sand after watching a pro-AVP tourney in Phoenix AZ. Kyle continues to grow as a solid Men's Open contender and contributes his success to a commitment to religiously stretching and practicing the fundamentals of the game.

Kyle is the proud new father of Odin David Smith and is married to Tamarah Howard Smith. Kyle graduated from the University of Utah with a degree in Anthropology and International Studies—Latin America. His favorite Beach volleyball players are Ty Tramblie, Jason Ring, and Jake Spencer. Kyle says his goals are to "beat Joe Hillman in the closer, raise my child and love my wife."

2. Bobby Webb

6' 0"

Bobby is what some people call a "Natural" having no formal coaching and limited consistent training. Like many of us, Bobby found a passion and skill for the game and is now a legitimate Men’s Open Division contender with a win at the Wasatch Beach 2012 Season Opener and with a 10th overall ranking for 2010 and a 7th for 2011.

The other important things in life include getting outdoor’s for camping & fishing with family and friends.

3. Joe Nelson

6' 4" | 180 lbs

Joe "half" Nelson grew up playing volleyball in the backyard with his older brother Mike. He played at the University of Utah for three years and has coached indoor throughout college. With the University of Utah men's club team, Joe started as a freshman and helped the team to take 3rd in the National Championships. Joe was awarded 2nd team All-American award in 2007. Joe has since turned his focus toward outdoor volleyball in the sand. In 2011 he and Carl Tams qualified to go to the National Collegiate Sand Volleyball National Championships. There, he and Carl took 4th place in the nation.

Joe was married to Carlie in August of 2011. He currently lives in Salt Lake City, UT.

4. Brett Buker

Nick named "The Whip" for his terminating arm speed, Brett and his longtime doubles partner Neil Birrell have consistently placed in the top 5 Men's Open rankings 4 consecutive seasons at Wasatch Beach.

5. Neil Birrell

Known for epic, come from behind grind it out, gorilla warfare dig a little deeper style wins—often forcing opponents to make that extra shot—Neil and longtime partner Brett Buker have earned top 5 ranking 4 consecutive seasons at Wasatch Beach.

6. Jared Ellsworth

6' 1" | 180 lbs.

Born in Oceanside, CA and raised in Hawaii "Jumping" Jared at 6' 1" 180 lb can often be seen above the net during play at the beach. Jared started playing indoor in high school in 1997 and only started playing competitive sand in 2012—pretty good start indeed with a 1st place finish in league session 2 and 3 top 5 spots in 2012 tourney play.

7. Trae Sadler

8. Casey Adams

6' 5" | 210 lbs.

Casey Adams grew up on the South Jersey Shore but never considered playing volleyball as a competitive sport until after finishing his undergraduate education. Casey has been competitive locally over the course of the last four years, playing with his regular partner Jared Starling. He has traveled to a number of regional events including the 2008 MotherLode in Aspen, Colorado where Casey teamed with fellow Utah native, and local all-star, Mike Nelson to turn in a 9th place finish in a very deep field.

Casey is a big advocate of the Manhattan Beach 6-Man tournament where team "801" (composed of players connected to Utah) took third in 2008. Coming late to the game required education from talented people. Casey's mentors include: Jared Starling, Mac Wilson, Michael Burke, Mike Daniel, Casey Patterson, Cori Kamana'o, Jeremiah Larsen, Matt Heyes, Don McClaugherty, and his wife Angela.

9. Troy Ketterling

Aka "T. Trouble" Troy has quickly moved up in the men's open ranks with one of the biggest blocks and body tatoos on the beach. Off season Troy can be found in the Wasatch back country skiing chest deep in champagne powder.

10. Derran Cannon

6' 2" | 190 lbs.

Derran Cannon grew up in Salt Lake City. While he excelled at every sport he played, his passion for volleyball prevailed. Derran played volleyball through his high school and college years and then played one Pro season in Europe. He has been decorated with many honors, including All Conference, All Region, and MVP designations. Derran can now be seen in the summer playing volleyball in his tennis shoes.

11. Klayson Barlow

Klayson is a recent transplant from Arizona where at age 15 he started his indoor club volleyball career. Playing outside hitter, Klayson helped his team win regional and state titles. Klayson started playing division A sand ball in 2011 and is quickly becoming a top 20 Men's Open contender.

12. Jake Spencer

Jake has quickly climbed the ladder in the Men's Open division with 3 wins with 2 different partners and numerous top 5 finishes throughout the season. Jake has received high praise from his piers with comparisons to a young version of local beach legend Jake Gibb and the unofficial "Rookie of the Year" for 2012.

13. Jordan Thompson

14. Dave Merrill

5' 11" | 180 lbs.

Dave started playing volleyball when he was 19 at what was then UVSC. Once he started playing he never stopped. Although he started playing indoor volleyball, he found that his true passion was the outdoor game. At 5'11'' Dave is one of the shortest Open players in Utah. Dave has played with a number of partners through the years, but has competed mostly with Chase Andrews. The two have won many Open tournaments during the 10 years they have been playing together, and have finished in the top 10 points winners every year during their partnership. Dave is the father of 4 beautiful daughters, who are expected to join their Dad as part of Utah's volleyball elite.

15. Ryan Beckstrom

6' 5"

Ryan played indoor club volleyball at Utah State. Since making the transition to beach, he has battled with Utah's best Open players for a top 10 rank in 2010 and top 20 ranking in 2011. He enjoys spending time with his wife and son.

16. Jon Weaver

17. Mike Nelson

Mike Nelson, a Salt Lake City native, grew up playing and coaching indoor volleyball. Mike's passion for volleyball shifted to the outdoor scene after college. Since then, he has been increasingly competitive, winning three events in 2008 and ranking as one of the top Open players in Utah. Mike has also traveled to a number of regional events, including the 2008 MotherLode in Aspen, Colorado where he teamed with fellow Utah native - and blocking machine - Casey Adams to turn in a 9th place finish in a very deep field.

Mike is married to Shelby and father of Tanner. He works professionally in Salt Lake City as a commercial real estate appraiser and agent.

18. Andrew Richards

Formally known in the volleyball world as "Wheaties" Andrew is a born and bred volleyball player from birth and has focused most of his attention and expertise on indoor where his family has started numerous youth club volleyball and development programs in Utah. Born and raised in Utah county he played in high school, club, and college. Andrew started all five years as an outside hitter for UVU Club team racking up numerous conference championships and five top ten finishes at nationals. Individually Andrew has been awarded with a number of all-tournament team selections from 2006 – 2011, including Mountain West Conference MVP in 2011.

Wheaties has sheer passion for this sport and spends most of his time currently as UVU Men’s head coach, but he still finds his passion for competing in the sand. "It has taken me way too long to get out here on the sand where the best competition is." Utah is a Mecca for open division volleyball players. Andrew is slowly climbing the ranks at Wasatch Beach and hopes to finish as a top five contender this upcoming season.

Andrew is currently employed and working at Aces Athletics in Utah County where he will be heading up the junior and adult sand volleyball programs for the facility located in Lehi for the 2014 summer season.

19. Bryan Stewart

Bryan grew up learning the beach game with other great local players at Johnny Utah's back yard court. Bryan played one year at UVSC then three years at BYU and finished his club senior year with local legend Mike Nelson.

Bryan then moved to Surf City, CA at age 26 to pursue his dream of playing at a pro level on the AVP tour. Bryan and partner Daniel Dalanhese placed a career high 9th place in the 2010 Huntington Beach AVP Championship. Bryan recently moved back to Utah to finish school and raise a family.

20. Brad Collins


Previous top players

Chase Andrews

6' 2"

Chase Andrews is from Tampa, Florida where a childhood friend got him to start playing 2-man beach volleyball in the 10th grade. After playing high school basketball—where he was selected to play on a Florida High School All-star team which played in an international tournament in Ireland - Chase decided to shift his focus to beach volleyball. After returning from a 2 year LDS church mission in Venezuela, Chase began playing open beach tournaments throughout Utah. His first two open wins came at the end of his first outdoor season in 1996 with partners Dave Merrill and Mike Vernon. Since then, Chase has won numerous open tournaments while playing with several different partners; however, the majority of his wins have come while playing with Dave Merrill, his primary partner for more than 13 years. The biggest win of his career came in 1998 at the First Night Tournament at the Salt Palace where he and Dave Merrill defeated Troy Tanner and Dennis Roberts to take first place. Chase has been ranked among the top open players in the state of Utah during each of the last 13 years.

Chase is a graduate of Brigham Young University where he majored in business and Spanish. He is a general contractor and lives in Provo, Utah with his wife, Kelly and four daughters: Ashlyn, Taryn, Allie and Brynlee.

Tim Andreoli

Tim grew up in southern California where he learned indoor volleyball on his Upland High school team. Starting his senior year Tim led his team to the semi-finals of the CIF D1 championship, also being selected 2-team all CIF state player and co-MVP with the now retired AVP pro Jeff Carlucci. Tim discovered his passion for sand volleyball at Huntington Beach during summer breaks. Tim moved to Utah to study at BYU then took a foolish 10 year hiatus from any consistent play, thinking perhaps his beach volleyball dreams were over. Fortunately Tim discovered Wasatch Beach in 2009 and is back playing full time beach or grass (beach preferred). Tim won multiple A division events prior to moving up in 2012 to play in the Open division with a personal best 5th placing. Tim says his future volleyball goals are "Win an Open tournament, knowing that will to take a lot of practice, weight loss, and a tourney date where all the great players are out of town." LOL

Jesse Beckstrom

Mike Burke

6' 8" | 230 lbs.

An all-region and all-state selection at Skyline High School...played two years for the Twin Peaks club team under Clint Barnes...attended Grossmont College as a freshman...named rookie of the year.

A three-year starter as a member of the 2004 NCAA National Championship BYU team and the 2003 runners-up...a second-team All-American in 2005...hit a team-high .468 in 2003, .506 in 2004 and .460 in 2005...is BYU's all-time leader in career hitting percentage at .470...received All-MPSF Honorable Mention honors and was an MPSF Academic All-Conference selection in 2003, his first year playing NCAA Division I volleyball...named to the All-MPSF Third Team in 2004...selected to the All-MPSF Second Team in 2005...finished his three-year career fifth in block assists (346) and total blocks (388) and third in block solos (42)...owns three of the top-five season hitting percentages for BYU during the rally scoring era...played in 80 matches over his career.

Mike Daniel

Aaron Derose

Aaron DeRose, aka "Rosey" is originally from Salt Lake City and played outside hitter for Utah State University in Logan. Rosey spent the prime of his beach volleyball years playing in Huntington Beach, CA. where Aaron lays claim to the original inspiration behind beach volleyball legend Sean Rosenthal's taking of the Rosey nickname (fact check it on Wikipedia). Aaron can often be found hosting games and barbeques at his home court or you might find him mountain biking, wakeboarding, or riding motorcycles with his son Ashton.

Brad Goldston

6' 4"

Brad began his volleyball career in California, where his Esperanza High School team won the state championship and his club team, Balboa Bay, placed second in the Junior Olympics. He continued his indoor career at BYU as an outside hitter/libero. He was a key member of the 1999 National Championship team; Brad still holds BYU records in single match, single season and career digs.

Brad's athletic prowess extends to soccer. At age 11, he led the Yorba Linda Drillers to a 30-2 record. Read more about his soccer success here.

Brad has 3 children and currently lives in Utah County. Brad and (the famous) Adam White placed 5th at the Wasatch Beach 2009 Season Opener and Brad earned the 5th spot at the 2009 King of Wasatch Beach.

Justin Henderson

Justin is a defensive ninja and one of the scrappiest players on the beach. Justin began playing at the age of 16 with his father and friends. When not on the beach, he spends time with his wife and 4 children and running "Innovative Motors", his company located in Utah county.

Matt Heyes

6' 5" | 200 lbs.

After a phenomenal year in 2006, when Matt and partner took first in every open tourney from the 4th of July on, Matt took 2007 off. During the summer of 2008, Matt returned to form with wins at Setting with the Sun and Summer Fest, 2nd at Utah Summer Games and 2rd place finishes at SLC Gets Fit and the Park City Arts Festival tourneys. As a result, Matt has been ranked in the top 5 two of the last 3 years. Matt has coached a number of high school girls teams and the Summit Volleyball Club 16's.

Matt developed as a high school player by playing on the Players Club for 3 years. He earned MVP and All-region designations there. His college experience includes 2 years on the UVSC Men's Club Team and 4 years on the BYU Men's Volleyball Team.

Joe Hillman

6' 7"

Joe's extensive background in volleyball includes time spent at both Utah Valley State College and Brigham Young University. As a two-time NCAA All-American at UVSC, Joe led the Wolverines to three top-three finishes from 1999-2002 and a NIRSA National Championship in 2001, where he was named tournament MVP. Upon retiring his Wolverine uniform, Joe moved on to BYU for two years and was a key player on the National Championship team of 2004. As a Cougar, he was awarded 2nd team All-American status and MPSF All-Tournament recognition. Joe is a native of Las Vegas, Nevada. Joe's 2008 accomplishments included 2nd place at Steamboat Springs and 1st place in all 4 tournaments that he played in Utah.

Joe Peck

Fernando Pessoa

6' 4" | 180 lbs.

Fernando (Nando) was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and started playing volleyball after Brazil won the 1992 Olympics. He played for Fluminese state championship team in 2000 and led team to two state titles with the Tijuca Tenis Club (1995-'97). A three-time state beach volleyball champion (1996, '97, '98). Was selected six different times to the Rio de Janeiro team. While playing for Rio de Janeiro, he won the Brazilian Championships in 1998 and finished second in Brazilian Championships in 97, '99, '00. He was alos selected to the Brazil National Youth Team in 1998. Named best passer and best outside hitter in state championship (2000).

Pessoa was a very versatile player for the Cougars, starting three years at libero and then his senior year as an outside hitter. He started for both the 2001 and 2004 national championship teams. He played in 376 games during his career, more than any other Cougar in team history, and was second all-time for the Cougars with 629 career digs. As an outside hitter in 2004, Nando received AVCA First-Team All-America honors and named to the NCAA and MPSF All-Tournament teams. As a libero, Pessoa received All-MPSF honors in 2001 and 2003 and led the team in kills as a senior.

Justin Nickels

6' 1" | 190 lbs.

Hitting the beach at 6'1" and a svelte 190 lbs, Justin can be seen and heard frequently mixing it up at the beach. Nickels started playing in his sophomore year of high school in 2000 and also played in at SLCC. He has consistently moved up in the rankings the past 3 seasons at the beach and has had some solid showings in St. Geezy and Aspen recently. Justin is a nursing major and loves riding his bullet bike, spending time with family and friends, and hiking with his dog.

John Niederhouser

A.K.A Johnny Utah, began playing volleyball in Utah at age 16. Early on Johnny could be found competing for court time and girls at the infamous Santa Fe Apartments beach scene with many other local legends like Eric (Sally) Moore, Jumping Joe Famasino, Greg (Farrah) Richardson, Paul (Dillon) King, Gordon (Gordo) Spalding , and Steve (Ron Jon) Kimball. At 18 Johnny made his open beach volleyball debut that in Honolulu on Queens Beach with his little brother. Johnny bounced his first palm tree that day and was hooked for life regardless of the one two barbeque finish. Johnny also played club volleyball at UVU, SLCC, U of U, and most notably on the legendary Mixed Nuts team.

Little know facts in Johnny Utah's words: Johnny and Justin Henderson currently hold the record in Utah Open history for finishing third and lost to Jake Gibb and Luke in the SLC Classic finals giving Jake his first men's open win. Spanning 20 years of doubles partners and wins with Justin Henderson, Joe Nugent, Casey Patterson and Jake Gibb. Johnny usually hits the sand with JH "I love this guy even when he is dropping bombs on the court. He digs like a madman and dishes up butter sets so it makes up for the noxious gases...I also love this game that has brought me so many great friends and good times. hopefully I have another 20 years of competitive volleyball left in me."

Jared Starling

Jared has been a top-level volleyball player for most of his life. In 1994, he participated on the Nike Junior Olympic team. He played collegiate volleyball at Orange Coast College, where he earned Second Team All-Conference and led the team in kills. Jared received his California AAA as both a grass and beach player. He returned to Utah in 2000 and began a long and fruitful partnership with Cori Kamana'o. Cori and Jared placed in the top 4 in every tournament from 2001 until 2004. Since then, Jared has teamed with the dynamic athleticism, cat-like reflexes and amazing prowess of Casey Adams to create one of the most consistently successful teams of the past 5 years.

Jared's most notable sand victories occurred when he and Cori Kamana'o came through the loser's bracket to beat current AVP Pro Casey Patterson and Mike Daniel, then beat Jake Gibb (U. S. Olympian) and Jumpin' Joe Samuelu in the final. As a result of this debilitating loss, Jake began a sponsorship of Jared which continues to this day.

Jared is the father of two beautiful girls. His wife, Renee, a top volleyball player in her own right, can also be seen playing volleyball at Wasatch Beach. (Editor's note - thanks to the dynamic, cat-like and amazing Casey Adams for this bio!)

Carl Tams

Carl grew up in Layton and didn't start playing volleyball until after high school when he and friends started playing in UOVA tourneys. He played on the University of Utah Club Team for four years and is still a student at the U - working on a PhD in Biomedical Engineering which he hopes to complete in 2011.

Carl met his wife (Brook) while playing volleyball so she shares his desire to get out and play on beautiful days. The Tams have a son, Daxton, and another child is due in September.

Carl admits to being addicted to volleyball, both indoor and outdoor, which serves him well as the Wasatch Beach Men's Player Rep and Coach. Carl is available for outdoor coaching and cites his particular strengths in serving, passing and shots.


Thanks to all of these players for providing their bios and images.