‘Maupin’ the floor’: Johnson Citian, partner take national cornhole title

Local

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – The American Cornhole League’s Trey Ryder predicted that top-flight player Christine Papcke might struggle to develop chemistry with new partner Megan Maupin in the ACL’s nationally televised kickoff event in Fort Lauderdale.

Without longtime partner Stacia Pugh, Ryder wrote Jan. 8, “Maupin is a fierce competitor as well, with plenty of firepower to get to the finals, but the lack of chemistry there in comparison to what Pugh would normally bring is alarming.”

Maupin and new doubles partner Christine Papcke at the Ft. Lauderdale event.

Instead, 22-year-old Johnson Citian Maupin “stole the show,” Ryder later wrote, teaming with Papcke to blow through their bracket before defeating Cheyenne Renner and Samantha Finley in a tense final.

The 21-19 Maupin/Papcke victory, televised on ESPN3 and replayed on ESPN2, had Ryder singing a different tune in his recap. “Maupin truly stole the show,” he wrote, adding, “Maupin displayed exactly why she earned (but didn’t accept) a spot in the pro division this season.”

That’s right, pro division. With national sponsorships, thousands in prize money and that ESPN contract recently renewed through 2022, cornhole has truly arrived — and former Science Hill softball first baseman/slugger Maupin is one of its major stars.

“It was nice to see her at that stage because I always knew she was that good,” said Eric Ryder, who is Trey Ryder’s dad, executive director of the World Cornhole Organization and an ACL pro player.

Megan Maupin engages in a little friendly competition with her dad, Kevin.

“She’s got an incredible bag,” Ryder said. “It’s one of the prettiest bags in the game. The way she plays is just fearless. Whether she’s shakin’ on the inside you don’t know it.”

American Cornhole Organization’s Eric Ryder

Nerves do play a big role in cornhole, Maupin said Wednesday before playing a friendly round with her dad, Kevin, at her grandma’s home. “I would say it’s definitely more mental,” Maupin said. “Doing this (throwing motion) ain’t very hard, but it’s right here (pointing to her forehead). Nerves and strategy. There’s a lot more strategy than people would think there would be in cornhole.”

Maupin describes herself as more of an offensive player, one who typically banks on an opponent missing with at least one of his or her four bags. She said she’s very often able to put all four of her bags in. In a televised scene against Renner, she executed a “drag” on her second-to-last throw, catching enough of her own bag that was barely hanging over the whole to put both in.

Renner missed on her final throw leaving her with three bags in and one on the board, and Maupin buried her last bag. Holed bags are worth three points each and bags on the board are worth one. Players add their totals and the higher scoring player is awarded the difference — two points in the case of Maupin’s four bags holed to Renner’s three holed and one on the board, for instance.

Megan Maupin’s logo.

Maupin said she doesn’t have any particular internal tactics to keep herself calm in situations like the tight championship game when she threw against Cheyenne Renner.

“I think, ‘it’s just a game, that’s all it is,’ even though I’m super competitive and I want to win everything. At the end of the day you’re just throwing cornhole with some friends. You gotta think like that.”

Indeed, though the competition’s getting fiercer, the prize money getting bigger and the exposure getting broader, cornhole remains at heart a friendly game. “I’ve met a lot of my best friends through cornhole,” said Maupin, who started playing about 10 years ago.

Maupin also competes in the World Cornhole Organization, which she’d have to walk away from if she went pro. The WCO has a singles championship annually that crowns a king and queen of cornhole. Women can compete in both categories and she hopes to make a strong showing there in addition to her run with Papcke, which will culminate at the World Championships in Rock Hill, S.C. in August.

Maupin hadn’t made a national ACL finals with her previous partners and didn’t even have plans to attend Ft. Lauderdale, she said.

Reynolds Bags is one of Maupin’s sponsors

“I got a text from her boyfriend Mike and he said, ‘hey, it’s kinda last minute, but would you want to go to Ft. Lauderdale and play women’s doubles with Christine,” Maupin said. “I was like, ‘heck yeah, I can’t pass that up.'”

Maupin said she and Papcke had good rapport during the Florida tournament. “She was happy, I was happy. She actually asked me to play the rest of the year, which I accepted.”

The pair are sponsored by Reynolds Bags and Team Outlaw Baggers. They split a $2,500 winners’ purse at Ft. Lauderdale, and got an extra bump from a sponsor for the win.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Trending Stories

Don't Miss

More Don't Miss