[stextbox id=”alert” color=”050505″ bcolor=”6cc3f8″ bgcolor=”ffffff” big=”true” image=”null”]School Name: Winona State University
Team Name: Experience
Captains: Patrick Keys, Paul Ogrinc, Steve Piazza
Year Founded: 1980’s
Jersey Colors: Sublimate Black/Gray and Blue/Yellow
How did you get involved with Ultimate at Winona?
Patrick Keys: Ultimate was kind of a huge thing at my high school and after I stopped playing soccer my junior year one of my good friends and I were roped into at least trying it out. Went to my first tournament in Winnipeg and fell in love with it.
Paul Ogrinc: I had never played ultimate before coming to college. My older sister played in college and she introduced me to the game. I fell in love with the game my freshman year and have played ever since. My freshman year captains were extremely helpful in teaching me the fundamentals of ultimate. I love the competitive, but still light-hearted atmosphere of ultimate.
What is Ultimate at Winona all about?
Patrick: We aren’t a very serious team, we actually play worse when we are taking it seriously. We are a team that excepts anyone that is down for throwing some plastic and having a good time. When we get to tournaments we expect to have a good time, but also play at our level of competition.
Paul: Our team is all about competing at a high level at every tournament we’re in while still having a great time. We love to joke around and have a good time with each other, but when it comes to tournament day we are all business and like to win.
How did your team do last year? What was the highlight of your season?
Patrick & Paul: Last season our team finished fourth in the Northwoods Section. We played well at Regionals, but ultimately came up short of our goal of Nationals. The highlight of our season was probably playing Sectionals in University of Minnesota TCF Bank Stadium. It was pretty fun to play at such a large venue, even if the stands weren’t filled.
Who is your favorite team to play against? Tell us about a memorable game.
Patrick: I think my favorite team would just have to be singly handed to Luther, we seem to somehow play them every tournament no matter the obstacles we have to jump through. My most memorable game(s) would have to be last year at No Wisconsequences we were fortunate enough to make it in the Power Pools and no one figure we would make any noise. Ended up beating Mamabird, Wisco X/Y, and then lost to U of MN. We actually made it to the semifinals and lost a great game against Wisco X/Y. It was a great tournament to play in with some great competition and even better results for our team.
Paul: My favorite team to play against is University of Minnesota. It’s always fun to compete against the big Division 1 schools, especially when we beat them. One of the more memorable games was at regionals in Decorah in 2008 when it was extremely windy and slightly rainy. It was almost impossible to throw in the nasty wind conditions. Although I was just a scrawny freshman and didn’t get much playing time it was still exciting to watch. It was one of those games where it was big huck against big huck and whoever turned it over the least would win. It came down to universe point and we ended up losing on a floaty, upwind huck to the endzone but it was still a great game to play in/watch.
What do you, as captains, bring to the team?
Patrick: Well since we have been roommates for the past 3 years we are all basically like brothers and get along very well together. We all bring a different aspect to games and practices, Paul is the guy who can easily relate to our cutters and works well with them to make sure they understand how our offense flows. He brings a lot of things to the table when we get on the field which is nice to have when times get tough. Steve is the laid back guy who knows how to have a good time and can take us down a notch when we are getting to serious on the field. He is a great asset to the team and brings us down to earth when things get rough. I take Ultimate pretty seriously and bring strategy and intensity to the field. Having both of their personalities to compliment my aggressiveness on the field helps out a lot and balances out very well on and off the field.
This year, myself, Patrick Keys, and Steve Piazza are the captains. We all bring a different approach to the position. I think of Steve as the “captain next door” type of guy. The one that everyone can go to if they want to have a good time and learn how to throw some sick back handed hucks. I’m the tall fun captain that likes to get down to business as well and compete at a high level. Keys is the REALLY SERIOUS captain who loves ultimate more than life itself. He is the drill sergeant of the team and keeps us all in line because he has been playing since Junior year of high school. Our captains’ balance helps keep the team together and playing hard while having fun.
Are there players on your team who deserve consideration for Callahan, All-Region, or Freshman of the Year?
Patrick: I think Callahan is a little stretch for anyone on our team, but it would be nice to see it go to someone from U of MN, Wisco, or CUT, they have some great players and represent the Midwest very well. All-Region I think we could have a few surprises from our team. Paul Ogrinc and Craig Wortruba are our big cutters who can come down with discs that I would never think a guy could catch. In the handler position Steve Piazza can put up hucks left and right. My FOTY from our team would have to be Hans Hollander, he came in knowing a little bit about Ultimate and now has picked up on our level of play, he has had some sick D’s and can match up with some of the best guys.
Paul: Hans Hollander is definitely going to be on the radar for freshman of the year. He is a tall gangly kid from Iowa that knows how to jump and read a disc. I wouldn’t be surprised if he made some eye-popping catches on a big stage.
What player is most likely to make a huge play as a thrower? As a receiver? On D?
Patrick: Steve Piazza has been emerging as a great handler in our set offense, his backhand is ridiculously insane. As a receiver I think Paul Ogrinc and his knee slide layouts has some of the best hands and comes up with some sick D’s and eye popping layouts. On defense Matt Dillon has started to play some nasty D, although he plays behind the scenes in our offense on defense he has started to come up huge for us.
Paul: Keys is most likely to make a huge throw for our team. He has one of the nastiest flicks in the Midwest and is a handling force to be reckoned with. Most likely to make a huge play as a receiver is myself. Matt Dillon has emerged the past 3 years as more than just a pretty face. He really came out of his shell this past year as a defensive force. It’s like watching Darrelle Revis covering someone out there on D. No disc is too far and no layout is too sick, Matt Dillon will make up the distance.
Who’s a player you have to watch more carefully to see how valuable that person is to your team?
Patrick: We have many people that can play great “behind the scenes” Ultimate, but I think we have two main guys that do it best. Lukas “Destiny” Gotto and Brock “Kansas” Norwood can play some exceptional defense and may not get the big layout, but they don’t need to because their guy doesn’t get the disc. They also have started to develop into great throwers as cutters so they can threaten to huck it as well.
Paul: Marky Mark is one of the most valuable members to our team during games on the sideline. He has the heart of Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger and is always there with a high five and a smile when you come off the field, whether you did well or not. He gives it 110% whenever on the field and helps keep our team morale up through the ups and downs.
How does your team bring new players to Ultimate up to speed?
Patrick: This year we decided to change it up a little bit, in the first week or two we ended up just throwing the freshmen in the game and went over things with them. Nothing better for freshman to pick up the speed of Ultimate then throwing them into the fire.
Paul: We teach them the basics of throwing and the simplistic version of the rules then dive right in. Ultimate is one of those games that can be picked up on easily if its played, so we scrimmage.
Without giving too much away, what does your team like to do on offense and on defense?
Patrick & Paul: We are all about making as many passes as we can to get it down the field or as very few as possible, but no matter what, our signature move unfortunately is to turn it over on the goal line. On D we train ourselves to layout for anything and never give up on the disc when it’s in the air because you never know what’s going to happen.
Has your team set any goals for this season? What are they?
Patrick: We haven’t set any concrete solid goals, but as a team for the past few years our main focus as always is to have a good time at the tournaments, and also trying to make it out of our section and placing at the top half of our region. It has been really hard to do so with the U of MN, CUT, and GOP emerging as power houses in our section, but it’s a lot of fun playing national caliber teams.
Paul: Our goal is to advance to Regionals and then hopefully run the table at regions and make a trip to NATTIES!!!!!!!
What has your team been doing this fall to prepare for the spring season?
Patrick & Paul: We went to several tournaments during the fall making sure our freshman got a lot of playing time and started to grasp the concept of competitive Ultimate, as well as practicing 4 times a week and team bonding activities on the weekends. In the winter we are limited to one day a week of gym time so we have team workouts that hopefully help us keep our stamina up to the level of other teams.
What tournaments do you plan to attend in the spring? Which are you most looking forward to?
Patrick & Paul: Mardi Gras and Chicago Invite are the only two tournaments were positive we’re going to besides Sectionals. We are also hoping to squeeze in another tournament before Sectionals to help prepare for the tough competition. We are most looking forward to Mardi Gras because generally it’s a pretty good tournament plus it is on our spring break! Hopefully it won’t be played in a mud swamp again this year though.
What does your team do to get pumped up for a big game?
Patrick: It doesn’t take much for us to get pumped up, we get along really well together and just one spark from anyone on the team whether a huge catch or layout D on the first point we are pumped.
Paul: Listen to Michael Jackson on the way to the fields gets us pretty pumped up.
What song would you pick for the soundtrack to your team’s 2011 highlight video?
Patrick & Paul: We would say the Proclaimers’ “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)” would go well with our team. It’s a rule anytime this song comes on in the car it cannot be changed until the car is stopped. We also have to march to this song anytime it comes on. Basically, it is full of inside jokes for our team.
Bear, ninja or cowboy?
Patrick: I think I would have to go with Ninja they have sweet swords and are deadly silent. But if I could choose it would be Jimi sitting next to a burning guitar!
Paul: ManBearPig would be way better than all three of these choices.
Who’s going to win the 2011 USA Ultimate College Championships?
Patrick: I would love to see Grey Duck win it all because that’s my home town and I got a lot of high school friends on it, but I think I will put my money on CUT, they have a very solid team coming back with some additional great recruits.
Paul: I’m going to say someone from our (previous) region. Either Wisconsin, Minnesota, Carleton, or Winona State.
Winona State Logo
Team Huddle at Exit 69
Lukas “Destiny” Gotto skies Luther player
Matt Dillon playing in the muddy terrain at Mardi Gras against Truman State