Local leaper Pecori defends Putterhead title | SummitDaily.com

Local leaper Pecori defends Putterhead title

Devon O'Neil
Summit Daily/Brad Odekirk Silverthorne resident Carl Kline spiking a ball while playing with Keystone resident Drew Beckwith in the Mens A division. Kline and Beckwith drew fellow locals Eric Nicholds and Ed Marwitz in the first round.

BRECKENRIDGE – Nico Pecori is about the last person you would expect to dominate on a volleyball court: At around 5-foot-10 he is a minority in the tall man’s sport, and his physique doesn’t exactly scream Beach God.But boy can he leap.

Saturday Pecori used his otherworldly jumping ability to win his second straight Putterhead doubles tournament at Carter Park in Breckenridge, fighting through the Men’s A division loser’s bracket with teammate Chris Powers of Denver to defend the title they won last year.”It feels really good,” said Pecori, a Breck Ski School supervisor who has an incredible, 42-inch vertical leap and can grab the rim on a 10-foot basketball hoop from a standstill. “For the first part of the day we just couldn’t find that groove that we always have, but when we really needed it we found it and were able to pull through.”Up 9-6 in the final game to 11, against Front Rangers Matt Pisha and Sean Thorne, Pecori skied Rocky Mountain high to block a Pisha spike that made it 10-6. Then he ended it moments later on a nicely placed touch shot from two feet above the top of the net.With a host of Summit’s volleyball community cheering him on from the sidelines, Pecori smiled widely through his Fu Manchu beard and congratulated his opponents.

“It’s nice to get two,” he said.To beat Pisha and Thorne, Pecori and Powers had to get through a small but tough pool of players, which included two other Summit County teams. Self-proclaimed “short guys” Eric Nicholds and Ed Marwitz (both 5-foot-9) took fourth in Men’s A – the most local-heavy of the nine divisions – while Carl Kline and Drew Beckwith finished in a tie for fifth.Marwitz said he thought his team could’ve finished “a little better,” but wasn’t too unhappy with their performance – especially when he recalled a highlight-reel block on a spike by his friend Pecori earlier in the day.

“That was my personal favorite part,” he said, smiling.The Women’s A division also had a healthy dose of local talent, led by Breckenridge residents Alaina Briggs and Kamila Grigar, who won the BB division last year but moved up a level on Saturday. Briggs and Grigar finished in the top eight of Women’s A, missing out on a chance to go to the semis after losing a 13-6 lead in their final game (to 15).”I felt like we held our own, I was pretty satisfied with how we did,” said Briggs, a civil engineer who owns Briggs Water Resource Company in Summit.Seconds later, however, Grigar turned to her teammate Briggs and said, “I just can’t believe we didn’t win it. That’s gonna bug me.”

Summit Cove residents Becky McDill and Joan Moats also broke pool (advanced to the final, single-elimination round) in Women’s A.Sideouts: Ninety-nine teams – an alltime high – took part in Saturday’s Putterhead, which began around 9 a.m. and didn’t end until after dark. … The Men’s Open/AA division was the only one with a cash payout, and the only one to be held off of Carter Park’s grass. It took place in the park’s two sand courts, and had to be called off early due to darkness. The four teams still alive went home with $100 each. … Local musician Rob Wivchar entertained the field for much of the afternoon, playing a popular mix of music over the loudspeaker. … Competitors ranged in age from high school players to 56-year-old Chet Gaede, the former mayor of Leadville.Devon O’Neil can be contacted at (970) 668-3998, ext. 231, or at doneil@summitdaily.com.

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