2011 Preview – UC Santa Cruz Slugs

by | December 8, 2010, 8:00am 0

[stextbox id=”alert” color=”050505″ bcolor=”6cc3f8″ bgcolor=”ffffff” big=”true” image=”null”]School: University of California Santa Cruz
Team Name: Slugs
Captains: Alex Grande, Cassidy Rasmussen, Jordan Sheffield
Coach: Daryl Nounnan
Year Founded: 1978
Jersey Color: Royal & White with Grey shorts
Website: www2.ucsc.edu/ultimate
2010 Record: 22-7
Score Reporter

Tell us a little about yourself. How did you get involved with ultimate at UC Santa Cruz?
Alex Grande: I am from Mill Valley, CA, just north of San Francisco. I have always been active and have played a variety of sports from soccer to tennis to wrestling. I started playing some Ultimate in high school with my friends, because it was a fun and exciting new sport.  When I first came to UCSC and realized that they had a team and that most colleges had a team, I knew I had to try out. So I tried out for the A-team my freshman year and got through one round of cuts, but ended up playing on the B-team.  Playing on the B-team was perfect for my freshman year, because it wasn’t quite as intense, got to build the basic skills, and still had time to enjoy all that freshman year has to offer.  I now play alongside with some of the kids from the same B-team.

Captain Cassidy Rasmussen gets up over Mamabird. 2008 UPA College Nationals.

How did the Slugs do last year? What was the highlight of your season?
Alex: Last year our season ended in the game-to-go to the game-to-go to nationals. We had an up and down Regionals weekend and it ended a little harshly in an intense game against UBC. I would say the highlight of our season was beating Cal in our Sectional finals and thus making us the 2nd seed at Regionals. Our section is pretty tough with other teams like Cal, UC Davis, and Stanford, so coming out on top felt pretty good.

Tell us about your coaches and captains. What do they bring to your team?
Alex: We are lucky to have an amazing coach in Daryl Nounnan. He was a player/coach on Revolver and has been playing ultimate for nearly twenty years, so he knows a tremendous amount about the game and how to win. He is also still in good enough shape to play with us and ball it up even though he has a wife, two kids, and a job. 

We are fortunate to have two different Callahan nominees in Cassidy Rasmussen and Russell Wynne. Both play on Revolver and are definitely our top players. They each bring something different to our team. Cassidy can quarterback our offense with this throws and cutting, while Russ can be a defensive stopper.

Who are the players expected to make a large impact on the field this year?
Alex: Travis Ladd and Cassidy are expected to make a lot of big throws for us this year. On the other side of the throw Devon Anderson will be ruling the skies for us. We expect our 20 year old grad student Andrew Marsh to be getting a bunch of layout D’s for us this year.

Everyone on the Slugs has hops. Russell Wynne skies UC Davis. Photo by Alexander Yuen.

Cassidy Rasmussen: One of our most valuable players is Alex Grande. You won’t see him skying a ton of people or throwing huge break hucks, but he is a relentless cutter and catches a ton of passes upfield for us.

How does your team bring new players up to speed on ultimate?
Alex: We expect our rookies to bring a ton of focus and intensity to practices and games, but to help them out we keep our offense and defense strategies fairly simple. Our goals are to try and focus on only a few things, such as on defense, marking, upfield body position, and field vision.

Has your team set any goals for this season? What are they?
Alex: Our team is still in the process of tryouts, but we do have one goal set already. To be the most fit team in the nation.

What has your team been doing this fall to prepare for the spring season?
Alex: So far this Fall, we have been having practices two times a week, another running/weight-lifting day, and other returner-only practice.

What tournaments do you plan to attend in the spring? Which one are you most looking forward to?
Alex: The only major tournament we are planning to attend at the moment is the Stanford Invite. Centex is a possibility, but unlikely because we are also going to Hawaii for the Kaimana Klassik in Febuary, so not sure if we can afford it. I’m pretty sure I can say this for everyone on our team, we are looking forward to Kaimana. What’s better than the beach, Ultimate, and Hawaii?

CSU Long Beach gets skyed by Gary Molano of UC Santa Cruz. Photo by Alexander Yuen

What does your team do to get pumped up for a big game?
Alex: We have a few cheers to get pumped up, but personally I think the best warm up is a intense, highly focused 45 minutes of drills, throwing, and mini games.

What song would you pick for the soundtrack to your team’s 2011 highlight video?
Alex: Highlight video song would have to be ‘Danger Zone’ from Top Gun.

Comments Policy: At Skyd, we value all legitimate contributions to the discussion of ultimate. However, please ensure your input is respectful. Hateful, slanderous, or disrespectful comments will be deleted. For grammatical, factual, and typographic errors, instead of leaving a comment, please e-mail our editors directly at editors [at] skydmagazine.com.