40s sectionals has appeared to be somewhat of a success in Dallas. Even though, I notice the players look a lot like the guy above. They are a little overweight and have a little thinner hair. What they do have is experience and I have noticed how strong some of these doubles players can be I see very small drop offs in doubles as compared to 18+. As for singles, if you are a 40 year old singles players, you are worth Homer Simpson's weight in gold.
Dallas 4.5 has a pretty tough flight. Aside from Abilene, who only has nine players on their roster and only had to beat one team to get there, there are some strong, traditional powers. The Austin team with a 19 man roster has the tools to work with. My question with all these big roster teams is does the captain end up overthinking his options. [Editor’s note: Austin played with Early Start Ratings, which is a nice advantage. I would also note that evidently the DTA told people in our 40s league that we moved to a January start because USTA Texas didn’t want any more early start leagues. Odd that USTA Texas (read Austin) is pushing everyone else to get rid of ESL leagues but the Austin league itself still uses them.] As with Abilene, Austin has a small league with only three teams but I’d bet on them being tough. San Antonio was barely challenged getting out of cities with a 44-6 line record and should be tough as well. Waco is interesting. They only played one team (three matches, 15 lines) and lost 25 games total. Of course there were a lot of defaulted matches, a lot. Only nine lines were played all season. That was 13 spots to get 11 people a match. Looks like Sanders did someone a favor so there would be another team to play. All in all, very little to analyze through the regular season but it looks like Austin and San Antonio will be tough. And Plano’s very own JD Miles must think enough of the Waco team to drive down there for his match so it will be interesting to see how they do. I still like Dallas to get out of their flight but Austin is mighty tough.
On the other side of the draw, Dallas West might have a little easier way of it, particularly with Houston being a bit off their stride at 4.5 this year in 18s. Rossouw will need the big bus for his 24 man team to roll into San Antonio but he does have some very nice options to choose from. Would I be too much of a homer if I asked for a Dallas versus Dallas West final? It just feels like these boys have some unfinished business this year so I’d like to see it and I bet they would too.
I like Dallas West to bring home a championship towel and Marc finally gets his coveted trip to nationals. The good news is the Move/Up split up rule is being repealed next year so his 24 players will be able to find homes.
At 4.0, Dallas has a tough flight as well with NOHO and NETX both having well balanced teams. The Valley looks to be a little soft but if you don’t make it through NOHO and NETX on Friday it won’t matter. NOHO made the semis last year and looks to have added a very good singles player. NETX is always tough and they appear to be loaded with 18+ sectionals players.
Dallas Wild surprised some people at cities but I don’t see them getting past Houston. No shame in that, no one may get past Houston this year. I like Dallas to make the semis against San Antonio and Houston to play Austin.
I like Dallas to get to the finals and take home a finalist towel and the mighty Houston machine makes another trip to the desert. Dallas has good 4.0s. They have very good 4.0s but do they have anyone that is capable of being a difference maker at 4.5? I don't think so and Houston chooses a different path... They get players that are difference makers at the higher level and we appear to be playing a little too clean to compete.
Good luck to all the competitors and hopefully no injuries.