Nick Velissaris and Josh Henderson
A late addition to the Midwest’s roster of competing teams at this years’ World Series, Lake Effect has a rare combination of two very different players. On one hand Nick V. is a cerebral player, staying quiet and focused, providing insight that often transforms his teammates into even deadlier versions of themself. Hendo, on the other hand, is quite vocal on the table and plays more of a vocal/defensive style of pong. However, everyone has heard the saying, “opposites attract” and in this case they not only attract, but they combine to create a team more than capable of running over all on-comers. With Nick’s experience and Henderson’s hunger it would surprise few in the Midwest to see several onlookers watching them as they continue to play as the tables dwindle.
“Baby You’re a Firework ”
Johnny Fourdyce and Kurt Heizmann
A team that was almost destined to come to life. These two are one of the best teams coming out of the Midwest. Bonded by an almost disturbing addiction to Katy Perry music, Kurt and Johnny combine their fierce competitive nature and bring that fire to each game they play, no matter the scenario. With no lack of confidence to be found Johnny is looked at as the key to pushing Kurt past a barrier that he has run into two years in a row. Unbeknownst to many, Kurt has finished 17th two years in a row (with two different partners) ironically losing to Kick Rocks Platinum both times. With Dyce along for the ride Kurt has a weight lifted and won’t let the top 16 slip away again.
“Negro Cracker Platter ”
Ryan Brown and Todd Felder
A new combination formed for WSVIII, these two have been making strides in 2012 making them a threat at each tournament they attend. Todd made his move last year when he (and partner Kurt) made it all the way to the bracket finals to make the top 16. Though he fell short of that key victory, it may have been the experience to drive him to a new level of play. Ryan, on the other hand, hails from Iowa and is easily the best player in the state. He made pong a priority near the end of the season and began traveling. The time paid off as he won two bids late. Now united behind the goal of winning, this team will likely catch more than a few teams off guard.
Jake Christie and Joey Moler
Perhaps a surprising combination to many, this team has no shortage of talent. As the history of Running Riot has come to a close Joey did good to pick up yet another stud player in Skeet. Both players have plenty of experience in big situations, including Skeet’s top 4 finish in the Return to Mesquite and Joey’s MVP performance at the Drunken Bear 10k. Combining Skeet’s maniacal grin and Joey’s death stare, teams would be smart to stay focused on the shots at hand and not make eye contact. They will undoubtedly do the Midwest proud.
St. Louis, Missouri
Ross Hampton and Dane Ellis
What can be said about this team that isn’t already widely known throughout the beer pong community? With the 2 top players in the Midwest, these 2 are no strangers to Day 3. They’ve both had their best season to date, with Dane (team captain for Michigan’s Best of the Midwest) T-2nd in most bid wins in the country, multiple $500 & $1k wins, and a shared $6k win in Vegas, & with Ross winning a record breaking 19 bids, a West Coast Championship doubles & singles title, a Louisiana $5k+ title, and numerous $1&2k’s under his belt. Although this is their first year together at the Series & they really haven’t been able to play much together this year, don’t doubt that they will find that team rhythm. If you end up on the opposing side of this team come Day 3, you better bring your A game.
“Mostly For the OJ ”
Matt White and Chris Van Nest
Following the year where Matt ‘Whiteboy’ White became notoriously known for drinking 1 (well, maybe more than 1) too many screwdrivers on Day 3 at WS VII, “Mostly For the OJ” seems only fitting for this team. Here we have another two top 10 Midwest players coming together for their first World Series run. Both have played very solid this season, with Van Nest winning a $1k & getting his bid early on and Whiteboy snagging 2 bids for the year. If you think Whiteboy’s finals performance last year is anything like his consistent performance, I feel sorry for you if you end up on the other side of the table. Keep an eye out for this team come late Day 3.
“Sunny Side Up ”
Kevin Kwiatkowski and Michael Kloiber
Here’s a slightly unknown team that’s looking to make some known noise at WS VIII. An easy top 25 Midwest player that flys under the radar, Michael ‘Sunshine’ Kloiber (out of Lexington, KY) has shot amazing this season, getting his bid in May & consistent deep runs in all other tournaments. He’s a not-so-often traveler, unless its to Saint Louis or the big stage in Vegas. Kevin Kwiatkowski (out of Saint Louis) has made a name in the Midwest & South in his Freshman year, going deep in tournaments in both regions & ranking 22nd in the Midwest. He has only one bid this year, but may be the #1 second placer in the country. Knowing that 2nd is no winner, this team is out as the underdog to win the dog tags this year.
“Standing Ovation ”
Nick Syrigos and Dan Range
WS VI Champs are back for their 3rd year in a row to try and regain that dominance they had 2 short years ago. Nick has the earliest bid of the year, a $1k win, a $2k win, and a West Coast Championship trophy under his belt. Dan has been MIA most of the season, but when he comes out, everyone on the opposing side of the table knows they need to be on top of their game. Don’t be surprised when you see the former Champs out on Day 3.