My brief (and based only on the results page) thoughts on the first Weekend of Conference Championships are mostly about parity, parity, parity. Not every favored team lost (see Michigan or Ottawa), a lot of them did. Here are the highlights.
1. UW-Eau Claire over Wisconsin. 9-8. Has Sol ever beaten Bella? UWEC, which looked like a non-contender in the Cold and Snow Division behind Syz, Iowa, Iowa State and Wisco, suddenly has inserted themselves into the discussion.
2. UNC over UNCW. Three weeks after a disappointing (18th) finish at Centex, NC got a second straight victory of Seaweed (who lost in the finals at Centex). Both these teams, cushioned by 3 bids, are going to Nationals, but this rivalry just gets better and better. I can't help but think that they're going to meet at Nationals with a lot on the line. (Again.)
3. Colorado doesn't make Regionals! This is biggest shocker. They were in semis last year! I am stunned. I am saddened for their coach Tina, who has been a co-traveler with me my entire career. (I played against her at College Nationals in 93 and 94, when she was playing Open with Jojah.) I think this will be another stick of wood on the Colorado-Should-Be-It's-Own-Region discussion. (It should be.)
4. I think I missed a game....
1. Northwest. We play the same teams this weekend and then again at Regionals. How good are all of us? No one knows. Has Western grown enough to challenge UW, UBC and UofO for a spot at Nationals? We'll see.
2. Southern Cal. Can UCLA challenge UCSB? Historically, the Skirts have played inconsistently at Sectionals and Regionals. They do what they need to to make the Show, but don't seem too stressed out about winning it. (They lost one or the other of these the past couple of years.) UCLA sure could use the win.