Maryland State Champs 2017! Charles E Smith / The Field School

posted May 26, 2017, 6:49 PM by Barney Krucoff   [ updated May 27, 2017, 2:03 PM ]
Front Row: Joey Shoyer, Jake Shoyer, 
Middle Row: Gabe Stillman, Maya Waehrer, Matthew Wieseltier
Back Row: Sasha Apasov, Ari Schlactus, Jacob Mannes, Walt Johnson, Daniel Koenig, Carl Johnson, Natan Schoenbaum, Matthew Swire, Jake Rabinowitz, Barney Krucoff 
Not Pictured: Avi Abrams

Poets & Pitchers finished the 2017 spring season on a high, winning two Fairfax League titles in Manassas on May 7 and capturing a state title and a state 6th-place finish in Columbia on May 20-21.

In the Fairfax tournament, the A team entered as the top seed and started strong with dominant quarterfinal and semifinal wins over McLean, 13-1, and Heritage, 13-5. The championship against W.T. Woodson, however, proved to be much tougher, with P&P trailing most of the game until they faced a 12-9 deficit and Woodson could nearly touch the title. One of the most memorable comebacks in team history ensued, with Ben Levin catching the score on universe point to hand P&P a 13-12 win. It was the second straight season in which Levin accomplished this feat, having caught the universe point winner in the WAFC Clique League championship in November 2016 to win by the exact same scoreline.

The B team took over in the developmental bracket immediately after the A team's championship was complete. After their first-round opponent, West Potomac, forfeited, the B team faced Chantilly B in the semifinals. After a tight first half saw P&P holding a narrow, 7-6 lead at the break, the team turned it on in the second, shutting out Chantilly to take the 13-6 win. They continued their hot streak into the championship, where they faced a combination of Lake Braddock and some players from the Chantilly team they had just beaten. After winning the first 10 or 11 points, P&P held on to win 13-3, completing an undefeated day for the two teams as a whole.

Two weeks later, at the Maryland state tournament, P&P split into two teams to comply with USA Ultimate rules. The Walt Whitman/Walter Johnson team (WWWJ) entered as the #4 seed, playing in Pool B, while the CESJDS/Field team (Private Stock) played as the #6 seed, competing in Pool A. On day 1 of the tournament, Private Stock put the state on alert by knocking off the three-time defending champions, BCC, 11-8 in the first game of the morning. Private Stock would go on to sweep Pool A, finishing the day 5-0. WWWJ struggled in their first two games in Pool B against supposedly lesser teams, surviving School Without Walls 10-9 and falling to Wootton 11-10. But, they rebounded in game 3, defeating the tournament's #2 seed, Glenelg, 11-6. After a win over Baltimore Polytechnic and a tough loss to Blair, WWWJ finished 3-2.

On the tournament's second day, Private Stock entered with a bye to the quarterfinals, while WWWJ took on Archbishop Curley in the round of 12 for a chance to face off with Private Stock in the quarters. After WWWJ avoided the upset with a 13-6 win, the two factions of P&P went head to head. After both teams held their first three offensive points, Private Stock took a lead they would not relinquish. They took a 7-4 lead into halftime and went on to triumph, 12-7. It would be the only game of the tournament in which Private Stock would not reach the target score for victory (11 on Saturday, 13 on Sunday). Private Stock proceeded to the semifinals, where they knocked off Churchill, 13-6. Glenelg upset BCC in the other semifinal to set up the championship game. Meanwhile, WWWJ won their semifinal in the 5th-place bracket, 13-8 over Mount Hebron. In the 5th-place game, WWWJ lost another one-point game to Wootton, 9-8, to complete their 6th-place finish. Wootton finished the year as one of the most improved teams in the state, having lost to the P&P A team 14-3 back in March. Private Stock completed their unexpected rise in the State Championship game, taking out Glenelg 13-7 to lift the wooden disc trophy. 

By Owen Krucoff