Randy Angel

Olympians, defending champs head field at Manhattan Beach Open this weekend

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Redondo Beach resident Sean Scott hoists the winner’s plaque after the 2011 Jose Cuervo Manhattan Beach Open. Scott and partner John Hyden, along with women’s winners Jenny Kropp (Holly Glen) and Whitney Pavlik will have their plaques unveiled on the Manhattan Beach Pier at 2 p.m. Friday. Photo by Ray Vidal

The illustrious Manhattan Beach Open, presented by Jose Cuervo Pro Beach Volleyball Series, kicks off Friday with a strong field of local athletes, former champions and 2012 Olympians.

Qualifying rounds begin Friday at 9 a.m. and run until 6 p.m. At 2 p.m., a ceremony will be held on the Manhattan Beach Pier to unveil the plaques from the 2011 winnings teams – Sean Scott (Redondo Beach)/John Hyden and Jenny Kropp (Holly Glen)/Whitney Pavlik.

Main Draw action will be held Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. On Sunday, Main Draw competition continues with the semifinals slated for approximately 11:30 a.m.

The finals will be filmed for television broadcasts on NBC Sports Network with the women’s championship scheduled for 2:15 p.m. followed by the men’s title match at 4 p.m.

Players will vie for a piece of the $100,000 prize purse and a chance to have their names permanently enshrined on the Manhattan Beach Pier’s “Volleyball Walk of Fame.”

Olympians Sean Rosenthal (Hermosa Beach) and Jake Gibb will be favorites as they seek another plaque on the pier. The duo captured the Manhattan Beach Open in 2009. Gibb won his first with Stein Metzger in 2005.

With a fourth-place finish in the Mazury Orlen Grand Slam in Stare Jablonki, Poland, last weekend, Rosenthal and Gibb enjoyed their best international season of their careers by winning the 2012 FIVB SWATCH World Tour point championship.