[stextbox id=”alert” color=”050505″ bcolor=”6cc3f8″ bgcolor=”ffffff” big=”true” image=”null”]School Name: Ohio University
Team Name: Ohio Ultimate
Captains: Andy Ball, Nick Wetzel, Danny Olson
Year Founded: 1984
Jersey Colors: Black/Green, White/Green
Tell us a little about yourself. How did you get involved with Ultimate at Ohio University?
Mitch Cihon: I got involved in Ultimate here at Ohio University with a few friends from high school and current teammates Mark Hritz, Mike Bruce, Alex Doksa, and Jimmy Herron, who just wanted to check out the team and see what it was about. Three years later we devote most of our free time to the game and have grown to love it.
How did your team do last year? What was the highlight of your season?
Mitch: Last year was an up and down year for us. We didn’t play as well as we had wanted to at early tournaments such as Queen City Tune Up and College Terminus due to injuries and weather conditions but ended up playing alright in the Series, finishing second at sectionals and fifth at regionals. The highlight of our season was probably how well we played at Regionals.
Who is your favorite team to play against? Tell us about a memorable game.
Mitch: I don’t know about our favorite team to play, but Ohio State is definitely a team that we get pumped to play against simply because they have been the most dominant team in our section for so long and they are the biggest school around here. Last year we played them in the sectional championship game where they won on universe point in one of the most heated games of our entire season. Needless to say, we are definitely looking forward to seeing them again this year.
What do your coaches/captains bring to your team?
Mitch: We don’t necessarily have any coaches, but instead have a strong alumni base that helps out the team in a variety of ways. They help run the Developmental Team so that the A-Team captains can focus on solely the A-Team as well as help bring a sense of wisdom and leadership to the team in times of need. The captains this year are all seniors and they bring a lot of good leadership to the team through leading strong practices, setting good examples, and playing the game the way it is supposed to be played.
Are there players on your team who deserve consideration for Callahan, All-Region, or Freshman of the Year?
Mitch: Andrew Foley is a grad student who just transferred to Ohio from the University of Texas where he played at Nationals with them a couple of times. Even though it is only his first year with our team, he brings both great leadership and a great skill set that makes our team much more dangerous and he is definitely someone who could be in consideration for Callahan at the end of the year. In addition to Andrew we have a few players who could make All-Region including Nick Wetzel, Kevin Hanzel, and Mitch Cihon.
What player is most likely to make a huge play as a thrower? As a receiver? On D?
Mitch: Our big throwers would have to be Danny Olson, Mike Ford, and Kevin Hanzel and they have a plethora of receivers to look for including most notably Connor Haley and Mike Juratovac. Defensively this group of five is where most of the big blocks are going to come from be it Mike Ford getting hand-blocks, Connor Haley eating up the floaters, or Kevin Hanzel and Mike Juratovac laying out on those in-cuts.
It’s easy to see when someone throws a huge huck or gets a layout D. Who’s a player you have to watch more carefully to see how valuable they are to your team?
Mitch: Really our whole team could fall into this category. We don’t have many star players who are going to dominate games at every tournament. Instead, we have a deep team full of athletes who play together and all bring something to the team in order to help win games. We are built more on relentless team effort then the big hucks or layout D’s of one or two individuals.
How does your team bring new players up to speed on Ultimate?
Mitch: We are lucky to be building a pretty solid program with our Developmental Team here at Ohio University. Full of mostly new players, the D-Team goes to smaller tournaments and works on the basics at practices led by Ohio Ultimate alumnus Todd Grace. Usually by the next season a good portion of the Developmental Team moves up to the A-Team and helps us to reload without ever having a real down year.
Without giving too much away, what does your team like to do on offense and on defense?
Mitch: Offensively, our team likes to score. Plain and simple, our O-line is built to put the disc in the endzone by whatever means necessary. Defensively we like to run a good mix of man and zone looks that drive opposing offenses crazy and wears them down throughout the game.
Has your team set any goals for this season? What are they?
Mitch: Our goals for the season are to perform well at the early season tournaments, win the section, and compete at College Nationals. We feel that with the team we have and the steps we have been taking over the past few seasons, these are very realistic goals for our season.
What has your team been doing this fall to prepare for the spring season?
Mitch: We have been doing all sorts of workouts in addition to team practices to prepare for the spring season. We have a good mix of distance runs, sprint, workouts, and strength training to go with our team practices at which we work on our skills and try to gel as a team.
What tournaments do you plan to attend in the spring? Which one are you most looking forward to?
Mitch: We have already attended T-Town Throwdown (T-7th) and Queen City Tune Up (3rd) and have the Easterns Qualifier coming up on March 5-6th. We are looking forward to that tournament because the winner gets to compete at Easterns on March 19-20th in what is looking like the biggest pre-Nationals tournament of the season. We also are attending Terminus the following weekend to wrap up our Regular Season schedule.
What does your team do to get pumped up for a big game?
Mitch: In order to get focused for games in general our team uses mental exercises that center our focus and bring us to a mental state in which we are able to optimize our performance. For “big games” we usually don’t need any sort of extra motivation to play our hardest.
What song would you pick for the soundtrack to your team’s 2011 highlight video?
Mitch: “Strokin” – Clarence Carter
What do you think about the USA Ultimate College restructuring?
Mitch: I think it is hard to tell right now based on the fact that there is nothing really to base the new regions or conferences off of. Once we have one season of tournaments and a complete Series to use for a reference it will be easy to say whether this was good or bad. However, if I had to guess I would say that at least from the looks of it, some teams won and some teams lost. For a region like ours (Ohio Valley, Region 8) if we don’t get two bids to the Championships, it may be very difficult for mid-level schools to ever make it.