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KLoco Numero Uno (Again)

 

Six Sitting Pretty

 

G We’re So Sorry

 

No one has two Chippens titles. But after Day One, KLoco (Kait O’Hare), the 2017 Champion, is in position to do the spectator sport equivalent of climbing Mount Everest—twice, in the same day, without oxygen, in a storm . . . backwards.    

 

The Chicago teacher has a perfect bracket through the first 16 games, racking up 20 points. She’s the only player to win every game Thursday. 

 

Can she keep going?  

 

She’s only picked one big upset for Friday’s games: UC Irvine, the #14 seed, over #4 seed Kansas State. O’Hare is one of 31 players with UC-Irvine—but it’s not as big of an upset as the seeding suggests. Vegas has the Anteaters as only 4.5 point underdogs.

 

Beyond Friday’s matchup, however, O’Hare is one of just eight players with UC-Irvine in the Sweet 16. KLoco will need those Anteaters to dig their snouts real deep and stiffen their prehensile tails for her to keep her top spot through the weekend.     

 

Six players sit right behind KLoco tied for second place with 19 points apiece: NerdStertz, Winnie, Jumpin Jak, Det. Jake Peralta, Ja Makin’ Me Crazy, and HotRod. All six are seasoned veterans.

 

Winnie, the player formerly known as Penney Lane, is herself a defending Champ, having taken the title in 2006. She also had top finishes in 2010 (3rd), 2014 (4th), and 2018 (3rd). She’s the only player in Chippens history with three top-3 finishes.

 

NerdStertz (Sara Stertzberg) is in her eighth year of competition. She finished 26th in 2017 and 24th last year in competitive fields. One of just three players with Kentucky winning it all, she will have to hope the ‘Cats can get by the hot-shooting Wofford Terriers on Saturday.    

 

Det. Jake Peralta (Scott Sederstrom) is high on the leaderboard after the first day for the second year in a row. Last year he parlayed his Day One runner-up status into a 40th place finish. Will the shuffleboard maestro stick to a top spot or once again slide out of the running? 

 

“Jumpin Jak” Janisch, playing in his sixth tournament, is the Challenge’s #8 ranked player all-time. He’s only cracked the top 20 once, 11th in 2017, but he’s also never had a really bad year. His only miss Thursday was Seton Hall.

 

Ja Makin’ Me Crazy (Brian Brennan) is not what you would call a “top ranked player.” Out of 102 competitors eligible for the All Time Records, Brennan ranks #96 on the All-Time Average Place list. A three-time qualifier in the Century Club (and one 99th place finish), Brian could use a boost up the rankings. He has a shot with Murray State and Wofford. He’s one of only two players with Wofford in the Elite 8, and he’s the only player with Murray State in the Elite 8. Good luck to you Brian.    

 

The final player currently tied for second place is HotRod (Rodney Dawson). An annual competitor since 2010, Dawson started his Chippens career all souped up—never finishing below 21st in his first four years. Then HotRod threw a rod and finished 101st in 2014. Still, he earned his second 4th place finish in 2014, and currently ranks 13th all-time. He’ll also be rooting for the Anteaters—besides KLoco, he’s the only player in the top 7 with them winning Friday.  

 

Lastly, we offer our most sincere condolences to The Original G. Poor G is the only player whose chosen champion lost on Thursday. G had all her hopes pinned on the Nevada Wolfpack, but the Pack is now packing up to go home after losing to Florida. The good news for G is that none of her Friday teams have lost yet.