The Fincastle Pokemon Gym Leaders traveled to Cornelius, NC, for the North Carolina State Championship on Saturday. The event drew 128 entrants, which was the largest “States” yet in North Carolina. Georgia and Logan entered the Junior Division into a field of 20 players. Joel and Marthe entered a Master Division field of 86 competitors. Juniors played 5 rounds with a top cut of 4 players. Masters played 7 rounds with a top cut of 16. In top cuts, each round is a best 2 out of 3 match with the winner moving on to the next round.
In the Master Division, Gym Leader Joel opened against Carolina’s own World Championship qualifier which he feared would be an auto-loss. However, Joel went to time and the “plus 3 turns” and won the opening round. This set the tone for the day as 4 of the 7 matches played by Joel went to either time or sudden death. At 3-2, Joel dropped a tight match off of a misplay in extra turns that cost him the chance to enter the top 16 playoff. Gym Leader Joel finished 4-3, ranked 22nd, pleased with some very tough wins but agonizing over the one play that cost him a chance at “top cutting.” That is the game of Pokemon at the State and above level… one play, one turn or even a coin flip can make the difference in a battle.
In the Junior Division, Georgia opened with 2 losses, including an opening round loss to one of the eventual finalists. Georgia hung tough and went on to win 2 of her last three. Winning a match at States is an accomplishment considering the high level of competition. We are very proud of Georgia winning 2 matches and battling it out for 5 rounds. Being as successful as she has been so far at age 5, its hard to tell what she may accomplish in the years to come.
The other eventual finalist was Logan. Logan ran through the competition winning all 5 rounds and entering the top cut as 1 of 2 undefeated players. Logan won his opening round in top cut in straight games and patiently awaited the victor of the other match which went back and forth for quite some time. He eventually faced off with Blaine H., who won the second semi-final against the other undefeated player, Tracy. Logan defeated Blaine in 2 straight games to win his first State Championship. For his efforts, Logan won a 1st place medal, 36 booster packs, a Play! Pokemon play mat and a $300 travel-voucher (to be redeemed upon his arrival at the National Championships in Indianapolis this July). Logan will also receive a 1st round bye at Nationals which means an automatic 1st round win. Logan’s play was nothing short of amazing. He’s battled hard at every Premier event he’s entered and never qualified for the Top Cut until this event. We could see it in his face that he knew this was his opportunity and that he was going after it. He played with a calm demeanor and was very precise in his decision making. What was the most satisfying for us was the fact that he displayed great sportsmanship as well. Logan embodied the very definition of a Gym Leader (and he’s a pretty good kid to boot).
All of the Gym Leaders had great fun at what was an exciting and very tiring day. In addition to the successes mention above, the Gym Leaders won some great door prizes. The days winnings have once again revived the league’s supply of some really cool items that will make it into the prize lot for future tournaments at the Fincastle Pokemon Gym. See you at the Gym!