Friday, December 30, 2016

Fort Collins Club Ultimate - The Katfish Written History - Part 5: 2015 - Hops/shame./Force Collins

As always, you catch up on the previous four entries: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4.

Early in 2015 there was a “meeting of the minds” between prominent club figures in Fort Collins. Myself, David Chan, Brianna Quigley (coach of the CSU women's team and ex-Rare Air player) and Jake "Jacuzzi" Juszak (ex-Bravo) all met up and hashed out some team planning for 2015.

Brie wanted to work with Chan and I to form a new mixed team with the Hops men. Jacuzzi wanted to put together some form of a mixed team, but I don't believe he had fully decided on exactly what he wanted to do. He seemed lukewarm on partnering with Hops, and Chan and I were pretty set in sticking with another season of Hops as it was constructed.

In the end, Brie and Jacuzzi connected and began planning out what would become "shame." and Chan and I began working on the framework for the 3rd season of Hops.


After much deliberation, Hops leadership decided to push a bit more towards the 'ringer' roots of the team, in that we eliminated the two per week mandatory practices, electing rather to go with a once a week optional "reps" practice and once a month mandatory extended weekend practice. The idea was that the practice flexibility would allow us to recruit more players from outside Fort Collins, expanding our skill-base. We had CSU alums Michael Lin and Stephen Gross commuting up from the Springs and Denver, as well as NAU alum John Marcy making the trip up. We were going to sacrifice chemistry for talent.

As an organizer and tournament director of the Fort Collins Summer Solstice tournament, I pushed to add a men's division to what had traditionally only been a mixed tournament. This was in large part to offer up a mid-tier men's playing option to teams in the central(ish) part of the country where there were (and are) very few options.

At that point, Hops' only tournament options to play men's at a non-elite level were to travel significantly (Colorado Cups non-elite division dissolved when the Cup was absorbed as a TCT event). I hoped that adding a men's division at Solstice would help Hops with its regular season requirements as well as encouraging other men's teams to form within the area where there were lots of mixed playing opportunities but very few men's and women's (again, outside of the elite sector).

We started our season with a strong performance at Solstice, finishing third behind a stacked Johnny Encore team (preparing for nationals and worlds) and Inception. At our next tournament, the Ski Town Classic in Provo, we struggled with a small attending roster and finished fourth. At sectionals we finished second behind Inception, easily securing a regionals bid.

Regionals was again in Tulsa and we were excited to improve on our 8th place finish from 2014. We struggled in pool play, losing tight games to HIP (Houston), Plex (Dallas), Dreadnought (Arkansas), and getting blown out by Doublewide. Our lone win came against Tune Squad, the third tier team out of Austin.
The 1-4 finish in pool play dropped us into the 7th place bracket, which still allowed us to achieve our goal of improving our final placement, but it would require winning out.

Choice City Hops and Fénix Ultimate
In quarters, we beat Riverside (Austin's tier 2 team behind Doublwide). Semis matched us up against Fénix Ultimate from Mexico City. This was by far my (and the team's) favorite game of the tournament. The Mexico group played extremely spirited and with a very cool, very different style (SO many short passes). However, our height and the stiff breeze played more in our favor and we finished out the game 15-11. Again, they were just a great group to play against and I was thrilled to meet our south of the border friends.

The 7th place finals were a rematch between us and Dreadnought. Technically, this game didn't mean anything. The select-flight cut-off this year was 6th place, but by the end of the round, it was pretty clear that this game meant a lot to both teams.

It was the 8th game of the tournament for us. We were tired, dusty (Tulsa!) and the wind was blowing heavily. We shuffled around personnel to compensate for injuries and played with as much energy as we could muster after a full weekend of games. This game came down to universe point, with us receiving going downwind. It was the only game still being played in the entire complex in any division. We worked it meticulously down the field and finally scored on a big layout grab from Garrett Idler.

It may seem odd to celebrate a 7th place finish, but we were thrilled. The team was exhausted but proud. We had made good on our season goals, played a strong tournament start to finish and had improved. I texted the score over to the TD and got a "Well done," response. I very much appreciated that they clearly understood that while the game had no meaning in the context of nationals qualification or even flight status, both teams involved were playing for their seasons.


Since the redrawing of the regional boundaries in 2012, Cosa Nostra, from Austin, had been the only mixed nationals qualifier from the south central region (taking the lone bid in 2012, 2013 and 2014). Jacuzzi and Brie were going to put Fort Collins mixed back into the nationals conversation with shame..

They recruited quality players from Fort Collins and beyond. The team was made up of a group of people that enjoyed playing together on the field and very much enjoyed their time off the field as well. After years of elite women's and men's, I think both captains wanted to stay competitive, but not put their minds, bodies and finances through the strain of playing Bravo or Molly Brown.

The team didn't practice much (to my knowledge). I know they had weekly stuff set up, but they were much closer to 'ringer' status than Hops had ever been.

They won Solstice handily, beating Mesteño (2011 nationals qualifier) in the finals. This would be the only tournament they would play in the regular season, which meant not only did they not earn a nationals bid for the region (they would have been near or in the top 20 if they had similar results at another tournament), they didn't earn the section a regionals bid either.

I can't fault them for their season plans. They were laid-back. They traveled as much as they desired and the team, as far as I could tell from the outside, thoroughly enjoyed their time together.

At sectionals they stumbled a little bit, losing to Love Tractor in the finals 5-15 and then to Mesteño in the second place game. This would set them up with the five seed heading into regionals and a pool play rematch with Mesteño.

At regionals in Tulsa, shame. didn't bring a full squad and fell victim to the injury bug, losing in quarters to RUA out of Arkansas then punting the placement games for an 8th place finish overall. Love Tractor would win the region over RUA and be the first Colorado mixed team to qualify for nationals from the south central region.

Force Collins

Force, unfortunately, is the team I know the least about. This season they had added a couple of newcomers into their leadership core in Chris Dorich and Jason Laxague. Beyond that, I know little about their team structure and goals.

They played Solstice and the Rocky Mountain State Games, completing the 10 game requirement for having their ranking count towards a regionals bid allocation, but did not rank high enough to earn the Rocky Mountain section the bid. They lost in the quarters of the sixth place bracket at sectionals to Spring Loaded from Colorado Springs and ended tied for 9th, not qualifying for regionals.

It's hard for me to say how shame. and Force felt about their seasons but all three teams were in for some big changes in 2016. Some for the better and some for the worse...part 6.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Fort Collins Club Ultimate - The Katfish Written History - Part 4: 2013-2014 - Choice City Hops

If you're curious as to the club events leading up to the 2013-2014 club seasons please catch up on Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3.

2013 - Choice City Hops

The groundwork for the 2013 club season began in late 2012 when Mr. David Chan approached me with a vision: He wanted to put together a 'ringer' men's team, similar to what he'd played on out of Boulder in the spirit of the Cougars and Masters of the Universe. He had spent 2012 travelling to Denver and playing with the men's team Inception and Killjoy the season prior to that. He wanted a change.

The goal was to recruit talented players who wanted to play on a team with a distinctly positive team culture. Chan was highly respected in town as an excellent player and a great person. He reached out to me because he wanted a counterpart who was interested in being strategically dynamic (we wanted to try weird, fun stuff) and because of my longstanding ties in the Fort Collins ultimate community.

We hashed out the details and Chan wrote up his first draft of the "Chanifesto," which outlined team goals and core principles which largely emphasized positivity and personal ownership.

As spring approached, Killjoy was still hanging on. The 2012 leadership had moved on, but some new, enthusiastic captains had taken over and they intended to continue the legacy that Lance had begun in 2009.

Unfortunately, Hops drew the majority of male players still interested in club and Killjoy just didn't have enough numbers to continue. A couple of their players joined Hops part way through the season and others migrated down towards Denver/Boulder or ended up not playing at all.

Hops had a very enjoyable summer. We ran some funky offenses (German iso!) and schemed with some quirky zones on defense. The overall skill-level of the team was a far cry from 'ringer' status , but it was still a great group that spent a lot of time together on and off the field.

Competitively, we only played one tournament before the series, in the non-elite division of Colorado Cup in Aurora, finishing 3rd behind Denver, Inception and the Salt Lake City, Powderhogs. Chan and I had discussed doing a second tournament, but instead we elected to do a team camping trip.

This year was the first year of the USAU Triple Crown Tour and club restructuring and while we knew that not playing 10 sanctioned games wouldn't allow us to secure extra bids for the Rocky Mountain section to regionals, we didn't think much of it. Prior to 2013 in club, if you wanted to attend regionals, there was almost always a spot for you regardless of what you had done previously, at least in Colorado.

At sectionals there were five total teams: Inception, Inception Red, Nomo Fogoho (mostly ex-Bravo masters players), Sweet Roll (from Albuquerque) and us. Of these five teams, only two had played enough sanctioned games to secure regionals bids, meaning five teams were playing for two bids. We had beaten both Sweet Roll  and Inception Red at Colorado Cup 13-5 and 13-7 respectively, so we felt confident that we could win those games and the second bid would likely come down to us and the masters guys (who weren't going to attend regionals regardless).

In pool play there was a mish-mash of funky results. We handily beat Nomo Fogoho 15-10, but lost to Sweet Roll and Inception. Nomo beat Inception but also lost to Sweet Roll. Inception Red lost to everyone. When the dust settled, we ended up as the third-place finisher out of the pool behind Inception and Sweet Roll and ahead of Nomo.

There were only two rounds of bracket play Sunday. We needed to beat Nomo once more then play the loser of Inception/Sweet Roll for the second bid. We lost that first round 13-15 to the masters guys who then went on to beat Sweet Roll for second place. Nomo declined the bid, passing it along to Sweet Roll who finished one spot above us, as the Sunday bracket play didn't afford us a chance to avenge our Saturday pool play loss.

It was a pretty unexpected and disappointing end to our season. We had taken for granted that regionals was on the table but neither did what was necessary during the regular season to secure our bid, nor played with the urgency needed to win one of the available bids at sectionals.

This would be the first time that Fort Collins would not have a team representing in any division at regionals, at the very least since I had been around, and probably long before that as well.

2014 - Choice City Hops / Force Collins

For 2014, Chan and I both had decided we'd travel more and secure that regionals bid for sure; the previous summer's failures were not going to happen again.

We also upped our practice schedule to twice a week and re-wrote the Chanifesto, still keeping our team culture very positive, but re-emphasizing an ownership principle as well (to play on this team, you must own your fitness, skill-improvement etc). The reality we had come to discover, is that putting together a men's ringer team didn't quite work like the mixed experiences Chan had had with Cougars and MoTU. Simply put, really good men's players either still played on really good men's teams (Bravo), or had stopped playing men's for specific reasons (age, family, moving on to mixed etc).

We learned that it's challenging to recruit players to new teams in the men's (and women's) divisions because the top-tier teams are so established. You can't say, "Hey, come join my team. We're going to beat Bravo and make a run at nationals." Guys who are Bravo-level players either play Bravo or aren't playing men's for other reasons.

Mixed, on the other hand, is all over the place as far as who's playing where and what ex-men's/women's players joined this team or that team or whatever. You can throw together a quality roster with a legitimate argument that you will make nationals (as shame. would prove in the upcoming years).

It hadn't been the original intention, but Hops was transforming into a regular mid-tier men's team.

For our first tournament of the 2014 season, we traveled to the San Diego Slammer. The teams in attendance were mostly upper-tier select teams and fringe nationals teams (Streetgang, Inception, Mad Club etc). As a team, we weren't completely prepared for the physicality and the intensity that hit us from the start of game one.

As we struggled to find our rhythm we learned a lot of what it was going to take to compete at that level. With the exception of myself and one or two other guys, nobody had club men's experience (beyond the previous Hops season, which was extremely minimal) and while the results weren't stellar (we finished 11th out of 12 teams), many of the other guys were finally thinking "Ohhhh, this is what it's going to be like. This is fun!" We had a great time on and off the field (the beach!!!) and the team gelled.

Hops didn't win many games during the regular season but between the Slammer and the Ski Town Classic in Park City, we secured an additional bid to regionals for the Rocky Mountain section.

We easily finished second at sectionals behind Inception and prepared for our first regionals as a team,  which this year was in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

We played hard at regionals, finishing 8th. For folks looking in from the outside, an 8th place finish may not seem like much to celebrate, but the team was pushing in the right direction and we were climbing the ladder of the TCT slowly but surely.

Elsewhere in Fort Collins another core group, led by Graham Tuttle, had taken Horseplay, the fun, less-experienced foil to Killjoy in 2012 and had re-branded the team "Force Collins." It was still a casual more laid back team, but Graham added more structure and competitive goals for the squad, with them finishing just one place out of regionals qualification at 2014 Rocky Mountain Mixed sectionals. My knowledge of the transition of Horseplay to Force Collins and beyond is very limited unfortunately, but it was another playing opportunity for folks in town.

2015 would again bring big change to  Fort Collins as a couple of elite ex-men's and women's players were looking to return Fort Collins to nationals for the first time since my last full season with DTL in 2005... part 5.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

CSU Men's Roster - Meet the Team!

Mark Stratford - Captain - 4th Year
Mark Stratford - Captain - 4th Year: Mark played high school ultimate at Cherry Creek in Greenwood Village, Colorado. He blossomed on the Choice City Hops (Fort Collins open club team) O-line over the summer.

Mark is Mr. Consistent, from his fakes to his defensive footwork to his marking. He has brought his big game cool and immaculate fundamentals back to the college team this year, his first year as a captain

Sten Larson - Captain - 5th Year
Sten Larson - Captain - 5th year: Sten played high school ultimate for D'Evelyn in Denver, Colorado. This past summer he honed his skills on AK Pipeline, the open club team out of Akron, Ohio.

Sten is one of Hib's biggest weapons in the air. With his 6'4 frame and 6'8 wingspan, he's a threat to come down with anything. Despite his big play potential, Sten's cool head and calm demeanor are key for the team in his first year as a captain and final year playing.

Easton Archibald - 5th Year
Easton Archibald - 5th year: This Minnesota product has been one of Hib's most consistent players for the past five years. Easton honed his skills over the summer playing for Hops.

Easton is the definition of a multi-faceted threat. He can handle or cut. He is comfortable running deep or working the unders. He'll break the mark with huge insides and employs some of the most brutally effective fakes on the team. This dynamic ability will be huge for Hib in his fifth and final year.

Jordan Trepp - 5th Year
Jordan Trepp - 5th year: Jordan is the most experienced player on the team, having cut his teeth playing youth ultimate in middle school and high school in Oregon. Jordan's high school program, the South Eugene Axemen, has consistently churned out elite players for years.

Dr. Flick, as he's called by his teammates, can launch an 80 yard bomb from anywhere on the field. He has no fear getting off his feet (despite continually dislocating his left shoulder) and consistently plays like the 11 year vet he is, never fazed by the gravity of the situation.

Thomas Theodorescu - 4th Year
Thomas Theodorescu - 4th Year: Thomas came in as a freshman with a soccer background and no prior ultimate experience. In the four years since he began playing he has grown into one of Hib's most consistent players, with an impressive knack and feel for great fills and line cuts. Thomas also gained vital experience over the summer playing for Hops alongside many other Hib teammates.

At Hib's first tournament of the fall in Manhattan, Kansas, Thomas had the distinction of being the only high usage player (40+ touches) without a single turnover, despite 15+ mph winds. His consistency, fundamentals and on-the-field smarts will be huge for Hib throughout the season.

Cody Spicer - 4th Year
Cody Spicer - 4th Year (3rd year Hib): Anyone in the country who has matched up on Cody knows how devastating of a match-up he is. He's a physical defender with insanely quick feet and unbelievable body control. As a captain of Choice City Hops, his handler movement, ability to break the mark and throw-and-goes were the core of the Hops O-line this past summer.

Cody began playing competitive ultimate three years ago when he helped found the college program at the South Dakota School of Mines. After returning to home-town Fort Collins for graduate school Cody has received All-Region honors in both years playing at CSU.

Toby Nordhoff - 4th Year (transfer)
Toby Nordhoff - 4th Year (1st year Hib): Toby has been a staple on Choice City Hops for the past three club seasons. After finishing up his studies at Northern Colorado, where he played the past three college seasons, Toby has transferred to Colorado State for his final two years of eligibility.

As the resident 'old man' on the team, Toby brings big hucks and relentless defense. With the threat of big throws, Toby opens up the D-line offense and is consistently tasked with taking the tougher match-ups on defense.

Daniel "Chuck" Crump - 3rd Year
Daniel "Chuck" Crump - 3rd Year: Chuck has the smoothest throws on the team. Making use of his huge wingspan, he easily and consistently breaks the mark with nice extension and a crisp release.

Chuck played high school ultimate at Chatfield High in Littleton, CO.

Another first year of Hops over the summer, Chuck's throws and no-fear attitude when it comes to getting off his feet anchored his role behind the disc both in club and college.

As a core member of Hib's extremely strong third year class, Chuck will continue to be the backfield rock for the team this year, breaking the mark and running the resets and rotations to perfection.

Jack Hinchsliff - 3rd Year
Jack Hinchsliff - 3rd Year: Don't let his size fool you, Jack is easily one of Hib's biggest play-makers. Not a practice goes by, let alone a full game, where Jack doesn't make a jaw-dropping bid or sky.

Jack played high school at Arapahoe in Centennial, Colorado and received All-State honors his senior year.

Jack spent the past two club seasons rounding out his skills playing with Vertigo and Iso Atmo respectively (Denver/Boulder club open teams). He's quick to get off his feet but just as effective on his feet, as defending his throw-and-go is a brutal task for even the best teams.

Jack's comfort playing at all levels of the disc: deep, mid-field and backfield, make him a really challenging match-up. Put someone his height on him, he'll take them deep (see pic). Put someone taller on him, he'll work the unders and handler movement with his quickness. He's a true 'pick your poison' player and is another huge part of Hib's incredible 3rd year class.

Dylan Johnson - 3rd Year
Dylan Johnson - 3rd Year: Dylan is a big defender and the captain of the 'throw your body around' club. He played high school ultimate at Arapahoe in Centennial with Jack.

Dylan's length and drive make him one of the team's top defenders; consistently making other team's offenses struggle.

Dylan's huge flicks have been the stuff of legend since high school. The triple-helix flick-pulls floating up over the Hib fields at tournaments are courtesy of Dylan's big arm and he's settled into and embraced his downfield position in college.

David Miller - 3rd Year
David Miller - 3rd Year: David Miller is Hib's resident commander of the skies. Since his high school days in Lakewood, Colorado, he has consistently been one of the best deeps on the field, earning All-State honors his senior year.

Against the 'big' teams in the country (Wisconsin, Luther, Texas etc), David has always matched up incredibly well and been a driving force behind the team's success.

David's club season was cut short by a nagging shoulder injury that he finally had surgery for this past summer. Hib is excited for David to be back to full strength for the Spring season and re-establish himself as one of the best big-men in the region.

Jake Servaty - 3rd Year
Jake Servaty - 3rd Year: Jake is the ringleader of the heralded 3rd year class of Hib.

An All-State player in high school from Spearfish, South Dakota, Jake has made a huge impact on the team since he was a freshman, when he won All-Freshmen team honors for the South Central Region.

Jake's rounded out his club resume with Vertigo and Iso Atmo the past two seasons; consistently making big plays for the Denver/Boulder squads.

Jake is deceptively athletic; the fastest player on the team and big ups for his size. Jake's been a top thrower and main-handler for Hib since the day he stepped onto the field and has brought the level of play up around him with his ability to consistently put the disc anywhere he wants.

Jake and Cody (Spicer) together behind the disc form a devastating handler duo and anchor Hib's D-line offense.

Matt Bush - 3rd Year
Matt Bush - 3rd Year (2nd year Hib): Matt is another big, athletic play-maker and yet another guy with no qualms throwing his body around.

He also played high school at Arapahoe and received All-State honors his senior year alongside Jack.

Matt spent his freshmen year at Northern Colorado before transferring to CSU to complete his studies.

This past summer, he played club for Choice City Hops, bringing his defensive prowess and lock-down tendencies to the Colorado club scene. Matt's combination of speed, length and bidding ability make him one of Hib's top defenders and he'll be called on to lock down other team's main threats all season long.

Cole Turner - 3rd Year
Cole Turner - 3rd Year: A Fort Collins native, Cole has been playing disc in FC since his youth. Cole spent the past two club seasons developing his skills on Hops and has become a core offensive and defensive player on Hib.

Cole's devastating straight line speed makes him a brutal match-up. The more space he has to run, the more separation he'll get. He loves running his defender into the ground and on defense he relishes in winning the war of attrition with a combination of physicality and legs. The later in the game or the longer the point, the more Cole wins his match-up and his smiling face after a grueling point brings the whole team up.

Jake Marrapode - 2nd Year
Jake Marrapode - 2nd Year: Jake is the younger brother of Hib alum Matt Marrapode. Hailing from the ultimate factory that is Neuqua Valley in Naperville, Illinois, Jake took All-State honors his junior and senior years. Jake has been a dominant force in the short time he's be a part of Hib

Jake's performance  at the President's Day Invite in 2016 catapulted him into the discussion for national Rookie of the Year. Unfortunately, nagging injuries plagued the rest of his season. Even with limited action, Jake won south central Freshman of the Year.

This year, the team is excited for Jake to be fully healthy and unleash the barrage of hucks, scoobers and skies he has made his trademarks.

Hudson Martin - 2nd Year
Hudson Martin - 2nd Year: Hudson exploded this past year onto the Colorado ultimate scene with his distinct Texas flavor. He was a member of the Texas All-State team his senior year for Lake Travis High school in Austin.

This past summer, Hudson played for the Texas U19 YCC squad and Riverside Ultimate.

For Hib, Hudson is a consistent handling force offensively, breaking the mark with a brutal quick-release forehand and big cannon hucks. Defensively, his quickness and footwork make him an ideal handler defender, locking up other team's main throwers with consistent pressure.

Hudson was awarded a place on the All-Freshmen team for the south central region for the 2015-2016 college season.

John Miller - 2nd Year
John Miller - 2nd Year: John is another high school ultimate product from the Collegiate Academy in Littleton, Colorado. He played on the Colorado U19 YCC team in both 2015 and 2016 as well as playing with the club team, The Strangers, out of Westminster this past club season.

John is in the conversation for the best all-around athlete on Hib. His speed, quickness and jumping ability make him a tough draw for any defender. Him and Jack together both pose the same challenge: smaller defenders get taken deep, bigger defenders can't move with his quickness.

John has big hucks and by his own admission "only knows power." As soon as he learns to harness that power for good, he'll be one of Hib's biggest contributors in all phases of the game.

Jack McGinnis - 2nd Year
Jack McGinnis - 2nd Year - Jack is one the few guys on the team without an ultimate background. Despite this, in his freshmen year, his track background and natural athleticism carved him out a consistent place on the Hib D lines.

Jack has worked hard developing his ultimate skills and with a full year under his belt, he's opened up his throwing repertoire this season, dropping beautiful flick and backhand hucks like he's be doing it for ten years.

Expect Jack to continue to grow as both an offender and defender and to step up big this year for the team.

Mo Scott - 1st Year
Mo Scott - 1st Year: Mo headlines Hib's stellar 2016-2017 freshmen class with arguably the best pre-college resume of any player in the country,

Mo's high school team, Denver East, won Westerns his sophomore year and Mo earned all-state honors his junior and senior years. Mo captained the U19 YCC Colorado team in both 2014 and 2015. This past club season, Mo played on Inception, the top-select open club team in the south central region.

For Hib, Mo has seamlessly integrated onto the team both as a personality and a player. His arsenal of throws, quick release and confidence make him a key cog in the offense. His defensive fundamentals and internal drive have him already taking the most challenging match-ups both at practice and tournaments.

Will McDonald - 1st Year
Will McDonald - 1st Year: Will is another first year with a strong ultimate background. A product of the elite youth scene in Seattle, Will played four years at Nathan Hale, the 2014 state champs. Will's senior year, he captained the team to a narrow semi-finals loss at Westerns.

Will also played for the U19 YCC Seattle open team, who finished 3rd at the 2016 Youth Club Championships, losing in the semis on universe point to eventual champion, Tri-Force, out of North Carolina.

For Hib, Will has immediately thrived in his role as a defender. His footwork and body control are excellent and he consistently takes tough match-ups on D.

Offensively, there was an early adjustment period for Will, learning Hib's atypical handler rotations, but he has become one of the most consistent players on his line and is quickly becoming an integral member of the D-line offense.

Luke Beal - 1st Year
Luke Beal - 1st Year: Luke is a soccer transplant from Loveland, Colorado. He won the player of  the year honors in 2015 for Thompson Valley High and spent his freshmen year at Adams State playing varsity soccer.

Transferring to Colorado State as a sophomore, Luke immediately found a home on Hib as a big athlete and play-maker.

Despite never having played college ultimate, Luke has a knack for strategy and his understanding of spacing, timing and flow, coupled with his athletic abilities, have turned him into a big contributor and core player.

Dylan Cheever - 1st Year
Dylan Cheever - 1st Year: Dylan is a graduate student who ran varsity track for Carleton. A decathlete during undergrad, Dylan utilizes his all-around athletic skill-set to to play some of the most tenacious defense on the team.

Dylan, like Luke, had mostly casual ultimate experience prior to Hib, but has quickly carved himself out a role on the D-line, consistently getting off his feet to secure blocks and showcasing his jumping ability for big skies.

At Hib's first full tournament of the season, Dylan led the team in blocks - locking down his man against every team played, from the first game of pool play to the finals.

As Dylan rounds out his skills and learns more of the nuance of the competitive game, he will only get better and will certainly continue to be a big contributor for the team in the years to come.

Sean Peskin - 1st Year
Sean Peskin - 1st Year: Sean is another high school soccer star turned college ultimate player. Sean was the 2015 player of the year for Silver Creek high out of Longmont, Colorado as well as an all-state selection his senior year.

The definition of a headache match-up, Sean is the full package with speed, quickness, size and jumping ability.

Sean combines the physical attributes with solid throwing form and a quick-release backhand, and is quickly turning into a very strong player with with a high ceiling.

Dylan Custer - 1st Year
Dylan Custer - 1st Year: Dylan is another great high school athlete from Discovery Canyon in Colorado Springs.

Dylan flies around the field with his significant speed and rounds it out with great jumping ability. He has grown on the team to develop excellent timing and a solid role within the D line as a deep threat.

Another player with a high ceiling, expect to see more and more of Dylan as he develops his skills and learns more of the college game.

Clark Yarbrough - 1st Year
Clark Yarbrough - 1st Year: Clark is another Lakewood product making an impact on Hib as a confident thrower and athletic play-maker.

His senior year, Clark teamed up with big man and fellow Hib freshman, Mason Kiefer, to lead Lakewood to back to back state titles in both mixed and open.

Clark was recognized his senior year with All-State honors.

For Hib, Clark's greatest quality is playing with a confidence beyond his years. He is comfortable with the disc and has no qualms about putting out the more challenging throws (especially if Mason is on the receiving end).

Mason Kiefer - 1st Year
Mason Kiefer - 1st Year: Mason is another player from the extremely talented Lakewood program. With a big 6'4 frame, he was an imposing figure on the field in high school and already has made his presence known in the college scene.

A big part of the two Lakewood state championships his senior year, Mason also earned All-State honors next to his teammate, Clark.

Mason's big frame overshadows the depth of his play. Height on the line generally translates to a deep threat and while Mason certainly can stretch it deep, his knack for timing, his soft hands and consistent throws make him a threat at all levels of the field.

Tim Kefalas - Coach - 9th Year
Tim Kefalas - Coach - 9th Year: TK has been coaching Hibida for nine years, playing on Hib the five years previous to that.

TK captained Hib for the 2006 and 2007 seasons.

He was a member of the the club team, DTL, in 2005 (nationals qualifier) and 2006. A member of Sack Lunch in 2007, Noonan in 2008, and Killjoy 2009 and 2010 (captain). In 2013 TK co-founded Choice City Hops and has been captaining the team for the past four club seasons.

As a member of the the FC Ultimate board of directors, the youth eligibility committee for USAU, as well as tournament director for Fort Collins Summer Solstice, TK's goal has always been the spread of competitive play and has high hopes and expectations for Hib this season.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Fort Collins Club Ultimate - The Katfish Written History - Part 3: 2009-2012 - KILL KILL KILL JOYYYYYY

If haven't yet read part one or part two take a few minutes to brush up and get some context for the Fort Collins club ultimate scene heading into 2009.

In 2008, Fort Collins United flopped. A unification of the two 'factions' in Fort Collins was a big personality clash and the team disbanded after just one year. 

Part of the problem with FCU was the team failed to draw talented young players from either the of the college teams at Colorado State. The largest contingent of male CSU players joined together and formed a ringer team called Noonan for the 2008 UPA series, relying on a laid back attitude and raw talent to finish 6th in the southwest club open division.

This team would continue in future years under the moniker "Interesting Tummy Birds" (ITB) for just the open division of Colorado Cup; bringing together a bunch of talented players for a casual, fun time. ITB prided itself on showing up five minutes before game time, not warming up, imbibing various forms of "Interesting Tummy Brew," and still competing with and beating established club teams. 

Anyway, in 2009 the club scene in Fort Collins was wide open. There were no established club teams in any division heading into the summer.

2009 - Killjoy

In response to lack of quality club options in Fort Collins, Lance Everette, a Fort Collins staple, decided to found a team with an emphasis on a fun culture while still staying driven and focused on competitive goals. 

He teamed up with Wisconsin Hodag alum Greg Vogel and UC Santa Barbara alum Charles Stone to form a new mixed team, Killjoy. I don't know how it all shook out or who decided what, where, but by the UPA series, Killjoy was in full force. 

I'm sure many readers are familiar with Lance, but for those who aren't, he has an infectious enthusiasm for the sport. In recruiting for Killjoy he personally reached out to many good players (myself included), and the genuine excitement he had for the team went a long way both towards recruiting a talented core, but also setting the foundation for a good, positive team philosophy. A lot of people who had been disenfranchised from the club scene from some of their previous experiences were brought back by Lance's sheer force of will and personality.

Killjoy 2009 was a blast. There were some new faces and some old. The team had (in my opinion) a great balance between competitiveness and fun. I thoroughly enjoyed my time with my teammates both on and off the field. I hadn't played organized mixed since the half-season on DTL in 2006 and hadn't planned on making a return to the division but that year's iteration of the team was just a great group of people.

Down in Boulder another new mixed team, "Kapow!", had formed, which had brought together a very athletic core of ex-open and women's players including Beau Kittredge's little brother Camden and Enessa Janes, formerly of Fury. As two first year teams with lofty expectations, they became our impromptu rivals (in our minds at least), and we figured one of the two of us gave Colorado the best opportunity the state had to take back southwest mixed since the end of the DTL/Bad Larry dominance.

Heading into the series Killjoy was lightheartedly optimistic. We slipped up a bit at sectionals, losing unexpectedly to Alchemy out of Boulder, but I don't feel like the team was overly concerned with that result. The "new-team" feel still had us confident heading into regionals in Scottsdale, AZ.

At regionals, we lost to Kapow in pool play 17-12 but secured second place in the pool with a win over Party Van from Hawaii (I'm not sure there's a team miss playing more than those Hawaii folks, a wonderful and fun group). We stomped through pre-quarters over another Hawaii team, Shugga, leading up to a quarter finals match-up with Brown Chicken Brown Cow from LA (featuring Fort Collins native Jake "Jacuzzi" Juszak in his formidable years). In a windy, zone-ridden affair, we came away with a 12-9 victory and a semi-finals match-up against reigning southwest champion Barrio. A win in this game would secure either a first or second place finish and a bid to nationals. Across the bracket Kapow faced the exact same scenario against LA Metro.

Barrio outclassed us. Their athleticism and big game calm trumped ours. We came into the game with a lot of energy but that was quickly squelched as they shut down our main players with very physical defense and showed a level of poise on offense that we could not match. The game was not competitive; we lost 15-4.

Barrio would continue on to nationals finishing 6th, losing in quarterfinals 15-12 to eventual national champion, Axis, from Virginia. Kapow, meanwhile, lost to LA Metro on the other side of the bracket.

Our loss to Barrio was disappointing, but there were three bids to nationals that year and we still had shot in the backdoor bracket. We needed to win two more games and our ticket would be punched.

Game one was against Cougars, another Colorado team who was a 'ringer' team in the truest sense. They were made up of mostly older ex-Bravo/Rare Air players. They didn't practice, they just relied on buttery throws and incredible field IQ to win games. This team also included my future club co-captain, David Chan, who I believe had very recently graduated from Northern Arizona University and moved to Colorado.

It was a defense-oriented game. The wind had picked up enough that both teams were running zone and it was a pitched battle back and forth. They certainly had the experience and throwing advantage, but we countered that with a lot of effort and energy. The game was tight all the way through until they scored the final point at cap for the 9-7 win.

Brown Chicken Brown Cow beat Kapow in the other semi-finals, then lost to Cougars in the final game-to-go. In a further twist, Cougars then declined the bid to nationals, passing it along to BCBC. It was a bit of a disappointment for us as we'd beaten BCBC the previous day, but they had finished one spot above us in the bracket, so they were next in line for the bid.

Despite not qualifying for nationals, I felt pretty happy with where the team was heading. It was a great inaugural season, we had our shots and we played tight games against good teams. It seemed like Killjoy had securely established itself again as the competitive team in Fort Collins and would continue to grow.

2010 - Killjoy

In 2010, Killjoy leadership asked me to join them as a captain, with myself and Charles Stone acting as practice captains (we planned/organized and ran the practices). I also made an effort to recruit some talented CSU alumni to join the team.

On the whole, I think the core of leadership was solid and expected the team to a step forward competitively after the success of the previous year.

The team worked hard early-season to incorporate new players and develop strategy and scheme, however the team had started to become cliquey. Unfortunately, I was a part of the problem with myself and some of the other male CSU alum not integrating ourselves well socially with the rest of the team.

We secured a bid to Mixed Labor Day in San Francisco which was generally accepted as one of the most competitive tournaments in the country, but the team fell flat against nationals-level competition, losing all our games except for an early pool play game against LA Metro. I personally did not attend this tournament and I don't clearly remember how the team felt about the results, but for any team with nationals aspirations finishing 1-6 is tough to swallow.

At sectionals we lost on universe point to Masters of the Universe ( the same 'Cougars' team from the previous year who had eliminated us at regionals, re-branded). We beat out Kapow in the second place game to secure the 6th overall seed heading into regionals. Unfortunately, during warmups before Sunday play at sectionals I re-separated my shoulder (something I had been doing consistently for the previous three years), and spent the weeks between sectionals and regionals rehabbing.

Saturday at regionals we had a good, competitive day, finishing second in our pool and holding seed. We beat a young Mesteno team in the first round of bracket play and were still alive Sunday morning for a nationals berth. I played sparingly Saturday (not by choice), only getting a handful of points in, but feeling good about my play and my shoulder injury.

Sunday, we lost our first game and were eliminated from contention by Red or Green, a team from New Mexico. I played zero points that game. I didn't complain as I watched from the sideline; I had grown up since 2006 when I quit DTL over leadership concerns. I supported my teammates with sideline help and stayed vocal and positive.

In our final placement for 7th I again didn't see the field. It was a big blow to my pride. It wasn't since my first year of college play that I hadn't played a point in a game, let alone a placement game and let alone two games in a row. I was a core handler for the previous year's team who been more competitive. I was a captain and a leader on the squad. The person calling lines for regionals wasn't an elected captain, he was an injured, well-respected vet that the tournament captains turned over line calling duties to.

I internalized all of this and moved on from the team after the 8th place finish. The good-times aura I had felt the first year of Killjoy was gone. The team had taken itself too seriously and become too cliquey (admittedly, I was a part of both these problems).

2011 - Killjoy

I don't have a ton of information on the 2011 Killjoy season as this was the first year since 2004 that I wouldn't play the club series. I am not 100% certain, but I do also believe the team founder, Lance Everette, had either moved on by this year, but it may have happened after this season.

Killjoy again traveled to Mixed Labor Day with better results this year, finishing 2-4. The team stumbled at sectionals finishing 5th, but still qualified for regionals.

Because of the 5th place finish the team under-seeded at regionals: a cold, rainy regionals weekend at Dick's Sport Goods Park in Denver. After a first round win, Killjoy faced off with number one seed 7 Figures from LA. The game was close, but 7 Figures came away with the win 8-7.

Killjoy rolled through the second place bracket winning three games before finally falling in the second place semi-finals game against Colorado Springs Swingline for a 4th place overall finish.

Again, this is largely speculation, but I think the tight game against 7 Figures and the quality Sunday play at regionals energized the team for the next year, giving the core a reasonable expectation that nationals was a realistic goal.

2012 - Killjoy

I don't have a ton of information on the 2012 team either, but I know most alumni of the squad say that this was very much a 'peak' year. I personally sat out the club series for the second year in a row.

2012 saw the redrawing of the club regions. This had started in 2010 with the college restructuring. Colorado was now in the south central region, rather than the southwest. The region had only one bid to nationals and several teams had reasonable shots secure it.

Killjoy entered regionals in Austin, Texas as the four seed overall behind Cosa Nostra from Austin, Love Tractor from Boulder and Mesteno from Denver (nationals qualifier in 2011).

Killjoy finished second in the six team pool play with their only loss to Love Tractor. They cruised through quarters 15-4 against Robot Unicorn Attack, setting up a semi finals matchup with the one seed, Cosa Nostra. This game, it seems, would be the catalyst for sweeping change in the Fort Collins club scene.

I'm not going to speculate too much with just second-hand information but all I know for sure is that Killjoy lost 10-11 and Cosa Nostra would go on to secure the lone nationals bid (and would continue to do so for 2013 and 2014). This game is "the game" that people on that team talk about. The details aren't 100% clear to me, but I got the sense from folks I talked to that it was a very winnable game and something happened that many people didn't feel good about. That's as far as I'll go with that.

After that loss and the sentiments that followed that loss, a large portion of the team's core would not return in 2013. The team didn't fully disband, but this opened up the next chapter in Fort Collins - the renaissance man, David Chan was going to get involved...part 4.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Club Regionals Numbers

I was curious on some overall numbers from region to region so I put together some spreadsheets of results after the post-regionals rankings came out. Folks can draw their own conclusions, this is just some data. Do keep in mind that this does NOT include teams that played sectionals but still didn't accrue their 10 games after their series play and did not make it into the rankings as a result, so a few total numbers are slightly off.

Also note that the average rank is for teams participating in regionals, not of the total region.

All Regions


RegionAverage Team RankMedian RankTop 10 RankRegionals SizeTotal Teams
Great Lakes70.666.050.91622
North Central43.743.543.71017
Northwest 47.239.547.21017
South Central78.789.056.91623


RegionAverage Team RankMedian RankTop 5 RankRegionals SizeTotal Teams
Great Lakes38.039.033.066
North Central39.641.039.665
Northwest 26.320.513.2810
South Central35.126.023.277


RegionAverage Team RankMedian RankTop 12 RankRegionals SizeTotal Teams
Great Lakes96.3101.581.51624
North Central47.039.047.01220
Northwest 49.657.549.61217
South Central90.999.070.41622

Men's (region by region)
Great Lakes
TeamFinishOriginal SeedChangeOverall Rank
High Five22011
Beachfront Property44044
Midnight Meat Train9123109
Black Market95-453
Kentucky Flying C.117-459
AK Pipeline1315291
Black Lung1413-1107
Black Market II159-6104

North Central
TeamFinishOriginal SeedChangeOverall Rank
Madison Club1105
Prairie Fire22012
Sub Zero33013
Mad Men410640
General Strike79245

TeamFinishOriginal SeedChangeOverall Rank
Truck Stop1102
Medicine Men33025
Garden State Ultimate45132
Richmond Floodwall64-234
CITYWIDE Special77039
John Doe88050
Oakgrove Boys1011189
8$SOLD (SOL)129-379

TeamFinishOriginal SeedChangeOverall Rank
Big Wrench77041
Red Tide1114383
Dark or Light1411-371
New Amsterdam1510-586
Fat and Mediocre16160111

TeamFinishOriginal SeedChangeOverall Rank
Furious George23121
Ghost Train79266
Bulldawg Ultimate9101108

South Central
TeamFinishOriginal SeedChangeOverall Rank
Johnny Bravo1104
Choice City Hops714777
Dallas United: Desp.87-185
Papa Bear910198
ISO Atmo11132100
Space City Ignite138-593
Riverside Mess.13163171

TeamFinishOriginal SeedChangeOverall Rank
Ring of Fire15416
Chain Lightning22022
Florida United31-218
Cash Crop54-137
Sour Mash89162
Lost Boys911249
Right Coast1110-155
Memphis Belle1415187
Orlando Citronauts1614-2119

TeamFinishOriginal SeedChangeOverall Rank

Women's (region by region)

Great Lakes
TeamFinishOriginal SeedChangeOverall Rank
Notorious C.L.E33035

North Central
TeamFinishOriginal SeedChangeOverall Rank

TeamFinishOriginal SeedChangeOverall Rank
Green Means Go22015
Hot Metal46234
Virginia Rebellion67142
Pine Baroness75-248
TeamFinishOriginal SeedChangeOverall Rank
Brute Squad1102
Brooklyn Book Club1010057

TeamFinishOriginal SeedChangeOverall Rank
Seattle Riot1101
Club Mint87-151
South Central
TeamFinishOriginal SeedChangeOverall Rank
Molly Brown1103
Colorado Small Batch33025
TeamFinishOriginal SeedChangeOverall Rank
Queen Cake66045
Tabby Rosa77055
TeamFinishOriginal SeedChangeOverall Rank
Phoenix Uprising57238
Deadly Viper A.S.66037

Mixed (region by region)

Great Lakes
TeamFinishOriginal SeedChangeOverall Rank
Liquid Hustle36351
Columbus Cocktails43-143
Tequila Mockingbird55070
Dream Killas64-274
Los Heros11110148
The Abusement Park11121144
Stack Cats13152163
Goose Lee138-599
Liquid Hustle B13163170
North Central
TeamFinishOriginal SeedChangeOverall Rank
Drag'n Thrust1103
No touching34128
The Chad Larson42-29
Des Moines Metro68245
Minnesota Star Power86-236
Mojo Jojo1010089
Mad Udderburn1211-193
TeamFinishOriginal SeedChangeOverall Rank
Ambiguous Grey22017
Sparkle Ponies56139
Dub Club911250
American Hyperbole108-247
Ant Madness137-663
TeamFinishOriginal SeedChangeOverall Rank
Metro North12111
Slow White21-12
Wild Card33015
7 Express410633
Grand Army714791
Pleasure Town76-172
Titan NE98-167
Last Call115-686
Mixed Nuts1312-194
Buffalo Lake Effect14151115
TeamFinishOriginal SeedChangeOverall Rank
Seattle Mixtape1104
The Administrators76-155
Kermit Roosevelt109-160
Seattle Freeze1211-182
South Central
TeamFinishOriginal SeedChangeOverall Rank
Public Enemy24224
Love Tractor31-214
Cosa Nostra43-120
Moontown 75-2101
Sweet Action88080
Risky Business9134108
The Strangers119-2129
Mixed on the Rock14151165
TeamFinishOriginal SeedChangeOverall Rank
Orlando Friends210829
Swing State311826
Charlotte Storm53-223
Jared Lorenzen Project85-357
Pluff Mud Panic97-252
Malice in Wonderland1113288
The Hucking Dead129-398
Carolina Reign14162119
TeamFinishOriginal SeedChangeOverall Rank
Polar Bears32-118
7 Figures44021
BW Ultimate76-138
American BBQ911246
Long Beach Legacy119-254
Family Style1512-375
Ursa Major16160118