St. Louis NRT Champions Hail from NFL City

Frank Sant
February 11, 2016
St. Louis, MO

“You can observe a lot just from watching.” The late St. Louisian, Yogi Berra

Final Draw 

Probably all tournament directors constantly check the weather forecast for the 10 days leading up to their event. I observed the massive snowstorm that hit the East Coast in mid-January and concluded that I would rather have 60 degree weather than a “perfect’ paddle day of 25 degrees and overcast. The warmer weather is easier on the director’s stress level and provides more enjoyable viewing for the casual fan.

FinalistsOur version of “Friday Night Lights” has continued to grow in popularity the last few years. We kicked off the tournament with seven matches which included a few “play-in” battles. Due to challenging couplings, four of the seven Friday pairings went to three sets. Dave Bremer and Ted LeMatty knocked off Wheeler Frost and Billy Georges. On court 3, Frank Childress and Peter Gunther defeated the Captain America team of Brett Gamso and Damien Janet, 3-6, 6-0, 6-4. Meanwhile on court 2, the rising team of Calvin Kinsella and Piotr Wianecki knocked off veterans Tom Fluri and Bill Stude, 2-6, 6-3, 6-3. Fluri/Stude recovered to lose a mere eight games over their next four matches to take the Consolations. On court four, Andrew Conley and Ryan Metzler were engaged in a slugfest with Greg and Brendon Shaw. With much entertainment prevailing on the court and in the hut, the Shaw brothers dug deep to pull out a 7-6, 6-7, 7-5 victory.

Finalists at right: (l-r) Jay Schwab, Ian Hintz, Bob Curtis and Peter Hantack

The weekend was a wonderful opportunity to get acquainted with teams – new and old. John Hough returned to the St. Louis tournament after a decade-plus absence and paired up with his son, John. Ed Burns played after a four-year hiatus and teamed with George Higgins, the son of Will who played the STL Invitational in the early 90’s. Burns/Higgins lived up to their third seed as they made the semis with well-earned victories over the Kansas City teams of Chace Brundige and Cassidy Mears and Kevin Connor and Garrett Gates.

Captain Americas!Michael Laycob and Tim Miller may have had their best tournament yet after being regular paddle partners the last few years. They cruised through Mike Anzalone and Alan Douglas and Mike Carr and Frank Sant before succumbing in three sets to Denver’s Ian Hintz and Jay Schwab in the quarters. In the Reprieves, Laycob/Miller survived back-to-back three-set matches with wins over Connor/Gates and Andy Metzler and Pat Smith.

The dynamic Denver duo were questionable the Wednesday before play started as Hintz was nursing an injury. They rolled into the finals, however, with a decisive 6-1, 6-1 win over Graham Battle and Zach Frisch. On the other side of the draw, five-time winner Bob Curtis paired with Peter Hantack, who has only been playing paddle since September 2014. Curtis/Hantack knocked out Burns/Higgins in the semis by taking a tie-breaker in the third set. The championship featured several rallies which lasted 50 to 70 shots. In the end, Hintz/Schwab were able to stuff most drives and committed only a handful of errors. While Hintz/Schwab took the top prize with a 6-0, 6-3 win, part of their winnings were left behind in St. Louis for consumption by the locals.

We hope to see you in St. Louis for our 25th anniversary tournament in 2017.

Champions  Ian Hintz/Jay Schwab (Denver) 
Consolations  Tom Fluri/Bill Stude 
Quarter Reprieves  Michael Laycob/Tim Miller 
Consolations Quarters Reprieve  Brad Bietau/Drew Bietau (Kansas City) 
16’s Reprieves  Dustin Franzen/Grant Priddy (Kansas City) 
16’s Reprieves Consolations  Mike Carr/Frank Sant 
Last Chance  Brett Waite/Stu Waite 
Last Chance Reprieves  Dave Bremer/Ted LeMatty 
Last Chance Consolations  Joe Ingram/Mike Nogalski 


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