Sunday, March 17, 2024


 "It is not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves." -- Sir Edmund Hillary

"This achievement literally stands by itself." -- Mike Stump

Mike Stump has officially reached the mountaintop--twice. He has accomplished a feat many thought impossible in becoming the first and only two-time Chippens Tournament Challenge Champion. What many dream of accomplishing just once in their lifetime, Mike has done twice. 

"A second Chippens Tourney win ranks right up there with the birth of my second child," Mike said. "It's a goal I set after winning my first Chippens Championship. Stick with it long enough, kids, and you can accomplish your goals!" 

Mike's path to glory ran through UConn. He was one of only two players to select them as the 2023 champion. 

"History has told me that if I correctly picked the champion I would have a chance," he said. "I was fortunate enough that UConn battled their way through the field and helped me secure victory." 

Stumper's success isn't all pure luck, though. He did reveal his strategy relies a little bit on studying his fellow Chippens competitors and their tendencies, something he has had ample chance to do over 18 Chippens seasons. 

"It always helps to know there is a lot of competition that will build in MSU to go far," he said. "It doesn't hurt to pick against some of the 'assumed field favorites' to pick up points." 

Stumper's win moves him up to 2nd all-time in average points, 2nd in pick percentage, and 6th in average place. He retains his position as the all-time career leader in total points. He is now tied for the most top-10 and top-20 finishes all-time. 

As for being a two-time champ and also a two-time father, it is heartening to know Stumper is properly training his little ones and inspiring them to greatness.  

"I've hung my championship t-shirt up on the nursery wall so my daughter grows up knowing what a winner can accomplish," he said. "She falls asleep to 'One Shining Moment' every night as we recall the thrill of UConn winning the final game. Reliving the feeling of victory gives me the energy to get through midnight feedings and diaper changes." 

We look forward with anticipation and a little trepidation at the next generation of formidable Stumpers battling in the Tournament Challenge.  

Congratulations to Mike Stump, a (two-time) Champion for the Ages! 

Other Notable Results:

  • Congrats to Jake Willis and Michelle Reichenbacher for finishing second and third, respectively. It is the first time either has been "in the prizes" in the Modern Era. In fact, Michelle's previous best result was 48th place in 2010.
  • Congrats to Travis Rogers for finishing in 4th--easily his best finish ever in 18 seasons. 
  • Following a 15-tourney hiatus, Greg Huffaker came back strong with a 6th place finish, beating his only other result, 22nd place in 2006. 
  • Jason Armstrong, in 5th, finished in the top 5 for the second time in four years. 
  • Congrats to Brandon Christol in 8th place. The former champ notched his 4th top-10 finish, tied for Stumper with the most ever. 
  • Daphne Corwin rounded out the top 1o with a strong sophomore performance. 10th place was a big improvement from her 93rd place freshman season. Daphne and Mackie Mo tied for highest pick percentage at 61.9% each. Mackie finished in 13th. 
  • In 19th place, Julie Thompson picked up her third top-20 finish in the last four seasons and 5th overall.
  • Congrats to Adam Lombard for his 7th top 20 finish, Trevor Sierra for his 6th, and Jeff Vandellen for his 5th.
  • Congrats to Pete Dabrowski for having perhaps the greatest least-successful-yet-completely-reasonable brackets of all time. He managed just 28 points with a 30.2% pick rate and of course finished last in 118th. This amazingly horrific result is despite putting a #1 seed, two #2 seeds, and one #8 seed in his Final Four and picking a 29-5 #2 seed to win it all. 

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