MB11: Frushour’s Second Gold Gives Him the SlurpeeSlam After Winning Both MB 7 & 11

2015-Top3In the history of the World Championships, only one person has won more than once. Six-time champ Dean Allen (drink) has been so dominant over the years that he even has his own drinking game. After MB11, though, we may have found his kryptonite: wind. As the winds blew through Erickson Park, flipping canopy tents around the park, a veteran baller became the second-person ever to win more than once. Commissioner Andy Frushour bested a tough field AND the elements to take his second gold medal (MB7 & now MB11).

Gold: Andy Frushour (DeWitt, MI)
Silver: Dean Allen (Redford, MI)
Bronze: Brett Boden (Evergreen Park, IL)

# of Players: 70
Complete PDF Brackets
MB11 Previews: Monday | Tuesday | Wednesday | Thursday

MORNING SESSION

TOP 16
It’s hard to tell if results from the Top 16 morning session are a predictor of future afternoon success. For instance, Dean Allen was his old self again, dominating the morning Center Courts, taking the #1 afternoon seed, and ultimately finishing with the silver medal. Brett Boden finished the morning #2 and made a long afternoon run on 15-Allen-Ostershis way to the bronze. Seeds 3 and 4, though, Andi Osters and Joe Wenzel, both had early exits in the afternoon. To be fair, Osters lost to the eventual champion, while Wenzel was upset in the first round of the afternoon.

Andy Frushour finished 10th in the morning, but we all know how his day ended. The fourth semifinalist, Andy Kidle, finished with the morning’s 9th seed. Dan Kidle, Keith Hagen, Ryan LePeak and Matt Danely – all Monkeyball stalwarts – finished with seeds 5-8.

The ballers we always look at in the morning are those who lost their first two matches, and thus played themselves into the pressure-packed play-in game. This year, Neil Ver Planck, Jillian Kubacki, Eric Trinoskey and Brett Thiel all had the dubious distinction of going 0-2 BBQ. One of them didn’t make the afternoon…stay tuned to find out.

GROUP A
Prison City’s Joe Pudil continued his multi-year string of morning domination by claiming the Group A #1 seed. Newcomer and 15-year old Kacy Brown turned some heads by finishing second. Former Top 16-er Rex Danely earned the #3 seed, even with a bum shoulder. Jeff Price got the #4 seed in his first trip to Worlds. In a group saturated with Jackson-area folks, seeds 5 and 6, Rich Lally and Chris Oakley, made it four Rose City reps (Pudil and Brown) advancing from Group A to the afternoon. NINE-YEAR OLD Quentin Danely finished #7 and advanced to his first World’s afternoon, while Top 16 Neil Ver Planck took the last afternoon slot by topping the group’s other sub-10-year old, Tobyn LePeak.

GROUP B
15-Group-BJim Wenzel was a popular underdog pick to win the gold, and he started the day by advancing first out of Group B. After a short Worlds hiatus, Matt Whitfield was back at Erickson Park, picking up where he left off, finishing second. Joe Frushour has been at every World Championship, and he also made every Monkeyball ladder used at Worlds – he finished #3 topping two-time Big Rack Challenge champion Jonah Allen who took the 4th seed. Ned Huestis has always been hot and cold, but this veteran knows all you need to do is survive and advance to the afternoon, which he did, as #5. Another veteran, Joe Zimmerman, also advanced to the afternoon for the second consecutive year, at #6. Mike Van Antwerp topped Geoff Kimmerly for the second time to get the 7th seed, and then Kimmerly lost to Top 16 Jillian Kubacki to fall short of an afternoon berth.

GROUP C
Fresh off his one-year break from Worlds, Jon Ross topped Group C after skunking his wife Julie (the eventual #4 seed) in the semis. Jo Kidle continues to make the claim for top women’s baller – certainly the top women’s Traddy – on her way to the two seed. Bo Smith finished third in his second trip to Worlds. Bobbi Duchene, the Pride of the Price Family Ballerz, again proved to be a tough out, finishing with the #5 seed. Chris King, part of the talented Prison City crew, took 6th. Brent Morrow has fallen on hard times since his four-straight quarterfinal appearances, and finished 7th in the morning session. Turbo had one final opportunity to make the afternoon, but fell to Eric Trinoskey (aka Monkeyball Jesus) who got the last Group C spot.

GROUP D
Playing in his first-ever Monkeyball tournament Connor Thomas showed up to Erickson Park a Traddy, but left a Pincher. The very coachable Thomas finished the morning as the Group D #1 seed. Jeff Van Schaick was seen multiple times with babe in arms, but he was one of the few who actually put the baby down when it was game time. He finished #2 in the morning. Lazer was in the house for the third year, and qualified third defeating Jessica Van Schaick. Ashlee Wells represented the Price Family Ballerz with her #5 seed, defeating Toledo Baller Dave Kubacki. Another rookie, and Connor’s truck-mate from the Thumb, Aaron Van Horn, made it to the afternoon with the 7 seed. Dan Kubacki made the Toledo Ballers 5-for-5 in advancing to the afternoon (3 Kubackis, 2 Van Schaicks) defeating Top 16 player Brett Thiel for the final afternoon slot.

AFTERNOON SESSION

Before the afternoon began, Mike Van Antwerp won the Big Rack Challenge and took home the $64 pot.

After dispatching Bobbi Duchene and Matt Whitfield, Dean Allen and Mike Price faced off to go to the quarterfinals. Price had Allen on the ropes in the three-game match, but the six-time champ advanced to the quarterfinals for the eleventh time in eleven years.

Joe Pudil has been an afternoon mainstay since he started coming to Worlds at MB7. After losing in the Sweet 16 in two previous attempts, he finally broke through to the quarterfinals by beating 2013 silver medalist Matt Danely in three games.

Ned Huestis knocked off #4 overall seed Joe Wenzel in three games, and Andy Kidle knocked off wife Jo in straight sets. As the wind started to blow, Andy’s lefty-line-drive-Traddy toss started to pick up, and Ned was no match as the veteran Kidle made the quarters for the first time since MB1.

The first major upset of the day happened in Quad B when Rex Danely knocked off Dan Kidle who had made the semis in three straight years (Danely also topped Brent Morrow in his opening afternoon match). But young Connor Thomas continued his stellar play, knocking off Danely to make the quarters in his first-ever appearance.

Defending champion Brett Boden faced MB5 champ Chuck Trinoskey with a quarterfinal berth on the line. Boden made his fifth-straight quarterfinal with a three-game win over CT.

Jillian Kubacki continues to stake her claim as the top female in Monkeyball, making it to the Sweet 16 for the second year in a row. Her opponent, though, was defending silver medalist Ryan LePeak, who advance to the quarters with a straight-set W.

15-year old Kacy Brown was excited to make the afternoon and play Andy Frushour on the Center Courts, but the Commish took the youngster down in a quick two games. The Sweet 16 match between co-workers and MBTV cohosts Frushour and Andi Osters was a match for the ages. It was a heavyweight matchup between two ballers who threw haymaker after haymaker. It was likely the highest scoring match of the day, with Frushour prevailing in a tough three games.

Nine-year old Quentin Danely became the youngest ever afternoon victor with a three-game win against Julie Ross, but then dream-killer Keith Hagen sent Q to his room with a two-game victory. Hagen, who hadn’t made the quarters since MB6, fell short again as Jim Wenzel won in three-games to make his second straight quarterfinal.

At this time, we’ll give the pen to Jon Ross who always likes to share his MB memories with us:

“I wish the dominant memory I’ll have from MB11 was bringing my son (6.5 months old) to his first World Championship and having him witness the 15-0 beat-down I gave his mom in the Court C semi-finals. If only my day had ended there. Instead, I had to play the role of Bethe Correia to Jillian Kubacki’s Ronda Rousey as she beat the brakes off of me in afternoon play. It took longer than 34 seconds and she didn’t say “don’t cry” to me as she walked off victoriously, but the beat-down was just as severe as anything Rousey did later that night. As least my son was asleep by then. And I did walk away with a MB11 t-shirt.

“I asked my wife what her lasting memory from MB11 was. Making the afternoon for the first time ever? Beating Hagen and his No-Talent Juice in the Big Rack Challenge? No – she said it was when Quentin Danely asked her if she would let him beat her in afternoon play. She said no… he would have to beat her fair and square and that if he believed in himself, he could beat her on his own. After jumping out to a one game to zero lead on him and being on the precipice of ruining his dreams, Quentin caught fire and won the next two games advancing further into afternoon play. I think Quentin drank all of Hagen’s Talent Juice. Kimmerly sure didn’t have any of it.”

QUARTERFINALS

By this point in the afternoon the wind really started to blow, and the writing may have been on Dean Allen’s wall as we watched the champ top Joe Pudil. Allen was in a three-game dog-fight for the second-straight match, but Pudil could not get the best of him, falling 15-8, 0-15, 15-3. Dean Allen (drink) advanced to the semis for the eighth time.

You know who the wind doesn’t affect? Andy Kidle. Kidle has the deepest lunge of every baller in the field (mostly because no one else lunges…at least quite like him), and the lunge helps create Kidle’s patented Traddy velocity. With his low release and the zing he applies to the ropes, the wind was no problem, and it ended Connor Thomas’s Cinderella trip through the afternoon, 15-10, 15-5.

The top-billed quarterfinal featured a rematch of the MB10 championship: Brett Boden v Ryan LePeak. This year’s match took longer than last year’s quick win by Boden, but the 2015 result was the same with Boden winning in straight sets, 15-11, 15-7.

Other than the win over Osters, Andy Frushour hadn’t played his best Monkeyball. The old tournament adage of “Survive and Advance,” though, had never held more true. Frushour made his fifth straight semifinal with a 15-6, 15-12 victory over the always tough Jim Wenzel.

>>> Watch the 2015 MB Snapchat Story

SEMIFINALS

Let’s do some quick math… Andy Kidle played 12 games at MB11. Each game featured approximately 10 rounds of 4 tosses each. So by the end of his semifinal, Kidle had executed his lunge toss approximately 480 times. It’s no wonder he was sore on Sunday. And it may be the reason he hit the proverbial wall in the semifinal. With that said, Allen was struggling with the wind – while Kidle cut right through it. The six-time champ, however, was able to prevail, 15-10, 15-13.

The other semi was a rematch of the Boden/Frushour semifinal battle at MB10. 2014 was a high-scoring affair, with Boden closing the door when Frushour had two consecutive bad racks. 2015 was another shootout, with both ballers learning to master to the crosswind that was pushing each rope a foot or two from left-to-right and right-to-left. Boden took game one before Frushour got hot and won the last two games – 13-15, 15-7, 15-10.

FINALS

Boden won bronze with a quick 15-2 victory over Andy Kidle.

Dean Allen and Andy Frushour had met in two previous Finals, with Allen winning at MB4 and Frushour taking gold at MB7. The conditions for this Final, though, were new for these two former champs. The wind picked up more, and in the hour leading up to the championship it had knocked over multiple 10×10 canopies, including BOTH 10×20 endzone tents. Note to self: bring sand bags and stakes next year.

It’s fair to say the wind threw Dean off his game as nothing seemed to stick. Meanwhile, Frushour seemed to excel in the crosswinds (and caught some lucky drops) and took the first game in dominating fashion, 15-1. Allen scored the first 6 points of game two, but that’s all he could muster as Frushour scored the next 15 and took home his second world title.

Video from the final rack shows just how tough the conditions were. Leading 13-6, Frushour had landed two 3s to Allen’s one 3 and had enough points on the rack to win the match. Check out the white tent just prior to Dean’s third toss – the canopy top starts to whip and the tent starts to shake. Dean’s toss was heading toward the right side of the two-bar, but the wind pushed it 3 feet to the right and killed its forward momentum. Needing a 2 on his last toss to stay alive – a toss that Dean can make in his sleep – he was certainly thinking about the wind from the previous throw, but it had died and his final toss completely air-mailed the rack. Frushour’s win makes him only the second player ever to win Worlds multiple times.

FINAL WORDS

People ask every year how long we’ll continue to do this. As long as people keep having fun, and as long as family and friends keep coming and helping with set up and tear down, and as long as my wife and kids allow it, there is no reason to stop. It’s a great event, and I don’t see it stopping any time soon. See you the first Saturday in August 2016!


Leave a Reply