2016 U.S. Open - Day One Mixed Recap

Posted: July 1, 2016 06:36 PM
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The fifth-annual U.S. Open Championships are underway in Kingston, R.I.

Thirty-four teams across the men's, mixed and women's divisions are competing to take home the first leg of the 2016 Triple Crown Tour.

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That’s rust. Or at least one of the various chemical equations for it. Rust isn’t something you really want to see on an ultimate field, but it was pretty prevalent today. Miscommunications, errant throws, drops, questionable decisions – you name it, it happened somewhere on the fields in Rhode Island today. 

It’s the beginning of the season, teams have turnover, they haven’t played much (or at all) together this year – they’re all reasonable explanations for teams not playing perfect games today. Plus there were some tricky weather conditions to deal with – gusty winds came and went throughout the day; rain threatened but thankfully never materialized. 

Teams did seem to settle in as the day wore on, cutting down on the miscues and starting to play some good ultimate. In particular, the top teams everyone expected to do well heading into the weekend seemed to figure themselves out by the last round of the day, shaking off some of the rust, just in time to face each other. 


Pool A

2015TCT Scandal   2015TCT Scandal   MetroNorth   AMP   2015TCT Scandal   Panama
Drag'n Thrust
  Polar Bears
  Metro North


Metro North was one team that quickly picked up where they left off last year. They finished the day 3-0, including two solid wins against Drag’n Thrust and AMP. For their part, Drag’n Thrust started off slowly before they started looking like they had remembered they are the three-time defending national champions. The slow start isn’t totally new for Drag’n – they dropped a game at the U.S. Open last year too and took some time to get going at Nationals, eking out more than one win in Texas last October. But they are still the three-time defending champions. They lost to Metro North in tournament’s first round and found themselves down in a 0-3 hole against Union in the second round, but turned things around after that. They went on to win that game against Union with a 13-2 run and followed it up with a win over the Polar Bears. All teams have turnover between seasons, but it was a bear of a year for the San Franciscans (pun totally intended). Ten new faces are on the roster this year, with a couple others returning after some time away, and the transition was clear on the field today. Turnovers were commonplace, and the team ended the day doing a basic partner throwing drill after their last game to get some extra touches. They’ll need some serious help from other teams if they are going to make the semifinals after their 1-2 day. Meanwhile, AMP had a strong start to their second U.S. Open appearance. They eased into the day against Panamá. The first several points were a little rough around the edges for AMP, but after 2-2, they found their footing and ran away with it 15-4. They got their second win against the Polar Bears before falling to Metro North 15-13 in a great game. The international teams had a tough first day at the U.S. Open. Union’s only win came in the last round against Panamá, who didn’t tally a victory on the day. 


Pool B

2015TCT Scandal   2015TCT Scandal   2013TCT AmbiguouslyGrey   2015TCT Scandal   2014TCT Noise   Colombia
Seattle Mixtape
  Slow White
  Ambiguous Grey
  Wild Card


Pool B largely played out to expectations on day one. Mixtape, the pool’s top seed, went undefeated but not without a couple challenges, first from NOISE, then from Slow White. They defeated Ambiguous Grey handily in the first round 15-7, then came out flat for their second game against NOISE. The ease of their first game likely had a hand in that, but whatever the reason, NOISE jumped out to a 7-3 lead before Mixtape got themselves together. They turned up their defensive intensity and put together an impressive 5-1 run, tying the game at 8-8. While many teams may have crumbled after the run, NOISE stayed tough and kept themselves in the game. Even after a dropped pull could have essentially put the game away for Mixtape, NOISE hung tight. Mixtape did eventually get that break, but it took them five chances to do it, and NOISE responded with a quick hold. In the end, no one from NOISE could really stop Khalif El-Salaam entirely. No surprise he was on the field a lot after they had dug themselves a hole, and he certainly helped them come back. Henry Phan, Lucy Williams and Claire Revere also had good games for Seattle. Honorable mention to the post-flick-huck Michael Jordan-esque fadeaway backpedals from Cam Bailey. The battle with NOISE set Mixtape up well for their third game of the day against Slow White. Both teams knew that match up would be a grind and came focused and ready to play. Between them, there was only one break in the first half. The high-level play continued before Mixtape finally sealed it 15-12. That was Slow White’s one loss of the day, having already defeated NOISE 15-11 and taking the oh-so-familiar crosstown rivalry against Wild Card 15-7. Adding Tannor Johnson to their O-line certainly made an impact for Slow White. He was a big target downfield for handlers like Jeff Smith and Alex Trahey all day. When El-Salaam matched up with him in their game against Mixtape, Johnson was slightly less of a threat, but was enough to keep El-Salaam from doing too much help defense or poaching. Regardless, Slow White looked solid on day one and should be a lock for the semifinals. Ambiguous Grey and Voltaje had slightly less successful days, at least according to their records. Grey got one win (against Voltaje), but both played solid games, which can only help them going forward in their seasons. 

Looking Ahead

The mixed division will finish up their last two rounds of pool play tomorrow before heading into the championship and placement brackets on Sunday. The AMP v. Drag’n Thrust game tomorrow morning at 9:30 will be the one to watch as the teams battle for the second spot in the pool. The current top team, Metro North, will be hoping to emerge from pool play with a perfect 5-0 record, but they’ll have to go through the Polar Bears and Union to do it. In Pool B, Wild Card will need to win their first game of the day against Mixtape if they want to keep their chances the semifinals alive. But right now, Mixtape and Slow White look like good bets to take the top two spots in the pool and advance to semis. 

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