Rustys entered three teams at the 2018 Open National Championships in Dallas, at the 73+, 76+, and 78+ levels. The results were three medals, a Gold, a Silver, and a Bronze.Rustys 76: Bronze Medal
Rustys 76 was a mixed team. The setters (Dennis Horn and Jack Laffe) also played on the 73 team. Three of the hitters (Norm Macleod, Bill Anderson, and Steve Wood (Woody)) as well as the libero (George Hedge) also played on the 78 team. Fran Launstein was the 7th player.
In the Round Robin play, Rustys lost close matches in three to both MAC Magic and Outback Steakhouse, and won their other matches easily. They were seeded third going into Double Elimination play. Since third seed played second seed, Rustys played Outback Steakhouse, losing this time in two games. Easily moving through the Losers Bracket, they again faced MAC, who had lost to Outback in the Winners' Bracket. Again MAC Magic won, and Rustys had to settle for the Bronze. Outback was first, and Mac Magic second.
Rustys was rewarded with Jack Laffe making the All-Tournament Team.
Rustys 73: Silver Medal
Rustys 73 roared through their Round Robin without losing a match. Indeed their only close match was a 25-8,27-25 win over Sun of a Beach, (and a 16-25 loss to the weakest team, in a strange letdown.) So after the Round Robin, Rustys was in great shape, seeded number one in the Gold Bracket of four teams. The other three teams went down to the Silver Bracket.
In the Double Elimination, Rustys defeated Outback Steakhouse 25-14, 25-14, while Sun of a Beach defeated Brazil. In the Winners' Bracket finals, Rustys finally lost their first match of the tournament, 25-21, 25-22. In the Losers' Bracket, Rustys defeated Brazil 25-19, 25-18, to make it to the Finals. In the Finals, Sun of a Beach, getting stronger as the tournament went on, won in two, 25-20, 25-20. Rustys had to settle for the Silver Medal. To show how close the tournament was, Sun of a Beach had a record of 8-1, with Rustys at 8-2, and Rustys had a slightly higher point ratio for the whole tournament.
The team was composed of John Dapkis, Dennis Horn, Jack Laffe, Brian Marts, Gary Pfingsten, Surj Sanghera, Harry Siemen, and John Spitzer. Gary Pfingsten and John Spitzer made the All-Tournament Team.
Rustys 78: Gold Medal
Rustys 78 started out as a hard-luck team. About two weeks before the tournament, Jim Hopton dropped out due to illness, Dennis Berry decided he hadn't recovered enough from injury to play, and Tom Swanson entered the hospital. We started with just 7 players, Bill Anderson, Dave Askren, Dave Danielson, George Hedge, Norm Macleod, Steve Wood, and Tom Swanson, fresh from the hospital.
In the first Round Robin, Rustys lost in three to Mountain Goats from Colorado, with scores of 24-26, 26-24, 15-7. We then followed with easy wins over Adults Toy Storage and Mac Magic. After day one Rustys was seeded second. At this time, Tom Swanson decided he was still too weak continue, so the team was reduced to only six players for the rest of the tournament.
This was followed by another Round Robin, for seeding into the playoffs. Again, Rustys lost in three, this time to MAC Magic, 25-18, 12-25, 15-5. Rustys beat Adults Toy Storage and Mountain Goats easily. So again Rustys was seeded second, going into the Double Elimination.
In the Double Elimination, MAC Magic beat Adults Toy Storage, and Rustys beat Mountain Goats. In the Winners' Bracket finals, MAC Magic beat Rustys 25-12, 15-17. In the Losers Bracket, Rustys beat Mountain Goats 25-15, 25-15. Rustys was in the finals!
This is where Rustys really started to shine. These six players won the finals 25-14, 25-18 to set up a one game playoff. This was no contest, as Rusty won 25-10. Rustys were champions, in the oldest division in the tournament.
Dave Askren and Steve Wood were named to the All-Tournament team, along with Dave Danielson who was the Most Valuable Player.
It was a wonderful finish to a great tournament.