[stextbox id=”alert” color=”050505″ bcolor=”6cc3f8″ bgcolor=”ffffff” big=”true” image=”null”]School Name: Cal Poly San Luis Obispo
Team Name: SLO Motion
Captains: Shannon Blike, Monique Tafoya, Chelsea Cotton
Coach: Jake Hare
Year Founded: 2004
Jersey Colors: Green and Gold
2010 Record: 10-13
Score Reporter [/stextbox]
Tell us a little about yourself. How did you get involved with ultimate at your Cal Pol San Luis Obispo?
Chelsea Cotton: I have played competitive sports from age six including, soccer, golf and hockey so naturally I planned to continue in college. I had a friend in high school who was a few years older than me who played for UCSD that got me interested in Ultimate so when I went to college I looked into the team. I have heard similar stories from most of my team. We are all athletes looking for a competitive outlet in college.
How did your team do last year? What was the highlight of your season?
Chelsea: Considering that we changed and complicated our offense, added coaches, and lost half the team from the previous season, I would say we did pretty well. Unfortunately, we didn’t finish where we would want to at Regionals. At Regionals, as at other tournaments, a small team and a lack of focus at critical moments cost us our preferred position among our rivals. SoCal Warmup, we played ASU for the second time on the weekend. We had lost the previous game, and really wanted it back. Playing some awesome defense and with huge rookie involvement, we gritted out a tough win to finish 5th. Spirit was really good on both teams, and it would have been a real pleasure win or lose.
Tell us about your coaches/captains. What do they bring to your team?
Chelsea: On SLO Motion we have three awesome captains. They are particularly good at encouraging the team. They work really well to plan effective practices that teach not only the new players new concepts but are fun also. This year our team has seen a large jump in recruitment which is probably in part to the effort and abilities of our captains. They have gotten many of the new players to stick around for the last few weeks because they genuinely care about the new player’s progression on the team. They have also been inventive with activities to do outside of practice to encourage further team cohesiveness which keeps more of the new players coming out to practices. They are also good at explaining things in a constructive not critical way. They have help with some of this from our current coach Jake Hare. Jake used to play for SLO Core, the guys team at Cal Poly but has since graduated. This is his second year coaching the team, he has so much experience playing and is all around just a good athlete that he is this incredible source of Ultimate wisdom available to the team. All of the leaders on our team are open to feedback form anyone on the team allowing for continuous improvement for the team.
Are there players on your team who deserve consideration for Callahan, All-Region, or Freshman of the Year? Tell us about her.
Chelsea: Monique Tafoya (#7, Senior) is absolutely an all-region candidate. She is a complete player- spirited, athletic, got hops, sound throws, tough defender, and she has that je ne sais pas that excites her teammates and impresses her opponents.
What player is most likely to make a huge play as a thrower? As a receiver? On D?
Chelsea: Our most exciting throwers are Megan Benson (#2, Senior) and Pokey (#15, Senior). Megan is a smart, responsible handler, who always seems to make the right decision. Pokey is a hyperactive handler/receiver that can control a game with quick movement. Both are very exciting to watch. Our best receiver has to be Shalan Ertis, she just makes catches that you don’t expect her to. She has caught impossibly high and low throws, discs bouncing around in crowds. I’m sure I haven’t seen the best of her yet. On D, Shannon Blike and Monique Tafoya are the crazy ones. They surprise people with their aggressiveness, which is great to see from otherwise calm people.
Who’s a player you have to watch more carefully to see how valuable she is to your team?
Chelsea: Definitely Pokey. She only scores every once in a while, she doesn’t really huck, and she doesn’t get big d’s, but her energy and movement can loosen up the tightest defense. She keeps the disc moving and plays smart, which stabilizes the team.
How does your team bring new players up to speed on ultimate?
Chelsea: We start out the season with a lot of throwing drills getting everyone comfortable with their throws early on. We also throw in some fun athletic/running drills that new players can have fun with and feel successful while still developing disc reading and cutting skills. We also like to do fun activities like beach ultimate and disc golf with the men’s team.
Has your team set any goals for this season? What are they?
Chelsea: Our only goal is to improve ourselves. If we set out to constantly look at ourselves for ways to improve, we will always find them, and always be successful at addressing them. That’s all I ask of the players, and all I ask of myself as a coach.
What has your team been doing this fall to prepare for the spring season?
Chelsea: Now that all of our rookies are up to speed on their throws we have started focusing on different offenses, zone defense, and a lot of conditioning. We have also set up work out buddies that meet up outside of weekly practices to work on more conditioning.
What tournaments do you plan to attend in the spring? Which one are you most looking forward to?
Chelsea: This year we plan to attend Santa Barbara invite which is always one of our most competitive tournaments of the year also Stanford Qualifier and Vegas baby!! Of course Sectionals and Regionals as well.
What does your team do to get pumped up for a big game?
Chelsea: We have specific team cheers that we do before each game and at half time. Before each game we call out the starting line by calling player through the gauntlet. Everyone claps and cheers for each other so it really pumps everyone up.
What do you think about the USA Ultimate college restructuring?
Chelsea: Having had the southwest regional tournament in CO the last two years, and outside CA 4 of the last 5, our team as a whole is ecstatic that our region is more California-centered. It also brings a slew of challenging northern California teams into our tournament, and makes ours EASILY the strongest region in the nation. It’s very exciting.
Who has the best shot at winning the 2011 USA Ultimate Championship?
Chelsea: Oregon will repeat.