Back to NSC 2002 Live Coverage
NSC 2002 Commentary: After the Tournament
Congratulations to our new National Champion, Joel Sherman!
Go to: Before the Tournament, Round 3, Round 4, Round 5, Round 6, Round 7, Round 8, Round 10, Round 11, Round 12, Round 13, Round 14, Round 15, Round 16, Round 17, Round 18, Round 19, Round 20, Round 21, Round 23, Round 24, Round 25, Round 26, Round 27, Round 28, Round 29, Round 30, Round 31, After the Tournament.
Before we assembled for the awards ceremony, Elizabeth Angelone (West Haven, CT) came over and explained that she'd made an error in her previously mentioned triple-triple. Though she scored it as 117 and though they signed the paperwork as such, she actually earned 167 for playing FAMILIES. Since the game was finished, her 5-point loss stood, but she got a great consolation prize. Her play was today's high word in division 6.
Angelina Scroggins (Minneapolis, MN) came up to me as we were gathering for the awards ceremony. She'd told me that playing in San Diego was going to be a "grand" experience, and in round 7, she got to play GRANDEST through the D!
Laura Klein started off the awards by telling us that division leaders would award prizes, but that we were not going to announce all the winners of the high game/high loss for each round, since there are so many. She assured them that the checks were in the mail. (Any readers interested in seeing who won these prizes can check out the PRIZE PAGE). John Williams took over from there. He mentioned that the NSC was carried by more than 150 television stations and they expected about that many more stories after today's finals. We can expect to see Joel playing Katie and/or Matt on the Today show (the NBC morning show usually on 7am-9am in most areas of the U.S.) next Wednesay, the 28th of August.
Then the awards ceremony began. Division 6 leader, Wendell Smith, had to leave early to catch a plane (or better said, we were running a bit late), so Division 5 leader, Bryan Pepper, awarded prizes for both 5 and 6. Like the ones that followed him, he announced: biggest comeback, flashiest bingo, tuff luck, highest-placing senior (60+), best record day 3, best record day 4, and low win. Then came the cash prizes. In division 6, there were five cash prizes awarded: 5th Terry Kang (Philadelphia, PA), 4th Edgar Thomas (Cambridge, MA), 3th Jesse Cromer (Waxhaw, NC), 2rd Paul Haverly (Los Angeles, CA) (who came charging toward the stage excitedly air boxing and virtually humming the Rocky theme song), and then the winner, Dielle Saldanha (Richmond BC). She received a thunderous applause, with most people standing to honor her great performance. When she got to the giant board to accept her lucite award and to shake John William's hand, she was crying. So, I started crying, too, and I think I even saw John Williams mist up a bit too!
Bryan went on to announce division 5 awards. Money prizes were given to the top five finishers: 5th Bob Nellis (Glenview, IL), 4th Leland Fidler (Waltham, MA) (who also received a wild applause for his efforts! Bryan mentioned that Leland didn't play below table 10 for the entire event!), 3rd Angelina Scroggins (Minneapolis, MN), 2nd Gina DuMez (Elgin, IL), and the winner, Scott McDougall (Williamsburg, VA).
Next Mary Rhoades took the stage to present division 3 and 4 awards. Cash prizes went to the six highest finishers in division 4: 6th Slade Sullivan (Arlington, TX), 5th Jerry Dynes (Baton Rouge, LA), 4th Tony Leah (Ajax ON), 3th Dave Zimmerman (Baton Rouge, LA), 2nd Ralph King (Melrose, FL), and winning division 4, Norbert Saldanha (Richmond BC).
Division 3, paid to six places: 6th Shannon Burns (Calgary AB), 5th John Viloria (Yonkers, NY), 4th Stephen Dennis (Atlanta, GA), 3rd Susi Tiekert (Alpharetta, GA), 2nd Patrick Hodges (Glendale, AZ), and winning division 3, Doug Brockmeier (Yorba Linda, CA).
John Williams stepped in and took the stage for a brief announcement. It appeared that we had about 10 people in the room who had been at the first NSC in 1978! He went on to call out their names and we gave them a hand. Some of them, from memory, so forgive me for lapses, Josh Silber, Joel Wapnick (Montréal QC), Paul Avrin (New York, NY), Ron Tiekert (Alpharetta, GA), Steve Polatnick (Miami, FL), Stuart Goldman (San Francisco, CA), Robert Kahn (Plantation, FL), Robert Ellickson (Branford, CT) Jim Pate (Birmingham, AL), Gordon Shapiro (Ocean City, MD), and Ann Sanfedele was the event's photographer.
Bonnie Rudolph took center stage to announce division 1 and 2 prizes. Division 2 paid to eight places: 8th Mark Landsberg (Laguna Woods, CA), 7th Jack Eichenbaum (Flushing, NY), 6th Mark Pistolese (Pahoa, HI) (Mark did a hula dance after shaking John's hand in front of the big board, a tribute to his home in Hawaii!), 5th Brian Williams (Winnipeg MB), 4th Clay Daniel (Dallas, TX), 3rd Steve Glass (Plano, TX), 2nd Sal Dijamco (Margate, FL), and winning division 2, Chuck Armstrong (Saline, MI).
Division 1 paid to the top ten finishers: 10th Joel Wapnick (Montréal QC), 9th Panupol Sujjayakorn (Thailand), 8th Marlon Hill (Baltimore, MD), 7th Jeremiah Mead (Chelmsford, MA), 6th Dave Wiegand (Portland, OR), 5th Paul Epstein (Ann Arbor, MI), 4th Brian Cappelletto (Chicago, IL), 3rd Jakkrit Klaphajone (Thailand), 2nd Nigel Richards (Malaysia), and the biggest winner of them all, the 2002 World SCRABBLE® Champion, Joel Sherman (Bronx, NY), $25,000 richer.
Joel was presented with a silver Tiffany bowl and the giant check made its way out again. He took the microphone and thanked several people including his family and friends. He congratulated Nigel Richards (Malaysia) on being such a strong player and he thanked Brian Cappelletto (Chicago, IL) for beating Nigel during the championship to make it easier for him! He said the win validated the faith Stefan Fatsis (Brooklyn, NY) and the documentary filmmakers who'd been following him had in him. He ended his comments with a sincere thanks to the NSA and he told them how grateful he was for all they did. John Williams, still standing to Joel's side, took the compliments and all the claps it generated. And then, Joel took a bow and it was all over. The 2002 NSC was over.
Players milled around, hugged, said goodbyes, posed for photos, etc. Then some discovered that John Chew had done some magic number crunching again and had estimated post NSC ratings. A crowd of people descended upon the Internet table and they kept coming in waves to check out their new ratings!
As Susi Tiekert (Alpharetta, GA) prepares to leave, she tells us that she's been playing for 21 years waiting for this moment! She won $1,000 plus two high game prizes. She is floating on air!
Nigel Richards (Malaysia) is estimated to have a 2052 North American rating.
As I type this, the NSA web site has had 2.4 million web hits since Sunday. We look forward to many more!
John Chew and I had a great time covering the NSC this year. We tried to do a lot in a compressed time, so please forgive us for some of our rough edges! Hope to see more of you next time! We are envisioning the Nationals 2004 with more than 1,000 players!
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