This week's tournament results include Triple Crown's Top Club Award
Contributed by: Walter Patterson
February 18, 2020 - This past weekend saw dozens of A5 teams playing locally, as well as some of our oldest and most experienced teams playing in the nation's top tournament, the Triple Crown National Invitational Tournament in Kansas City.
In Atlanta, 21 A5 teams participated in the 3-day First Lady's Challenge Tournament, along with 9 teams from A5 South, 8 teams from A5 Gwinnett, and a lone team from A5 Chattanooga. A5 teams dominated the leaderboards, with 16 third place finishes, 6 second place finishes, and 10 championships. A5 15-Victor went 8-0 to sweep the 15/16 Open division. 14-Bri won the 15 Club division, beating a Georgia Fusion 15-1 team in a tough 3-set championship match. In the 14 Open division, A5 13-Allison was perfect with an 8-0 record, beating a talented A5 Gwinnett 14-April team in the finals. A5 11-Walter also kept a perfect record on the way to their 12-Open championship, rallying from a disastrous second set 25-4 loss to win the finals in 3 sets.
Four of our younger teams played in the 2-day Mount Spikemore tournament at the LakePoint Sports facility in Emerson, Georgia. A5 12-Ada finished 3rd, A5 11-Basimah finished 4th, A5 11-Miranda finished 5th, and A5 10-Eric - our youngest team with an average player age of 8.5 - finished 6th. The future looks bright for that group of athletes!
The toughest tournament of the week was the Triple Crown National Invitational Tournament. Nine of our top teams headed to Kansas City to participate in what has become one of the biggest tournaments in the country and a critical stop for top clubs preparing for qualifier season. A5 Coaching Director Gabe Aramian said "The Triple Crown tournament started as a bit of an experiment, bringing together the top clubs from the entire country to compete before qualifier season begins. Now, it's seen as a must for all the top clubs in the U.S. - although it can be a rude awaking for clubs unprepared to play at the highest level available in the country."
Clearly it wasn't a rude awakening for many of our teams - in divisions of over 100 teams each, A5 recorded four top-10 finishes, including 2nd place by A5 14-Helen and A5 18-Scott. The NIT 17's championship was won by A5 17-Jing, who dropped just two sets all weekend to keep their perfect record, including a nail-biting 16-14 win in the third set of the championship match. Head coach Jing Hou said "I never thought we could go that far because it is so early. We just try and get better day by day. That is our next focus, to get better to qualify for nationals." On the strength of A5's showing at the NIT, A5 was awarded Triple Crown's Top Club award for the tournament.
Next weekend's Beast of the Southeast tournament is a National Qualifier for 18's, who finish their season a little earlier than the younger teams to avoid college conflicts. For 11's through 17's, "qualifier season" begins in the next few weeks, and we hope to see the bids for Nationals start pouring in!