Often disrespected and overlooked the midwest is home to an overwhelming amount of talent that has done its fair share of letting their actions do the speaking. With Bpong’s World Series of Beer Pong VII looming in the near future several hungry midwesterners are chomping at the bit to stake their claim to pong immortality. These teams include the following:
Standing Ovation (MO)
What better way to start than with defending World Series Champions? Nick Syrigos and Dan Range are the team to beat until further notice and there is simply no arguing that. Standing O was a dominant team last year, and no less is expected this year. For those that may have laughably considered them a fluke, they silenced the few remaining critics by finding the final table at Bpong’s mid season 10k in the “Return to Mesquite.” Despite coming up a game short in a best of 3 loss to Sonoma Joe and Tiny I’m sure they sleep easy at night using that oversized $50,000 check as a pillow. With a load of experience, confidence, and past success, its a winning bet to expect this team to be in the thick of things as the number of tables in the ballroom dwindles.
Seek n Destroy (MO)
Matt White and Ross Hampton have had plenty of success when it comes to the World Series of Beer Pong, but its doubtful that they would agree with that statement. This duo has very high expectations for themselves and rightly so. This past year they went 11-1 in prelims and continued the success into day 3 finishing 33rd. A rare example of team commitment and an emphasis on team chemistry they know exactly what they need to do and how to do it. Look for even more dominance in WSVII as they include one of the hottest players in the midwest, Ross Hampton, who recently won the Midwest triathalon singles as well as a southern humbling known as the Louisiana 2k where he won both the doubles and singles events.
Keep It Swimming (IL)
I suppose the only way to sum up this team’s season is in two precise words. Brief and perfect. Now don’t let the word “brief” mislead you or give you the impression that they have been anything less than dominant. Johnny Fourdyce and Kyle Larson played two tournaments together this year and won both in convincing fashion. It started with the second satellite of the Drunken Bear season (when the teams were still very deep with talent) and lets just say they could not play together in another satellite after that day, due to restrictions. The next time they paired up was for the the Madison 2k held during “Miflin” on the University of Wisconsin campus. The two did what they planned to and walked away with the first place grand prize. Despite little time to prepare as a team this year they are in no need of confidence. With Larson’s extensive World Series experience and Fourdyce’s MVP type satellite season it will take quite a performance to present these two with a loss.
Running Riot (OH)
Zach Gilkison and Joey Moler are no strangers to winning at a national level. Most recently gaining recognition by winning the Drunken Bear 10k over Bangarang, Running Riot had experienced plenty of success before hand. At WSVI these two put on a clinic. Both finished in the top 10 in singles, with a 9th place finish for Joey and a 4th place finish for Zach (after taking 3rd the year before). Was that enough? Not nearly. They went 12-0 in prelims and kept the mojo flowing and finished 17th overall. But back to this season. It’s no surprise that these two won a satellite tournament together, but this tournament was no cake walk. It was a 50 team gauntlet loaded with much of the Midwest’s best. They won it without a loss on the day. No doubt they will do Ohio proud and stack up the wins in Vegas come January.
Like A Fine Whine (MI/MO)
As their name hints, this duo has only found improvement with age. Nick Velissaris and Piotr Wianecki recently teamed up to bring a hint of class and veteran dominance to the upcoming series. With a list of accomplishments that would satisfy any player, these two are looked at as a team out to prove something. In reality they are just adding to a legacy that was a foundation for midwest success. First of all it should be made clear to anyone that is not aware, Nick V. won the innagural World Series. Often scoughed at by jealous on-lookers, Nick V is the proud owner of the original Bpong “oversized” grandprize check. Not too many people can say they did something that only two people have ever been a part of. Piotr, not to be over looked, utilized a calm confidence that paved the way towards an endless list of victories that included a path to the AC Championships final table. At that table he came up just short, but any youtube viewer can plainly see that it was by no means his fault. With all of that experience in their past they are a force to be dealt with come January. Good luck to anyone who mistakenly thinks they are past their prime.
New Era (MI/OH)
Considered one of the most talented pairs headed for the series this year Dane Ellis and Steve Soller are fully expected to make a deep, head-turning, run late into day three. Owners of countless bids over the last few years these two are almost expected to win whenever stepping up to the table, and that was when they were with different partners. Now combined it is hard to see them losing, no matter who stares them down from across the table. Just to be clear though, they are not only accustomed to victory at satellites. Dane almost never loses a pre-lim game at majors and also holds a 4th place finish at WSIV. Not to mention a top finish at the AC championships in 2009 on, then, Designated Drinkers. Soller on the other hand hasn’t had the notable team finishes, but does have an inspiring 5th place finish at the WSVI singles tournament. With each other to lean on its simply hard to imagine them missing a cup, let alone losing a match. Opponents beware.
Last of a Dying Breed (IL/NY)
Well it’s pretty obvious that only half of this team is from the midwest, but its worth mentioning when that one guy is the top rated player in Bpong’s new player rating system. Andy Decaluwe and Dan “Goliath” Altizio dished out quite the performance last year at WSVI. To start their tournament they set the World Series record by going 12-0 +60 in prelim play. Anyone who thought they were spent after two days of dominating were quieted when Andy and Goliath found themselves in the final four facing eventual champions Standing Ovation. In what is often considered the true finals table of WSVI Last of a Dying Breed fell to Nick and Range in a multi-overtime gauntlet. There is no better inspiration for these two than the “what could have been” at last years World Series. Expect more of the same from the record setters, fueled by last year’s heart-breaking conclusion.
Other teams to be on the look out for in Vegas include…
Moves Like Jagger (IL/WI)- Kurt Heizmann-Todd Feldman
PreyIVReign (MN)- Dave Jensen-James Stokke
That Never Happens (IL) Scott Frew-Kevin Allen
Southpaw Snipers (MN/IL) Chris Swanson-Hector Garcia
White Men Cant Jump But He Can Shoot (WI) Dustin Zahn-Tony Henry
Name is TBD (IL)- John Ham-Paul Sofios