Bay Area Sweep

by | December 13, 2010, 10:00am 0

Building to Success – Bay Area Revolver (Open Champions)

Revolver huddles at the Club Championships - Photo by Cory Barlow (

Revered by some as an unbeatable All-Star team, much like its name, Revolver is a multi-round “who’s-who” of talent, featuring many of the sports’ biggest names.  Beau Kittredge, Bart Watson, Nick Schlag and Mark Sherwood to name a few. But as recently as 2007, Revolver wasn’t in title contention, let alone even a Club Championships qualifier. How did Revolver build from a team of  a few talented college players to a double peaking World and National Champion? A lot of it was attracting talent and framing the organization.

Founded in 2006, by Kaos captain Nick Handler and his former teammates Chris McManus, and Marc Weinberger, Revolver had its eyes set on the prize, but was not overly-hasty in getting there. “The plan was always to build a program, not a team that would grow over the years” says Captain Robbie Cahill. “The team was envisioned as a place for young players to grow with the guidance of a few veterans, and for us to put respect for each other and our opponents before winning.” Alex “Dutchy”  Ghesquiere, concurs with the notion of a clear plan. “Much of the team’s success can be attributed to this clear vision of the team’s future that the whole team bought into,” says Dutchy. “I’d also say that we have players on the team who have won championships and have played at the top level for a long time (some of our veterans) – having people like this on the team has helped us keep our eye on what it takes to be 1st in the country, even as we were fighting just to be 1st in the region.”

By selling a principle set of intensity, humility and discipline, Revolver continued to develop and pull top talent while fellow Bay Area team, JAM, marched forward.  While experience was a base, much the same as during Fury’s founding, Revolver relied, and has continued to rely on, young talent from Bay Area colleges. “In 2008, every major men’s college team in the greater Bay Area (Stanford, UCSC, UC Davis, Cal) was coached by a Revolver player,” says Mike Payne. “This has been HUGE for us. Not only has it given us ‘first option’ on the best players, but it allows us to provide year-round coaching to the top young players. Guys like Mark Sherwood, Nick Schlag, Ashlin Joye, Cassidy Rasmussen, Russell Wynne, and Joel Schlachet have been growing as players 365 days a year for many years with guidance from veterans like Daryl Nounnan, Alex Ghesquiere, Ryo Karaoka, Eric Halverson, Mike Payne, Nick Handler, and Jit Bhattacharya.” Of Revolver’s current roster, fully one third played for Stanford.

Robbie Cahill launches a flick in a game against Truck Stop - Photo by Cory Barlow (

In 2007, Revolver would lose the game-to-go in the competitive Northwest Region, which shook the team foundation. “That was just the second year for Revolver, and I think that loss put a bit of doubt in our minds as to whether or not we were a legitimate Nationals contender,” explains Alex “Dutchy” Ghesquiere. However, Revolver bounced back with a 5th place finish the next year. By 2009, Revolver had picked up young talent in Beau Kittredge and Mac Taylor and found their way to the finals at Nationals, a year after JAM’s championship, where they would lose to against Atlanta’s Chain Lightning. “We certainly wish we hadn’t lost in the finals last year,” says Dutchy, “but it wasn’t too hard to swallow because our run through the finals clearly showed that a title was very much within reach. We also recognized that we played one of our worst games of the year in the final (and didn’t stick to our gameplan), so we felt that if we were given the chance to play in a final again, we’d be better prepared.”

The dissolution of JAM at the end of 2009 left Revolver with an opportunity to pick up additional talent. The experienced pickups were a serious boost in Revolver’s already strong roster. “The most tangible effect of Jam’s retirement was the addition of some great players like Bart, Boo, Taylor, and Jon Hester,” explains Dutchy. “Bart and Boo were a perfect fit in our O-team’s chemistry, and Taylor and Jon were huge contributors on our D-team.  With the strength of these players it really added to our depth and allowed us to run out line after line of world-class players rather than having to concentrate our best players into fewer lines.  The experience those guys brought from having won in 2008 was also a big help to our mental preparation and confidence. Many of the other Jam players who retired have been supportive of Revolver and helpful throughout the season.”

Locked and loaded with an unspeakably deep squad, Revolver was primed to take on the World at the WFDF World Championships in Prague. “We definitely approached Worlds with the goal of bringing our best team, being in our best shape, and having the goal of coming home with the championship,” says Dutchy. With the World Championships in July, Revolver trained longer than any other US team and was able to claim victory over Seattle Sockeye.

Photo by Cory Barlow (

After taking a month off, Revolver refocused its energy on the coveted “double-peak”, doing its best to stay hungry. With a tested and incredibly deep roster, all of Revolver’s preparation, focus, and devotion over the past four years paid off, as they were able to take out Ironside 15-10 in the final. With such a depth of talent, this may not have come as a surprise to anyone, but even with an all-star lineup, Revolver takes a note from Fury’s handbook when it comes to using its talent. While many teams rely on star players to win games, Revolver uses everybody. “We do try to recruit stars, but we are only interested in stars that understand the value of humility,” says Cahill. “We celebrate our great plays and great players, but are we are playing for more than ourselves.”

It seems that on Revolver, no player is more crucial than the next. In the final against Boston’s Ironside, almost every player on Revolver’s roster had a goal or an assist in the final. According to ex-JAM player and current Revolver starter Bart Watson, this is no accident and is in fact a recipe for success: “One goal last year was to have every player involved in the finals, and the captains felt that goal was forgotten a bit,” says Watson. “So this year, we re-dedicated ourselves to using the advantages you get from a deep team…Our philosophy all year has been to take the easy plays that the defense gives us, and often that means pump faking throws to Beau and Robbie and getting easy yards to great players like Josh and Cassidy.  Lots of teams can trot out defenders or schemes to shut down one or two players, but it’s much harder when you have no idea who is cutting next… [A]nytime you focus entirely on one player, other teams can game plan to shut that down. Because of this, we were able to use Beau [Kittredge] a lot as a decoy this year, isolating him on misdirection plays where we switched the field, etc.”

Revolver's Sam Kanner really wants the disc - Photo by Cory Barlow (

Revolver’s rise is that of a dedicated core with an incredible ability to recruit talent into their ideology of intensity, humility and discipline. As simple as it sounds, those core principals have played a big role in the team’s identity and pulling new players. “The team was formed with the idea that it shouldn’t be about winning, but winning the correct way, with IHD (intensity, humility and discipline) as the bedrock of that,” Watson explains. “As an initial outsider, I was surprised at how seriously the team takes them and how much the leaders and players refer to them throughout the season.  It’s about how you carry yourself as a member of Revolver on the field and in the ultimate community and about how you treat your opponents with respect.”

With two 2010 Championships under their belt, and evident similarities between the start Revolver and Fury, Revolver is on the path to become a team with the same consistent dominance as Fury is today. What’s more, with their stark organization and experiential understanding of the game, they may just be the strongest team the sport of Ultimate has ever seen.  Where does Revolver go from here? “Back to the track and the hills,” says Robbie Cahill.

Next Page: The Wildcard – Bay Area Polar Bears (Mixed Champions)

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