2001 Virginia States
Just got back from the twenty-fifth VA States Overall Championships. The weather was unusally cooperative this year. Sun blazing and light, but swirling wind conditions throughout the weekend! The one hundred and ten competitors feasted at Lazlo’s Weiner World with uncomparable fare at more than reasonable prices. If you haven’t been to the largest east coast event as a competitor, you don’t know what you’re missing. The operative word is FUN and casual atmosphere. This year Sunday was graced by a live band which rocked the field throughout the afternoon.
Related to the freestyle portion of the event, several specialists showed up to strut their stuff in front of the very receptive VA crowd. There were fourteen teams and the pools were judged using a rank judging system. Time and again, judges in Virginia seem to give the nod to those top-notch presentational routines, and this year was no exception. Four females participated in the open freestyle format, in which three advanced to the seven team final round.
The appearance of two freestyle legends, Joey and Erwin made the event extra special. The preliminary rounds were much hotter than that of the finals…but certainly there were some highlights within the final round even with lower execution scores.
Bob, Jack and Randy had to scratch their final appearance due to a mishap suffered by Bob in the prelims. He had to be carted off to the hospital for a seperated shoulder injury. Nikki, Deanna and Richhi put on their patented presentational routine. It’s always fun to see these three hit so many standing gitises (or is plural giti?) that you tend to believe that this is their “bail” move! (Wish I had a bail move like that in my pocket!)
Dale and Phil dusted off their routine to show some creative co-oping. Phil had some moments of smooth disc work, while Dale displayed his powerful spinning catches. However, both had too many drops in order to seed bust beyond the 5th place spot. Erwin, Judy and Eric put some flowing co-ops together that they hit solidly from the get-go. Erwin shined and demonstrated some powerful double spinning flying catches, as well as many sweet body roll combinations. Judy threw in a few big spinning toe tipping moves along with her own big flying gitis catch. Eric was able to show some solid jam time even though he had hip replacement surgery two years ago. But too many drops plagued Judy and Eric’s performances which restricted them from breaking into the top three places. Playing next was Harvey and Tom Lasher. Tom shredded the field with many consecutive individual moves. He made the crowd roar when he hit a smoking double spinning crow catch and a very graceful combination into a blistering spinning flamingitis catch. Harvey played solidly as well with some rolling and brushing combinations to complement Lash’s power moves. This team finished with the lowest execution deductions, despite one major throw away in the midst of the routine. This team proved that you could seed bust into a finals even with the depth of talent seeded ahead of them. Finishing third was the smooth, flow routine of Doug, Joey and Rob. These veterans demonstrated what you can do with a quick exchange game which stressed speedflow and movement among its team members. All had some brillant quick catches from the other jammer’s feed. The non-stop movement made the audience marvel. However, the team hit a string of quick drops within the middle of the five-minute routine. This wasn’t a definitive loss, but they did leave the door open for a stronger routine to take the win. Having them drop one seed to finish third was a slight surprise though.
A finals wouldn’t be the same without some fluff thrown into a routine and Todd, Ted and Scott didn’t disappoint. They had the live band accompany them with a rocking number. They made an untraditional entrance by driving onto the field in Todd’s very colorful frisbee van. Ted met a slight snafu when he tried to open his door only to find it locked! But the momentary hitch didn’t stop them from smiling and being the ever present showmen. The three came out and showcased a version of Ted and Scott’s simultaneously choreographed Broadway show sequences. Although the sequences weren’t laden with difficulty, they looked very visually pleasing. Then the three broke out into their individual moves and presented very athletic and consecutive combinations. Ted jammed hard and displayed his tremendous expertise with double and triple spinning catches. Todd showcased a variety of combinations long with a photo opportunity for his one-armed handstand catch. Scott showed the crowd his polished intricate consecutive moves puntuated with a big spinning flamingoasis catch. This team likewise, had several drops midway through their routine leaving the crowd scratching their heads as to whom would win the top honor since there were no clean routines presented. But the nod went to Ted, Scott and Todd and all were literally crowned victors.
Briefly highlighting the overall finishers: Arizona’s Harvey Brandt captured his third VA State Open Title along with his first coveted Maximum Time Aloft M.T.A. “Mr. Bubble” title. Harvey’s acceptance speech acknowledged the fact that he was the oldest winner of the open overall title but more impressive was the win by the women’s overall champion won by thirteen year old Nikki Ross who is as distinguished since she is the youngest female winner. Nikki has matured to be a significant overall competitor winning womens golf and squeaking out Judy Robbins by 3/100 of a second to win the MTA title.