[stextbox id=”alert” color=”050505″ bcolor=”6cc3f8″ bgcolor=”ffffff” big=”true” image=”null”]School Name: University of North Carolina-Wilmington
Team Name: Seamen
Captains: Dave Macurak
Coaches: Greg Vassar, Tully Beatty
Year Founded: 1988
Jersey Colors: Black, White, Green
2010 Record: 37-10
Tell us a little about yourself. How did you get involved with ultimate at your school?
Stephen Bender: My sister’s boyfriend dragged me out to a practice my sophomore year of college. After getting chewed out by Mike Gerics for not being able to throw a backhand, I was so pissed off that I decided I wasn’t going to let anybody tell me what I couldn’t do.
How did your team do last year? What was the highlight of your season?
Stephen: We finished tied for 5th at nationals last year, the highlight definitely being our upset in pre-quarters against Mamabird. One of the most fun games I’ve ever played in.
Who is your favorite team to play against?
Stephen: I don’t know if we have a favorite team to play against, but Colorado and Georgia are two of the most competitive teams we play. Our styles match up well and it is always a hard-fought game with very physical play. Again, the pre-quarters game against Colorado was one of the most memorable games we played in, our O-line played lights out and our coaches always seemed to give the defense an edge at nationals, especially in this particular game.
Tell us about your coaches and captain. What do they bring to your team?
Stephen: Our coaches bring a level-headed and mentally tough approach to the game and have earned our complete respect and trust in all of their game time decisions. They are both Seamen alums. Tully Beatty played in the early years of the Seamen when we routinely finished in the top 5 at nationals. Greg Vassar comes from a later era in Seamen (1999 – 2002), he was on the team the last time prior to last year that the Seamen made nationals and was there to remember how quickly the team dropped off afterwards. Tully also runs our asses into the ground every practice during the spring. Dave Macurak is a second-year captain and fourth-year Seamen who possesses top-notch handling skills and a cool-under-pressure approach to the O-line.
Are there players on your team who deserve consideration for Callahan, All-Region, or Freshman of the Year?
Stephen: Tommy Lamar and Jarrett Bowen both possess the skills and athleticism on both sides of the disc to be serious candidates for all-region and Callahan. For FOTY we have a few rookies who deserve consideration, one being a rookie from the Seattle high school scene (Nick Jackson) who has adjusted to the college level extremely quickly.
What player is most likely to make a huge play as a thrower? As a receiver? On D?
Stephen: Thrower: Dave Macurak, Steve Taylor
Receiver: Tommy Lamar, Jarrett Bowen
Defense: Cory Morris, Kevin Shea
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?
Stephen: James Hill. The guy plays O-line handler and almost never turns it over, in addition he runs anyone covering him into the ground.
Without giving too much away, what does your team like to do on offense and on defense?
Stephen: Play physically.
What has your team been doing this fall to prepare for the spring season?
Stephen: Filling holes left open from roster changes by opening up rotation in fall tournaments. We are also constantly implementing new looks on O and D.
What tournaments do you plan to attend in the spring? Which one are you most looking forward to?
Stephen: The spring schedule is yet to be set, but mostly tournaments on the east coast. I am most looking forward to playing in Easterns. The tournament was hands-down the best run tournament we attended last year (by Greg Vassar) and we always get lots of Seamen Alumni and other members of the Wilmington ultimate community out there. The line up this year for already accepted teams does not disappoint.
Which team has the best shot at winning the 2011 USA Ultimate College Championships?
Stephen: I have not seen enough of elite-level competition in the fall to make an educated guess, but a shot in the dark would have to be Carleton as they always seem to have an incoming class of talented rookies and veterans.