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Nutanix’s Alvarez, Check Point’s Rauch Advance To Championship Round Of Channel Madness

Jennifer Follett

The winners of the semifinal matchups of the 2021 CRN Channel Madness Tournament are ready to face off in the final round.

The semifinal round of the 20201 CRN Channel Madness Tournament of Chiefs saw a fierce group of channel executives battle their way through the Field of Four, but only two can forge ahead into the final round.

Nutanix’s Christian Alvarez grabbed an early lead over Donna Grothjan of Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company, and the two traded leads over the weekend. But in the end, Alvarez’s game plan earned him the victory with 61 percent of the vote to Grothjan’s 39 percent.

On the other side of the bracket, 2020 Channel Madness Champion Kevin Rooney of Veeam had an early lead as of Friday morning against Check Point’s Frank Rauch, but Rauch roared back and emerged as the victor with 66 percent of the vote to Rooney’s 34 percent, ending Rooney’s bid for back-to-back championships.

That sets up a final matchup between tournament rookie Alvarez and veteran Rauch, making his first visit to the championship round after getting all the way to the semifinals last year.

Carrying the banner for the Infrastructure region, Alvarez’s road to the final included a Round 3 triumph over Eaton’s Curtiz Gangi. He also beat out Schneider Electric’s Shannon Sbar in Round 2 after ousting Cisco’s Oliver Tuszik in Round 1.

Representing the Security region, Rauch breezed through his Round 3 matchup against WatchGuard’s Michelle Welch, prevailed in a hard-fought matchup against Palo Alto Networks’ Karl Soderlund in Round 2 and made quick work of CrowdStrike’s Matthew Polly in Round 1.

Alvarez vs. Rauch for the 2021 CRN Channel Madness championship kicks off today at 4:00 p.m. ET and closes Wednesday, April 7 at 10:00 a.m. ET. Visit CRN.com/madness to cast your votes and choose your chief!

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