[stextbox id=”alert” color=”050505″ bcolor=”6cc3f8″ bgcolor=”ffffff” big=”true” image=”null”]School Name: University of Kansas
Team Name: HorrorZontals
Captains: Alex Gary Gareis, Joe Young, Brett Hidaka
Coaches: Jerrod Wolfe, Barrett Davis
Year Founded: 1979
Jersey Colors: Red and Black
Tell us a little about yourself. How did you get involved with Ultimate at your school?
Owen Martin: I’m currently in my second year as a Z-boy, and fourth year as an Ultimate player. My buddies and I started off playing in a KC summer league as high school sophomores. Then KU’s B-team took a couple of us along to a tournament our senior year. Having failed pretty hard at forming a high school team, we weren’t about to miss out when we got to college as well.
Alex “Gary” Gareis: My brother introduced me to Ultimate when I was in 7th grade back in Chicago, but I didn’t get serious and travel to tournaments until sophomore year of high school. I’ve been addicted since my first tournament. Of the colleges I was accepted to, KU was the only one with an Ultimate program I’d heard of. I wanted to play competitively in college, so that’s where I went.
Owen: We finished 20th at Nationals, coming into it seeded… well, 20th. Nailed it. The season highlight was unquestionably our universe point win in the game-to-go against Texas. Unfortunately we didn’t value the opportunity as much as we should’ve, although we did have back-to-back losses on double game point. Regardless, it was a great experience.
Kansas has been a Nationals level team for a while now, but they have had trouble breaking into the top tier. What is going to bring Kansas to the next level?
Gary: Across-the-board team conditioning is a must if we are to get to the next level at Nationals. We’ve been a little inconsistent in the past few years and our studs haven’t been able to play as much as we need them. This year, our coaches are pushing us harder than ever so we can become the best team in Zontal history.
Owen: As youth ultimate continues to develop in Kansas, I think you’ll see a steady rise in the general quality of play. If you look at the college top tier, they almost all exist in ultimate communities that are solid from the ground up. As for the present, strong leadership and coaching with solid team chemistry can only lead to success.
Tell us about your coaches and captains. What do they bring to your team?
Gary: Coaches Jerrod Wolfe and Barrett Davis played for KU and are current captains of Kansas City’s top club team, Prairie Fire. They bring solid direction, confidence, and cohesion to the team.
What player is most likely to make a huge play as a thrower? As a receiver? On D?
Owen: Vinny Ciaramitaro and Gary Gareis are two smart, savvy bastards. They’re by far our most experienced handlers, and can put the disc on a dime. Bruce Tuschhoff is an absolutely disgusting receiver, and Brett Hidaka anchors the d-line with layout after layout.
Who’s a player you have to watch more carefully to see how valuable that person is to your team?
Gary: Don Jixey has the best hands on the team and consistently gets open on his cuts. He’s not the flashiest player, but solid fundamentals make him one of our most valued players on the field. He’s also somewhat friendly.
How does your team bring new players to Ultimate up to speed?
Owen: The D.E.N.N.I.S. System, and a shit-ton of practice
Has your team set any goals for this season? What are they?
Gary: Our goal is to win the Region and make quarterfinals at Nationals, which would be a new best team finish. With the restructuring, that looks to be a bit more difficult, but we’ll see what we can do.
What tournaments do you plan to attend in the spring? Which are you most looking forward to?
Gary: We’re all really looking forward to Pres Day in San Diego because we’ve been limited by weather conditions and indoor facilities all winter. We’ll finally get to play in some decent conditions.
Gary: A couple years ago, the weather went to shit before Sectional final against Arkansas. We took over the heated ladies restroom, barking as loud as we could, and stampeded out to kick some ass. So we like to do things along those lines.
What song would you pick for the soundtrack to your team’s 2011 highlight video?
Owen: What’s Golden by Jurassic 5
Bear, ninja or cowboy?
Owen: Cowboy, but only because OSU loves us so much. Bear all day otherwise.
Who’s going to win the 2011 USA Ultimate College Championships?
Gary: Hard to say, probably Zontals.
Owen: I reckon Pitt. Or no, what Gary said.