Yesterday’s eighth annual Weasel Pyle in Wayne wrapped up our eighth season of Windy City Weasels Diplomacy. We fielded 27 boards in Season Eight, with 60 players participating.
Compared with Season Seven, it was a down year. Certainly it was a step back in games played from the lofty numbers posted the past thee years, when we averaged 40 boards, but the 60 players is right where we were in Seasons Three through Six, when we averaged 62 players per year.
So it was a pretty good year, and on Saturday, we celebrated our success and recognized player achievement by awarding the annual Weasels.
Our Best Country awards went to:
- Austria: Brad Harrington (16-center board top, Game No. 201, 64.975 points)
- England: Ben DiPaola (15-center board top, Game No. 202, 65.407 points)
- France: Nate Cockerill (14-center board top, Game No. 220, 50.256 points)
- Germany: Matt Sundstrom (12-center board top, Game No. 217, 50.350 points)
- Italy: Jim O’Kelley (10-center board top, Game No. 207, 43.478 points)
- Russia: Christian Kline (12-center board top, Game No. 210, 52.555 points)
- Turkey: Mark Weiskircher (10-center board top, Game No. 197, 45.045 points)
Our Rookie of the Year for Season Eight is a true rookie in that he played the game for the first time this season. He finished second in his first game, topped his next two boards, played a round each at DixieCon and Weasel Moot, and also played at the Pyle. Those first three results put him in third place heading into the Pyle, and although he was eliminated yesterday, he hung on to finish fifth, earning a berth in the Weasel Royale in just his first campaign.
Our Rookie of the Year was actually at Game No. 1 back in September 2005, but he was only 4 years and 11 months at the time. Despite his youth, or maybe because of it, he kept popping in on us that day with a toy rifle, asking if he could be a spy.
Our Rookie of the Year is my son Kevin, and I could not be prouder. Thank you to all of you who have played with Kevin, have treated him kindly, and have helped him learn to play this great game that we all love. I really appreciate it.
Just as our Rookie of the Year is a true rookie, our Weasel of the Year is a true weasel. Of course, if it were up to him, we’d be the Chicago Snakes instead of the Windy City Weasels. Nate Cockerill topped one of the two boards on Opening Night but his grip on first place did not last. He was in the hunt all year long though, retook the lead on May 1, and held it until July 17, the season’s penultimate event. Heading into the Pyle, he trailed leader Matt Sundstrom by just seven points.
The two squared off in the Pyle’s featured board in the two-story library, but Cockerill was eliminated in Game No. 218. His elimination was fortunate, however, as it gave him a shot at redemption on the late-starting second-chance board. Cockerill took advantage of that chance and won a hard fought board top to vault past Sundstrom and claim his first Weasel of the Year title. He now heads into the Weasel Royale club championship game as both the top seed and the defending champion.
Congratulations to all our award winners!