The Co-op division at this year’s FPA Worlds in Seattle promised changes and new battles. Because of the career ending back injury to Dave Murphy this spring, three time defending champions Coddington/Lewis/Murphy were guaranteed not to fourpeat. Arthur Coddington and Dave Lewis had formed a new team – Team Shrednow – by hooking up with Tommy Leitner, a formidable replacement for Dave Murphy, but it might have been too late.
Two other major league teams had been working together on routines all year. Randy Silvey, Dan Yarnell and Paul Kenny had concocted something secret and certainly quirky in practice sessions in Dallas. Add to that mix the team of Larry Imperiale, Joel Rogers and Dave Schiller, three players all of whom had been on dominant co-op teams in the past. These were the known contenders. It was not likely that a pickup team would keep up with any of these three, but stranger things had happened in previous FPA World Championships.
The semifinals went according to form. Team Shrednow won their semifinal by a massive eight points over Toddy Brodeur/Danny Cameranesi/Reto Zimmerman. Qualifying third well back was Judy Robbins/Steve Scannell/Rick Williams. Second seeded Kenny/Silvey/Yarnell were nearly flawless in the other semi, dropping the disc only once. They outscored Imperiale/Rogers/Schiller, who busted out huge difficulty and a furious two disc ending section, by 2.9 points. Jeff Kruger/Peter Laubert/Pat Marron were a strong third.
Kruger/Laubert/Marron opened the finals. Pat Marron had been playing strong all weekend. He is one of the fastest and most polished movers in the game, and his technical skills are scary. Jeff Kruger has the same charisma, with big technical moves and huge closing catches. Peter Laubert is the mastermind. He’s been on top teams like the Bayou Blasters. He knows how to put routines together and has an arsenal of money combos.
The team came together at the tournament, so they had little time to create a full routine. Most of their co-ops involved basic passes and lacked the complexity that would come with a few more sessions together. The co-ops gave the routine some structure, and the team seemed to have decided to let their indies do the talking.
Unfortunately, in this performance their indies were inconsistent, and the team racked up seven drops over the five minutes. Marron was a little off and had some early drops. The strength of his combos was offset by breaks in flow and too many set up brushes. The team was able to take advantage of his fast twitch muscles when a pass dropped upwind. Marron lunged forward and not only saved the catch, he grabbed a gitis off it. Kruger went big, hitting a cartwheel set that led into a spinning phlaud, and later saving a combo with a kickbrush and closing it with a standing gitis.
Robbins/Scannell/Williams played next and had more trouble. They seemed bothered by the strong wind, and they showed uncertainty about their routine. In some ways, they seemed in over their head. Judy Robbins was the only member of the team that kept up with the difficulty level of the other co-op finalists, and she didn’t lay down any of her huge combinations. The team started with three discs and incorporated some nice juggling by Scannell. They moved to two discs, they may have drawn attention away from higher diff moves that Judy Robbins was pulling off individually while Williams and Scannell co-oped. Their four saves on top of nine drops effectively took them out of seedbusting territory.
Of the first three teams, Brodeur/Cameranesi/Zimmerman had the greatest potential to cause problems for the favorites. All three players have a diverse repertoire of signature moves, and Zimmerman is an especially physical and exciting player. As with the first two teams, execution killed them. Zimmerman dropped twice on the first co-op, and the team accumulated nine drops throughout their performance. Both Zimmerman and Cameranesi seemed like they were off. Zimmerman struggled visibly with the wind, but caught some huge gitises. Toddy Brodeur, though, was on fire. It seemed like each possession included a double spinning pull, and he caught a tasty standing gitis. Despite their execution problems, their routine held together better than the previous two teams. They hit the end of a music section with a beautiful triple roll, and their play had more relationship with the music.
The first of the big guns to play was Imperiale/Rogers/Schiller. They had not played clean in the semis but had kept close in points to Kenny/Silvey/Yarnell, so it was clear that they were in contention. They put in a solid performance, but they did not close the door.
The difference between the top three seeds and the other finals teams was evident from the beginning of this routine. It was a calm and quiet section of the routine, and the difficulty was comparable to Brodeur/Cameranesi/Zimmerman, but the way they performed the moves set them apart. Imperiale/Rogers/Schiller were solid and comfortable with the moves, whereas there was a wishfulness with the other teams, like they were pushing their limits. Imperiale/Rogers/Schiller seemed to be saying, yeah we can do these moves and we’ll turn it up even further later on. Just wait.
They did turn it up, but a critical element – Dave Schiller – was off his game. Each member of the team had problems, but Schiller didn’t find his rhythm until late in the routine. In the meantime, he whiffed a crow that was to end his toe delay indie and dropped a gitis that would have ended a huge crow brush to diving crow brush co-op. He seemed to get things back with a double spinning bad attitude catch. Later in the performance hit a triple spinning legover pull to a brushing run that included a behind the back brush, and he closed with a crash and burn gitis. It was the Schiller we expected, but on that day his consistency wasn’t there.
Larry Imperiale and Joel Rogers were solid, but each had some problems. Imperiale hit a nice cuffing combo into a laerbs kick to a spinning laerbs kick to a roll to a tip to a crow, but earier in the routine he had a very uncharacteristic drop on a chest roll. Rogers hit a nice indie that started with a bad attitude set to a tumble and continued with legovers and pulls and the all important seal. The team was inconsistent and did not gain momentum until late in the routine. The highlight of the routine was an exchange between Imperiale and Schiller. Imperiale chest rolled through Schiller’s hoop. Schiller legged over the disc for Imperiale’s kick, and Imperiale hooped the disc to Schiller’s catch. Very intricate and very big.
The team ended cleanly with one double disc co-op. Missing was the double disc section that defined their semifinal performance. They ended with five drops and a few saves.
Kenny/Silvey/Yarnell’s routine was intricate and showy. It would be difficult to match their semifinal performance, though. They started with a two disc section, and Yarnell dropped one on the first exchange. The rest of the section went well and included double throws from both Silvey and Kenny. Kenny was allowed to let loose with some of his turnover mayhem.
Yarnell actually got to perform the two most interesting turnovers. The first is a behind the back neuron turnover pull from a vertical set. The second more exciting one was a Tom and Jerry swoop under his leg and through Silvey’s legover to Kenny. Kenny later got to perform a similar swoop as the team racked up some tech points. Silvey hit his flamingosis tip to a Yarnell pull, and he hit a cross-neck deflection to a chestroll.
Little by little, they accumulated drops, five in all. The routine was so practiced that the drops were not always noticeable, but they were there. Overall, the routine was complex and enjoyable, but it was quiet. It had structure and more polish than Imperiale/Rogers/Schiller, but without the drama of being performed clean it lacked their pyrotechnics.
Team Shrednow, the question mark team, were last up. Based on the semifinals, they had both polish and pyrotechnics and it would be a question of whether they pulled off their routine and what routine the judges preferred.
They played great with only three drops and seemed to close the door. Their routine featured catches and moves on music breaks and combined choreographed two disc work with edgy indies.
Dave Lewis played well but accounted for all three team drops. They weren’t careless drops, though, as each came on a huge move – a 720 legover pull using a second disc, an oliver pull, and a quad legover pull. Coddington and Leitner went dropless and played solid and aggressive.
The team’s co-ops were difficult, and their individual combos were ambitious. Coddington and Lewis caught perfectly synchronized double spinning barrels to end one co-op. Lewis caught a double spinning osis on a music cue to end a shred section. Leitner sent a yogi to a Coddington pull and twisto set to Lewis’ chair brush to a Leitner brush, roll and crash and burn gitis. Leitner did a bad attitude hold, fell to the ground and retained the hold. Coddington completed a triple spin to an invert hold and closed with a double spinning chair, then later sealed a skid to a juice combo with a phlaud.
Lewis got redemption for his earlier drop on the oliver pull by completing the move near the end of the routine. The performance ended with a double disc co-op caught by Lewis and Leitner. It wasn’t as synched as the earlier double catch, and the catches came just after the music ended, but those are minor issues in an aggressive and cleanly performed finals routine.
Coddington and Lewis got their fourpeat without Murphy, and Leitner won his first FPA Worlds title since 1994. The judges awarded Team Shrednow 67.3 points to 64.4 for Kenny/Silvey/Yarnell. Imperiale/Rogers/Schiller took third with 63.3. Brodeur/Cameranesi/Zimmerman nailed fourth with 55.1 points. Kruger/Laubert/Marron took home fifth with 53.8, and Robbins/Scannell/Williams scored 44.7 for sixth place.