Harding Brumby wrote this preview.
This weekend’s Atlanta Tour Stop marks the kickoff of the Spikeball Roundnet Association’s Southeast Tour. To date, most players from the area haven’t yet competed in a tour stop in 2019. Thus, it’s a great time to take a look at the past performance and future prospects of some notable players and teams from the region.
With the exception of Easily Dug (Andrew Card and Travis Core) winning College Nationals, the 2018 season was fairly unimpressive for Southeast teams. In fact, no true in-region team made the podium at any of the season’s 18 tour stops. Only Zach Webb (Huntington Beach), Logan Cornelius (Madison and Dallas), and Harding Brumby (SummerSpike) were able to score a top 3 finish.
At Southeast Regionals, out-of-area players again figured significantly as the newly reunited Chubby Bunny (Brumby and Troy Mauk), following a near-elimination by Sonic Boom (Ben Bunze and Connor Harte), took down Tetelestai (Cornelius and Jesse Throw) and twice avenged a main draw defeat to Easily Dug to win. Since ED did not make the trip to Nationals, Chubby Bunny and Tetelestai, who finished third at Regionals, claimed the two automatic Pro Division bids. Cho’s Bros (Micah Corbett and Caleb Royse), whose 2018 featured more quantity than quality of play, accrued enough points to get into the division as well. In Santa Monica, Chubby Bunny managed a top 8 finish while the other two squads battled hard but couldn’t earn a bracket play win.
One positive note is that the region was home to some strong college programs. Easily Dug helped their school, University of Tennessee-Chattanooga, to the club title at College Nationals. The 2nd and 3rd place clubs were also from southeastern schools, Asbury and the University of Georgia. Such a youth movement served as a potential harbinger of bigger successes for players who had honed their skills as part of an organized school club.
So far this year, the new-ish team Trippy Lizard (Card and Clark Marshall) has impressed, winning both tournaments they entered. Card’s new cut serve and Marshall’s powerful hitting are big positives for the squad; both players have nice results with other partners as well. Hanging close behind them is another first-year combo, Power Sweep (Corbett and Addison Powers), who have 1st and 2nd place finishes on the year already. Powers just finished as runner-up in the College National individual bracket and helped UGA to the team championship. He and Corbett have both shown improved serves and intelligent shot selection.
Clark Marshall and Andrew Card of Trippy Lizard.
The aforementioned Sonic Boom is a young but battle-hardened team which could see a breakthrough if they are able to attend some sanctioned events this year. Also hailing from the Tar Heel State and having years of high-level experience is Bullcity Spikes (Anthony Daming and Juan Ruiz), whose participation level has likewise been a question mark in the past season or two. Chattanooga’s Backpack Boys (Coleman Epperson and Peyton Sparks) reached the quarterfinals at College Nationals and are looking to score some big wins despite their relative newness to the Premier Division.
Texas veteran Cornelius is picking up a home-state partner, Brian Childs, to form Elysium. The pair already won a Texas tour event and both boast more than five years on the circuit. Texas A&M’s top baller Frederic Hinkle is teaming up with the East’s George Rizk to form ArcAngel, a pair certainly capable of results greater than each of their stature. Hinkle’s fellow Aggies, Grant Laughlin and David Louis, will seek to parlay their eye-opening College Nationals play (t-5th individual, 2nd in club) into further success on the SRA tour.
The region’s top-ranked player, Core, will form the explosive new duo Flexual Healing with Wabi Sabi alum Jarratt Rouse; they debuted at #4 in the first SRA power rankings of the year. 2018 regional champ Brumby has tentative plans with up-and-comer Brendan Ferreira, but the two will be ineligible to play a sanctioned event together until Ferreira earns Premier status. Several other talented, and in some cases Premier-qualified, players (David Gonzales, Gustavo Gonzales, Grayson Ayres, Tripp Pierson, Addam Setzer, Chandler Murphy, etc) have unknown or unannounced plans for the season. There are also rumors of Death Eaters’ Zac Vance moving into the region shortly.
Top Southeast baller (and writer) Harding Brumby winds up for a backhand at 2018 Coed Nationals.
On the whole, the Southeast will enter the meat of the 2019 SRA Tour with justifiably low expectations considering the recent dominance of Cisek/Showalter and other teams from the East, Midwest and West in the last couple of seasons. That said, many area players will be looking to prove the doubters wrong and up the level of respect granted to their home region in 2019.
The Rally’s Picks
- Half-SE: Flexual Healing (Core/Rouse)
- Full-SE: Trippy Lizard (Card/Marshall)
- Travis Core, Flexual Healing
- Sonic Boom (Bunze/Harte)
- Addison Powers, Power Sweep
- Trippy Lizard
- Bullcity Spikes (Daming/Ruiz)
- Trippy Lizard vs. Sonic Boom
- Charleston (bonus) Tour Stop, July 13