2018 Madison Regional Preview

Written by Nicholas Borghi and Jeremy Gross

Difficulty Rating


(One Typical Wisconsin Citizen out of 5

This regional is going to be at a historic low. With there being a very real chance of having less than 100 players, this regional will be easier than almost any other that we’ve covered.

Players Vying for an Invite

Placing Needed Player Name Current CP
Top 32 Collin Heier 372
Top 32 Alexander Williams 363
Top 32 Nate Innocenti 358
Top 32 Diana Bros 355
Top 32 Tommy Cooleen 353
Top 32 Zheyuan Huang 352
Top 32 Tyler Miller 350
Top 16 Daniel Thorpe 339
Top 8 Sean Bannen 318
Top 8 Jake Smith 312
Top 8 Alex Faust 311
Top 4 William Marks 295
Top 4 Ethan Simpson 292
Top 4 Alex Collins 291
Top 4 Andrew Nowak 284
Top 4 Logan Mazur 281
Top 4 Justin Frys 277
Top 4 Mitchell Beyer 275
Needs Finals Alex Arand 257
Needs Finals Kamaal Harris 254
Needs Finals Corey Esmeier 254
Needs A Win Gavin Michaels 236
Needs A Win Justin Burns 220
Needs A Win Jack Thackrah 214


Justin Crubaugh

Last time we saw Crubaugh in a preview article, it was when we decided to pick him as Smart Money for the Charlotte, North Carolina Preview article. Our style has updated since then, so let’s go a bit more in-depth. Justin is probably one of the most dedicated and strong players in our community. Constantly going X-2 in most of his events since 2016. Not to mention, Crubaugh is dedicated to both his wife of many years, and his religion. Justin is also one of the nicest people in the community, easy for a player of any caliber to talk to.

For his accomplishments, Crubaugh has a load of them in his 3 years of play. He stormed onto the scene at Madison Regionals 2016 with a 7-0 Swiss record and finished in the Top 4. He would later finish in the Top 16 of United States Nationals in the same year. To compound on this, he has been a Regional Runner-Up twice at the 2016 Ft. Wayne regional and the 2017 Memphis Regional. Earning a Worlds invite all 3 years he’s played, and currently fighting for a Top 8 spot in North American CP, with a solid 970 CP putting him at 7th place in NA.

Alex Underhill

Underhill is a player who has been consistently strong ever since he showed up on the scene back in 2015. The 22 year old Northern Illinois University student has been scene as one of the strongest competitors as of late. Currently number 8 in CP with 867 points, Alex is safe in his spot unless Nick Navarre has a strong finish.

Underhill had a very strong start in 2015 with his run to the Top 8 of US Nationals, and then missing the Worlds invite due to the structure that season. Since then, he has gotten Top 8 at the 2016 Collinsville Regional, made Day 2 of both the 2016 and 2017 World Championships. He finally showed up strong by claiming his first ever regional win at the 2017 Collinsville Regional, and then shortly compounded that with a win at the 2017 Ft. Wayne Regional. This two time Regional Champion will need to do well this weekend to try and close up a lead in the race for Top 8.

Brian Youm

A second year master and Northern Virginia native, Youm has gained some fame on VGC twitter recently for the excellent team drawings he has done for friends who cut regionals. He’s also been on a serious hot streak at regionals lately, and a strong finish here could potentially put him in day 2 contention going into Columbus, despite not being in the snowball at all this year.

That hot streak has resulted in Youm collecting a pair of MSS titles in the DC area, top 8 at Charlotte regionals, and top 4 at Roanoke regionals. Combine that with top 16 at Hartford regionals and top 32 at Memphis regionals and you have quite a breakout season. Youm currently sits in the 12th spot in the North American CP standings, but because of the snowball structure is still 244 CP out of 8th. He’ll need to see his third consecutive regional cut and a strong finish at Columbus to break into top 8.

Leonard Craft III

You may know Craft for his game mechanics research. Or for his newly coded BoTTT III which took over for dingram’s BoTTT Junior in the Showdown room. Or for his fondness for a certain stall-oriented pink blob. Or for his moderator status both on Showdown and in our Trainer Tower forums. Any way you look at it, there’s no denying that Craft has made himself a very noticeable member of the VGC community of late. His interest in the inner workings of the game makes a lot of sense, as he’s currently majoring in computer science at the University of Central Missouri.

Craft’s season has been mostly propelled by his thorough domination of midseasons in his region. Through the first 3 MSS seasons, he has 2 wins, 2 second place finishes, and 2 top 4 finishes, good for a whopping 244 CP off those alone. He has also collected a regional brick this season, finishing top 4 at Collinsville regionals. In previous years, he was able to make it to the Top 8 of the 2016 US National Championships, as well as Top 8 at two Regionals in other years.Craft currently sits at 498 CP, which still leaves a chance for day 2 worlds with a strong Columbus finish if he can win this regional.

Tommy Cooleen

Cooleen is one of the friendliest players in our small community, and as such has a very wide network of friends in which he can talk to. He’s friendly to everyone and always willing to help people out. As of right now, Tommy is a 19 year old player from the New York New Jersey area and currently studies Computer Science at Adelphi University. He also enjoys playing Pokemon Go pretty often, same with Jake Muller (who we’ll get into later).

Cooleen may not be a fan of the Kanto region, but he’s certainly done well with its native Pokemon. His main claim to fame is a rain-fueled domination of 2017 internationals, with a trio of top 8 finishes. In addition, in previous years he’s known for making Top 8 at multiple regionals, and two Top 4’s. Unfortunately, those Top 4 performances were during 2016, where they didn’t give trophies to Top 4, so Tommy Cooleen does not currently have an official Pokemon Trophy. Tommy will be looking to rectify this on Sunday.

Andrew Nowak

Just Kidding

That’s right everybody, he’s back. And you better bring your Pheromosa answers this time…

Nowak has shown to be a very good and popular player throughout his VGC career. As we talked about with Tommy Cooleen, Drew has a very wide group of friends with who he hangs out with, builds teams with and in general just has fun with. He has also shown to be popular outside of Pokemon. He has a very avid social life at college. He currently studies Sports Management at Troy University, and has taken up a leadership position in his Fraternities local chapter. He’s also known as one of the more athletic people in our community, being heavily invested in his local intramurals such as Basketball, Beach Volleyball and Softball. Not to mention that throughout High School, Drew was on the Varsity Golf team.

Back to the Pokemon side of things, we can talk about Andrew’s tons of accomplishments. He started off with a Top 16 at the 2015 Collinsville Regional, and would later return to that same Top Cut the next year. However this time, he won what would be his first Regional Championship. That same year of 2016, Nowak made it all the way to the Top 24 of the World Championships. After that, Drew won both the 2017 Dallas and Madison Regional Championships. In addition, Andrew made it back to the second day of the 2017 World Championships, where he didn’t do so hot. Nowak will be looking to finish up his Worlds Invite this weekend.

Jake Muller

Muller had the chance to snowball early this season after strong finishes at the Anaheim Open and Ft. Wayne regionals. He chose instead to take a well-deserved break from VGC, a choice that not many players would make, but one he does not regret at all. In the meantime, Muller graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a degree in meteorology and was accepted into Texas A&M to start his master’s degree in the fall. Even amidst all the exciting developments in his academic life, Muller still managed to earn his worlds invite at Charlotte regionals in March.

Muller’s season has been carried primarily by regionals points. A top 4 finish at the Anaheim Open and a top 8 at Ft. Wayne regionals account for over half his invite, and a pair of top 16’s brings him to 390 CP on 4 regional finishes alone. An MSS top 4 puts him over the top at 422.

Smart Money

Gavin Michaels

Michaels is headed to Singapore this summer for an internship, an exciting opportunity that has put his VGC career somewhat on hold recently. He was unable to attend Toronto regionals due to not having his passport while obtaining his Singapore visa, and will be on the other side of the world when Columbus happens. Michaels has acknowledged that this event is probably his last chance at a worlds invite, and he needs to win to get it.

Winning a regional is a tall order, but Michaels has done it before. Twice, in fact. He earned himself a day 2 invite last year by winning both California regionals of the 2017 season. He has even gone one step further than that, winning US nationals in 2013. Michaels has proven he can pull off big finishes at season-defining events. Can he do it again?

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