Thursday, May 21, 2015

Beachside Brawl: Santa Barbara Event Goes Fantasy

By Janos Barbero

Editors Note: The author is the general manager for Team Blue, the Aquaholics.

Tournaments held in the postseason are usually unofficial and feature mercenary players, and this year’s Beachside Brawl decided to go with the flow and take the fantasy route. This raised the stakes again for the Santa Barbara-based tournament, but it’s still expected to be a laid-back, enjoyable weekend with competitive matches taking place on Day One, and Day Two devoted to hanging out and beach quidditch.

The tournament will feature six teams of 17 players each, chosen by a pack of new general managers, Michael Binger from University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) (Pink), Janos Barbero from the Silicon Valley Skyfighters (Blue), Chris Lock from the Silicon Valley Skrewts (White), Lauren Mosley formerly from the Santa Barbara Blacktips (Orange), George Williams from Utah State Quidditch Club (Green), and Liz Barcelos from San Jose State University Spartans (Teal), in a snake draft held two weeks before the tournament.

“UCLA” - Team Pink (Michael Binger)

Perhaps not surprisingly for an UCLA alum, this team is heavy on UCLA/Wizards of Westwood (WoW) players and alums. In a nod to this concentration, the team voted to call themselves “UCLA.” This team’s main star is Tony Rodriguez (Los Angeles Gambits), and he will have excellent support from chasers such as Yaneli Gutierrez (Blacktips), Christian Krieger (WoW), Rich Hatch (Gambits), Badal Chandra (WoW), and Jarrod Bailey (Arizona State University [ASU]). James Luby (Anteater Quidditch, formerly UCLA), Jessica Ward (Long Beach Funky Quaffles [LBFQ]) and Jenny Yu (UCLA) are good utility players to round out the team. Rodriguez and Hatch have played together all season and will be able to execute the Gambits signature fast give-and-go offense, while Chandra, Krieger, and Gutierrez will fit in well as wing chasers. On defense, Rodriguez and Bailey can both step up to make hits. For the beating game, a lot will hinge on whether high draft pick Andy Abayan, a UCLA and Blacktips alum, will be able to bring his best game after being out of practice for a season. Gutierrez also has a question mark over her, having missed a season due to injury. This team will unquestionably have great chemistry, but lacks experience due to some key players being out of practice and UCLA having a relatively weak season.

Aquaholics - Team Blue (Janos Barbero)

The Blue team has one of the strongest beating cores at the tournament, led by Amanda Nagy (Arizona Quidditch Club [AZQC]) and Matt Ziff (Gambits). The team also features a good ball carrier with Grant Rose (UCLA), along with some great chasers such as Gambits trio Kelby Brooks, Caylen McDonald, and Michael Richardson, as well as Ryan Seaton (UCLA), Joren Adams (Blacktips), and Shea Hillinger (LBFQ). If Rose plays to his full level, it will enable the chasers to excel at a Gambits-style smart and fast offense. Margo Aleman (AZQC), the ex-University of Texas at Austin star seeker and chaser, is coming off an injury and how well he plays will also make a difference to this team. Allison Brennan (Blacktips) and Sequoia Thomas (Crimson Elite) are solid chasers to round out the chasing core. Between its beating and seeking depth, this team will be dangerous in the snitch game. One potential concern is how well Ziff will work with the second-string beaters on the team.

The Sea Men - Team White (Chris Lock)

The White team is a well-rounded team, with great scorers in Ben Harding (Blacktips), Corey Osto (UCLA), Michael Bernstein (ASU), and Tyler Ortiz (ASU). In fact, this team has a plethora of ball carriers, which will make it a dangerous offense, along with excellent support chasers in Sara Weman (Blacktips) and Tori Kaiser (ASU). With such strong female chasers, the White team will probably mostly run a two-male beater set, which it also has excellent choices for. The experience and skill of Steve DiCarlo (Gambits) will complement the athleticism of David Saltzman (Stanford Quidditch) and Tommy Brown (Blacktips), who tend to play too aggressively on their own. Overall this is a team with a very strong line and no glaring weaknesses.

Fire Ferrets - Team Orange (Lauren Mosley)

The Orange team’s best-known star, Chris Seto (Lost Boys), is recovering from a leg injury and though he used to play keeper with Emerson College Quidditch, he is a risky choice for a primary ball carrier due to his size and recent injury. He will, however, probably work hard to prove those in doubt to be wrong, and his experience and skill should not be underestimated. Chris Grant (UCLA) is also a great ball carrier, with Brooke Lydon (Lost Boys), Alex Richardson (Gambits), and Jacob Bordenave (ASU) all good, solid wing chasers. Cy Torrey (Blacktips), Sarah Simko (UCLA), Kayl Eubanks (UCLA), and Mitch Cavender (Lone Star Quidditch Club) are some of the most experienced beaters at the tournament. This team is balanced more toward its beaters than its chasers on paper, so a lot will depend on how hard the chasers step up to get those points on the board.

The Trash Talkers - Team Green (George Williams)

The Green team is another team of few superstars but many solid players. Austin Wallace (University of British Columbia Quidditch), who replaced the injured Justin Fernandez (Blacktips) is a great seeker and solid chaser, while Brett Ambrose (UCLA) has recently transitioned into keeping and should be a very good ball carrier. However, the team lacks competitive experience. Thomas Schoettle (University of Southern California), Josh Vinson (Mission Blues Quidditch), Hailey Clonts (Stanford), and Joel Johnson (Boise State Abraxans) are all on teams who haven’t had strong schedules all year, while Kelsey Allen (Blacktips) is coming back from an ACL tear. This team is weighted toward its beaters even more heavily than the Fire Ferrets (Orange), and will probably depend on staying in snitch range and counting on Wallace to win SWIM situations.

The Portuguese Men and Women of War - Team Teal (Elizabeth Barcelos)

The Teal team is well-balanced, with good chaser and beater depth. Anthony Hawkins (LBFQ) is a strong ball carrier who has led fantasy teams to success before, but Austin Goodheart (Blacktips) is also able in that role. Together with Alex Pisaño (LBFQ) and Dylan Liu (Stanford), this team is very capable of scoring points. Ruthie Stahl (Blacktips) and Brian Vampola (Blacktips) are good, experienced beaters who have played together all season, and their backups Shayla Zink (Blacktips) and Andrew Burger (LBFQ) are both solid. Again, this team lacks the obvious chasing firepower of the first three teams, but on paper it is stronger than either the Fire Ferrets (Orange) or the Trash Talkers (Green). One concern with this team is its size and physicality, with several smaller players who are not as physically intimidating as the chaser lines on other teams.


The three strongest teams entering this tournament are White (Lock), Blue (Barbero), and Pink (Binger). Teal (Barcelos), Green (Williams), and Orange (Mosley) are the second tier, who will be vying for upsets. Based on the schedule, the final should be Blue vs. White, with the semifinalists being Pink and Teal. Meanwhile, in pleasant Beachside tradition, the entirety of Day Two will be one big enjoyable beach after-party in the Santa Barbara sun.

Seeding round:
Teal vs. Orange
Blue vs. Green
White vs. Pink
Teal vs. Green
Pink vs. Orange
Blue vs. White
Green vs. Orange
Blue vs. Pink
White vs. Teal

No. 4 seed vs. No. 5 seed
No. 3 seed vs. No. 6 seed
No. 1 seed vs. winner of 4 vs. 5
No. 2 seed vs. winner of 3 vs. 6

Whether you are attending or following online, please remember that Saturday May 23, the day of gameplay, is the 1-year anniversary of the Isla Vista tragedy that took place nearby. Please be respectful of the community’s loss.

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