6th Annual Carolina Classic Recap
Another Carolina Classic is in the books. From what we could gather, it sounds like everyone had a great time! Here were the big winners:
Nostrand (1st) Event: The 51905s (Kingsville, Ont.) - Frank Willoughby, Debbie Willoughby, Hugh McLeod, Julia McLeod
Hartman (2nd) Event: The Expats (Ancaster, Ont.) - Tony Westermann, Brandon Corbett, Jake Baillie, Greg Fidler
Macartney (3rd) Event: Pittsburgh - Brian Stuart, Al Tarkka, Jacki Temple, Neill Turner
Greensboro (4th) Event: New Pond/Pittsburgh - Rich Ashford, Keith Scott, Ian Webb, Derek Satterfield
Let's start with the overall winners. In our preview, we focused mostly on our two most recent champions, but we also hedged our bets a little: "There are also some teams who will be participating in their very first Classic this year from some well established curling clubs, you know, 'up north'. Those teams are the wildcards in all of this." The Kingsville team was among those we were thinking of there, and the "51905s" (so named because their team hails from area codes 519 and 905) played great throughout the weekend. They downed the defending champions Team Ashford in the semifinals, scoring what was likely the highest scoring end of the weekend (6) to erase an early 4-0 deficit. The championship game against Charlotte (skipped by Dave DeFehr) was also tightly contested: tied after 6 ends, a Kingsville steal of 3 in the 7th end effectively sealed the win and their first Classic title in as many attempts. But a tip of the hat to the Charlotte team as well: they were extremely worthy finalists, and the championship game could have gone either way, as the outcome hinged on just a few key shots.
Meanwhile, Pittsburgh's Team Ashford had to settle for a win in the 4th Event Final against two-time champions "Dark and Stormy" (Detroit), in a rematch of the 2011 final. These two teams had dominated the last three Classics, but between the Kingsville and Charlotte teams, have they finally met their match? Perhaps. But still, we think Dark and Stormy's 13-game winning streak in the Classic (ended by Charlotte in the semifinals) is going to go uncontested for a while. We know it'll stand up for at least one more year, because this being Kingsville's first year at the Classic, their winning streak is only at 4*.
(* - In a 24-team tournament, you have 16 teams on the "long" side of the bracket who have to win five games, and 8 teams on the "short" side of the bracket who get a first round bye and only have to win four games. Since the Classic expanded to 24 teams in 2010, this is the first year in which the eventual winner came from the "short" side of the bracket rather than the "long" side.)
Congratulations are also due for the 2nd and 3rd Event winners. Another Ontario-based team, "The Expats", dropped their opening game to one of the Triangle teams. But the Expats then won their next three, defeating the Potomac/Triangle team (skipped by FL Ettlin, who hasn't missed a Classic yet, by the way) to take the 2nd Event title.
And actually, the Kingsville team isn't the only team leaving the Classic on a four-game winning streak. Team Stuart from Pittsburgh lost to the eventual champions early Saturday morning, sending them to the depths of the 3rd Event. There, they went on to win four straight, including a win over pre-bonspiel favorites "Whitney's Sampler" in the 3rd Event Final. The 3rd Event Finalists each played ended up playing six games this weekend; that's 12 hours of curling out of a span of 48 hours.
And finally, a big thank you to all of our volunteers, who once again helped make our latest Classic a success.
We'll see you next year!