Sunday, August 14, 2011

Sectionals Results.

I'm sure most of you know the winners. Congrats to Austin's Eric Strawbridge (who just a couple of years ago was starring at 4.5 Sectionals) and his Austin 5.0 team, Joel Pickett and his Dallas 4.5 team and Jason Freeman and his Houston 4.0 team.

There are just so many teams in 4.5 and 4.0 that putting a winning team together is truly a year-long (or even two years) process for a captain. I know Pickett and Freeman (and Arcaria, Somabut, Benzon and many others) put their hearts and souls and energy (365 days a year) into putting together a team that can win. This year it was Freeman who pushed all the right buttons. There's always some luck involved, but his lineups just seemed to work out perfectly each time. (Yes, Kern, Captain February disappeared this year) I just want to publicly thank him and all of the other people who helped me piggyback my way to Nationals after so many near misses in all of those trips to Sectionals. So, thanks to Freeman, Red, Tuyen Nguyen, Michael Tran, The Chancellor's 4.0 team who was so supportive of us, Cheryl, Diana and all of the others who selflessly helped us achieve our goal. We were able to use six different singles players throughout the weekend, and that singles depth really helped us have some key fresh legs as we got to Sunday.

Props go out to the Houston 5.0 team, who were able to come within a whisker of getting to Nationals. Aadrian Hasker was a beast all weekend long.

A disappointing year for the Houston 4.5 teams. After dominating the state for so long, Houston's 4.5 division is in a down cycle. Pickett's Dallas team was able to win with some significant contributions from a number of recent 4.0 players (Jean Nguyen, Hai Nguyen, Johan Mudsam and others), so one would have thought the door would be open for a Houston team to compete with them, but the Houston teams' rosters were just not strong enough. I expect that next year will be a different story.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Links to Results from Sectionals

Got tired of dancing around tennislink this AM looking for results.

Looks like Htown (Winner, Wild and Noho) are doing well thus far.

From there you can drill down to the level of choice.

Monday, August 8, 2011

No preview this year

Sorry, I've been bogged down with other things and don't have time to preview all of the levels and flights this year. My quick impressions on Houston's teams:

I think the 5.0 team will have its hands full with the Fort Worth and Dallas teams. Austin doesn't look that strong and Noho is a virtual walkover. I've played (and been crushed by) Dallas singles guy Chris Walker (James Blake's half brother) and am curious to see how Hasker will fare in the battle of lefties. I've seen Walker wear down in the heat, but Hasker looked gassed in the afternoon heat yesterday as well.

The Hurricane 4.5 team has certainly benefited from some very friendly flights this year. Their success at Sectionals depends greatly on the aforementioned young singles guys on the Corpus team. Many of the Corpus players (Barre, Whitehurst, Shandy, et al.) have been traveling to Dallas for Sectionals for a decade or so, and are competent players, but the eligibility of the youngsters will decide whether the team is a factor or not. The Canes may make it to Sunday, but they will be huge underdogs to go any further.

The Lakeside 4.5 team got stuck in a tough bracket. Dallas, San Antonio and the Valley fill out their flight. Will Hess and Bui play singles in each match? Lakeside has three lines that can compete with most teams and will be dangerous, but I just don't see them emerging from this tough pool.

The Chancellor's 4.0 team has been practicing very hard getting ready for the heat in Dallas. Bao Hangoc, Tuan Tran, Minh Hoang and Cuong Truong, among others, all braved the afternoon heat at Memorial Park for hours yesterday and seem accustomed to outdoor play. As you probably know, 4.0 Sectional pools are one team bigger than 4.5 flights, so a champion is required to play 6 matches in three days. Chancellor's has shown little depth in singles. Can Hoang and Truong play two singles matches each day and be at their best?

The Hurricane 4.0 team could have a similar problem. Singles depth should not be a factor for the 'Canes, as they have a number of quality singles players. The overall depth is a question mark, however. The team has a number of young players who (one would think) should not be affected by two matches a day in the heat.

Monday, August 1, 2011

For those headed to Dallas

For those headed to Dallas for sectionals at any level I wish you well in playing that 4p match.

This was taken on 75 near Spring Creek after being in the car for 20mins.

Fluid up and hope you have 18 capable players on your roster.

Best of luck to all!