Sunday, July 14, 2019

2019 TCL Conference Tourney Observations

By now most of us have gathered our senses and caught up on some rest from the Texas Cornhole League's 9th Conference Tournament held recently in Abilene, TX. I am not so sure I can put my old self in that category as I still have lingering issues...I call it my "Cornhole Coma"! There is so much to talk about with this event I'm not so sure I know where I want to begin. I suppose I can start with Friday which had the Singles Events as well as the Women's Doubles. One thing I've noticed the past year or so is just how good everyone has become. Men, Women, it doesn't matter, everyone can flat out play it seems. If you don't throw well, there is a good chance you will be looking for your keys so you can make your way to your truck! In the Open Singles there were some early round upsets including Stuart Foster losing his 3rd round match and John Watson scoring a big 2nd round win over Johnny Seymour. In the Social Singles Chase Jackson the number 1 seed lost his 2nd round match to Sean Weatherford and Phillip Richardson the number 2 seed also lost his 2nd round match. In the Senior Singles the top 4 seeds made it to the winners bracket semis but maybe the most impressive performance may have been the run Dean Parker made. After losing his first round match to Johnny Seymour, Parker made a bag change and proceeded to win 6 straight loser bracket games to reach the finals. Christina Espinosa again won the Women's title beating Debra Odum who threw very well losing only to Espinosa. A couple of other ladies had very good runs as well including Amy Valdez and Leeann Hartline. Valdez in her first state tourney lost in the 3rd round to Debra Odum then won 4 elimination games before losing to Odum in a game that would have put her in the finals had she won. Hartline also lost to Odum early in the winners side then won 5 in a row before losing to Valdez. This was Friday folks!

Saturday was..well, Saturday. I arrived at the venue early to find the parking lot fairly full and I thought it was odd that this many players would be there this early. I soon found out that there were several...I mean several people already dressed in Renaissance type garb and others were getting dressed either in they're vehicles or putting on the final parts of their costumes outside their cars. As I walked towards the front door I saw many others in full blown musketeer outfits and medieval dresses. For a moment I thought I may have been in the wrong building but I eventually made my way to the tournament, without having any run ins with any wooden sword toting dudes or having any Knights wanting me to joust!

Saturday was mostly filled with Doubles Events along with some drop down Singles Events and ending with all the Championship matches. Mark Rubio and Eli Gonzalez had the most impressive run finishing second to Josh Groce and A J Sims in the Open Doubles. They took out several really good teams including Stuart Foster and Joe Arrington, Eddie Grinderslev and Kenneth Johnston and a hot throwing duo of Peyton Welch and Tristan Janca. In the Social Doubles Brittney Arrington and Toni Cranford made it to the winners bracket semi finals before losing to Ernest Monarca and Mitch Ryan. I'd say this would be the best finish for Arrington and Cranford in a TCL Signature Event. In the Open Singles Josh Groce beat Todd Bridgeman to get the win after losing to Bridgeman on Friday. These performances were what I'd say were the top highlights from the weekend.

Abeline provided us with many exciting moments and was once again a great host. I personally enjoyed my weekend getting to see many friends from all across the state and meeting new players as well. This was the end of the 9th TCL season and man it was a good one! Lots of new players stepping up and competing as well as all the top players who continue to get better. Have a good summer everyone and I look forward to seeing you all again soon at the next event!

Throw 'em straight y'all!

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