James Wiseman Takes Over The #1 Ranking

Photo courtesy Jordan Haro and Spread The Jam Project

After the world championships, three players were locked in a very tight battle for number one – Jake Gauthier, James Wiseman and Arthur Coddington. Only 16 points separated the three.

James Wiseman struck first post-worlds by playing the Oktoberfest event. His runner up finish with Sophie Wolf was strong, but there weren’t enough entrants to boost his ranking point total. No problem, he just went to the Berlin Hat Autumn 2013 Edition, drew Tobias Burzan and Freddy Finner as his teammates and won it for 146 points. He was the leader in the clubhouse going into Beach Stylers, where both Jake and Arthur would compete. The Berlin Hat win also moved Freddy into the top 20 and Tobias into the top 80.

The math looked like winning Beach Stylers could put either Jake or Arthur on top. The math, though, was more complicated because of Beach Styler’s two divisions – pairs and turboshred. Arthur teamed up with Matt Gauthier to win pairs on the first day of the tournament, with Jake and Amy Schiller coming in a close second. The next day’s turboshred was disastrous for Arthur, where he was edged out of the final by Dave Zeff. Jake had no such problems, sailing through to the final, then winning the event. Jake accumulated 128.75 points across the two divisions, seven points short of James’ point total.

Another interesting dynamic emerged at Beach Stylers. By winning pairs and finishing second in turboshred, Matt Gauthier entered into the mix for the end-of-year number one spot. Matt has had an insane year, winning two titles at the world championships and coming less than a point away from sweeping Open Pairs, Open Co-op and Mixed Pairs. With Virginia States and Beach Stylers wins, he’s racked up dominating results. The factor keeping both Matt and Arthur 30-50 points away from James and Jake is the fact that neither played in the 2012 world championships. Their advantage in closing that gap is their 8th best result. Both of them have much weaker 8th results than James and Jake, giving them big upside for any strong tournament finish.

The 2013 rankings battle is not quite over. James has entered Lazzaroni later this month, and a Northern California turboshred event is forming around the annual post-Thanksgiving jam at Sonoma State. JikJam looms too. Strong finishes by any of the four top players could shift the end-of-year rankings picture.

The Santa Cruzification of the Rankings

The beautiful sea breezes of UC Santa Cruz have blown away the previous order on the freestyle rankings and unseated the #1 players on both the Open and Women’s list. This month, FPA Worlds Prague, the Summer 2011 Berlin hat and the 2011 Butch Cassidy Cup all fell off the rankings lists. Four new events – the 2013 FPA Worlds, the 2013 Japan Overall Championships, 2013 Sandslash and the 2013 Butch Cassidy Cup – were added.

There are a slew of changes beyond the #1’s on both the Open and Women’s lists. Let’s talk about Open first.

Open Rankings

Jake Gauthier ends Marco Prati’s 12 month reign at number one, taking back the top spot that Cega earned last summer. It’s not lonely at the top, though. The top three players are separated by only 16 points. The top five are within 65 points of #1, and the top six are within 100 points of the summit.

James Wiseman started 2013 ranked 17. He’s now ranked 2, only eight points behind Jake, after a strong season that culminated in his runner up finish in Open Pairs at the worlds. Here’s how close James got to number one. His team finished sixth in the co-op final with the same points as the fifth place team. They lost on a tiebreaker. Winning that tiebreaker or scoring 0.1 more points would have given James the number one spot. Matt Gauthier and James finished 0.7 points short of winning Open Pairs. If they had won, James would have the number one spot and a commanding cushion. Second by decimals.

The top places at the world are worth a lot of points. Winning both Open Pairs (for 299.5 points) and Open Co-op (for 292 points) brings me from number 20 to number 3. I also had the fortune of defending very few points from Prague after scratching from co-op and finishing in the middle of the pack in the Open Pairs finals.

Jake, James and myself all have a strong mathematical chance of ending the year at number one. But that’s not all! Paul Kenny jumps back into the top five from #11 after a 2nd in Co-op and a 3rd in Pairs. He’s within striking distance too.

Of the top five players, Clay Collera weathered the storm the best. Despite missing both finals in Santa Cruz, he moves up to #5. This anomaly is mainly due to so many players losing large chunks of points. Clay’s points stay exactly the same because he has such a strong cushion of results with few Prague points to defend.

Matt Gauthier and Dave Murphy both make big moves after winning Co-op. In Matt’s case, a first in Co-op and a second in Pairs move him from 14 to 6. Murf’s 1st in Co-op and 3rd in Pairs vault him from 46 all the way to 17.

Other upward movers included Co-op runner up Jeff O’Brien (41 to 29), Dave Schiller (79 to 49) and Co-op finalist Matteo Feller (121 to 71).

Those who didn’t defend their Prague points lost a lot of ground. Cega (1 to 8), Randy Silvey (2 to 10), Claudio Cigna (3 to 11), Chris Lamred (10 to 18), Balu (13 to 21), Dave Lewis (28 to 67) and Mahoney (55 to 104) all tumbled on this month’s list.

Women’s Rankings

This month brings another return to number one. Lisa Hunrichs ends Eleonora Imazio and Judith Haas’ hold on the top spot. The last time Lisa was at number one was all the way back in August 2006. Eleonora falls to 6 after losing all her points from Prague, including a first place reward for Mixed Pairs. Meanwhile, Irena Kulisanova’s runner up finish in Mixed Pairs in Santa Cruz helps her rise to number 3, and Lori Daniels holds at number 2. The other strong movers in the top ten are Emma Kahle, rising from 7 to 4, and Cindy St. Mary, re-entering the top 10 at 7 from 14 last month.

Because of the scarcity of women’s and mixed pairs events, the top 10 is likely to keep its shape through the end of the year, and Lisa Hunrichs is almost assured of finishing 2013 at the top.