MB10: Performance Enhancing Drink – Boden & His Talent Juice Capture Gold

Boden-ChampThe word traveled quickly around Erickson Park – the champ was about to go down. Brett Boden had six-time champ Dean Allen reeling in the quarterfinals, and before you could say “please refill my Talent Juice,” the upstart Boden knocked the Hall-of-Famer out of MB10.

The story of the tenth annual World Monkeyball Championships will always be that of the first-time winner from the Chicago suburbs, Brett Boden. And it was more than just a Cinderella story. It was a story of exorcising demons and avenging losses of years past. On this day Brett Boden was the best Monkeyballer in the world, and is now the proud and deserving wearer of an MB gold medal.

This is the story of MB10…

Gold: Brett Boden (Evergreen Park, IL)
Silver: Ryan LePeak (Jackson, MI)
Bronze: Andy Frushour (DeWitt, MI)

# of Players: 73
MB10 Complete Brackets (PDF)
MB10 Previews: Monday | Tuesday | Wednesday | Thursday

MORNING QUALIFYING

TOP 16
The story of Monkeyball Worlds always begins with the Top 16 morning session on the center courts. It’s where the best ballers in the land duke it out in single-game matches, and where anything can happen. Not only that, lose your first two games and you get banished to the outside courts for a one-game play-in match to make it to the afternoon. Trust me when I say the pressure is on to win one of the first two matches.

This year three of the top 16 in the world couldn’t make it to Lansing for the big event: Andi Osters, Andrew Alexander and Jon Ross. Instead, they opted to watch a soccer scrimmage in Ann Arbor. Booo! Good luck starting outside of the Top 16 next year.

Even without the three traitors, the Top 16 was loaded. Andy Frushour went 4-0 to take the #1 seed, highlighted by a comeback victory over Chuck Trinoskey in the semis. Down 13-2, Frushour posted three straight big racks to move on. Dan Kidle finished second after topping Dean Allen in the other semi. Chuck Trinoskey was the second baller to best Dean Allen, and the two finished seeded third and fourth, respectively.

Other notable matches included a preview of the day’s championship game, with Brett Boden prevailing over Ryak LePeak for the fifth seed. Matt Danely’s first-ever Top 16 game saw him skunk Joe Wenzel 15-0. A very nervous (so I’m told) Jillian Kubacki showed no nerves in opening with three straight 3s to start her morning match, but a seasoned Dan Kidle withstood her opening barrage to come back and win.

The most interesting matches are always between the first-round losers. Win the second game and you qualify for the afternoon, lose and you must go to the outside courts for a play-in game. This year the unlucky four were Joe Frushour, Mike Price, Jillian Kubacki and Casey Frushour. Spoiler alert: all four made it to the afternoon. It should also be noted that Casey Frushour has been in the Top 16 four times, and this is the third time he had to play-in to reach the afternoon.

GROUP A
Adam Schrauben must feel at home in the morning session, as he made the afternoon for the fifth out of six years. After two second seeds, Schrauben finally won the morning session at MB10 and earned the #1 seed. Rookie Rich Lally claimed the second seed, with fellow Jacksonite Ned Huestis taking third. Jo Kidle almost didn’t come to MB10, but she continued to make a claim to be one of the top female players in the world in taking the fourth seed. Another rookie Chris King claimed the 5th seed and dropped two 12 Monkeys on his group A foes, while Al Schrauben (sixth) qualified for the afternoon for just the second time in eight years. In his ninth appearance at Worlds, 16 year-old Ryan Hintz made the afternoon for the second-straight year and grabbed the seventh seed (I’ll let you do the math to figure out Ryan’s age at his first world championship).

Matt Heilbronn was the first unlucky play-in loser, falling to Joe Frushour. Or maybe he was lucky to make it that far as he squeaked by Tom McFadden in a loser’s bracket game. McFadden had enough points on the rack to beat Heilbronn, but Matt knocked off a 3 and replaced it with his own to take the match. Heilbronn also knocked Tom out of the Big Rack Challenge. Ryan Hintz brought girlfriend Vanessa Frazier to her first Worlds, and then promptly knocked her out of the loser’s bracket — smooth move, Romeo. And in yet another instance of chivalry-gone-wrong, I blame the absent Curtis Frye for Clare McFadden’s early exit.

GROUP B
Jonah Allen (no relation to Dean) had always excelled in the Big Rack Challenge, winning the last two BRC events. At MB10 Jonah proved he had more than just one good rack in him by taking Group B’s #1 seed. Birthday Boy Joe Pudil finished second in the group, but he’s proving he may belong in the Top 16. Brett Theil was back from a one-year absence and snagged the #3 seed going into the afternoon session. #4 seed Neil Ver Planck came solo to MB10, ditching his Madrid-United-watching friends for a more awesome Saturday activity. Thanks, Neil. Kevin Cole qualified for the afternoon in his first appearance at Worlds, nabbing the #5 seed, while Laurie Karsten again made the afternoon in her third Worlds appearance. Joe Zimmerman was at his ninth Worlds, and made the afternoon for only the second time in taking the 7th seed.

Playing in her fifth Worlds, 14-year-old Emma Hintz won her first two MB matches ever but failed to beat Top 16 member Mike Price in the play-in game. Paige Winne remembered to keep her Jell-o shots cold this year, but forgot to score more points than her opponents while going 0-2. The infamous “Paige Winne +1”, aka Victoria Salekin, also went down in straight games. German Christoph Stielow did not have the luck (or skill) his fellow countryman showed in Brazil, and he also went 0-2 BBQ. Playing in her sixth Worlds, I thought this might be Kate McPherson’s year to make the afternoon, but her day was over after only three games. Keith Schafer has had a long career in his favorite throwing sport of horseshoes, but after one morning win and a fun time at Worlds, maybe his allegiance is switching over to Monkeyball (or at least he’ll bring some more horseshoe tossers with him to MB11).

GROUP C
Jim Wenzel belongs on the center courts. The lanky Wenzel skipped MB9, so his world ranking dropped him out of the top 20. As the #1 seed he steam-rolled the group and earned the top spot heading into the afternoon. Rookie Mike Brya had an up and down morning, skunking two opponents, beating one in extra time (17-15) and then getting monkey-stomped by Wenzel (15-1) to finish with the second seed. Jeff Van Schaik doesn’t carry the Kubacki surname, but he is certainly part of the famous “Toledoballs” crew. Van Schaik topped Andrew Parks for the third seed. Coincidentally, Parks was part of an approximate 8-man crew at MB10, and he may have been the only afternoon qualifier. Former Top 16 baller Rex Danely finished fifth by topping Dave Kubacki. Speaking of Kubacki and Toledoballs, when there are 2 people with the name of “D Kubacki” on the bracket, it’s a smart idea to use DAN and DAVID! Apparently there was some mix-up of which D Kubacki should be playing at what time, and perhaps some mis-matched opponents were played. Somehow, Dave finished sixth and Dan seventh.

Joe Boza was oh-so-close, but was beaten by the third Kubacki, Jillian, in the play-in game. Seven year-old Quentin Danely might only be a year away from his first Worlds victory. The same might be true for 28 year-old Jed Blanton who is winless in four trips to Worlds. Anthony Paoli was yet another member of the infamous MSU Kinesiology bachelor party group who went 0-2 BBQ (more to come in Group D).

GROUP D
Seven-time Worlds quarterfinalist Brent Morrow had no problem wrapping up the Group D top seed. Jackson native Matt Mentink bought a grocery-store ladder golf set the day before Worlds, but quickly realized it was a waste of a purchase. Not only did he have to adjust to new equipment, but also to a new throwing style in order to compete at Worlds. Mentink is obviously a quick learner as he finished second in the group. The battle for third place featured some Jackson-on-Jackson crime as Chris Oakley bested Manuel Tello. In the 5th place match Lazer Callovi beat Malibu Fiyalko in a game that started with a stare down and a “touching of the balls.” I’d try to explain, but it’s more fun to let your imagination run wild. In his seventh trip to Worlds, Dan Frushour finally qualified for the afternoon by finishing seventh.

Rookie Pat Walsh lost the play-in to Casey Frushour, but the real story was that of the rest of the MSU KIN bachelor party group. There were 14 members of group D, which means 7 people did not qualify for the afternoon. Here are some non-qualifiers: Drew Blazo, Bennett Blazo, Devon Blazo, Jordan Blazo and Spencer Blazo. Does anyone see a pattern? The combined record of the Blazo clan was 1-10, and the only win was when Devon beat Bennett. I hoped you guys enjoyed the rest of the bachelor party, because you really suck at Monkeyball! (And you’re all invited back next year!)

BIG RACK CHALLENGE
Is the Big Rack Challenge the proving grounds for the future leaders of Monkeyball. First of all, Abby Frushour raised money for breast cancer research by selling pink loom bracelets for $1. The final $108 total was aided in large part by Brent Morrow who donated his $60 BRC winnings directly to the cause. Congrats, Brent, and thanks!

Second, in what many in attendance are calling the greatest rack of the day, 8 year-old Tobyn LePeak outlasted 6 year-old Jack Kidle in the BRC Sweet 16. Who knows, maybe we’ll see a rematch with a gold medal on the line at MB20.

 

AFTERNOON SESSION

Before we move on to the action in the afternoon, it needs to be noted that all nine players from the Prison City crew made the afternoon: Ned Huestis, Laurie Karsten, Chris King, Rich Lally, Ryan LePeak, Matt Mentink, Chris Oakley, Joe Pudil and Manuel Tello. And don’t forget young Tobyn LePeak’s run in the Big Rack Challenge. Congrats, folks. That’s quite an accomplishment.

Andy Frushour made it to the sweet 16 by beating Al Schrauben, but Super Al did finish with a 3 on his last throw (which is probably like finishing with a birdie while shooting an 89 – it’ll bring you back to the course again). Birthday boy Joe Pudil thanked Sean Dameron for driving 12 hours from Birmingham, AL, and then shut him out, 15-0, 15-0, marking another disappointing Worlds ouster for Dameron. Pudil and Frushour went back-and-forth with a spot in the quarters on the line, and with a huge Jackson contingent watching from the south tent, Frushour advanced in three games in an exciting match from start to finish.

The second quarterfinal spot featured battles between six ballers with afternoon experience: Casey Frushour, Andy Kidle, Adam Schrauben, Manuel Tello, Jeff Van Schaik and Joe Zimmerman. Casey defeated Jeff, Adam and Andy Kidle to setup a bro v bro confrontation in the quarterfinals. It should be noted that Andy Kidle played in the Sweet 16 match for the sixth time, and has not advanced past this round since his fourth place finish at MB1.

Rookie Mike Brya was welcomed to the Big Leagues with a 15-3, 15-1, thrashing from Keith Hagen. Hagen then faced Dean Allen with a spot in the quarters on the line. Allen won game one, but Hagen shut out the former World Champ in game two. Dean ultimately won the watch (after a game three visit from Keith’s Kryptonite), but was his struggle an indicator of things to come?

MB10 TheilBrett Theil beat Joe Frushour in a game interrupted by Thiel posing with his first-ever 12 Monkey-rack. Traddy tosser Jo Kidle gave Brett Boden a run for his money (15-11, 15-10) – will she convert to the pinch in 2015? After topping Brett Theil, Brent Morrow faced Brett Boden, with the winner getting the unenviable task of facing Dean Allen. After losing game one (15-13), Boden started heating up with two quick victories (15-5, 15-2) to move to the quarters for the fourth straight year.

Rex Danely beat Chris King before falling to World #2, Dan Kidle. Top 16-member Joe Wenzel beat Matt Mentink, setting up the first of two Dan Kidle vs Wenzel family matchups. In matchup #1, Joe was no contest for Dan, losing 4-15, 0-15. Dan moved onto the quarters for the fourth time in five years.

Matt Danely followed up his unlikely second place MB9 finish with another trip to the afternoon session. After beating Neil Verplanck, Danely matched up against Jim Wenzel after the elder Wenzel had knocked out MB8 quarterfinalist Mike Price. Danely’s 2013 magic was not working in 2014, and Wenzel advanced to the quarters for the first time in five trips to Worlds.

Laurie Karsten was in the afternoon for the second-straight year, but lost to Lazer in the opening round. Lazer took Chuck Trinoskey to three games before losing, while Rich Lally also took a Trinoskey (Eric) to three games before falling. With a quarterfinal spot on the line, MB5 champion Chuck T knocked out his son, the Monkeyball Jesus, in straight sets, advancing Chuck to the quarters for the first time since his championship season.

Last year’s breakout female performer was Jillian Kubacki, and at MB10 she was out to prove MB9 was no fluke. Jillian gave Ryan LePeak all he could handle before LePeak advanced to the quarters for the second consecutive year. Kubacki beat Jonah Allen and LePeak bested Andrew Parks before their Sweet 16 matchup.

QUARTERFINALS
In a matchup deserving of the center courts, Casey Frushour requested the quarterfinal against his brother be moved to Court C. The first 10 minutes were tense, with claims of poor sportsmanship and the (intentional) knocking over of beers, a 6-6 start seemed to be beginning of an epic battle. But then reality set in. Four racks later, including a two-rack second game, Commissioner Andy Frushour advanced, 15-6, 15-0. Frushour moved on to the semifinals for the sixth time.

At this point we can accurately say Dean was not Dean. Throws that would normally be money were shooting between racks, and even throws that typically stick were bouncing off. It just wasn’t his day, but with six world titles, I suppose he’s allowed to falter from time-to-time. With that said, Brett Boden was on freaking fire. Boden had been knocked out of the last two Worlds (quarters and semis) by Dean Allen, and this year, he got to return the favor. And he did it in record-setting fashion, winning 15-0, 15-4.

It’s safe to assume Dan Kidle is not welcome at the Wenzel family Thanksgiving dinner. After disposing of Joe in the sweet 16, Kidle beat older brother Jim in three games to get back to the semis for the fourth time in five years. But it wasn’t easy, especially in game three. Early in the deciding game Snoop Wenzel dropped a 12 Monkeys, but Kidle countered with an 8 to keep the game close. With Kidle playing his best Monkeyball of the day, he went on to win, 2-15, 15-6, 15-10.

Ryan LePeak and Chuck Trinoskey could have played their quarterfinal match on one of the outside courts, but LePeak refused. He had been knocked out on the outside courts the last two years, and this year, if it were to happen again, he wanted it to be on the center courts for all to see. The unheralded LePeak should now be heralded, as he dispatched of Chuck T (15-9, 6-15, 15-6) en route to his first semifinals appearance.

SEMIFINALS
MB10 Final FourBoden has a keen memory of the past. He remembered his first Worlds, and how he lost 15-0, 15-0 to Andy Frushour in the afternoon. He also remembered his semifinal appearance at MB8, and his 15-4 loss to Frushour in the bronze medal game. Boden was ready for pay back, and it was no more evident than at the end of game one of his semifinal match against Andy Frushour. With 3 ropes already on the 3 bar – AND enough points to win the opening game – when most ballers would simply throw away the meaningless fourth rope, Boden made a statement by dropping one more on the three bar for an unnecessary 12 Monkeys. This was the move of a ruthless champion; Boden was here to win.

World #1 Andy Frushour closed out game two with racks of 10 and 11, setting up a rubber match with the winner slated for the championship. At this level of Monkeyball, 4s and 5s just won’t cut it, let alone empty racks. Frushour got cold for two racks just as Boden was heating back up. A final 10-point rack gave Boden the win, and a berth in the MB10 championship

Semifinal #2 was just as competitive. The two-game match was won by Ryan LePeak, but it featured nothing but back-and-forth action with lots of big racks. The match really could have gone either way, and after all the oohs and ahhs from the crowd, LePeak bested Dan Kidle, 17-15, 15-12.

CHAMPIONSHIP
We commonly hear that losing at Worlds stinks – you have to wait a WHOLE YEAR to avenge your loss. To get to the championship, Boden exorcised all the demons of his MB past. In his only four Worlds appearances he’s been knocked out by Brent Morrow (MB7 Quarters), Dean Allen twice (MB8 Semis and MB9 Quarters) and Andy Frushour (MB6 Sweet 16 and MB8 bronze medal game). This year he avenged losses to all three just to reach the championship. It was an inevitable victory for Boden, right?

Boden made quick work of LePeak, 15-3, 15-5, in what may have been the shortest championship match in the history of the event. In fact, the bronze medal SINGLE game match between Frushour and Kidle played simultaneously as the championship (a Frushour win) finished only TWO RACKS before Boden won the gold in TWO GAMES.

There is no doubt that Brett Boden was the best player on this day.  He ran the gauntlet by beating the #1, #3 and #4 players in the world in his last three matches, and is very much the deserving champion of the 10th annual World Championship. Congrats to Brett Boden – your MB10 World Champion.

LAST BUT NOT LEAST

The second annual Junior Monkeyball championship was administered by Tom McFadden. 10 year-old Marissa LePeak was this year’s winner, beating 6 year-old Kate Frushour in the champion. Thanks, Tom, for running this event!

As always, thanks for everyone for all of the help in putting this together. Specials shout outs go to everyone in the Frushour, Trinoskey, Danely and Hintz families for the set up and tear down help. Thanks to Sean Dameron and Dan Kidle for extra help with day-of-tournament management. And to Emily, Abby and Kate: thanks for letting me do this for 10 straight years. Contrary to popular belief, there WILL be an MB11.

MB10 By the Numbers: Of the 73 players at MB10, 19 were rookies. 238 games were played on 18 different courts. And $108 was raised for breast cancer research.


Comments

  1. Carlos Danger says:

    Boden showed up this weekend. Lepeak popped his final 4 cherry. It was a beautiful day. Great tournament Frush.

  2. Dean Allen says:

    Congrats Boden! Dude killed it all afternoon.

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