2011 College Profiles

by | January 20, 2011, 9:00pm 0

The USA Ultimate 2011 College Season started last weekend. A summer of determination to come back with better throws, a fall of teaching rookies to hold a force, and a winter break of road runs and anticipation are over, and when the first pulls went up at Janus XVIII, Santa Barbara Qualifier, and MLK Indoor, Florida began its title defense and everyone else got going on their pursuit.

It won’t to be easy for the Gators. Forget that they’ve lost one of the best college players in recent memory in Brodie Smith; the real problem is that the rest of the division hasn’t gone anywhere. Teams that have spent time hovering at or near the top over the past few years, like Carleton, Colorado, Pittsburgh, and Wisconsin, aren’t going anywhere; those that took a year off, such as Stanford and Texas, look like they’ll be back; and those that have been threatening to break through, like Cal, Harvard, and Minnesota, are ready to make some magic in 2011.

Athletics are a great measuring stick for human progress, and Ultimate is no exception. Every year, more freshmen come into college with playing experience, more players spend hours in the gym and on the track, and more teams pick up coaches that have yet another season’s worth of knowledge and wisdom in the sport. The competitive floor is rising, and with it, the ceiling.

From our perspective, the on-field building blocks for a good college team remain the same: smart play on the sidelines and endzone line, good handler defense, and a player or two that is capable of shouldering the load when the going gets rough. If a team can mix those with some chemistry and continuity from previous years, it’s probably safe to assume that they’ll win some games in 2011.

The fun part is the question of how many, and against whom. That’s why we’re here. As former players and current coaches, organizers, and fans, college Ultimate is what we’re into. With Joaq in California and me in Washington, DC, we figured that we could give each other some answers based on what we know about our respective areas. From there, we got in touch with a few friends— Michael Aguilar, formerly at South Carolina and now at Louisiana State; David Belsheim, a Johnny Bravo player and current coach at Air Force; Matt Davidman, a recent Wisconsin grad; and Stephen Hubbard, a former UC-San Diego player and current coach—and asked them if they wanted to get involved. The next couple weeks were full of phone calls, emails, and Gchat sessions with captains and coaches around the country, the goal being to compile as much information on the upcoming season as possible and to organize it comprehensively.

So here we are, bringing you the Inside Breaks 2011 College Profiles.

As far as team selection goes, our aim was to cover every team that either qualified for the College Championships in 2010 or that will contend to win its region this spring. While people tend to talk about Ultimate in the context of a national scene, we think that giving a glimpse of the various paths to Nationals will provide a more accurate picture of the competitive standing of our sport. Also, it is much easier to find someone that is able to give a reliable report on a single region than it is to find someone who can give detailed and accurate information about teams from coast to coast.

Also, we know we missed some teams, namely British Columbia, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, Kansas, Texas State, California- Santa Barbara, and Washington. We’re still trying to find quality scouting reports on these teams, so if you’ve got anything for us, let us know. The plan is to post all of their profiles in a second wave as soon as possible.

Finally, we’d be remiss not to thank everyone that has helped us with this project. To all of the people that have offered us better information than we could have expected while putting up with endless emails about roster turnover, spring schedules, and team history, thank you. It’s been a lot of fun making this happen, and you helped us come up with something that we’re proud to put our names on.


-Inside Breaks.

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