2010 Pre Season Record: 17-6 Series Record: 15-3 End of Season Standing: 13th at College Championships, eliminated in pre-Quarterfinal (11-15 to North Carolina-Wilmington)
Coach: Jim Schoettler
For the Colorado profile, we contacted David Belsheim, a current coach and former player at Air Force who is connected with Mamabird through Johnny Bravo teammates. David got back to us with something completely different from the rest of the profiles, and we think it’s pretty cool. Check out his interview with Colorado captain Matty Zemel.
Colorado Mamabird is one of the most successful college programs in the country. The team has qualified for the Championships every year since 1998 when the team competed against Carleton and Wisconsin in the Central Division. In the past ten years, Colorado has one national championship, an astounding four second place finishes, two Semifinal finishes and a Quarterfinal finish. Mamabird exited the national championship early last year, with a disappointing 13th place finish after being in the Final in 2009. This year, the University of Colorado will host the USAU College Championships in May. Mamabird captain Matthew Zemel (MZ) was kind enough to answer a few questions.
Q: Who is your Coach?
MZ: Jim Schoettler is still our coach and we love his enthusiasm. He is just another college kid at practices with us.
DB: Jim Schoettler played for Stanford in the mid 1990’s where he led the team to several finals appearances and won the Callahan Award in 1997. Jim also helped found San Francisco JAM and he brings a wealth of club experience to the program. In his first season coaching Mamabird, Coach Schoettler led Mamabird to the championship game in 2009. He seems to have an offensive focus, as opposed to Mamabird’s previous coach, Catt Wilson, who led Johnny Bravo’s defensive line for many years.
Q: Do any Mamabird alums help out?
MZ: Chris Wicus, a notable alumni, has also helped the team progress.
DB: Chris Wicus played for Mamabird during the ’05-’08 seasons, where he served mostly as a handler. Wicus also helps with the team’s physical conditioning.
Q: Who is captaining this year?
MZ: Evan Padget, Jack McShane, Matthew Zemel
Q: What role do you play as a captain?
MZ: I organize practices and motivate the team. I also deal with quite a few logistical aspects of the team, like a team mom.
Q:How many times does your team practice a week?
MZ: Three times per week.
Q: Mamabird probably has the least amount of turnover from any of the premier programs. How many people are you returning for this year?
MZ: We’re returning quite a few, around 15.
Q: Did any of your players gain extra experience playing club this past fall?
MZ: We had about 9 players gain club experience this past club season. 4 with Bravo, 3 more with Inception, and a few with the Junior Worlds team.
DB: Matty Zemel, Jack McShane, Jimmy Mickle and Jackson Kloor all played with Johnny Bravo this past season. Hylke Sneider took the club season off to recover from an injury sustained at nationals in Madison. Dan Gruber, recovering from a wrist injury, played on Bravo’s practice squad. Jimmy Mickle and Tim Morrissy both played with the Junior Worlds team.
Q: Who are your major playmakers on offense? Who leads on defense?
MZ: Our entire offensive line carries us as a matured unit. Our D line is led by a group of sophomores that came into our program together and have now played together for a year.
DB: Jack McShane and Matty Zemel return as primary offensive handlers for Mamabird. Hylke Sneider and Marty Freeman are two of their favorite big targets, though Zander Padget and Jackson Kloor are two of the fastest players on the team and can stretch the field when needed. On defense, Jimmy Mickle was one of the primary handlers for Team USA this past summer and his pulls are some of the best in the game right now. Tim Morrissy and Dan Gruber are two other speedy playmakers.
Q: What rookies are you excited about?
MZ: We have no freshmen this year, although we brought up a few athletes from our B team that we are excited about.
Q: What teams are you most looking forward to playing against this year?
MZ: We look forward to playing all teams this spring.
Q: Injuries played a large role at nationals last year. What is your team going to do differently this season?
MZ: We will have to deal with injuries as much as any other team this year.
Q: Colorado is now in the South Central Region. How does this affect your strategy going into Regionals?
MZ: Doesn’t affect us at all. We prepare the same way for every tournament.
DB: Mamabird will face off against teams from Colorado, Texas, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma and Arkansas. With only one bid guaranteed, teams from these regions will surely be motivated to perform well during the season to earn another bid to this large region.
Q: Nationals will be in Boulder, CO this spring. How much is that a motivator for your team?
MZ: It’s so nice to not have to travel for Nationals.
DB: Three years ago, Mamabird lost to Wisconsin in the Semifinals in Boulder. Seniors and fifth year players like Zemel, Sneider and McShane are sure to remember that experience.
Q: What kind of advantages do you think Mamabird will have playing at home and at altitude?
MZ: I’m sure all teams will be prepared to play their best ultimate come May.
DB: Colorado in May can bring warm temperatures with a lot of sun and occasional blustering wind. The higher altitude makes it more difficult for teams to ride their starting 7 all day. The thinner air also allows for deeper throws but there is a smaller margin of error for handlers.
Q: Where can spectators expect to see Mamabird play this year?
MZ: We are going to New Year’s Fest, Florida Warm Up, Stanford Invite, and Easterns, followed by the Series!