Monday, July 14, 2014

Who Won the Quiyk Draft?

It's December 2013. The fall season has ended, but people from all corners of the quidditch community are buzzing. Players, captains, coaches and refs are excitedly submitting applications to become GMs for the First Annual Quiyk Draft, the brainchild of Quiyk Marketing Director Ben Nadeau. Finally, a field of eight GMs are chosen and announced.

In January, the draft begins and my mock drafts end up in the trashcan after only one pick thanks to Alex Wilson's surprise selection of Sarah Holub. After Wilson's baffling pick, the draft became more predictable. Dan Hanson reunited key members from the 2013 TFT runner-up in Drew Wasikowski, Chris Seto and Kifer Gregorie. Beto Natera began his draft with three of his Lone Star QC teammates. Andrew Canto paired Augustine Monroe with Kody Marshall. Yet the show was stolen by Hank Dugie and his confident, fun and memorable blurbs. 

As the draft went on, public interest waned and with World Cup VII approaching, the GMs stopped making picks. Luckily, the draft did not halt mid-round, leaving us when eight teams of nine players. Here's my take on the best and the worst teams, factoring in all that we learned at World Cup VII.

B, Brittany Ripperger, Baylor
K, Brendan Stack, BU
B, Chris Rhodes, Baylor
C/S, Aryan Ghoddossy, UT
C/S, Jeffrey Lin, The Lost Boys
B, Andy Abayan, SB Blacktips
C, Nichole Galle, Lone Star QC
C, Bernardo Berges, UMiami
C, Sam Adlis, Texas A&M

At the beginning of the Quiyk Draft, Evan Bell cast himself as the great omniscient psychologist of the quidditch community. "I understand people," Bell said. "I know what people will want to see, what team strengths will make people vote for my team." Unfortunately for Team Bell, what people want to see is a team full of players that overachieved at World Cup VII. Besides Aryan Ghoddossy, Team Bell is lacking those overachieving players. Brendan Stack could not lead BU past regional rivals Emerson. Brittany Ripperger and Chris Rhodes were overshadowed by outstanding performances from David Gilbert and Tim Brestowski. Andy Abayan was plagued by inconsistency and Bernardo Berges, a player that I was very excited to see at World Cup, ended up playing a small role for a Miami team that never really got going.

C, Sarah Holub, Lone Star QC
B, David Gilbert, Baylor
K, David Fox, Emerson
C, P. Reynebeau, Arkansas
C, J. Reynebeau, Arkansas
K, Jacob Bruner, Baylor
C/S, Adam Robillard, Gee-Gees
B, Ryan Peavler, Tx St
C/B, Amanda Turtles, Lost Boys

Although Alex Wilson's picks became somewhat of a punch line in #IQAForums, I have Team Wilson sneaking in at number seven. Jacob Bruner, David Fox and Adam Robillard each had respectable tournaments and the Reynebeaus helped Arkansas put up a great fight against Texas A&M. The tandem of David Gilbert and Ryan Peavler, a duo I have united for my Navy Blue team at THE Fantasy Tournament, might be the strongest in the Quiyk Draft. However, Amanda Turtles did not have the best World Cup, the selection of Sarah Holub at number one overall still puzzles me and I have lots of trouble imagining Wilson's chaser line performing cohesively.

C, Vanessa Goh, The Lost Boys
B, Peter Lee, The Lost Boys
K, Zach Luce, UCLA
C, Michael Powell, BU
C, Audrey Wright, UT
B/(C) Mathieu Gregoire, Texas A&M/Lone Star QC
B, Shannon Moorhead, UMiami
C, Kenny Chilton, UT
K, Jacob Heppe, Michigan State

Team D'Amico looked solid going into World Cup, but it had a very mediocre showing in North Myrtle Beach. First, Zach Luce hasn't been nearly as dominant without the services of former UCLA beater Asher King Abramson and several other members of UCLA's Class of 2013. Second, many of Team D'Amico's chasers perform better in fast-paced, transition offenses. Since Luce prefers a slow, methodical offense, I have trouble imagining good chemistry from Team D'Amico's chasing corps. The UT duo of Audrey Wright and Kenny Chilton are two bright spots, as each helped guide the Longhorns to back-to-back championships and despite a Round of 32 exit, Peter Lee and Vanessa Goh are still some of the most talented players at their positions. 

K, Tony Rodriguez, The Lost Boys
B/C, Max Havlin, BU
B/C, Katrina Bossotti, BU
C, Becca DuPont, Texas A&M
S/U, Steve DiCarlo, The Lost Boys
C/K/S, Michael Parada, NYDC
U, Steve Hysick, NYDC
B, Sean Fry, Texas A&M
K/C, Tyler Sessions, Texas A&M

Before World Cup, Team Dallas was my favorite to win the Quiyk Draft, but World Cup VII did not treat Team Dallas well at all. Despite a strong performance from Tony Rodriguez, the Lost Boys were bounced in the Round of 32 when fifth-round pick Steve DiCarlo failed to catch the snitch. BU's duo of Max Havlin and Katrina Bossotti were matched by Willis Miles and Kyrie Timbrook of the Silicon Valley Skrewts in the Sweet Sixteen and in the Elite Eight, strange beater game tactics led to BU's loss to Emerson. Although Texas A&M and NYDC fell short of expectations, players like Becca DuPont, Tyler Sessions, Sean Fry and Steve Hysick still had good tournaments. Without those solid showings from Rodriguez, Hysick and the A&M players, Team Dallas could've fallen further.

C/U, Simon Arends, Lone Star QC
C/U, Chris Morris, Lone Star QC
K/U, Daniel Daugherty, BGSU
K/U, August Lührs, USC
S/U, Keir Rudolph, Kansas
B, Scott Axel, PSU
B, Kyrie Timbrook, Skrewts
C, Meredith Taylor, BGSU
C, Joe Wright, Texas A&M

While Hank Dugie's blurbs introducing his players made the Quiyk Draft worthwhile, Team Dugie has found the middle of the table in my rankings because its players did little to hurt or help their "stock" at World Cup VII. Watching Simon Arends, Chris Morris and Dan Daugherty at World Cup VII, it was clear that each player still had the same strengths and weaknesses as before the tournament. August Lührs did not appear at World Cup and Keir Rudolph had a predictably inconsistent performance. Scott Axel and Kyrie Timbrook played well, but weren't world-beaters, if you'll excuse my pun. Overall Dugie drafted a solid team, but even persuasive blurbs couldn't hide the questionable decision to take two seekers and the lack of an elite beater.

C/K, Drew Wasikowski, Texas A&M
B, Chris Seto, The Lost Boys
C/S, Kifer Gregoire, Texas A&M
K/C, Alex Browne, The Lost Boys
C/U, Missy Sponagle, The Lost Boys
C, Brad Armentor, LSU
B, Tim Brestowski, Baylor
B, Rachel Harrsion, Texas A&M
K, Stephen Ralph, UMiami

Team Hanson's top three picks might have won silver at the most recent THE Fantasy Tournament, but Drew Wasikowski, Chris Seto and Kifer Gregorie will have to settle for bronze in my rankings of the Quiyk Draft. First, let's be clear that Wasikowski gets a pass for his teammates' shortcomings much like Neymar at the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Second, how in the world did Hanson get Brad Armentor in the sixth round?! With the best value pick of the entire draft, plus solid value picks of Missy Sponagle, a top three female utility player, and Tim Brestowksi, Baylor's second best beater at World Cup VII, I can almost forget that Texas A&M and the Lost Boys were supposed to meet in the final of World Cup VII. (Almost.) Team Hanson gets third.

K, Stephen Bell, Lone Star QC
B, Mollie Lensing, Lone Star QC
B, Hope Machala, Lone Star QC
U, Sean Pagoada, FF
C/S, Kedzie Teller, QC Boston
C, Keri Callegari, Lone Star QC
C, Hai Nguyen, Kansas
K, Connor Drake, LSQC
S, Andrew Hryekewicz, Texas A&M

As previously mentioned, Beto Natera began his draft with a healthy dose of his Lone Star QC  teammates and then threw in a couple more for good measure. Natera's gamble paid off as Lone Star looked like one of the best teams in North Myrtle Beach, despite its quarterfinal exit. Seventh-round pick Hai Nguyen was an integral part of Kansas' possession-based stalling, but ninth-round pick Dirk Hryekewicz failed to come up with the snitch against Texas, Lone Star or Kansas. While I am using World Cup VII as the measuring stick for the rest of this article, the 2014 IQA Global Games will be the true test for two-time Team USAers Kedzie Teller and Sean Pagoada. Whether Teller and Pagoada, two players who are forced to carry their community teams, can fit seamlessly alongside a squad of stars will determine whether I snubbed Team Natera with the silver medal.

K, Augustine Monroe, UT
C, Kody Marshall, Lone Star QC
C, Adam Richardson, UCLA
C/S, Harry Greenhouse, UMD
C/B, Melissa White, LSU
C, Sean Beloff, UMiami
B, Ashley Calhoun, Central Michigan
K/C, Ren Bettendorf, SB Blacktips
B, Alex Leitch, Hofstra University

My Quiyk Draft gold medal goes to Andrew Canto, meaning keeper and first-round pick Augie Monroe can add another trophy to his vast collection. Canto miraculously paired Monroe with his former UT teammate Kody Marshall, who had a terrific World Cup for Lone Star QC. Although he did not play at World Cup VII due to an injury, Harry Greenhouse's "stock" was higher than ever this spring and will continue to rise if the Maryland utility can be a key component for Team USA in Burnaby, BC. Both members of my World Cup VII All-Tournament Team, Melissa White and Ren Bettendorf were huge steals for Canto. The rest of Team Canto compliments its stars very nicely. For instance, hard-hitting Hofstra beater Alex Leitch would work terrifically with White and Adam Richardson could rotate point defense with Kody Marshall. 

That's all for me! Agree? Disagree? Vote in the poll on the right! Who Won the Quiyk Draft, according to you?

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