Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Volleyball Classic is a nod to wellness

New event debuts this weekend in Sun Valley

Express Staff Writer

Metro photo The Sun Valley Volleyball Classic kicks off Friday, May 28.

The Sun Valley Volleyball Classic will debut Friday, May 28, through Monday, May 31, and will include a weekend of girls' tournament action, corporate challenges and in-the-sand pro player matches as well as a "yoga concert" featuring singer Tyia Wilson. Signups for the corporate challenge are still available until the start of the event on Saturday from 9-10 a.m. at the Sun Valley Lodge.

"It will be fun and supports the community," said Jeff Brendel, director of the PlayHard-GiveBack Foundation and organizer of the classic. "This is a grassroots effort to grow the sport of volleyball in Sun Valley."

The PlayHard-GiveBack Foundation is a nonprofit foundation that engages youth athletes in social, environmental and humanitarian causes. It uses volleyball as a vehicle for young athletes to give to the community.

Brendel said anyone can play in the co-ed, four-person corporate-challenge volleyball tournament. The challenge will take place on the Sun Valley Pavilion lawn with six grass courts with proper nets and standards. Entry fee is $140 and costumes and company uniforms are encouraged. A barbecue, beer, wine and live music by DJ Train will be included.

Though watching spikes, aces, side outs and power plays are a thrill, another exciting element to the weekend is the support of Vivo Girls Sports. Vivo Girls Sports is a new company still in its "beta" stage, but its commitment to wellness support for girls ages 14-26 is real.

"We address the whole girl—the physical, mental and spiritual—through the lens of athletics," said Vivo Girls Sports Health and Wellness Director Alesha Kientzler.

Kientzler will combine supporting the volleyball classic with an appearance at the Sun Valley Wellness Festival. She will give a presentation, "Training the Mind to Maximize Well-Being," on Saturday, May 29, from 2-3:15 p.m. at the Sun Valley Inn Limelight Room.

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"We have a dual purpose at the tournament, which is to have a presence within the tournament to help provide exposure to all the participants and support the event," Kientzler said. "Some young women might not understand what wellness means."

Kientzler understood wellness at a young age because her mother founded Canyon Ranch Health Resort, where Kientzler served as health and wellness educator for 11 years.

Kientzler said she hopes the girls attending the tournament will be inspired by Sun Valley's athletic lifestyle.

An open, beach-sand doubles tournament will take place Saturday and Sunday with pro player matches under the lights Saturday night on temporary sand courts, which will be between the Sun Valley Lodge terrace and the Sun Valley Outdoor Ice Rink. Cash and prizes will be given to the top three male and female teams and best male and best female player. Volleyball professional Priscilla Lima and beach volleyball legends Ron von Hagen and Sinjin Smith will be on site watching competition and giving pointers to competing participants.

A special attraction to the weekend will be a "yoga concert" on Friday, May 21, at 5 p.m. with singer Tyia Wilson. Six yoga instructors will lead the giant class in the Sun Valley Resort Rink, which will have mats for participants. Tickets are $20.

For details, call 720-4578, e-mail Ashley Dean at, visit or look for the Sun Valley Volleyball Classic on Facebook.

Sabina Dana Plasse:

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