MB8: A Ring For Each Finger, Dean Allen Wins 5th Title

It was a HOT day, but that didn’t keep 94 ballers from playing in the 8th annual Monkeyball World Championships. The championship match featured the two hottest players on the day — Dean Allen and Dan Kidle.  Both players dropped big racks throughout the match, but Dean Allen won his 5th world title with a comeback victory in game three, 16-14.

Gold: Dean Allen
Silver: Dan Kidle
Bronze: Andy Frushour

Number of Players: 94
Results/Brackets (PDF)
MB8 Previews: Sun | Mon | Tues | Wed | Thurs

OFFICIAL RECAP

The 8th installment of the Monkeyball World Championships will always be memorable for a number of reasons.  One: it might not have been the hottest Worlds, but the heat was certainly the most stifling.  Man, it was hot – which only helped cash the first two kegs in record time.  Two: Jim Blair BBQ-ed for us again, and we raised $555 for Grace’s Gang.  Three: we had a flyover during the national anthem.  Booyah.  Four: lots of new people joined the party, including two bachelor parties who started their day at the Old Orchard.  A number of regulars, however  – most notably Jason Salmon and Dan Renner – were unable to attend.  Let’s get everyone back next year, what do you say?  And then in year 10 let’s have a HUGE blowout bash – the biggest ever!

Of course, in terms of the actual competition MB8 will always be remembered as the year Dean Allen won his fifth title.  FIFTH!   $%&@#%!!!    He and Dan Kidle were no doubt the best Monkeyballers on the day, and it was only fitting they meet for the gold.  Kidle had Dean where he wanted him late in game three (14-7), but the wily vet was able to fight back and win.  Again.  Damn.  When we start the Monkeyball Hall of Fame, there’s no doubt he’ll be the first inductee.  Let’s all make a pact, though: next year, Dean Allen goes down.  Start practicing now.

MORNING QUALIFYING

TOP 16
The Top 16 on Center Court is always fun to watch – you get to see the best in the world battle it out game after game after game.  And there are always a few new ballers in the top group and you never know how they’re going to react.  This year Manuel Tello was the breakout star of the newbies, finishing fourth.

But the real fun of the Top 16 is watching a few players squirm.  The four ballers who lose their first two matches are forced into a play-in game, putting them on the edge of elimination before the afternoon even begins.  Of this year’s unlucky four Ned Huestis was a Top 16 rookie, and Andrew Alexander and Rex Danely had both been in this unfortunate position before (MB5 & MB7 respectively).  The last member of this quartet happened to be the reigning World Champion, and had talked a lot of shit on the MB8 Preview videos – so I’m guessing most people loved watching Commissioner Andy Frushour go down 6-0 in his play-in match before ultimately qualifying for the afternoon.  (Whew!)  Huestis, Alexander and Danely also qualified.

GROUP A
Who is Casey Frushour?  Is he the guy that won Group A (and finished third at MB1 and MB2), or is he the guy that went 0-2 BBQ at the June Ann Arbor tournament? For that matter, who is Jon Ross? Is he the guy who placed second on the A courts, or the guy who lost the first round in the Big Rack Challenge and then to Chuck T immediately in the afternoon?  Joe Pudil should have been on the Top 16 Center Courts, instead he took third in the morning by winning his last three games 15-0.  Jonah Allen may have been the breakout rookie of the day – he finished fourth in the morning, won the $64 BRC, and then won an afternoon match.  Two vets met for the 5th seed, with Adam Schrauben besting Tony Olds.  A 1980s John McEnroe (aka Brian Wood) rounded out the seeded players, defeating Tom Wiel to get to the afternoon.

Matt Wright surprisingly  did not make the afternoon.  Neither Did Larry Walker (masquerading as Dan Kubacki)Julie Petri – call me maybe? Mallory Johncock. Hehe.

GROUP B
Welcome back to the Win column, Andi Osters!  The boot didn’t slow her down as she raced to the #1 seed.  A focused AO is a scary AO – we all knew to watch out for her in the afternoon session.  The Godfather of Monkeyball – Joe “Carp” Frushour – threw a 12-Monkeys and finished second, but mentioned he might be hanging up his balls.  Say it ain’t so, Joe.  The glorious locks of Jason Nash finished third, and Prison’s City Chris Oakley took fourth.  Matt Whitfield arrived from oil-rich Abu Dahbi, and didn’t leave his game at home finishing fifth.  Matt Anderson and his face towel took 6th.  Heidi McFadden staved off elimination, playing six consecutive matches on the way to the final Group B seed.  (This is a public apology to Heidi for yelling at her to stop eating her sandwich and play Monkeyball.  I didn’t realize you had been run through the morning gauntlet – I hope you were able to enjoy your food.)

Diane Anderson was oh-so-close, losing to Andrew Alexander in the play-in game.  Katie McPherson – not McFadden – got a morning W.  Melissa Baldwin narrowly missed out on the afternoon in 2011, and was close again in 2012.  Bah-bah-bah Bobbi Duchene has dominated the Price Family Ballerz, but has fallen short of the afternoon in her two Worlds attempts.  Paul and Vickie Mountain were bounced in the morning and headed back to Chicago (before I had to change to hang out with them – sorry about that.)

GROUP C
The Kubacki quartet made their fourth Worlds appearance, traveling from Perrysburg, Ohio.  Typically they head back without many wins among the three of them.  Things changed at MB8.  Jillian & Dave Kubacki rolled through the morning, meeting in the Group C championship where Dave’s better half took top honors.  Mike Price has been on the verge of a breakout performance for a few years, and snagged the three seed.  Matt Danely and his “Team Beat AO” tank top took fourth.  Newcomers Neil Verplanck and Mark Shetler took 5th and 6th, while rookie Mike Van Antwerp rammed through Group C to the seventh spot.

Poor Annie Kirk.  Star rookie in 2011, last (wo)man out of Group C in 2011.  She’ll be back.  Bacheler Dan Smith and his bright pink shirt got two Ws, while not-a-Dugger Jedidiah Blanton got none.  While Briley & Blazo sound like a new detective show on TNT, the pair from West Lafayette could not detect the 3-Bar on the way to a 1-4 record.

GROUP D
Joe Wenzel is sick of playing in the shadow (literally) of his older and much taller brother, and he took it out on Group D while winning the #1 seed.  Andy Kidle is campaigning to be named the best Traddy in the game, adding a second place Group D finish to his MB resume.  Jo Kidle continues to be part of the “Best Female MBaller” discussion, and topped Greg Warning in the third/fourth place game.  Alex Schrauben has always mired in mediocrity – he’s always makes the afternoon, but rarely does any real damage.  He finished fifth.  Amanda Wenzel became the third Wenzel to make the afternoon, taking the sixth seed and a repeat trip to the afternoon.  Tom Connell – the quietest of the three Connells – took the last qualifying spot.

Katie Kidle was soooo close to making the afternoon for the second straight year.  Rex Danely beat her in the play-in game.  Al Schrauben, inducted into the Greater Lansing Sports Hall of Fame only two days prior, couldn’t keep the positive momentum going.  Mike Connell couldn’t repeat his MB5 performance, while I heard someone call brother Chris an a-hole.  The losers bracket also hosted a spouse matchup, with Brian beating Sara Meyer.

AFTERNOON SESSION

Dan Kidle started his afternoon dominance with win over Verplanck, but it was halted for just a moment when Keith Hagen shut out Kidle in the first game in the Sweet 16.  Kidle rebounded to take the last two and reach the quarterfinals.  Earlier, Hagen defeated Joe Frushour in what might be Carp’s last Worlds match.

Mike Price started his trek to the quarters by going through three Top 25 stalwarts: Rex Danely, Casey Frushour and Brent Morrow.  Morrow’s loss kept him out of the quarterfinals for the first time since MB1.  To get the Sweet 16 Morrow topped Greg Warning in three games, after Warning needed three games to best Heidi McFadden.

Matt Whitfield shocked the Monkeyball world getting to the quarters for the first time.  To do so, he had to top another silky-smooth player – Jim Wenzel – in three games.  Whitfield opened the afternoon besting Wenzel’s sis-in-law – Amanda Wenzel – and then beat star-of-the-Top-16 Manuel Tello.

Ryan LePeak seemed to be the man to beat in the next part of the bracket, but it took three games for him to  ouster Top Rookie Jonah Allen and reach the Sweet 16.  Andy Frushour had his back against the wall after going 0-2 in the Top 16, but back to back wins over Jason Nash and Joe Wenzel (which was a high-scoring affair), set up a Sweet 16 show down with LePeak.  The was a rematch from the 2012 Mason Indoor tournament which LePeak won, but this time Frushour held on for a three-game win.

Monkeyball Jesus (Eric Trinoskey) continued his history of great Worlds performances by making it to the Sweet 16.  There he faced Brett Boden, a winner against Traddy-guy Andy Kidle.  MBJ topped B-Easy in a Top 16 game, but Boden prevailed when it really counted and made it to the quarters for the second straight year.

Andrew Alexander joined Andy Frushour as the second play-in game winner to make it to the quarters.  To get there, Alexander had to beat Joe Pudil, Group C #1 Jillian Kuback, and lone SoMoCo-er Sean Dameron.  After a number of disappointing Worlds results, Dameron will certainly be happy with his Sweet 16 finish.

Dean mothereffin Allen rolled to start the afternoon, first beating Matt Anderson and then MB5 champ Chuck Trinoskey to reach the quarters.  Earlier, Chuck beat Jon Ross.  Jon probably wasn’t thrilled with such a tough opponent after getting Group A’s #2 seed.

Matt Danely came into MB8 with a “Team Beat AO” tank top and score to settle with our fearless, boot-wearing, host of MB TV.  Danely, the Rodney Dangerfield of Monkeyball, felt he wasn’t getting any preview video respect from Osters.  He got his chance, but left the encounter licking his wounds with a quick two-game loss to Andi Osters.  Danely beat Kevin Gunns to reach the Sweet 16, while Osters was beating Ned Huestis.

QUARTERFINALS

Dan Kidle was a man on a mission.  He had a look that said no one is beating me today.  He won the Top 16, going undefeated against the best players in the world. Next up: Mike Price.  The opponent did not matter — It was a bloodbath, with Kidle winning 15-4, 15-7.  Price will be back next year and may be favored to reach the quarters again.

How the hell did Matt Whitfield finish fifth in Group B?  That dude is a Monkeyball rock star.  Down 15-14 in game one to Andy Frushour, the Rock Star dropped a 12-Monkeys to send the crowd into a tizzy and win the opener.  Unfortunately for Big Whit, Frushour stormed back to win the last two games and reach the semis for the fourth time in five years.

Boden vs Alexander.  Preschool Teacher vs. Still Drunk From Last Night.  Stud volleyball player vs stud volleyball player.  Seminfinal hopeful vs semifinal veteran.  Boden gets over the hump, beating Alexander in three games, 15-12, 3-15, 15-2.

NON-FINALS MATCH OF THE DAY: Dean Allen vs Andi Osters.  This match deserved to be on Center Court, instead this battle of the titans was played in the Group C Quad and seen by no one.  A very focused Osters took game one 16-14, and was at game point in game two.  But as has happened so many times, Dean Allen dug in, fought back, took game two (16-14) and then rolled to a win in game three, 15-1.  That guy is good.  Osters will be thinking about this one for a while.

SEMIFINALS
The first semifinal was a joke.  Andy Frushour didn’t belong on the same court as Dan Kidle, getting Monkey-stomped, 15-4, 15-3.  Really, there’s not a whole lot to say.  Kidle beat Andy just as bad, if not worse, than when Frushour knocked out Dan in 2011.

In the second semi, Dean steam-rolled B-Easy.  Allen finished the match with a 12-Monkeys.  Not much you can do about that.  Allen wins 15-8, 15-4.

CHAMPIONSHIP

A pooped Frushour and a shell-shocked Boden met for the bronze.  No one watched (why would they when a heavyweight championship was being played on the court next door). Frushour won 15-4.

The Gold Medal matched featured a number of round house punches in this battle of Goliaths.  It was also a rematch of the MB6 Finals which was dominated by Allen.  In this one, Dean started where he left off against Boden, dropping a 12-Monkeys to start the match.  After many more 3s, Allen took game one, 15-2.  Game two was the opposite.  With Kidle in full F-you mode, Dan won 15-0 after only 5 racks.

The final game was a back-and-forth affair, one where the two combatants will remember the match’s every twist and turn.  Down 7-3, on the last throw Kidle knocked of an Allen 3 replacing it with one of own for a 6-point swing, cutting the lead to 7-6 (video).  With momentum now on his side, Kidle droped a 10-point rack (to Dean’s 2) to take a 14-7 lead (video).  With enough points on the next rack for Kidle to win, Allen fights back to even the rack and get a point on the last toss to make the score 14-8 (video).  Momentum back to Allen who followed up with an 8-point rack, forcing Kidle to also score on his last throw; he does, making it 14-14 (video).  You can’t let the best closer in the game back into the match — inevitably, he will win.  On cue, Dean dropped another big rack and Kidle’s answers flipped heartbreakingly to the ground (view).   Dean Allen wins.  Again.  It’s his fifth world title.

CLOSING

It was another great year and we had a very deserving champion.  A shout out to everyone who helped make the event happen on this very HOT HOT HOT day: orange shirts, family, Jim Blair, Joe & Becky, DJ T-Nuts, Casey (for another incredible MB design) and especially Em for letting me throw this party every year.  We’ll see you the first Saturday in August in 2013 for the ninth (!) annual event.


Comments

  1. 5 says:

    Match of the tournament was myself vs. Osters. Unfortunately no one saw it for the most part. AO great match, best I’ve seen you ever play!

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