September 26, 2013 by Keith Raynor in Preview with 9 comments
We’ve been down this road before. The best of the Southeast Mixed community will descend upon Decatur, Alabama, as a mixed bag of competitors without a true favorite all vying for a single spot in the Club Championships field. The cast of this soap opera isn’t really that different either. Some died, only to be reincarnated for this season’s plotlines, and some left us with cliffhanger endings at Sectionals.
In the first seed is Raleighwood, rising from the ashes of wHagonwheel. They snatched the top spot from Asheville Cahoots, the region’s highest profile team this season, beating them 15-14 in the North Carolina Sectional final. It makes the season series between the two 2-2.
Raleighwood really made a name for themselves at Chesapeake Invite, where they added New York SHUYAMOUF, Boston Lions, and Washington Ant Madness to their win column.
The two seed, sitting atop Pool B, is Cahoots. The Asheville crew has turned in an uneven performance this season. They went 3-4 at the US Open, beating eventual champion Odyssee by a point and falling to Polar Bears by the same margin. However, at ECC, they’d again go 3-4, struggling to finish games against teams like Philadelphia AMP, Seattle The DOH Abides, and Portland Engine 45, but getting a win over Missoula Mental Toss Flycoons. Tim Murray, Cate Foster-Yackey, and Chris Cosgrove make them a formidable competitor, but Juliet McNamara’s lefty bombs and Ann Araps tireless cutting could be their most dangerous weapons.
Just behind Raleighwood in Pool A is two time reigning champ, Atlanta Bucket. There are some major changes to the lineup and leadership for Bucket this year, who brought in Chain Lightning veterans Jason Simpson and Ben Spears. Bucket has been notoriously inconsistent in their regular season play, but tend to peak at Regionals. Taylor “Tree” Goforth remains one of the scariest targets in the Mixed division and Oregon Fugue star Sophie Darch has a powerful array of throws to help lead this team back to the Championships.
Another curious character is Southern Revival. They round out the returning top four, though they are the last seed in Pool B. That’s because they imploded at their Sectional tournament, going 0-3 Sunday to miss out on qualifying for Regionals. They’ll be in attendance after some bids were rejected, so a chance for redemption is at hand. Despite their recent struggles, this is still a team that has a bit more experience against top teams than the rest of the field.
Of course, there’s always an element of unpredictability at these sorts of affairs. Swamp Rabbit, Pluff Mud Panic, and The Hucking Dead are all waiting in the weeds, ready to pounce on the weaknesses and mistakes of the top teams.
There’s a lot of interleague play in the Southeast. These teams remember last season, when Cahoots ended Southern Revival’s run and Bucket sent wHagonwheel packing. Bucket trounced Cahoots 15-6 in the final, a brutal way to finish out the biggest game of the season. All this history makes handicapping the race to Frisco very challenging. The answers lie on the fields in Decatur.