College Nationals is next weekend at West Point, NY and the last poll before a champion is crowned on the court is out. To no surprise, hosts Army are the unanimous #1 ranked team. Earlier this month they took 2nd place in their annual tournament narrowly losing to top rated open club team NYAC in the final. (Albeit a depleted NYAC as 4 members from that squad were playing with the U.S. National Team in Mexico.)
Ranked 2nd are Air Force and Virginia. Air Force has played well in two recent tournaments in Phoenix and Los Angeles, taking 2nd in the LA tourney this past weekend. Virginia has also had a solid year, but they slipped up on April 1st with an NHTL loss to Army’s 2nd Team 23-17.
Moving up to 4th Place is Ohio St which had a 4-1 record at the “Arnold Classic” tourney in March. Their 21-19 victory over Illinois St is probably responsible for their leapfrogging of the Redbirds who slipped to 5th place.
Look out to Nationals
I haven’t seen seeding or pools for college nationals yet, but one can see a potential narrative. With an 11 years in a row run of National Titles, plus hosting, Army is a huge favorite to repeat. Air Force and Virginia are in theory the two teams that will fight to play them in the Final, but in reality another home team lurks as a dangerous opponent: Army’s 2nd team (West Point Gold). Ohio St is another potential team that could break through, but they’ll need to prove that their gaudy 9-0-4 record isn’t just due to beating up on weak opposition. Illinois St would be another possible dark horse, but to a lack of funding they aren’t attending.
For sure, there’s one thing that nobody outside of the Cadet Corps wants to see and that is an all Army (West Point Black vs West Point Gold) Championship Final. And, honestly I bet there’s probably more than a few cadets that probably don’t want to see an intrasquad match either.
Chat Me Up
I’ll be at West Point all day Saturday and Sunday. Don’t hesitate to stop me and have a conversation about any handball topic. I’m sure to have an opinion.
Proposed Collegiate Summer Camp for Coaches and Players
And, if you’re interested in taking your game to the next level be sure to let me know if you’re interested in attending a Collegiate Camp this summer at the Lifezone Handball Academy near Chicago. Craig Rot and I are still formulating plans, but the intent is to help collegiate players and coaches raise their game for next season. Tentative dates are 2-7 July. Please let us know if you are interested by filling out this short survey: Link