2011 Preview – Wisconsin Hodags

by | December 15, 2010, 9:00am 0

[stextbox id=”alert” color=”050505″ bcolor=”6cc3f8″ bgcolor=”ffffff” big=”true” image=”null”]School Name: University of Wisconsin-Madison
Team Name: Hodags
Captains: John Bergen, Ben Feldman
Coaches: Hector Valdivia
Year team was founded: 1977
Jersey Colors: Baby Blue and Black
Website: http://www.hodags.org
2010 Record: 34-10
Score Reporter

Tell us a little about yourself.  How did you get involved with Ultimate at Wisconsin?

Chris Scotto DiVetta: 2nd year Hodag and 2nd year ultimate player.  I’m a 26 year old graduate student and am recently married.  I work at GE Healthcare and for a non-profit Team Rubicon.  Played in the community Frisbee group, Madison Ultimate Frisbee Association (MUFA) for a session and heard that Wisconsin had a team and now here I am.

John Bergen: I have spent the past 23 years of my life in Madison, so I was bound to get involved with Frisbee at some point. I began playing my freshmen year of high school and have been hooked since. Going to Madison was an easy choice for college because it was a good school close to home with a great Frisbee team.

Wisconsin's Alex Simmons knows how to sky fools.

What is Ultimate at Wisconsin all about?

Chris: Working harder than anyone else.

John: What Scotto said.

Ben Feldman: Loving your teammate and busting your ass on the track harder than any other team during the winter to overcome the disadvantage of being locked indoors for 3 months.

How did your team do last year?  What was the highlight of your season?

Chris: Finished 11th at Nationals after coming into the tournament as the 6th seed.  It was a rebuilding year with many first year players getting a significant amount of playing time.  The highlights were winning CCC, Mardi Gras, and Easterns during the regular season.

Who is your favorite team to play against?  Tell us about a memorable game.

Chris: Carleton College – CUT – Last year, when Trouble in Vegas was rained out, we got together with CUT and played “friendly” game in the outfield of a baseball field.  It was a great game played the way ultimate should be.  We just were able to pull out the victory winning 15-14.

Ben: Most memorable game is semi-finals of 2008 Nationals vs. Colorado. It was the most intense and competitive game of Ultimate that I have ever been a part of, and it doesn’t get any better than ending Colorado’s season on their home turf.

Tell us about your coaches/captains.  What do they bring to your team?

Chris: Ben Feldman is our best player on the field and has a ton of ultimate experience.  He is a business man at heart and handles a lot of the logistical items for the team.

John Bergen is our team’s leader on and off the field.  He is our most experienced handler and brings a lot of the strategic aspects to the Hodags.

[Coach] Hector Valdivia cut his teeth with the University of Wisconsin’s program in the early days of its success. He was an indispensible part of the core, that lead the Hodags to their first championship in 2003, and has continued to be a leader and supporter of the Madison ultimate community. Hector’s most recent leadership accomplishment involved bringing Madison Club back to Club Nationals.

Are there players on your team who deserve consideration for Callahan, All-Region, or Freshman of the Year? Tell us about them.

John: Players I would expect to see on the All-Region team are Ben Feldman, Pat Donovan, Zach Alter, Cullen Geppert, Eric Alexander and John Bergen.

Ben Feldman lays the hell out.

John: Our game plan is to have Feldman throw it away, then have Zach Alter get a D and finally have me jack it deep to Pat Donovan. Sometimes Feldman completes his pass, but I would say those are the people to watch.

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?

John: Alex Simmons makes all the right plays as a d-line handler. He moves the disc, gets open, and throws up field. You will also occasionally see him get layout D’s and make big throws.

How does your team bring new players to ultimate up to speed?

Chris: Every year we have tryouts that call for athletes around college with little or no ultimate experience.  We do this because during the season through workouts and practice we are able to get players over the learning curve quickly.  We reward hard work and maximum effort so players are constantly working to improve knowing it will be worth it in the end.

Without giving too much away, what does your team like to do on offense and on defense?

Chris: Defensively we like to use our speed and athleticism to man up against are opponents and play suffocating defense.  We enjoy frustrating teams by not allowing them openings to throw the disc.

Has your team set any goals for this season? What are they?

Chris: Get better at the game we love, win the region, win the national championship

What has your team been doing this fall to prepare for the spring season?

Chris: Many of our players were on club teams this fall.  Ben Feldman, John Bergen, Colin Camp, Day Liu, Brian Hart and Pat Donovan played at Club nationals this past year.

What tournaments do you plan to attend in the spring?  Which are you most looking forward to?

John: Florida Warmup, Stanford, Easterns, and the series. I am most excited for Regionals now that the central has been restored.

What does your team do to get pumped up for a big game?

Chris: Bull ring – get into a circle and then call a starters name, they have to go into the ring and fight their way to the starting line.

John: Warm up.

The Hodags at Missouri Loves Company 2010

What song would you pick for the soundtrack to your team’s 2011 highlight video?

Chris: Like a G6 because we can turn on the jets at anytime.

Ben: We No Speak Americano.

Who’s going to win the 2011 USA Ultimate College Championships?

Chris: The Wisconsin Hodags – others to watch for are CUT, Colorado, Pitt, and Minnesota.

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