September 20, 2013 by Keith Raynor in Preview with 8 comments
The Northwest is one of the strongest regions in Ultimate, at virtually every level…except perhaps in the Club Mixed Division. Last year’s champion, Missoula Mental Toss Flycoons, won just a single game at the Club Championships, finishing last at the tournament. They enter this year’s Regionals as the 3rd seed.
At the top, Seattle The DOH Abides is 15th ranked in the Ultiworld Power Rankings, just one spot ahead of Portland Engine 45, the #2 seed. With only a single bid up for grabs in Burlington, WA, it is tough to say which team will emerge from a relatively deep field.
The favorites, by a small margin, are the Seattlites. They earned that spot through a very strong weekend at the Emerald City Classic and an undefeated record in the region. That spotless Northwest performance includes a 15-14 win in the final of Kleinman Open over Engine 45. With two wins over DC Ambiguous Grey and one over Asheville Cahoots at ECC, The DOH Abides has the highest ceiling of any team in the field.
Engine 45, as their one point loss to the #1 seed indicates, are not far behind. They also have a win over Cahoots, along with a 15-7 thumping of Mental Toss Flycoons. One of the challenges they’ll face is a tough Pool B with some landmine trap games. Both Skysharks and Giraffeapus offer tough challenges capable of an upset. The bye in the quarterfinals is a vital step in creating the optimal situation to win the Northwest.
For the reigning Northwest champs, Flycoons, they don’t mind being an underdog. Their run to the final last year began with them seeded 5th. While certainly their performance won them the weekend, it is worth noting that their path to the final was assisted by Golden Spike upsetting Engine 45 11-10 in the quarterfinals. Flycoons would smash a tired Golden Spike team (who had played through the prequarters round) 15-4, and would continue on to roll Great Northern Ultimate 13-5 in the final.
This year’s Flyccon squad has been inconsistent at best. Philly Invite wins over Boston Wild Card, New York 7 Figures, and American BBQ look great. ECC, however, delivered them 6-point losses to Cahoots and Wild Card, and the aforementioned blowout loss to Engine 45. Having been excused from Sectionals, we have even less idea of which version of Missoula will roll into Burlington.
In 2013’s Regional Championship, only two of the top four seeds made it to the semifinal, so keep an eye out for upsets. Stache comes into the weekend the #2 seed in Pool C, and has wins 3 wins over Skysharks and one over Girrafapus. Oscar’s Red Rocket sits as a #1 seed and could also make moves. Girrafapus played The DOH Abides well at Sectionals, and could be primed for an upset.
The Northwest Regionals field is excitingly deep and last year’s surprise field weekend gives plenty of reason to believe it could get wild. However, with only The DOH Abides and Engine 45 look like complete enough teams to really compete at the Club Championships. Perhaps navigating the challenging region can better prepare whoever emerges for the tougher tests ahead.