Winter Bump to bring in high numbers in 6th year

For The Sun NewsJanuary 15, 2014 

  • If you go

    •  What | Winter Bump club volleyball tournament

    •  When| Saturday-Monday

    •  Where | Myrtle Beach Convention Center, Pepper Geddings, Crabtree

    •  Tickets | $7 per day or $15 for the tournament

    •  About | Approximately 150 teams from South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland and Michigan will be participating in several age groups. The championship events for most age groups will take place on Monday.

    •  On the web | Team schedules, past results and ticket information is available at MyrtleBeachWinterBump.com.

What started as an event that few noticed was taking place is starting to become a major staple of the offseason sports scene.

The sixth annual Winter Bump club volleyball tournament will be taking place Saturday through Monday, with approximately 150 teams en route to Myrtle Beach in the next two days. Games will be taking place at multiple venues locally, including the Myrtle Beach Convention Center. Add in another 96 teams playing in the event heading to Charleston, and tournament director and Grand Strand Juniors Club Director Alex Sing’s baby has grown significantly since its 2008 inaugural campaign.

“It really didn’t take hold until the following year. We went from 35 teams to 144 teams,” Sing said. “Club volleyball in general has been growing. It’s been an upward trending sport. New players are catching on.

“I’m sure at some point the growth will slow down. But every tournament we go to is sold out and teams are fighting to get it. The number of tournaments has continued to grow, but we’re still filling up ours.”

The hotel capacity and playing venues for both Myrtle Beach and Charleston, Sing added, could eventually increase the tournament by another 100- to 150 teams. Considering each team brings in 10 players and two coaches, as well as an estimated two-and-a-half spectators per player, and the growth will surely be felt area-wide once again.

The tournament has joined forces with several restaurants and hotels, injecting more tourism into the area during a relatively slow time of year.

For Sing, that economic impact is a direct response to the level of play at the Winter Bump. Some of the top club teams from five different states will be in Myrtle Beach.

The Grand Strand Juniors, which has been a major cog in the development of several high school teams, will obviously be well represented, as well. For instance, seven of the eight players named to The Sun News Toast of the Coast Volleyball team (to be released later this month) will be playing this weekend. Four of those players will be on the same team in the 18-Open division.

“We’re getting a better quality team,” Sing said. “We have more and more college coaches coming to the event. There are some other long-standing tournaments that other people were used to going to. Now they’re starting to turn and come our way.”

The Winter Bump now claims to be the largest club tournament in the state. It’s paid off for the area, but it’s also helped local players.

Recent state champions North Myrtle Beach High and Christian Academy of Myrtle Beach (the latter of which Sing coaches) have each had numerous players in the tournament over the last two years.

“It’s done wonders for our club, and the exposure to our athletes,” Sing said. “People are investing in the ability to hopefully play in college or increase the competitiveness in high school.”

Contact IAN GUERIN at ian@ianguerin.com.

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