Monday, February 1, 2016
How it oughta go.... Unstoppable Force Meets Immovable Object..
Here is how I see this working itself out. Superman versus Hulk or better known as Dallas West/Fort Worth (also known as Superman) vs NOHO (aka The Hulk). The comic book question of who wins between Hulk and Superman will finally be answered. DC and Marvel finally settle it on the tennis court in Kingwood, Texas.
First, they have to take down a bunch of B-List Superheroes.
I will start with the Dallas Team Flight. The flight has Dallas, Houston, Austin, San Angelo and NETX. We are represented by none other than Tony Le and his High Point based crew. He has a strong team and here is my initial (actually final) breakdown.
At 4.5, he has Jean Nguyen, Alfredo Perez, Marcos Chavez and Sam Huynh. There is a lot to like about that group. I would think when it matters, he will go with Alfredo/Marcos but I would be hard pressed to leave Jean out. Jean has won a lot and is as the Kelly sycophants call him... clutch!
At 4.0, we have a gaggle of reigning 18s and 40s national champs in this group. You have Tony Le, Ryan DelaPaz, Hai Nguyen (not to be confused with Hai Thanh Nguyen as Tony has the better Hai), Victor Tran and Jared Kemp. This is a very strong line any way he decides to go. I would guess that he goes Tony/Ryan because they have been together a long time and I think this is as close to a lock down line as you can ask.
At 3.5, he has Mo Mahmoud, Wei-Bin Lai and Nick Strohla. I'd be lying if I said I knew very much about any of them but I do see where Mahmoud won the 4.0 Cotton Bowl last year and won a lot last year. The others look like guys who won a lot last year too.
Tony can put out three quality lines and in an event that only takes two to win, he has to like his chances in every match.
The flight has usually mighty Houston. In no surprise, Freeman won Houston and looked to have a very strong team. If early indications are correct, Freeman's boys are not representing Houston and are playing dirty pool by playing out of NOHO as Woodlands-Spearman. More on them later. This Houston team got beat by Freeman 2-1. They took a pretty bad beating at 3.5 and 4.0 but won relatively routine (4&4) at 4.5. I would think they are a 4.5 dominated team and hope to win one of those other lines.
Austin is the next team in that flight. I am sure that this team is decent as Austin always puts out a good (usually not great) product. They are captained by a 3.5 and that concerns me. 3.5s usually wouldn't know a good 4.5 if they saw one and are iffy on 4.0s as well. Also, good 4.5s don't like to associate with too many 3.5s. Looking at the players history, it appears to be a notch below Tony and Co.
NETX is here again and looks like the same guys that don't win every year.
San Angelo looks to be ready to bring up the rear. If they are fortunate, they can pull an upset of NETX and stay out of the cellar but this team appears to be a contender for 4.0-3.5-3.0 Tri-Level.
Tony and Co appear to be in the driver's seat and should advance to the finals if he draws his lines out of a hat.
The Other Flight...
This flight has Wild Dallas,Newly Mighty Fort Worth (aka-Dallas West), NOHO, SETX and San Antonio. This is clearly the tougher flight as all of these teams appear to be strong.
Wild Dallas is captained by the interesting Kingsley-Noel combination. This team snatched defeat from the jaws of victory at the city level so I am hoping they make the most of their shot at redemption.
At 4.5, they have the captains of Vince Kingsley and Coredawg5.0 (formerly CoreDawg4.5 but originally CoreDawg5.0 and now CoreDawg5.0 again). They also have the very good but geriatric Robert Barrie. Rounding the team out you have very good 4.5s in Ryan Kirkpatrick and Hector Valentin. I would guess CoreDawg and Barrie play against toughest competition.
4.0s are Mike Sullivan, Craig Waters, Shawn Arcaria and John Sellars. I am not sure what he does but Arcaria and Sullivan beat Tran and Le at the City level. I would guess in the 'big one' this would be the line.
3.5 has Jeff Yarbrough, Jonathaon Wraith, Michael Campbell and Pushkar Chhajed (Random thought--how many names have back to back Hs?). The first three all played in the sectionals finals and Wraith & Campbell got a win over Freeman's mighty 3.5 team. I would have to think that is the line in the 'big one' for this line.
Wild Dallas should compete favorably as long as they make the right decisions. They should have won Dallas and any team that can win Dallas is tough.
Next up is West Dallas (aka Fort Worth)--Also Superman, this team is captained by the brain trust known as Sisk-Rigney. Sisk has been around a long time and I think this is first time he has ventured out of of the friendly confines of Dirty Garland and now he teams up with Dirty Hurst and Wayne Rigney. This joint venture appears to have worked out extremely well. As this team is probably the best team either Sisk or Rigney has assembled.
4.5 has Voldemort Kelly anchoring his 4.5 line. He is joined by very good 4.5s Donnie Pollard and Stephen Shreiner. I would guess at the end of the day, Kelly and Pollard are in the 'big one.' As previously mentioned, I have to wonder if Kelly and Faris aren't actually the best 4.5 line.
4.0 has Scott Faris who laid waste to the competition at 4.0 40s sectionals and nationals. There is Hai Thanh Nguyen ( the lesser Hai Nguyen in this event), the always precocious and controversial Mike Zackary (or is it Zackry, Zacry, Zackery, Zachary....), the even more precocious and controversial (not to mention hard to spell) Alan Abbruzzese, Mark Nguyen, and 1/2 of the team brain trust Wayne Rigney. I would have to guess it will be Faris and ????. All are good players so we will have to wait and see.
3.5 has the 9.0 line of Dong Long and Tam Huynh (1/2 of your 4.5 Cotton Bowl Champions). They are joined by Phat Vu. I have t think ths is the most unbeatable line at the whole event.
NOHO--Hulk is next also known as 'the big one'. This is mostly your Houston city champs that abdicated their Houston spot to play out of NOHO and add a few pieces at 4.0. After winning Houston they move to NOHO. Dallas cannot do this and once again our friends at the DTA handcuff their teams. To make matters worse, the DTA power trip rubbed off on Fort Worth. I actually agree with Houston as the point is to play more tennis and not limit the amount that is played. I just don't think it is fair that everyone doesn't play by the same rules and the DTA works their hardest to ensure we are handicapped. This is a testament to Dallas tennis as we are effectively putting in 2 1/2 teams in sectionals (and FW gets 1/2). Take that Houston!!!
4.5 has a potential Voldemort slayer in Tim Green. He is joined with Antoine Ford, Phong Regent and Conor Holton-Burke. I presume someone with Green will be the line when it matters.
4.0 is an interesting one as they add long time Houston 4.5/5.0 nefarious captain Red Benzon. He was conspicuously missing from the Houston team. I have to believe he is the reason for the move to NOHO. I have to think it is Red and one of Freeman's famous Thursday night guys because that is what the rest of them look like.
3.5 has 4 defending 3.5 national champions but it doesn't matter as none of them can beat FW's mighty 9.0 pair. I would guess Freeman goes with Benedict Wiley and one of the other guys.
SETX may have some of the best 4.5s in the state; they just don't appear to be playing on this team. This team won 2 of 3 doubles lines at sectionals finals against Freeman's mighty 4.5 nationals team but the ones that won are not on the roster. Sadly, that is all they have. The only way they beat one of these other teams is if someone gets injured.
San Antonio is represented by the mighty Borg that does well at sectionals every year and occasionally breaks through. Like SETX, they just don't have the depth of lines to keep up with the big boys. If they were in the other flight, they are fighting it out with Tony for a trip to the finals. As it is, they are eliminated on Friday.
In the end, it will go to West Dallas (aka FWINO--Fort Worth in Name Only). Kelly and partner will be just a little too much for Green and partner. Will Faris and partner be a little too much for Benzon and one of Freeman's Thursday night extras? The biggest question is whether FWINO's 3.5s serve 1 or 2 bagels to NOHO. I guess Superman beats Hulk.
In the Finals, I see no way Tony's crew beat the Sisk-Rigney machine!