2015 Beach Championships: Day One

Posted: May 3, 2015 03:47 AM

The first day of the inaugural USA Ultimate Beach Championships has come to an end. (see day 2 recap)

After a storm passing through caused difficult "field" conditions all day Friday, all Saturday games were pushed back an hour to allow the tide to push back out and Port-a-fields to be laid down in not-30-mile-per-hour-winds.


Saturday began with a consistent, strong breeze that created upwind-downwind situations for most of the day, but as the afternoon came to a close, the wind died down and became very manageable for all teams.

This year’s Beach Championships has a wide array of athletes and teams, ranging from those who are at championship-level events every year to those who might end up marking down this weekend as their only championship appearance. Initially, the wind helped draw some stark lines between those teams – those who could manage the wind were much more successful than those with less experience. A combination of these factors created some not-so-close games and not many upsets. But there were still a few nailbiters.


In the men’s division, only two teams tallied upsets in pool play, which kept the remaining 12 teams in their initial seeded spots. Overall one seed, And the Warhawks (Boston Ironside and friends), had two close wins on the day, 13-11 and 13-12, but managed to hang on to their top spot. I have it on good, perhaps slightly biased, authority that Josh "Cricket" Markette is the "best player on the beach" this weekend, so maybe he’ll help get them to the finals tomorrow afternoon.

The division’s other one seeds all finished the day undefeated in convincing fashion. Tim Morrill’s Humiliswag might be the most prepared team in Virginia Beach this weekend. The team has been training specifically for this event and are hoping to use that edge to win a championship. But first they’ll have to get by the Ring of Fire-heavy Right Coast in what will likely be their semifinal match up. Right Coast cruised to three big wins on day one. The last top seed, Yetis on the Beach in Pool D, also looked head and shoulders above their competition today, finishing their three games of pool play with a +27 point differential.

What looks likely to be a chalk set of semifinal match ups tomorrow should be fun to watch.

Photo: Kevin Leclaire/Ultiphotos


The mixed division includes the most teams that actually compete in similar forms during the club regular season: Illegal Seafood, Evorg, The Kevin Seiler Experience, The Sandlot, Beachboat, Pluff Mud Panic and others have cores who compete together on a regular basis which showed during today’s competition. The teams all had to recalibrate their games to work on the beach, putting a little more touch on their throws and waiting an extra second to account for slower cuts on the beach, but team chemistry was often obvious.

Evorg, an almost-backwards spelling of San Francisco Groove, got better and better as the day went on. By the time they reached the last round of pool play, they were firing on all cylinders and managed to upset the overall top seed, Illegal Seafood (Boston Slow White and friends). Houston’s No Tsu Oh, the overall three seed, was upset by Los Angeles Point Break late in pool play, the only other big upset of the day in the division. The Texans rebounded in the crossover round and will face a tough Fog City (San Francisco) squad in the quarterfinals tomorrow morning.

Photo: Jolie Lang/Ultiphotos


In the women’s division, The Mussels of Seattle ended the day as the clear favorites to take home championships tomorrow. Anyone who has glanced at their roster isn’t surprised – a Seattle Riot core with a few friends from Washington, D.C. Scandal and a couple other top-end talents make them a who’s who of the current women’s game. Among them are five World Games gold medalists, and countless world and national championship winners.

The Mussels’ strongest competition will likely come from the overall two seed in the division, Skeeahreet, a team largely comprised of Boston Brute Squad athletes. Both teams convincingly won their pools and, barring something crazy, will meet in the finals tomorrow afternoon.

Photo: Kevin Leclaire/Ultiphotos

Mixed Masters

The mixed masters division saw the most upheaval based on original seeds, but the two pools’ top seeds held steady. The overall one seed, North Carolina’s Swamp Rats, are a Ring of Fire-Backhoe-Boneyard-Phoenix-and-friends conglomeration from all over the state. They’ll likely meet up with second-seeded Over the Hill at the end of the day tomorrow. The D.C. area team is headlined by a Scandal-heavy women’s line.

The rest of the division spent the day jockeying for position. Most notably, the original bottom seed in the division, Rochester, N.Y.’s Overrated, pulled off two upsets in pool play to move up to the second spot in Pool A. The move earned them a quarterfinal matchup against Brooklyn’s Shostakovich (and the Angry Buddha).

Photo: Kevin Leclaire/Ultiphotos

Grand Masters


The six-team grand masters division may have had the highest percentage of close games on day one, but they had their share of blowout wins as well. Overall one seed and what seems like perennial champions of whatever event they are competing in, Vermont’s No Country, had two one-point victories to start the day. North Carolina’s Alchemy gave them a scare in the first round, forcing double-game point after the hard-cap horn blew. They had a couple near misses on the final point but managed to hang on and pull out the win. They had a similar game against Chicago Sandblast in the second round, holding on to win 9-8.

Each team has one more game in pool play on Sunday morning before heading into the semifinals in bracket play. It looks like No Country might have to hold off Alchemy one more time late tomorrow if they want to add another championship trophy to their case.

Photo: Paul Andris/Ultiphotos


Day one of the 2015 Beach Championships had an almost festive feel. Many athletes who are accustomed to playing against one another took the field together this morning in Virginia Beach. Other teams that have been playing together on grass for years are taking advantage of this opportunity to move their game to the beach. Thousands of people who might not otherwise see ultimate being played saw the sport as they passed by on the boardwalk, many stopping to watch and experience the game.

Tomorrow promises to bring even more great match ups and big plays. Sunday’s forecast for Virginia Beach looks almost perfect – sunny skies and low winds – and the athletes look ready to take advantage of their time playing on the sand.

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Photo: Kevin Leclaire/Ultiphotos

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