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 3A division at this years National YoYo Contest had plenty of talent, and many of the competitors seemed to be fairly evenly matched, at least for the day. But with the exception of Alex Hattori, every single player in the field had some kind of mistake in the first 0:30 of their routine and plenty more after. The result of this is that it becomes impossible to build up the kind of tension that we saw in the 1A Division, where nearly every player had a flawless routine. There was tension, but of a different kind…we all expected to give a trophy not to the best player of the day, but just to the one with the least blunders.
Fan favorite Eric Tranton came in off a solid showing at Worlds with one of the best routine ending bangers in the divisions history, but had so many tangles and missed string hits in the first minute of his routine that there was no way he could come back from it. That he still took 4th is a testament to just how good he really is, as well as how much everyone else in the division was missing. Defending champion Patrick Borgerding had some major problems almost immediately into his routine, rendering the first full minute of his routine mostly an exercise in watching a seasoned player try to recover their nerve once they realize they’ve lost the event but still have two minutes to go. The structure of Patrick’s routine is mostly banger-banger-banger, without much in the way of filler and not as many transitions as other players. If you looked away for a moment, it was easy to miss the flubs and look up just in time to catch him doing something amazing. That he stayed in the Top Three is partially a testament to the point value of his audacious tricks, and partially a reminder that the judges often score defending champions more favorably based on expectation.
Elliot Ogawa, former protégé to Patrick Borgerding, scooped up 2nd Place and bested his own mentor in spite of a tangle that resulted in a double restart and ate up a full 0:20 of his routine. That Elliot took 2nd Place with a routine so plagued with errors is indicative of how rough the entire division went…the best players had tons of problems, and the lesser players didn’t have the tricks to muscle through even a weak routine from the top contenders.
Alex Hattori was the shining star of the division though, and while it would be easy and cynical to say he was simply the “best of the worst” on a bad day for the division, the truth is that even if Ogawa, Borgerding, and Tranton were at the top of their game, Alex would have taken them. His routine was not only 95% flawless, but Alex comes from the Hank Freeman school of 3A…mount right in to your tricks, and waste no time getting to the next ones. The result was an entertaining freestyle with strong pacing and a ton of technical difficulty, resulting in a well-deserved win for Alex Hattori.