Young Guns features field of partnerships old and new, mashups and traditional
As reactions can sometimes go, Myles Muagututia’s was a swift one. He had just glimpsed the initial entry list for p1440’s Young Guns tournament in Huntington Beach, set for Nov. 30-Dec. 2. His eyes immediately found, for him, the one that mattered most: Nicolas Capogrosso and Julian Azaad.
“I want a rematch against Argentina for sure,” he said of Capogrosso and Azaad. “I hope they confirm.”
Rare is the opportunity to get a rematch with a team located 6,200 miles away, and not just on American soil, but on Muagututia’s home beach: Huntington. It was there, a little more than a month ago, that Muagututia and partner Travis Mewhirter lost to the Argentinians in the quarterfinals of a CBVA. And it is there, in Huntington, once more, that Muagututia and Mewhirter will potentially get a rematch with Argentina, one much sooner than either could have expected.
It’s only so often Argentinians compete in Huntington Beach, after all.
“That’s why we’re playing,” Mewhirter said. “To get a shot at some of the best in the world. It’s just nice that we don’t have to go to Argentina or Brazil or wherever to get it.”
No, not this time. p1440 has hauled in another impressive collection of international talent for the Young Guns, beginning with the Argentinians, who were a fun upstart to follow this season. Those who hadn’t yet heard of Azaad or Capogrosso could have received their first glimpse in Huntington Beach earlier this year, when they upset Brazilians Ricardo and Oscar, Russian No. 1 Viacheslav Krasilnikov and Nikita Liamin, and then Russia’s No. 2 in Oleg Stoyanovskiy and Igor Velichko.
As it can go with young teams – Azaad is 27, Capogrosso 23 – it was a topsy-turvy year for Argentina, highlighted by their upset run in Huntington Beach and a bronze in Morocco, lowlighted by qualifying misses in Vienna and Gstaad. A good prelude for the two-year Olympic grind to come, one familiar with a number of other teams in the men’s field. Soon to be making a similar push within the Young Guns field are Canadians Ben Saxton and Grant O’Gorman and the new Mexican duo of Lombardo Ontiveros and Jose Luis Rubio Camargo.
Brazil’s Alvaro Filho will be in attendance as well, though he’ll be competing alongside Germany’s Alex Walkenhorst, one of several international mashups – Dave Palm and Brazilian Luciano Ferreira, Russian Konstantin Semenov and Brazil’s Harley Marques, South African Leo Williams and Slovenia’s Nejc Zemljak, American Drew Mallin and Czech Peter Doubravsky, Russian Lev Priima and American Jacob Landel.
There are both mashup partnerships and new ones, the most intriguing of which are on the American side. Chase Frishman will be playing with Piotr Marciniak for the first time, as will Kyle Friend and Troy Field. The one to claim the most eyeballs, however, is Reid Priddy and Theo Brunner, one of several American realignments as the race for Tokyo begins.
“The Polish Hammer himself,” Frishman said of his new partner, laughing. “It’ll be fun, we’ll get a chance to check it out and run. He plays a fluid game. We’re gonna get slunky.”
So yes, the Young Guns will feature a Thanksgiving-style buffet of teams – and no, they are not all young, per se. There are the funky international combinations one won’t see elsewhere, aside from perhaps the wildly entertaining King of the Court series. There are the up-and-coming Americans in teams like Hagen Smith and Steve Irvin, Eric Zaun and Avery Drost, Bobby Jacobs and Mike Boag, Chris Austin and Kris Johnson, John Schwengel and Aiden Brown. And there are the not-so-up-and-comers, like the veteran and affable pair of Ed Ratledge and Rafu Rodriguez, victors in AVP San Francisco.
And there is, of course, the dish not served at Thanksgiving dinner, the one that is reportedly best served cold: The opportunity for a little vengeance.
“It’s gonna be great, come out here for a hometown tournament,” Friend said. “I have a lot of friends and family coming out to watch, and playing with Troy, we’re just looking to have a good time, get some quality touches and we’ll see what happens after this tournament.”
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