The 2013 US National YoYo Contest wrapped up this past weekend, and YoYoNews is looking back at each division and bringing you post-contest analysis.
The 4A division at the US National Yo-Yo Competition saw a complete turn around from the World competition; routine after routine left you thinking, ‘hmm… that could take the cup’, which is just what the division needed. The youngsters like Alex Lee, Julian Guaurner and Stephanie Haight had some trouble on stage losing quite a few yo-yos but each still showed lots of promise and they gained much needed experience on the center stage. The present top players in this division are strong and the future looks bright.
Flawless. That is what it took to win the 2013 National Yo-Yo Contest in offstring. There is a winner every year but there aren’t flawless routines every year. Ian Johnson entered the history books on Saturday with a routine that had zero minor deductions and zero major deductions–three minutes of flawless yoyoing in front of a huge crowd in Chico on the United States’ biggest stage. His routine had technically difficult tricks, flashy bangers and perfectly timed music cues. Ian’s routine was constructed so well and really speaks to his experience on the big stage. After Ian’s first two minutes looked dead locked with Bryan and Zac, his final minute continued to rise when Zac and Bryan’s final minutes had some difficulties albeit extremely, emphasis on extremely, minor ones but that was all it took to lose pace with the eventual champion. Ian was smiling and it was obvious from the crowd he was having fun on stage while hitting a routine he won’t ever forget–something that, at it’s core, is what the sport of yo-yo is all about–having fun.
Zac Rubino had the best routine of his life and showed everyone what he is capable of; he proved he is world class, right there with Ian, Bryan and Michael. Add in Ben Conde and the United States has a scary top 5 when on their game. Zac came out hot hitting banger after banger, technical combo after technical combo and looked like he was going to take the title home for Chico and he finished very strong. His routine was topped only by a flawless routine which speaks to the quality of his. Additionally, Zac has worked quite a bit on his choreography and overall structure of his routine and definitely proved me wrong when saying he has difficulty outside. On almost any other day, Zac walks home with a cup with that routine and should be very proud of the show he put on.
Finally rounding out the top three, Michael Nakamura came out with another beautiful routine to follow up his World Champion routine. He topped even Ian in his technical score which speaks to how dangerous he can be when he goes even cleaner but with a few drops and miscues, third was a pretty solid finish and probably the best he was going to finish after all the routines were completed. Michael may leave disappointed but absolutely backed up his World title and will continue to be a top contender in international competitions.
Ben Conde was also right there hitting one his cleanest routines through the first two minutes but had a few drops in the end. Ben always brings a great show and will always remain at the top of the division when it comes to innovation. It will be Ben’s time one of these days but this Saturday was not quite it.
Bryan came out with a strong routine that looked much more polished than his World routine and when Zac and Michael were announced in second and third, it looked like maybe Bryan managed to return to the top. Ian took down the six time defending champion Bryan Figueroa, who earned the admiration of the entire yo-yo community for accomplishing six years of dominance and creating the essence of excellence that the American offstring scene is now defined by. Bryan IS what it means to be a champion and while he did not finish at the top this weekend, he will always have the respect of every offstring player in the United States; but this weekend was Ian Johnson’s–perhaps a passing of the torch.
2013 US National YoYo Contest – 4A Division Winners
2nd Place – Zac Rubino