TWENTY-TWO TEAMS PARTICIPATE AAA AND MAJOR TOURNAMENT
COLUMBUS, OHIO – TWENTY-TWO 75 and 80 AAA teams along with the 75 MAJOR DIVISION surprised even SPA EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR RIDGE HOOKS with the turnout for the SPA WORLDS at COLUMBUS, OHIO'S BERLINER PARK AUGUST 11-14.
“It was a pleasant surprise though,” HOOKS said, “ Think about this. In 2010 we had SEVEN TEAMS in those DIVISIONS (75 AAA, 75 M, 80 AAA) play at the SPA WORLDS in DALTON and in 2011 there were only four.”
“We took a small survey and it showed the majority of that age group is from the mid west and mid east, so we moved the tournament to COLUMBUS, OHIO where teams suggested we hold it,” HOOKS explained, “I am certainly glad we listened.”
The total of 22 teams may not sound like a big deal but when you consider how many teams actually are in those divisions it is amazing.
SPA has 23 registered 75 AAA TEAMS which means 56-percent (13 teams) attended the tournament. It was even higher for the 80's as 5 of 7 (71-percent) made the trip to COLUMBUS while 4 of the 9 registered 75 MAJORS participated.
The attendance was also spread among 15 states, so the attendance was definitely not regional as teams from INDIANA, MICHIGAN, ARKANSAS, NEW YORK, KANSAS, ILLINOIS. NEW JERSEY, WISCONSIN, TEXAS, OHIO, MINNESOTA, GEORGIA, MARYLAND, KENTUCKY and PENNSYLVANIA attended.
Four DIVISION champs were crowned with WISCONSIN'S PROHEALTH CARE 80's going undefeated in bracket play, ending it up with a 21-15 win over the TEXAS CLASSICS finals to win the 80 AAA crown. Others in the bracket were SOUTHWEST STARS, COSSA 80'S and JIMMY”S MINNESOTA LEGENDS.
In the four-team 75 MAJOR group, the LEFTOVERS claimed the title with a 23-8 win over HAMEL'S 75's in the championship game. The LEFTOVERS also defeated JIMMY'S MINNESOTA GOLD 27-12 and HAMELS 75's in an earlier game 21-20. CANTERBURY CRUISERS was the fourth team in the field.
PEACH TREE RESTAURANT took no prisoners in rolling through the seven-team 75 AAA SILVER bracket. The PENNSYLVANIA team beat LOUISVILLE THUNDER 27-13, INDIANA SILVER FOXES 32-9, INDY CROWNS 15-0 and LOUISVILLE THUNDER 14-8 in the championship game.
Others in the group were COSSA 75'S, MICHIGAN LAKERS and NAMI CONSTRUCTION.
The CHICAGO GEEZERS lost their first game in bracket play 13-8 to the ANTIQUES and had to come out of the loser's bracket winning five in-a-row to take home the 75 AAA GOLD top prize.
Along the way the GEEZERS beat HARRIS AUCTION28-23, NY STATESMEN 30-29, PROHEALTH 75'S 24-16, JERSEY JAGS 22-21 and the JAGS again, this time in the :IF” game 22-15.
“I thought it was a great tournament,” TOURNAMENT DIRECTOR DON CHERRY said, “BERLINER PARK was an excellent facility. We had thunderstorms all over the place on MONDAY and I mean big ones but when they stopped we went right out and played.”
“They have artificial turf and you just go back on them and play without needing grounds work,” CHERRY added, ”there was really some great competition with over half the games going to the last inning to decide the winner.”
The SPA office also took a survey among the managers dealing with 2015 age rules, tournament locations, etc. and the results will be released as soon as they are compiled.