As we progress through 2004, the Open Rankings will show the continued international development of freestyle. With more European events this year than ever before, European players will have an opportunity to make a big splash on the rankings.
In the meantime, European players feel a rankings setback as two Italian events from 2002 fall off the rankings this month. Points from the 2002 Italian National Championships and Acrobatic Paganello expire this month, wreaking havoc on the rankings of Italian players. At the top, Clay Collera dips from 12 to 18, Lorenzo Apriani falls from 16 to 31, and Fernando Botrugno falls from 21 to 46.
Not to worry, though. With the 2004 Acrobatic Paganello only weeks away, most of those points can be won back in time for next month’s ranking list. With events planned for Podersdorf (May 1-2), Milan (June 12/13) and Hohenzell (June 26/27) before this summer’s World Championships in Rimini, finding ranking points in Europe will be easier than ever.
Three American tournaments were played in March: Wintershred, the New England Championships and Super Hein. Jeff Kruger, Toddy Brodeur and Matt Gauthier used March’s events to jump up three spots within the top twenty. Kruger’s second place at Super Hein bumped him up to 12 from 15, and Brodeur’s win at the New England Indoors moved him to 15 from 18. After laying low for most of 2003, Gauthier added some points with his 4th place at Super Hein to move him up to 16. Dave Schiller makes a much deserved return to the top twenty after teaming with Tommy Leitner for a commanding win at Wintershred.
Northern California icons Johnny O’Malley and Mark Regalbuti solidify their top 50 rankings with strong Wintershred finishes. 2003 Wintershred champion O’Malley jumps from 39 to 34. Regalbuti jumps up ten spots to 35. Wintershred organizer Carl Dobson used his own event to vault himself up twelve notches to 45. Alan Caplin, who competed at both Wintershred and the New England Indoors, jumps up 24 spots to 43. Melissa Trail is approaching the Top 50 after playing both Wintershred and Super Hein. She moves up 13 spots to 57. Bob Morrissey used his third place Wintershred finish to jump up 30 spots to 60.
1999 FPA Open Pairs world champions Steve Hanes and Dan Yarnell drop on the rankings this month as their 2002 Paganello win cycles off the rankings. Yarnell falls from 11 to 13. Hanes falls out of the top 30, from 17 to 33. Teammate Tristan Doshier takes an even bigger tumble, from 35 to 76.
As usual for this time of year, there were few changes on the Women’s Rankings.