2018 PNWR 1A Preview

What's good everyone! Colin here. This weekend, the Pacific Northwest Regional Championships will be taking place in Seattle. This regional is one of the biggest contests in the US, consistently bringing in high competitor numbers and amazing talent from all over the nation and even international talent. This year will be nothing shy of a stacked event, and I’m here to keep you covered with what to expect at the Seattle Armory.

In 1A, it seems as though the newer generation will have a large presence. With popular players like Gentry Stein and Michael Ferdico not competing this year, it seems as though we will see some newer faces on the podium this year.

The 2017 National Champion Evan Nagao will be competing at PNWR, and this will be his first contest since he was crowed with the US title. Evan has been killing it with making great videos and posting amazing tricks on Instagram as of recent, and I am looking forward to see what he has planned for this weekend.

Nate Dailey is a frontrunner for 2018, coming off of a stellar improvement in 2017 by taking 1st at last year’s event, and 5th at Nationals with an unfortunate string snap costing him a podium finish. We haven’t seen much from Nate since October, so him having newer content should be expected.

Next up is Daniel Flaherty, who placed 3rd at PNWR in 2017. Daniel has always been under everyone’s radar due to not competing/releasing content often, and he surprised a lot of people by placing top 3 last year and having an amazing top 10 finish at BAC. If Daniel can manage to hit a clean routine this year, his likelihood of retaining a top 3 finish is very strong.

The fan favorite Keiran Cooper is another strong contender for winning this year. Keiran has been due of a title for a long time, and similarly to Daniel, if he can manage to hit his freestyle with solid cleanliness, I have no doubts in him winning in at least the technical category (which could be enough for him to solidify 1st). Keiran will also be representing his new sponsor SF Yoyos for the first time at the event!

2014 champion Michael Nakamura may be this year’s sleeper pick. Although 1A is not his main style, Michael has proven himself to be extremely proficient in it, especially in 2017 by surprising everyone at Worlds by placing 2nd in the stacked 1A preliminary round and 4th at PNWR. Could Michael earn his second 1A title in Seattle?

Don’t worry, I didn’t forget to include the other amazing Michael – Michael Kurti! Kurti is one of the best in the game with his unique energy that he brings to the stage. Having placed 2nd at his last PNWR in 2016 and having a strong showing at Virginia States last month, I would not be surprised to see Michael take the title.

Remember that one freestyle in Iceland that made the crowd go crazy? The guy that defied all odds, going into the event barely qualifying for prelims to making it all the way to finals and placing top 10 in all 3 rounds? Ethan Cheung will be making his return to competition in Seattle this weekend, and you should be hyped to see. I personally am super excited to see Ethan compete this weekend and flex on everyone in evaluations again.

Going internationally, Ayumu Harada will be representing Japan and Caribou Lodge in the 1A division! This is not Ayumu’s first time infiltrating the US regional system, as he placed 7th at BAC last year. Having a pretty successful 2017 with placing 1st at his regional and 6th at Japan Nationals, Ayumu has a chance of earning a podium finish at the event.

From Canada, the wonder-boy Harrison Lee will also be competing! Harrison has been lowkey in recent times, and I have a feeling that he will be one of the most slept freestyles of the event.

Other notable players that I'm looking forward to (and you should as well) are Remy Baskin, Hunter Feuerstein, Angelo Aguirre, Luke Trautwein, Paul Harness, and Daniel Kim. In my eyes, they are the next generation!

Lastly, Scales Podcast will be represented in Patrick Canny and yours truly. Wish us luck!

** Writeup information is based off of competitor list/what I have been told. I am probably forgetting some great freestyles, which is honestly one of the best surprises for me at contests.

Check out the event here.