2015 U.S. Open Championships - Mixed Division Day One Recap

Posted: July 2, 2015 08:18 PM


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The fourth-annual U.S. Open Championships are underway in West Chester, Ohio.

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

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Day one of the 2015 U.S. Open Championships is in the books, and it didn’t take long for teams in the mixed division to start defining themselves in this early season tournament. Through an overcast and moderately windy day, all teams were fighting hard to quickly develop chemistry against fierce competition. The new 12-team format for the U.S. Open had the mixed division with only two rounds of scheduled games on Thursday, creating a perfect opportunity for everyone to get their feet wet and regroup before the conclusion of pool play on Friday.

Out of 12 games played, only three of the results were upsets according to original seeding, with the biggest surprise coming from Australia’s Ellipsis, who earned two impressive victories against American BBQ and Polar Bears in Pool A. The other upset came in the first round of Pool B when Slow White pulled away from Seattle Mixtape. The most notable game that actually did play to seed was a narrow victory by Drag’n Thrust in the first round against Polar Bears in Pool A. All that being said, there is still plenty of room for movement between the teams with three rounds of pool play left to play tomorrow, as everyone fights for position heading into Saturday’s placement brackets.

All together, day one was a great introduction to these top-quality teams with much to be learned from each game. There will undoubtedly be more exciting action as the tournament continues, but first let’s take a closer look at these early games.

Pool A

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Drag'n Thrust
  Wild Card
  Polar Bears
  American BBQ


Pool A started with the highly anticipated match-up between Drag’n Thrust and Polar Bears. The game did not disappoint, leading off with a hard-fought break by Polar Bears to open the game. Drag’n responded and eventually took half, up 8-6. Late in the second half, Drag’n’s Mike Clark made an amazing layout grab on a deep huck to preserve the point and help put Drag’n up 13-10. They appeared to have the game under control. But the Polar Bears did not let up, scoring three in a row and even gaining possession of the disc with the score tied at 13-13. Drag’n got the disc back and scored, followed by a Polar Bears score, setting up a final point knotted at 14s. Drag’n’s experience showed as they worked the disc down the field without any turnovers, eventually scoring on a throw from Carlos Wolfe to Austin Lien for the win. In the end, Drag’n had too much depth for the Polar Bears to match, with 12 different Drag’n players scoring.

Drag’n Thrust carried that momentum into their second game against cross-town Minneapolis opponent Bird. Despite getting broken again to start off the game with a bookend D and score by Bird’s Nihal Bhakta, Drag’n recovered and went on to win 14-9. They finished the day 2-0, but Drag’n will still have their work cut out tomorrow against the remaining teams in Pool A.

In the other first-round games in Pool A, Wild Card got a convincing 15-9 win over Bird who was experiencing their first U.S. Open action. Ellipsis also came away with an equally surprising and impressive 15-6 victory, putting away American BBQ early (taking half 8-3 in less than 30 minutes) and not looking back.

That leaves two second-round games in Pool A: Wild Card v. American BBQ and Ellipsis v. Polar Bears. Wild Card and American BBQ battled early with hard-fought points up through a score of 4-4. Then Wild Card increased their pressure and scored four straight to take half 8-4. In the end, Wild Card pulled away 15-6, finishing the game on an 11-2 run and completing a perfect day one. On the other side, Ellipsis proved that their first win was no fluke. Utilizing a vertical stack offense, Ellipsis was on the attack from the start and took half 8-4. The Polar Bears fought back to tie the game at 8s and were as close at 11-10 late before Ellipsis closed the door. Ellipsis scored the final four points, winning 15-10 and also completing a perfect day one.

Pool A is now split in half with three teams sitting at 2-0 and three teams searching for a win at 0-2. The beauty of the format is that now all of these teams will have to start crossing over. Friday will lead off with an intriguing game between Drag’n Thrust and Ellipsis at 9:00am.

Pool B

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Seattle Mixtape
  The Chad Larson Experience
  Slow White
  Team Colombia


Team experience was apparently the key to success on day one in Pool B. The two teams with significantly more years as programs than the rest, CLX and Slow White, had what it took and were the only teams to remain undefeated through two rounds. CLX started with a gritty 15-12 win against Union. Their ability to mix zone defenses with man defensive pressure as well as adjust on offense to any situation helped them close out a win in which they were up as much as 10-5. Familiar faces such as Kevin Seiler, Jon Staron and Kurt Brorsen provided the stability that makes CLX unflappable. CLX followed up their first win with a solid 15-5 victory against Cahoots to get to 2-0 on the day.

Slow White had to face the challenge of an extremely athletic and offensively aggressive team in the form of Seattle Mixtape in the first round. Seattle Mixtape continued the style of play that brought them success at the National Championships in Frisco last fall, being willing to take chances and make plays. No player better embodies this style of play for Seattle than Khalif El-Salaam, who was making plays again today. However, Slow White was prepared for Seattle’s style of play and, after trailing 2-4 early, weathered the storm. Seattle started missing on some of their deep looks, and Slow White refused to give it back each time. Eventually, Slow White’s patience won out to the tune of 15-9. Slow White also successfully followed up their first win with a quick victory against Team Colombia, 15-5, getting to 2-0, along with CLX in Pool B.

In the other two games of Pool B, Cahoots defeated Team Colombia 14-9 in the first round and Seattle Mixtape beat Union 14-11 in the second round. Cahoots was simply able to wear down Team Colombia in a close game, while Team Colombia continued to adjust to the pace of the American game. Team Colombia never let the scores of any game rattle their spirits though, as cheers of "Ooo, ooo, ahh, Colombia, Ooo, ooo, ahh, Colombia!" were heard throughout the day. The game between Seattle Mixtape and Union was fast paced with many turnovers, as both teams looked to attack the deep space. In the end, Seattle was able to hold on late and get their first victory of the season.

Pool B still has a lot of room for movement come Friday, but as it stands right now, the marquee match-up should be first thing in the morning when CLX and Slow White square off at 9:00am.


As expected, the level of play was extremely competitive all day, and every round was a challenge for teams as they simultaneously had to develop their own team chemistry while trying to adjust to the pressure of their opponent. With a couple rounds complete, one can only hope that the excitement continues to progress throughout the weekend.

Friday will be a longer day for the mixed division. With three rounds of competition scheduled, teams will be playing from 9:00am to almost 6:00pm. As the games press on, it will be interesting to see which teams step up and earn their spots in the weekend’s placement brackets. As spectators, we all get to enjoy some of the most exciting ultimate of the season!

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