After closing last year in the runner-up position, the 18u So Cal Athletics-Richardson team decided to move a rung up in 2017.
Flexing its muscle in multiple tournaments with a roster deep in college-bound talent, the Athletics now stand in the No. 1 spot in the 2017 US Club Rankings results, up one place from a year ago. Fortified by winning the TC/USA Nationals event in Austin, TX, Athletics-Richardson also placed fifth at PGF Nationals and claimed ninth at the Boulder IDT event.
US Club Rankings uses a blended methodology of bracket results (with more weight awarded to events with stronger competition), a coaches poll and consideration of the number of players who go on to play collegiately from the 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 graduation classes. Event results are further broken down, giving 20 percent weight to 2015 finishes, 30 percent to 2016 and 50 percent to 2017.
“The US Club Rankings initially started with the 18 & Under age division, seeking out the strongest, high-achieving organizations in the nation,” said rankings director Alyson Morgenstern. “The So Cal Athletics have been in existence for over 25 years and run by Bruce Richardson since 1997; being out of the top 10 is a rarity for this program, and with this ranking it is no shock they are back in the No. 1 spot for 2017, embracing the moniker of a perennial top program.”
The So Cal Athletics-Richardson squad claimed the TC/USA title with an 8-1 victory over the Gold Coast Hurricanes-Cooper team, which ended up 15th in the US Club Rankings.
The rest of the top 10 for the final 18u 2017 US Club Rankings are as follows:
2. Beverly Bandits (Illinois) – Conroy (the PGF Nationals champs move up from No. 4 last year)
3. Firecrackers – Rico (won Colorado Fireworks, down from the top spot in 2016)
4. Corona Angels – Tyson (winners of Boulder IDT, second at PGF, up from No. 7 in 2016)
5. East Cobb Bullets – Schnute (third at TC/USA Nationals, fifth at Boulder IDT, up one position)
6. Texas Glory – Shelton (second at Colorado Fireworks, fifth at TC/USA and PGF, up from No. 10)
7. Birmingham (AL) Thunderbolts (fifth at Boulder IDT, down two slots)
8. Texas Bombers Gold – Smith (placed third at Colorado Fireworks, up one position from 2016)
9. Aces Express (TX) – McCorkle (third at TC/USA, fifth at Colorado Fireworks, vaulting up 15 spots)
10. All American Sports Academy (CA) – Merrida (first at Boulder IDT; as 14th overall a year ago)