[stextbox id=”alert” color=”050505″ bcolor=”6cc3f8″ bgcolor=”ffffff” big=”true” image=”null”]School Name: University of Michigan
Team Name: Flywheel
Captains: Anna Maria Paruk, Paula Seville
Coaches: Naomi Warren, Julia Weinert
Year Founded: 1989
Colors: Maize and Blue
2010 Record: 33-12
Captain AnnaMaria Paruk requests that you listen to Katy Perry’s Teenage Dream on repeat while reading this. (just kidding, she was pretty emphatic that you shouldn’t consider it Flywheel’s anthem for 2011. We just didn’t listen) This one’s for you AnnaMaria!
Tell us a little about yourself. How did you get involved with Ultimate at Michigan?
AnnaMaria Paruk: My high school friends played at home so when I went off to college, I wanted to learn so I could play with them as I got back. I joined Flywheel thinking it was a group of girls who got together every once in a while to play. Little did I know that I was about to be joining a nationally competitive team that travels across America looking for good Ultimate. Once I started playing, I was hooked into the Flywheel system and knew this was going to define my college career.
What is Ultimate at Michigan all about?
AnnaMaria: Ultimate at Michigan means teamwork. We may have a stud player every year, but Michigan does not depend on only a handful of people to put the game away. Even those who aren’t playing are that much a part of the current point. Our sidelines are involved, cheering on their teammates and giving informative cues about their opponents. Our coaches are calling lines and adapting our strategy for the current team. Our girls on the field are playing their hardest throughout the entire point to make it successful. While we emphasize fun and we always love to win, you cannot do either of those without your teammates.
How did your team do last year? What was the highlight of your season?
AnnaMaria: Last year our team tied for 11th at Nationals which was an accomplishment for us. We started off the season with a roster of 16 but then due to unfortunate circumstances and injuries, we brought a roster of 9 to Regionals and 12 to Nationals. The ability to make it so far with so few people (and 60% of them being rookies) really speaks of our players and coaches.
Tell me about your coaches and captains.
AnnaMaria: This year we are sad to say good bye to two fabulous coaches in Janet Jin and Keely Dinse, but we now have the opportunity to be under the leadership of Naomi Warren and Julia Weinert. Naomi is a local Club player while Julia is a Flywheel Alum who recently moved back from San Francisco. They both bring skills and strategies from all over the nation which will help us adapt to other teams. We are captained by Paula Seville and myself. Paula is a former Junior Worlds player and I am returning from captaining last year. Hopefully with the combination of our coaches and captains we will be able to lead Flywheel to a successful season!
Are there players on your team who deserve consideration for Callahan, All-Region, or Freshman of the Year? Why?
AnnaMaria: We have a few players returning who were on the All-Region team last year but honestly it is too early to tell. Michigan’s team is full of talent and there are many opportunities for all of our players to step up. In regards to FOTY – that is an extremely difficult choice. We have 7 new Freshmen to the team and honestly any one of them can step it up and serve it during the season. I’m extremely excited to see what they will bring!
Without giving too much away, what are your team’s offensive and defensive philosophies?
AnnaMaria: We strive to have the best defense in the nation. No matter what the score is or how much we are winning/losing by, we always talk about how we can improve our defense. In regards to offense, we like to keep the disc moving and rely on both handlers and cutters to make big throws.
Has your team set any goals for this season?
AnnaMaria: I would say it is to reach our potential. With a roster of 21 (possibly 24) girls this year, our depth is astonishing. We have the talent and the ability to make it far this year so our goal is to make the best out of it.
What has your team been doing this fall to prepare for the spring season?
AnnaMaria: We have been really focusing on team cohesion and improving our rookies with a high level of competition at practice. With such a large roster, it’s really important to focus on the team advancing as a whole, not just individual players.
What tournaments do you plan to attend in the spring?
AnnaMaria: We are planning on attending our Michigan Indoor Tournament, Pres Day, Centex, Easterns, and then the Series. This will be the first time in a while (if not ever) that Flywheel is going to Pres Day, but Centex is always the premier tournament of the Spring. Mix that in with Easterns already having an amazing line up, and its hard to pick which tournament we are most excited about.
What does your team do to get pumped up for a big game?
AnnaMaria: We like to gather our team in a circle, turn on an upbeat song, and play a round of dance thumper to get all of the ”bad nervous” out of everyone. After feeling loose and excited, we focus really hard on our warm up to get us mentally and physically prepared for the upcoming game.
What song would you pick for the soundtrack for your team’s 2011 highlight video?
AnnaMaria: I feel that majority of my teammates would want me to put “Teenage Dream” by Katy Perry. However, I am going to use my captain powers and 100% veto that. Check back with us in about three months…
Who’s going to win Nationals?
AnnaMaria: Nationals, and the lead up to the event, is going to be extremely exciting this year. The target is definitely on Oregon this year, but all of the West Coast has proved their strength. You always have the usual suspects but I feel that this year there might be some surprises out there.