Channel Madness: Round 1 Ends With Late Lead Changes And A Few Upsets

The polls are closed, nearly 150,000 votes have been cast and we now know who had the right game plan to win in Round 1 of the 2018 CRN Channel Madness Tournament of Chiefs.

After some tough-fought battles, 16 channel chiefs have emerged victorious and are heading to Round 2 for the Solutions 16. Here's a look at how they fared.

In the Infrastructure region, Jeff McCullough of NetApp engineered a come-from-behind win over F5's David Helfer. McCullough was well behind in heading into Monday night but came roaring back to earn the victory 56 percent to 44 percent.

Extreme's Bob Gault put in a valiant effort but could not overcome the early lead built up by APC by Schneider Electric's Shannon Sbar. Sbar won this one 54 percent to 46 percent.

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Cisco's Wendy Bahr jumped out early against Eaton's Curtiz Gangi and never let up, winning 65 percent to 35 percent.

And Juniper's Brian Rosenberg is moving into the next round after winning against Pure Storage's Andy Martin 63 percent to 37 percent.

In the Hardware region, HP's Stephanie Dismore kept Lexmark's Sammy Kinlaw at bay, winning 53 percent to 47 percent.

Aruba's Donna Grothjan looked strong against Samsung's Mike Coleman, winning 63 percent to 37 percent.

Dell EMC's Joyce Mullen claimed an early lead and held onto it against Xerox's Darren Cassidy, winning 57 percent to 43 percent.

And Intel's Todd Garrigues dispatched Polycom's Nick Tidd 67 percent to 33 percent.

The closest match of the round took place in the Cloud region, where tournament rookie Kevin Rooney of Veeam slipped past Microsoft's Gavriella Schuster with a razor-thin margin of victory, winning with 50.5 percent of the vote to Schuster's 49.5 percent.

Oracle's Bill Swales came out of the gate slow but pulled out a victory against Splunk's Brooke Cunningham, winning 64 percent to 36 percent.

VMware's Frank Rauch had a much easier go in his matchup against Amazon Web Services' Terry Wise, winning 65 percent to 35 percent, while Intermedia's Eric Martorano was well in control of his matchup against Salesforce's Neeracha Taychakhoonavudh, winning 72 percent to 28 percent.

And in the Security region, McAfee's Ken McCray and RSA's Faraz Siraj were neck-and-neck for a good part of the round, but McCray kicked it into high gear to claim victory 68 percent to 32 percent.

Jon Bove of Fortinet brought his A-game to beat Kendra Krause of Sophos 69 percent to 31 percent, while Symantec's Keith Weatherford beat out Cylance's Didi Dayton 70 percent to 30 percent.

And SonicWall's Steve Pataky had a strong showing against Palo Alto Networks' Ron Myers, winning 76 percent to 24 percent.

Looking ahead to the Solutions 16, here's a look at the face-offs in Round 2.

In Infrastructure, APC's Shannon Sbar will take on Cisco's Wendy Bahr, while NetApp's Jeff McCullough will face Juniper's Brian Rosenberg.

In Hardware, Aruba's Donna Grothjan will square off against Dell EMC's Joyce Mullen, while HP's Stephanie Dismore will test her mettle against Intel's Todd Garrigues.

In Cloud, VmWare's Frank Rauch will duke it out with Intermedia's Eric Martorano, while Veeam's Kevin Rooney goes up against Oracle's Bill Swales.

The Security region will see Symantec's Keith Weatherford face Jon Bove of Fortinet, while McAfee's Ken McCray challenges Steve Pataky of SonicWall.

Voting in Round 2 opens at 10:00 AM ET on Thursday, March 22 and will remain open until Tuesday, March 27 at noon ET. Visit to cast your votes and choose your chief!