By Fredric Hinkle
College Station Major
There have been 4 Texas Majors this year, and now we have arrived at the true culmination of all the Texas tournaments this year and even life itself. There are few things more important than Texas Nationals. It can make or break a season for any individual player. There are a handful of absolutely loaded teams. There are defenders and serveballers (editors note: the worst kind of people) hiding throughout the field and everyone is hungry for a big win and a huge move on the Texas Top 100.
Fruit Snacks - Grant Laughlin and Ben Dantowitz
Wouldn’t it be fun if we put two serveballers on the same team? Grant continues to push the bounds of serving. Ben has a good lefty cut serve with some sneaky drops. If anybody else is going to win this tournament they must have terrific serve receive. This team has tons of break potential and simultaneously tons of opportunity to be broken. Grant Laughlin is coming off of a stunning Sectional loss while Ben attained T-9 at Nationals.
Luke - Luke Marshall and Luke Mowry
Wouldn’t it be fun if we put two Luke M’s on the same team? Luke is a good defender and has improved his setting, while Luke makes the occasional error on hitting. These Lukes will be very active on defense as they try to find touches and chemistry throughout the day. The Lukes will look to Luke to serve with both hands to create lots of breaks with his newfound ability. Luke Marshall is coming off of a stunning South Central Sectional win and Luke Mowry a cool 2nd place.
Premier Dynasty - Logan Cornelius and Ezra Dantowitz
The two most consistent players in the field are on the same team, that is a recipe for success. These two players are overall very similar. Neither has an overpowering serve and each loves to play off-net defense. If they can find defensive chemistry they will have a good day. If they can’t they will have a lot of close losses. Logan is coming off of a big National title while Ezra enjoyed participating in a wedding.
PROUDFEET - Brian Childs and David Louis
Newly placed TT100 Brian Childs is pairing up with David Louis for this one. These two players both feature some strong serves and are active on defense. This team will be imposing to play against in every way. The only hiccups will stem from David’s setting and nitpicky observers making sure Brian isn’t close @BenDantowitz. They will undoubtedly be a top team. Brian is coming off of a National Title while David played what may have been his best roundnet ever with Ray Tarpey this past weekend.
Ἠλύσιον πεδίον - Fredric Hinkle and Rahul Murthy
The hard hitters are back! Rahul has found his confidence when setting and looks like the elite player everyone knew he would become. He’s hitting serves harder than ever with more cut than ever. He has ironed out most of the kinks in his game and is looking to serve his way to the podium. Fredric looked flat last weekend and will be pushing harder than ever to take home the first Texas Nationals Title. Rahul is coming off of his spectacular win with Luke Marshall over Fredric and Grant last weekend at Texas Nationals.
WySpike Butterfingers - Colton Mowry and Garrett Hornok
WYSPIKE! Colton is playing some of his best roundnet we’ve ever seen. He looked superb against David and Ray at last week’s sectional, and he’s sure to try and bring that ridiculous cut fwango with him. He’s struggled with serving consistency in the past, but if he is on, that will be a great source of breaks. Garrett just beat PR team, Lake Effect, at Nationals earlier this month, scoring the first WYSPIKE premier bracket win. Hornok has improved massively and continues to impress many Texans. This is likely the best WySpike team ever put together and expectations are high.
WySpike Super Schlap Bros - NIcholas Noguez and Jerm Porter
Get ready to get schlapped! Nick is known for playing long ball defense and Jerm is known for being a scrappy player. Maybe this is the magic combination for both of these two players. WySpike is reorganizing their teams this offseason and Jerm is looking for premier next year. He’s currently the only WySpike player not premier qualified and he’s hungry for it.
Matt - Matthew Burrows and Matthew Cole
Wouldn’t it be fun if we put two Matt’s on the same team? Matt has really been working on his serving and it shows. The Matts really like to attack the weak left hand and will be pressuring serve receivers all day on that side. Neither is terrific at defense but both are competent. This team may lack the serve receive ability to go deep in this tournament, but they will be a tough out for anyone.
Bear Necessities - Chase Ehrig and Andrew Porter (editors note: 😍😍😍😍)
These classic Texas players are returning home for a shot at the title. Chase, a certified long boy, will be pulling out his classic fwango once again in search of glory. The Bears storied career includes many bouts with longtime friends Logan Cornelius and Brian Childs and they’ll certainly be gunning for them again. Porter is a good defender but hasn’t been playing a ton since moving out of Texas. The Bears are looking to get into the game again and a strong Texas Nationals showing could put them on the map. Don’t take this team lightly or you’ll be observing them in the semis.
Beach Bum Bros - Rich and Ray Tarpey
These brothers would destroy the field in a surfing competition. When they last played together Ray was nowhere near the player he has become. He has improved immensely in every way except hitting. Rich has become more consistent and more challenging to receive. It will be a tough challenge for these two, but they have some good pieces. No matter what, they have brotherly chemistry to help them through it.
Blank - Ryan Canfield and Nathan Pearson
Most people don’t know who Ryan Canfield is, but he intends to change that this weekend. While Pearson has been playing in Texas for years he hasn’t had a good opportunity to really make some noise having played mainly with newer partners. Ryan is another newer partner, but he is looking to shine. Canfield’s lefty cut drop combo is likely the best in the field. He’s terrifying to receive and will give everyone a hard time receiving him. Pearson’s cut serve seemingly gets wider every day, much in thanks to the introduction of his push. It’s hard to predict where this team will finish.
Calirado - David Roedema and Caleb Comings
You can’t get any closer to premier than these two. They are right there, ready to break through, but unsuccessful. They’re coming off of a 3rd place finish in advanced at nationals. So close, yet so far. Caleb might be the hardest server in the tournament and David will be a good support player for him. This team works on paper and in practice. I’m excited to see them navigate the bracket and make some noise.
Colton Mowry and Garret Hornok have an opportunity to qualify for Lonestar with a podium finish. This will be by far the most challenging event of the year to do such. I wouldn’t be shocked by a Mowry/Hornok podium, but it would take some big upsets to do it!
T-5 Bear Necessities
T-5 WySpike Butterfingers