[stextbox id=”alert” color=”050505″ bcolor=”6cc3f8″ bgcolor=”ffffff” big=”true” image=”null”]School Name: Ball State University
Team Name: Wizardz
Captains: Hans Rasmussen, Blake Vanderbush, Keenan Plew
Jersey Colors: Orange and White
2010 Record: 29-10
Tell us a little about yourself. How did you get involved with Ultimate at Ball State?
Matt Johnson: I knew coming into school that I wanted to play on the Ultimate team. I joined the first week of my freshman year and haven’t looked back since.
Hans Rasmussen: I started playing Ultimate in high school, and I got into contact with the Ball State team captain (at the time) from a summer league I played in. I showed up at practice the first day of classes my freshman year, and I’ve loved it ever since.
What is Ultimate at your school all about?
Matt: Ultimate at our school is about a couple different things. First, we are here to compete on a regional and hopefully national level. We feel that we are good enough to do well at big tournaments, so we do not take Ultimate lightly. That being said, we are still a group of college guys that like to act stupid and have a lot of fun. Our team hangs out together all the time.
Hans: We consider ourselves a family. The guys on the team spend a lot of time outside of practice and tournaments together: studying, eating, traveling, and just hanging out. On the field, we focus on precision and athleticism, and we really emphasize physical conditioning and training.
How did your team do last year? What was the highlight of your season?
Matt:To me the highlight of our season was winning Huck Finn during the spring.
Who is your favorite team to play against?
Matt: Illinois because the games are always intense. Sectionals tied 13-13, Ill went on to win 15-13 in the semi finals.
Hans: I enjoy playing against many teams, like Wisconsin-Whitewater and Illinois. A very memorable game for me, though, was a game against North Park at College Sectionals 2009. It went to Universe Point, and that was the game that started getting our name out there because we were not supposed to be able to compete with them.
Tell us about your captains. What do they bring to your team?
Hans: We have captains, and what they do is basically try to keep us level-headed and intense throughout all the games. We have no coaches and I think most of the players like it that way. It makes us feel like the team is ours; we don’t play for a coach, we play for ourselves and for Ball State University.
Are there players on your team who deserve consideration for Callahan, All-Region, or Freshman of the Year?
Matt: Last year I felt that we should have had at least two or three all region players and definitely the freshmen of the year (Luke Broderick) for our region. This year we have returned all of our players and once again i feel that a few of our guys should get recognized at least as all region players.
Hans: I think many of our players have the possibility of playing huge throughout the year, so those considerations can easily change. Keenan Plew has been a top player on our team for the last few years, and he definitely deserves a little notoriety.
What players are likely to make a huge play for the Wizardz?
Matt: As a thrower I’d say Keenan Plew and Hans Rasmussen probably make the most plays. As deeps we have too many guys to single anyone out. The athleticism of our deeps is really what sets us apart as a team. If a disc is hanging in the air I fully expect Mikesville Mason, Brian Weddle, or Cameron Brock to come down with it.
Hans: As handlers, Keenan Plew and Hans Rasmussen make some big-time throws and plays. As I’ve said before, we have many good athletes on our team, but for sick catches on O we look to guys like Cameron Brock, Colin Nedderman, Luke Broderick, and Joseph Kalule. On D, you can count on Alex Basham, Brian Weddle, and Michael Mason to tear people up.
Who is a player you have to watch more carefully to see how valuable he is to your team?
Hans: Eric Parin. He takes care of our wardrobe — a very prestigious and significant position.
How does your team bring new players to ultimate up to speed?
Matt: During the fall we spend a lot of time teaching and developing players with our B team.
Hans: We take the fall semester to teach younger players about the sport. This is also a great time for our A-Team players to develop better offensive and defensive strategies.
Without giving too much away, what does your team like to do on offense and on defense?
Matt: Offense is an H stack with quick movement and quick dumps from the deeps. D we mostly run man.
Has your team set any goals for this season? What are they?
Matt: Our ultimate goal for the coming college season is to improve upon our finish at regionals last year. The goal that we dont talk about is making it to nationals. I think this should be the goal for every competitive Ultimate team.
Hans: We want to be Sectional champions. After that, our goal is to win all our match-ups at Regionals.
What has your team been doing this fall to prepare for the spring season?
Hans: We run a lot of drills during the fall — some drills that we’ve ran for years, and some drills that we just created at practice or a team meeting that week.
Which Tournament are you most looking forward to?
Matt: Huck Finn
What does your team do to get pumped up for a big game?
Matt: Act really stupid.
Hans: We like to act stupid and stay loose, but get really intense at the same time. You can typically find us breaking it down with really irrelevant cheers and clowning around on the line waiting for the pull.
Bear, ninja or cowboy?
Matt: Ninja. Always.
Who’s going to win the 2011 USA Ultimate College Championships?
Matt: Wisconsin looks like an early favorite, but as with every year it’s really anyone’s game. We haven’t seen enough of most teams yet this season to know.