By Ron Rop
Local Sports Journal

Charlie VanRees

Charlie VanRees got a taste of beach volleyball during his high school days at Western Michigan Christian High School.

He was a standout soccer player and a basketball player, but one of his classmates at WMC got him started in beach volleyball.

Now VanRees has his first beach volleyball championship after teaming up with Pete Goers to win the Midwest Professional Volleyball Association Muskegon Open on Saturday.

Goers and VanRees, both from Grand Haven, defeated Mike Mason and Steve Sokol 21-9, 21-9 in the tournament on the beach at Pere Marquette Park.

“That was a lot of fun,” said VanRees, an imposing player at the net who stands 6-foot-6. “There were some good teams. It was a lot of fun to get that first win under my belt. It was great to play with Pete and to learn from him.”

Goers, 39, and VanRees, 22, finished third in last weekend’s tournament in Grand Haven.

“I met Pete from volleyball and through Stevo (Vanderwerp),” VanRees said. “He always played with Stevo and I’d often go practice. Actually, I would watch and then I started practicing with them.

“Pete is a legend and to get a chance to play with him, it’s always a lot of fun,” VanRees said. “He’s a great player and makes it fun.”

The next tournament is Aug. 4 in Muskegon, but due to a conflict, Goers and VanRees will not be teammates.

“I’m trying to get to know guys from around the area that play,” VanRees said. “Stevo knows a lot of guys too who might be able to find me a partner.”

The team of Kellie DeMeritt and Vicki Vega beat Kim Hildreth and Rachel Iaquaniello 21-14, 21-16 in the finals to win the women’s tournament, which included 10 teams.