BY KARL MOEGLEIN

Oregon’s best will converge on Lewis & Clark College for the Jean Ward Invitational this January 15th and 16th. With 45 teams and a break to octafinals, it is the largest tournament so far this season in the state. 26 POI points sit waiting for the winner, only six less than the 32 required to qualify for the Tournament of Champions.

At the head of the class are the three most successful teams in Oregon thus far. A pair of Ashland teams, Conlan Ellis & Rob Stallman and Noah Falkner & John Ropp, are the only Oregon teams thus far to qualify for the TOC. Both are considered favorites in the large field.

Another noteworthy team is South Eugene’s Alex Leve & Ada Sprengelmeyer, who are fresh off a finals defeat at Pacific University, and would love to get revenge against Ropp. Despite being 13th in the POI rankings and only 2.4 points from qualifying to the TOC, the pair has yet to win a tournament.

Other teams to watch for include South Albany’s Tyler Whittaker & Anthony Ross, Cleveland's Glen Skahill & Mathias Knight and McMinnville’s Joe Gullo & Benjamin Pollak.