CRN Channel Madness: Breaking Down The Field of Four

The Field of Four

March is officially over, but the second-annual CRN Channel Madness Tournament of Chiefs is just heating up. Round 1 feels like ages ago, when we kicked off with 32 channel executives, all with a shot to take home the crown. But here we stand, after a wild Enterprise 8, with only four chiefs remaining.

Reigning champion Mike Valentine of Sophos has to be viewed as a favorite. In his quest for a repeat, the Hardware region champion has won three straight rounds by at least 30 points, capped off by a 72-point Enterprise 8 victory over Microsoft's Phil Sorgen.

The path to the Field of Four wasn't so easy for the rest of the chiefs. Ruckus' Sandra Glaser Cheek had to come back from a double-digit deficit to overtake Lenovo's Sammy Kinlaw.

Extreme's Bob Gault was barely able to hold off an overnight support onslaught for Hewlett Packard Enterprise's Kerry Bailey, ultimately winning by less than a point.

And AT&T's Brooks McCorcle managed to stretch a 4-point lead in the final day of voting into a 54 percent to 46 percent win over Datto's Rob Rae.

Voting in the semifinal round will remain open until Monday, April 4, at noon ET. Take a look at the Field of Four matchups before you cast your votes at .

Bob Gault, Extreme vs. Sandra Glaser Cheek, Ruckus

After failing to get out of Round 1 last year, Extreme's Bob Gault has emerged as one of the more popular chiefs in the 2016 Channel Madness Tournament. After surviving a first-round nail-biter against Dell's Cheryl Cook, Gault came out on fire in Round 2, beating HPE's Scott Dunsire by 62 points.

That fire appeared to be dimming as Gault made it to the finish line after jumping out to a 58-point lead over Dunsire's colleague, Kerry Bailey, to start the Enterprise 8. When all was said and done, Gault escaped with a victory by less than a point.

Despite the close call, Gault still put up the highest voting total of the Enterprise 8.

Bob Gault, Extreme vs. Sandra Glaser Cheek, Ruckus (continued)

The Infrastructure region representative will draw the Cloud region representative in the semi-final, Ruckus' Sandra Glaser Cheek. Glaser Cheek is having quite the run in her first tournament appearance.

Glaser Cheek breezed through her Round 1 opponent, Curtiz Gangi of Eaton, before overtaking Dell's Frank Vitagliano 73 percent to 27 percent.

Things got a lot tougher for Glaser Cheek in the Enterprise 8 as she quickly fell behind Lenovo's Sammy Kinlaw. But the only score that matters is the final one and Glaser Cheek proved to behind resilient, coming from behind in the final day of voting to secure a 56 percent to to 44 percent win.

So here we are, Extreme's Gault squaring off with Ruckus' Glaser Cheek for a trip to the 'ship.

Tale Of The Tape

Bob Gault, Extreme

Executive Vice President, Worldwide Sales, Services, Channels

Region - Infrastructure

Round 1 vs. Cheryl Cook of Dell - Won 60 percent to 40 percent

Round 2 vs. Scott Dunsire of HPE - Won 81 percent to 19 percent

Round 3 vs. Kerry Bailey of HPE - Won 50.4 percent to 49.6 percent

Extreme Networks has more than 2,700 global partners. In 2015 the company introduced the MonitoringPlus Managed Services and ResponsePlus Managed Services as additions to the ExtremeWorks portfolio designed to help partners participate in new consumption models and evolve their business for future growth.

Tale Of The Tape

Sandra Glaser Cheek, Ruckus

Vice President, Worldwide Partner Sales

Region - Hardware

Round 1 vs. Curtiz Gangi of Eaton - Won 61 percent to 39 percent

Round 2 vs. Frank Vitagliano of Dell - Won 73 percent to 27 percent

Round 3 vs. Sammy Kinlaw of Lenovo - Won 56 percent to to 44 percent

The channel remains Ruckus Wireless' primary route to market. In the past year, the company has expanded its channel leadership with several key hires including a new global channel vice president, new vice president of global strategic partners, and a new global channel marketing leader.

Brooks McCorcle, AT&T vs. Mike Valentine, Sophos

At this point, it's pretty safe to say that Sophos' Mike Valentine is a popular guy. Valentine has yet to lose a Channel Madness matchup, rattling off eight straight victories since the first tournament kicked off last year. In fact, the support for Valentine has been so great that he's only trailed once in this year's tournament, in a matchup he eventually won by 34 points.

Valentine kicked things off in Round 1 by running through Oracle's Bill Swales, 79 percent to 21 percent. Then, after trailing early in Round 2, he came back in the final two days of voting to easily defeat Red Hat's Mark Enzweiler 67 percent to 33 percent.

But Valentine's most impressive victory game was his Software Region Enterprise 8 matchup with Microsoft's Phil Sorgen. Valentine quickly took the lead and never looked back, ultimately locking down an 86 percent to 14 percent win.

Brooks McCorcle, AT&T vs. Mike Valentine, Sophos (continued)

Valentine, however, may very well be facing his toughest matchup yet in AT&T's Brooks McCorcle. McCorcle actually tied Valentine in the first round for the largest margin of victory. That win, a 79 percent to 21 percent win over StorageCraft's Mike Kunz, marked McCorcle's first win in the Channel Madness Tournament. McCorcle only made a brief appearance in last year's tournament, losing to VMware's Frank Rauch in the first round. But the tides have changed for McCorcle in 2016. Following her win over Kunz, she defeated Rauch, winning a back-and-forth Round 2 contest 59 percent to 41 percent.

The Cloud region representative kept rolling in the Enterprise 8, pulling away from Datto's Rob Rae in the final day of voting to secure a 54 percent to 46 percent win.

The stage is set for two Channel Madness stars to shine, but there's only room for one in the championship round.

Tale Of The Tape

Brooks McCorcle, AT&T

President, AT&T Partner Solutions

Region - Cloud

Round 1 vs. Mike Kunz of StorageCraft - Won 79 percent to 21 percent

Round 2 vs. Frank Rauch of VMware - Won 59 percent to 41 percent

Round 3 vs. Rob Rae of Datto - Won 54 percent to 46 percent

McCorcle and her team launched multiple portfolio and program additions throughout 2015 to help resellers transform, innovate and grow their businesses. In AT&T Partner Exchange, this included the Mobility Employee Sponsorship Program, Investment Development Funds, Certification Achievement Program, Enablement Playbook and more.

Tale Of The Tape

Mike Valentine, Sophos

Senior Vice President, Worldwide Sales

Region - Cloud

Round 1 vs. Bill Swales of Oracle - Won 79 percent to 21 percent

Round 2 vs. Mark Enzweiler of Red Hat - Won 67 percent to 33 percent

Round 3 vs. Phil Sorgen of Microsoft - Won 86 percent to 14 percent

Sophos executed strategic recruitment efforts to bring new partners into the Sophos Partner Program. The company's base of partners in North America grew 25 percent while the number of active partners (with six or more transactions in five months) increased 29 percent.

Vote Today!

Voting in the semifinal round will remain open until Monday, April 4, at noon ET.

Visit to cast your votes and choose your chief!

Then get ready for the final round, which kicks off later on Monday.