Hey everyone! Colin here with a short recap with one of the last contests in the US competition circuit of 2017. It's been a very interesting and competitive year all-around, so it's always good to reflect on it in a real contest setting.
I think one thing that many people have noticed is that there is clearly a meta that people of all skill levels are attempting to adjust to, with varying success all around. It's really interesting (and we could/may do a whole episode on this alone) to see how this works out for a select group of people only and why it doesn't work out for everyone. Anyways, this shift towards an ideal build of tricks/performance was obvious at Illinois States, so it's just something I wanted to touch up upon before we got to covering the yo-yoing here.
The winner of the 1A division was (in my opinion) the most skilled player in the midwest area currently, Chandler Steele. Chandler has had an amazing improvement rate in 2017 and became a competitive beast, winning Ohio States, Illinois States, MidEast regionals, making Worlds finals, and placing 6th at US Nationals. Chandler's style is very reflective off of the current meta that I mentioned above, but he puts his own interesting twist on things by incorporating unique emphasis (like that little knee bounce at :41). Chandler being extremely successful this year puts himself in a great position for 2018, and I'm hyped to see what he has in store. Definitely a deserved win here.
Michael Stecz placed 2nd with a pretty awesome freestyle as well. I haven't seen Michael yo-yo in quite a while, so all of his tricks always surprise me when I get to see them on video or in person. Michael also has a really unique style that focuses on a casual pace in which he doesn't try to rush anything, with tricks that blend a lot of great old-school and current ideas. Really loved that Michael was able to get 2nd at this contest with a freestyle that primarily focused on tricks, and tricks alone.
Connor Seals placed 3rd with an extremely performance-oriented freestyle. Although it was a nice contrast to the rest of the freestyles from the event, it seems as though the lack of technical execution (scoring) set Connor far behind 1st place, showing the difficulty in creating a freestyle that has a good balance in high levels of tech and performance. It'll be interesting to see how Connor builds off of this perspective going into 2018.
Outside of the top 3, another freestyle I enjoyed was Blaise Becker's. Blaise is a new face to the competitive scene on a high level like this but he has very good tricks. At such a young age as well, I know that he has a bright future in yo-yoing if he keeps it up.
Out of all of the routines in the X divisions, I was probably most impressed with Connor's winning 4A routine. Connor's 4A style is very similar to his 1A I would argue, in terms of focusing on making everything look good and having great performance value. Also, Connor is one of the few US players who can do soloham, and although he was not able to do much of it in this routine, I'm curious to see if he will implement it more in the future.
So, those were some of my favorites from this year's Illinois States! Illinois States was one of the largest state competitions of this year, with almost 50 1A competitors! It's great to see the midwest scene growing again. Watch all of the freestyles on YoYo Contest Central's Youtube channel here.