In a dramatic (yet commanding) blowout, the Phoenix Rise defeated the Boston Iron 21 to 14 during the finals of the 2016 NPGL Season. Though the Rise proved dominant and clinched the win in Race 9, the victory was not without drama, and both teams were obviously fatigued from two straight weeks of racing.
The Gridmaster predicted the race between the Rise and the Iron would come down to which Boston Iron team showed up to play. Though the Iron hoped to go into the final match with the same team that beat the DC Brawlers in the semi-finals, they were dealt two big blows just 24 hours before the final match: ringer Devonia Long ruptured her left Achilles during practice, and Kris Kling came down with a stomach bug. Amanda Deller and Anthony DiFrancesco did their best to sub for the two athletes, but it wasn’t enough to make up for the deficit.
In addition to the loss of Long and Kling, the Iron also suffered from a few miscues and mistakes. After throwing the bonus flag on Race 8, bodyweight specialist Brandan Jones was faulted for letting his heels fall below his hip crease during L-sit rope climbs. In a race with only 30 total reps, that one fault was enough to give the Phoenix Rise the edge, and they snatched up the win and the bonus point.
During Race 9, the Boston women came back strong and held a solid lead going into the 145lb jerks. The match was not yet lost, but Boston needed to win Race 9 to keep them mathematically in the game. Due to obvious fatigue and some sort of confusion over reps, the Rise women managed to overtake Boston and clinch the victory.
Though Phoenix took the win, it was clear that their athletes were beat up after so many back to back races. Jessica Phillips was tending to her arms right after Race 1 and looked to be in a lot of pain as the match went on. Danny Nichols, who underwent knee surgery before the season, was uncharacteristically shaky throughout the first quadrant and commented that his endurance isn’t where it needs to be.
Of course, winning makes it all worth it. After a disappointing end to last year’s season, the Rise was obviously thrilled to prevail. It’s good to see a new team take the title, because the young sport needs variation and unpredictability in order to survive long term.
In case you missed it, the entire season will be broadcast on prime time later in the fall, with dates and times to be announced soon.
Featured Image: Phoenix Rise (@phoenixrisenpgl)