Randy Silvey and Dan Yarnell established themselves as the favorite for the Freestyle Players Association World Championships by upsetting top seeds Arthur Coddington and Dave Lewis at the Summerfest Open.
It was an auspicious debut for the team. Yarnell won the Pairs at the world championships last year with Steve Hanes. Hanes is out with a back injury this year, so Yarnell hooked up with 1997 Pairs World Champion Silvey. The new team was hotly anticipated. Both players are very creative and have developed a huge repertoire of unusual signature moves.
Coddington and Lewis, 1999 World Flying Disc Federation champs, seemed like they had the competition in check during the prelim round. They debuted their new Limp Bizkit routine and won by a full four points over the other finals qualifiers – Paul Kenny/Jeff Kruger, Silvey/Yarnell and Larry Imperiale/Joel Rogers.
The raucous finals crowd at the Summerfest Sports Stage seemed to inspire all four finals teams. Imperiale/Rogers started the finals with a solid performance for the crowd, but both guys made enough errors to leave the door open.
Silvey/Yarnell performed second and lit up the crowd. Silvey turned on the charisma and nailed nearly every move he tried. Yarnell played right next to the crowd for most of the routine, reeling in his difficulty slightly but giving Milwaukee an up close look at his skills. Silvey and Yarnell played extremely clean, with only two or three drops, and the crowd loved them. The scary thing is that they still haven’t performed the routine they’ll use at the worlds.
Kenny/Kruger’s Peanuts routine seemed to have the potential to win. Kenny’s got some insane double disc technical combos, and Kruger combines both technical moves and aggressive athleticism. They pulled off much of the routine and played cleaner than Imperiale/Rogers, but some flat sections seemed to hold them back. Following Silvey/Yarnell can’t be easy, and the crowd seemed quieter, like they were still letting Silvey/Yarnell sink in.
Coddington/Lewis’s routine is unrelenting in its difficulty, but it is highly structured and choreographed. It was also the first time they had performed the routine in competition. Any mistake had the potential to throw things into disarray.
They started fairly strong, but problems started about a minute into the routine. Coddington lost his nail, substantially limiting his move selection and his level of technical aggressiveness. The routine was by no means a disaster. They pummelled through the performance and caught multi-spinning catch after multi-spinning catch. One highlight was a quick exchange sequence to the music that included three spinning catches.
Like Silvey/Yarnell they connected with the crowd, but their mistakes caught up to them in the end. Though they won Difficulty by a substantial margin, they lost the title by a slim half a point on Execution.
The rematch is less than a month away at the world championships in Seattle. Silvey/Yarnell will unleash their top secret routine. Coddington/Lewis will try to clean things up. And Kenny/Kruger and the other teams will join the fray for a massive freestyle battle.