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School Name: Clarkson University
Team Name: High Dive
Captains: Steve Brindak, Daniel Charlebois, Brian Leventhal
Jersey Colors: Yellow and Black
2010 Record: 10-17
Tell me a little about yourself. How did you get involved with Ultimate at your school?
Brian Leventhal: I am currently a senior here at Clarkson majoring in Mathematics. I am the president of the club team at Clarkson and encourage all skill levels to play. It is important to us that people feel comfortable and want to join. We stress team bonding such as having dinners together and other events similar. I got involved in Frisbee at Clarkson through the Freshmen Camp program. Incoming freshmen are invited to several different pre-orientation trips. One of these trips is the Ultimate Frisbee Experience. This is when I first got involved. It consisted of two days of Ultimate Frisbee, disc golf and other Frisbee games.
One important feature of our team is how close we are to our history. It is important that we keep in touch with our alumni as they too like to travel to our tournaments and join us in the action.
It is not all about the numbers The highlight of our season was probably at our home indoor tournament. It had come down to a game verse the alumni who had won almost every previous meeting. Our team must have eaten our Wheaties because we ended up bringing it to half at 8 – 0 in about ten minutes and then won about 15 – 2.
Who is your favorite team to play against?
Brian: I would not say we have a specific team we like to play against. We play a lot against SUNY Potsdam because they are in the same town and good friends with us. However one memorable game was at High Tide in Georgia a couple years back. On the first day our team was slumping and got our butts beat by UMBC. However the third day rolled around and we were in the semi finals and playing UMBC again. Hearing UMBC thinking they would beat us easily our team pulled it together and probably had its best performance in the four years I have been here. We brought it to half at 7 – 1 and ended up game at 10 – 2. It was an unbelievable victory that took a lot out of our team. We lost four people to injury that game but the team pulled it together. It was the ultimate of Ultimate Frisbee.
Tell me about your captains. What do they bring to your team?
Brian: Our first captain Daniel Charlebois, nicknamed DEWALT, brings the motivation to the team. He encourages hustle, smart decisions, the use of two hands and most of all he reminds everyone in a sincere way to “Catch their D’s”. Our second captain Steve Brindak is best described by his nickname, COACH. He is the one who comes up with the creative plays that lead us to victory. However we have captains no one is above anyone else. We encourage everyone to play every position and to help each other out no matter their skill level. It is important that our team stresses team work .
Are there players on your team who deserve consideration for Callahan, All-Region, or Freshman of the Year?
Brian: I feel we have one player for Freshmen of the Year. Benjamin Petroski. Ben came in without playing Frisbee in an organized setting. He was a soccer stud before coming to Clarkson but was not able to make time for the school team. He came down to practice one day and we saw so much potential in him we denied him from leaving. He brings several important things to our team. The first is his skill set. He is unbelievably fast and has amazing ups for being only about five foot five. He has developed a forehand, hammer, and thumber in less than three months that without knowing him I would have guessed he was perfecting for several years. Not only does he bring a skill set but more importantly he is a wonderful teammate. As a Freshmen he has already taken on a strong leadership role. He is always there to help whether it is Frisbee , school work or some other issue that someone is having. Ben is the cliché hard worker. He is usually first at practice and last to leave. He has been to almost every tournament (one every week) which is very rare with the workload for freshmen at Clarkson. He is future star in the sport and he doesn’t even know it. He has so much potential that Freshmen of the Year would be a great honor.
What player is most likely to make a huge play as a thrower? As a receiver? On D?
Brian: As a receiver and defense Ryan Braun is one of our largest assets. I think he would be able to run the NYC marathon without breaking a sweat. He plays through injury all the time and is unbelievable. I could not tell you how many times I have heard someone on the field say after the other team has thrown a long pass “oh its okay Brauny is back there. He got it”. Or on our own long pass “Brauny go deep, you got this!”. When Brauny is in the game our team is at a completely different level. He is truly one of our most valuable players.
It’s easy to see when someone throws a huge huck or gets a layout D. Who’s a player you have to watch more carefully to see how valuable he is to your team?
Brian: We have one player on our team who not only brings spirit to the game but is an essential part of our team’s game plan. Sean Sullivan is a sophomore here at Clarkson who might not have the big puts or the long runs but he sure can change the game. He has a wing span greater than that of a 747 and has a smile that is twice the size. He is always in a good mood and can always get our team motivated even when we are down 10 – 0. He is truly a hidden gem in our team.
How does your team bring new players up to speed on Ultimate?
Brian: Here at Clarkson we are lucky to be such a small school. I say this because it is easy for us to communicate with all students which lets us set up announcements and tries to encourage students of all skill levels to come down and hang out with the team.
Without giving too much away, what does your team like to do on offense and on defense?
Brian: We have a unique zone on defense in which all of our opponents refer to it as a “lazy man zone”. We have only one moving person during play and the zone shifts around that one guy. The zone is very dependent on communication and trusting the people behind you to guide you on where to defend. It works well for our team because we are “close – knit” and all best of friends. Other teams have tried to execute our zone and have failed because of the lack of trust.
What has your team been doing this fall to prepare for the spring season?
Brian: We are a unique team in which the bulk of our schedule is in the fall. We have already gone to six tournaments. Three of which we were the runner up. It has been a great season. In the winter we host an indoor tournament and usually go to one or more. In the spring we head down to High tide in Georgia for Spring Break and then our semester is close to over so we usually disband until the following fall.
What does your team do to get pumped up for a big game?
Brian: We get pumped by having a huge team bonding exercise the night before!!! This is essential to our winning strategy. We do not believe in drills, warm ups or wasting energy. WE save it all for the game and the victory party after. We are always last to show up but always confident on the field. If the game starts at 9:00 am we arrive at 8:59 ready to play. We take pride in our rituals of showing up in the nick of time because we do not want to break a long tradition set by our alumni. We are known to our opponents as having great spirit and for being nontraditional Ultimate players. However we feel we are traditional but in our own sense. We do not give in to the tradition of practicing with drills and hard plays but rather by practicing with fooling around and being in good moods. We believe that negative reinforcement is essential to perform better. Teams are surprised when we are yelling at our own players instead of encouraging them. However what they don’t know is that we are so close that this is actually motivation for them to perform better. It is very rare to hear a compliment from our side line but it is even rarer to see someone without a smile.
Which Ultimate player makes you weak in the knees?
Brian: We have two women on our team that make every man weak in the knees. Giant Tiger and Vegas are the ultimate women ;-)
What song would you pick for the soundtrack to your team’s 2011 highlight video?
Brian: Skyscrapers – Paradise
What is the best cheer your team does?
Brian: The Bear Song:
Give me a B
What do you think about the USA Ultimate College restructuring?
Brian: I don’t think about the politics, I just like to move it move it.
Which team has the best shot at winning the 2011 USA Ultimate College Championships?
Brian: University of Pittsburgh
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