2015 U.S. Open Championships - Men's Division Preview

Posted: July 1, 2015 09:20 PM


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The fourth-annual U.S. Open Championships are set to take place this weekend, July 2-5, in West Chester, Ohio.

Thirty-six teams across the men's, mixed and women's divisions will compete to take home the first leg of the 2015 Triple Crown Tour.

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In the lead up to the 2016 WFDF World Ultimate and Guts Championships, international teams are looking to gain any extra experience possible, particularly against teams from the United States. Men’s teams from Canada, Colombia, Great Britain and Germany have made the trek to West Chester, Ohio, to pit themselves against some of the best teams America has to offer at the 2015 U.S. Open Championships.

Canadian squads GOAT and Furious George have both been competing in the USA Ultimate championship series for years and are very familiar with what they’ll experience this weekend. Great Britain is comprised largely of Clapham Ultimate players who made the trip to the 2014 U.S. Open and faced off against several American teams at WUCC last year, so they’re becoming more and more familiar with U.S. teams and their styles of play. Team Colombia has been making strides to build the ultimate program in their country for the last several years and is making a fourth consecutive appearance at the U.S. Open. On the other hand, Germany’s Inside Rakete is making their first trip to the event.

It’s going to be a great weekend with tons of great competition and interesting match-ups.

Pool A

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Johnny Bravo
  Ring of Fire
  Truck Stop
  Furious George
  Inside Rakete


Defending national champions Denver Johnny Bravo sit in the top spot in the men’s division. After a big and (rightfully) much-talked-about year in 2014, Bravo lost a few big names: Kurt Gibson, Brett Matzuka, Jack McShane, etc. But despite those losses, they still have a strong, solid roster in 2015. It will be interesting to see them match up against teams like Ring of Fire and Truck Stop, the pool’s two and three seeds, respectively. Ring of Fire scrapped and clawed to a semifinal finish at last year’s National Championships, surprising most everyone but themselves along the way. They sustained comparatively minimal roster turnover, which should serve them well in 2015, but they have also already encountered some early season injuries. As they did last year, surely in large part thanks to Coach Mike DeNardis, expect Ring to reach their peak form later in the year.

Like Bravo 2014, Truck Stop has already made some noise this year, before the season really even begins, thanks to their big-name, off-season pick-ups. Nicky Spiva makes the move after several years with Atlanta Chain Lightning, Nate Castine joins Truck after eight seasons with Seattle Sockeye, and Seth Wiggins makes his move to the east-coast team after many years playing with some of the best teams on the west coast, including Revolver, Sockeye and Rhino. It will be interesting to see how the team comes together in 2015. They’ll have some help in that department from new coach Mike LoPresti who is fresh off of helping lead Scandal to two consecutive women’s division titles.  

PoNY, Furious George and Inside Rakete round out Pool A. PoNY has been one of the most fun teams to follow at the last couple National Championships (and on their Twitter feed the rest of the year), but they haven’t been able to break through to the upper echelon. They are athletic and young. They have three people on their U.S. Open roster over the age of 30 (two of them are 31), and more than half their roster is 25 or younger. If they can figure out how to channel their athleticism into a consistent game plan, they’ll be dangerous. Furious George has had a rough few years. The noteworthy program that has won three U.S. national championships hasn’t seen the semifinals since 2006 and finished 13th last year. They left Minnesota in sixth place after last year’s U.S. Open. Perhaps this year will be the start of a resurgence, but they’re bringing a small roster of only 18 to Ohio this weekend which likely won’t exactly help. Inside Rakete has been slowly building their national team program over the last several years. After making trips to the European Championships, as well as playing against British teams like Clapham Ultimate, they are ready to make their first trip stateside to take on U.S. teams. They’ll be focused on those same priorities this weekend – gaining experience, learning and building their program – and not as much on their win-loss record. Their first game of the weekend against PoNY should be a good one to watch as they get an idea of where they stand.

Pool B

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  Great Britain
  Team Colombia


Pool B could belong to anyone when the end of pool play rolls around on Friday afternoon. Ironside will start the weekend atop the pool, but the past kings of roster consistency have been dealt a new hand this year. Departures like those of George Stubbs, Brandon Malecek, Brian Garcia and Matt Rebholz (who is now one of the team’s coaches), among others, have left them with an entirely new look. But maybe the shake-up will be a good thing for them in the long run. Despite reaching the semifinals or finals of every National Championships and U.S. Open since they were established in 2008, they haven’t been able to take home a championship. They’ll have their work cut out for them, with a start against Revolver.

No team likes to look at their pool and see Revolver sitting in the third spot. After their surprising upset in the pre-quarterfinals at the National Championships last year, Revolver closed their tournament strong and finished fifth, which is why they’re in the five spot this weekend. But don’t expect them to stay there for long. Revolver returns nearly their entire roster from last year – an incredibly talented roster that just gave GOAT a little too much leeway in Frisco last October. Just to keep things particularly interesting, GOAT is also in Pool B in Ohio this weekend. They’ll face Revolver for the first time since Nationals in the first round of the day on Saturday. Most of their big playmakers are back in 2015 – players like Remi Ojo, Jeff Lindquist, Adrian Yearwood and Cam Harris – but while Anatoly Vasilyev is on their roster for the year, it looks like he’ll miss the U.S. Open. His absence will definitely be noticeable for GOAT.

After arriving at the National Championships last year as the 15 seed, Temper surprised people by going 2-1 in pool play before falling to a tough Truck Stop team in the pre-quarterfinals. The first-year team left Frisco in 12th place. This year, they’ve merged with Pittsburgh Dire Wolf, only expanding their talent pool from which to draw. With most of the roster consisting of current or former Pittsburgh En Sabah Nur players, this is a team that will not have to worry about chemistry any time soon, and most of their firepower from 2014 is back, lending even further credence to that theory. It’s early in the year for most teams competing at the U.S. Open, but Temper won’t have quite as many of the early season issues typical for most teams.

Like Inside Rakete, Great Britain is another interesting international team to keep an eye on – they are just a few years ahead of their European counterparts on the development timeline. British men’s teams have been traveling to the states for several years to add to their experience – before the U.S. Open, it was events like Chesapeake Invite that tempted them across the Atlantic to test their mettle. Last year in Minnesota, Clapham Ultimate earned wins over Colombia team Evolution and Furious George. Although they didn’t tally a win over a U.S. team, none of the games were blowouts – they scored in double digits each of their games. A baker’s dozen of the guys who were in Minnesota last year have made the trip to Ohio in 2015. Between last year’s experience at the U.S. Open and Clapham’s showing at WUCC last year (which included a double-game point game against Revolver), a lot of these athletes have that much more quality experience under their belts heading into this weekend.

Team Colombia rounds out Pool B. The Colombians are making their fourth straight appearance at the U.S. Open. So far, they’ve had a tough run, winning just a few games over the past three years. They often struggle against the deep games of American teams – particularly as a result of height differences. But they have continued to work and improve each year and have spent a solid amount of time with American teams and coaches during the off-season. They’ll kick off their weekend against Temper on Friday morning.


No matter who you’re rooting for, settle in for a weekend of great ultimate, athleticism and excitement, all with an international flair.

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