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  John Osborn and Mik Mehas Favorites in both Singles and Doubles in 1997 U.S.C.A. National Championships
based on reports of tournament director Mike Weimerskirch
Posted October 24, 1997

After two days of singles play, the roster of players emerging to continue to the Friday singles playoffs has held few surprises. Although the tournament is strong, many top players and former champions are missing from the lineup - from the Northwest, Jerry Stark, 1996 champ Wayne Rodoni, and John Taves; from the Southwest, the Fournier brothers, Don and Jacques; and from the South, last year's number 2, Richard Powell. Given the absence of these players and the early withdrawal of 1995 champion Carl Mabee of Maine, the prudent bets are on John Osborn and Mik Mehas. Osborn won the singles championship in 1991 and lost by a hair to Mabee in 1995, placed fourth in 1995 and in 1996 split third with his current partner Mik Mehas. Mehas, who won the doubles championship in 1995 with Wayne Rodoni, is the national champion in International Rules and has placed no lower than fifth in any of his previous tries at the national American Rules title.

With most of the singles blocks games completed by Wednesday night, the records showed that each 7-game block had produced one undefeated player: Bill Berne, Doug Grimsley, Leo McBride, Mik Mehas, John Phaneuf, Britt Ruby, and Rick Sheely. These players are thus assured places in the double- elimination portion of the playoff, which accommodates the top sixteen in block play, or two each from the seven blocks, plus two.

The importance of double life was revealed clearly in the doubles play-off earlier in the week, when not a single one of the single-life qualifiers made it to the semi-finals round. In addition to the seven above, other players most likely to achieve the double-life advantage in the playoffs are: Bennett, Johnston, Lloyd, Mahoney, Houghton, Osborn, Larkin, Shaffer, and Tom Hughes.

Reigning champion Jim Hughes, after some trouble in the initial rounds, has bagged four games in his block to assure his place at least in the single- elimination portion of the play-offs. (In 1996, Hughes streaked to the national singles title without a single loss.)

Singles Block Results

With some games remaining to be played, the results through Wednesday evening are given below. Note that the 54 players are divided into five blocks of eight and one cross-block of fourteen. The cross-block allows the players in what would otherwise be a "short" block of seven to have seven competitive games (like the other players in the convention blocks of eight). This creates a balanced and fair block configuration as a qualifying round for the Friday playoffs.

	Rick Sheely       6-0
	Paul Bennett      5-1
	Jim Hughes        4-2
	Kiley Jones       3-3 
	Cherry            2-4 
	Brackett          2-4
	BJ Berne          1-5
	Nicklasson        1-5

	Bill Berne        6-0
	Steve Johnston    5-1
	Rich Curtis       4-2
	Mitchell          4-3
	Mead              3-3
	Wolman            2-4
	Passarelli        1-5
	Waters         (withdrew)

	Mik Mehas         6-0
	Dan Mahoney       5-1
	Houghton          5-1
	Zuro              2-4 
	B Grimsley        2-4
	P Phaneuf         2-4
	Scogins           2-4
	Nelson            0-6

	Leo McBride       6-0
	Ron Lloyd         5-1
	John Osborn       5-1
	Bridges           3-3
	J Young           3-3
	F Jones           2-4
	T Spoonhour       1-6
	Langstroth     (withdrew)

	Doug Grimsley     7-0
	Carl Larkin       5-1
	Uhlman            4-2
	Cumming           3-3
	Koenig            3-3 
	Hoy               2-4
	Welden            1-5
	Mabee          (withdrew)

	BLOCK SIX (Cross block 7x7)
	John Phaneuf      6-0
	Britt Ruby        6-0
	Shaffer           4-2 
	T Hughes          4-2
	Fusz              4-2
	Curington         3-3
	Stettner          3-3
	Mayer             3-3
	J Jones           3-3
	Dill              2-4
	Watson            2-4
	D Robinson        1-5
	J Spoonhour       1-5
	Griffith          0-6

[CROQUET WORLD ONLINE MAGAZINE will next report on the final results of singles block play and on the doubles championship, played Thursday.]

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