2004 - Mickey Thompson
This is a pretty tough year to sort through. There were many hugely impactful seniors including fifth years Ben Aldridge, Tony Petraglia and Mickey Thompson. However, Mickey's sheer force of will and personality on and off the field shaped a huge part of what Hib is today. Beyond that, he's had one of the best overall Ultimate careers of any graduate.
Mickey was a member of the college all-region team in 2004 for the Southwest (the only Hib player to have that distinction until 2015). He was a core player on the Fort Collins club squad, DTL, who attended mixed nationals from 2002-2005. He won club nationals with Shazam Returns out of Seattle in 2007, finished second at club nationals in 2008 and won bronze at Worlds that same year. Mickey has floated around to several different teams since then, competing frequently in club nationals and even making an appearance in the pro leagues on the Chicago Wildfire.
Beyond his playing career, he was instrumental in recruiting and retaining players for Hib as a captain and mentor. Everyone has a person who got them into the sport. That person, for me, was Mickey. My first year playing was Mickey's fifth so we only overlapped for one season, but his influence on my Ultimate career was enormous.
I don't think I've ever told him this story, but on the drive back from my very first tournament ever, Hoasis, in Arizona, Mickey was navigating for a late night driving shift - I don't specifically remember who was driving, but it was one of the other older players on the team. They were discussing first year players and how to split A and B squads for the Spring. Everyone else was in the back of the van, asleep, but I was awake and listening intently.
Mickey said something in that conversation that has stuck with me since then and is pretty much the basis of my entire coaching and playing philosophy. I don't remember the quote, word for word, but it was more or less "I don't care who's the best player - I care who's putting the most into it. I'll take someone on A if I just know they'll put in the work." I was definitely not the best first year player on the squad that season, but I made it onto the A team for the first spring tournament. Fifteen years later and I'm still at it because, as Mickey taught me, you get out what you put into it.
Honorable Mentions: Ben Aldridge, Tony Petraglia, Hayden Strickland