Getting to Gold

Dain Blanton Returned to the Sand to Compete in the AVP Hermosa Beach Open July 17-18

Written by J.T. Blasaki

Dain got back out on the sand in Hermosa on July 17 to compete for the first time on the AVP Pro Beach Volleyball Tour since 2008. He teamed with young 25 year old 6’7” up and comer Stafford Slick.  Due to the lack of points from inactivity they were seeded 28th and had to face the #5 team on the AVP Tour, Aaron Wachtfogel / Billy Strickland in the first round which they lost 13-21, 17-21. In the first round of the contenders bracket Blanton/Slick rebounded and defeated Mike Morrison / Eyal Zimet (12th seed) 21-19, 16-21, 15-11. The next round Blanton/Slick were defeated by Paul Baxter / Austin Rester (11th seed) and finished 17th on the weekend. Dain said that he had hoped to win a few more matches but was happy with his play and the play of his partner Stafford Slick. “It was great to be back on the court and to play with a young fiery guy like Slick made it all the better. Slick really has a lot of potential and a bright future in the beach volleyball if he commits to it. No question he has the tools to be a top AVP player” said Blanton on Saturday afternoon. Dain left the door open, saying he may play again this season. Since Dain never officially retired, he said “I may make it official at the end of the summer, which would mark the 10th anniversary since winning Gold in Sydney, but it is really great to be back on the court right now”. Blanton says he will take it one tournament at a time and that broadcasting is now his full time gig.