[stextbox id=”alert” color=”050505″ bcolor=”6cc3f8″ bgcolor=”ffffff” big=”true” image=”null”]School Name: Eastern Washington University
Team Name: Eruption
Captain/Coach: Zack Ranck
Year Founded: 2005
Jersey Colors: Red and White
Zack Ranck: I played Ultimate at Shorewood High school and when I first got to college there was a couple guys trying to put together a team so I jumped on board and helped them compete in 2006. Our team was only 9 members big with no money.
What is Ultimate at Eastern Washington all about?
Zack: Ultimate here at EWU is all about being fun and open to anyone. We just created a women’s team, but before that we went to all tournaments as a co-ed team. We value friendship more than winning on the field.
How did your team do last year? What was the highlight of your season?
Zack: Last year our team was around the middle of the pack. We had a few great players that could work well together but struggled to have a full team that could create a flow to finish games. Our highlight of the season last year happened after we finished playing Sundodger. We just finished playing in a mud field and our team was walking back, found a puddle of water about 20 feet long and a good 6 inches deep and spent 30 minutes taking turns laying out for discs into the puddle. Since then we find puddles around our school when it rains for layouts.
Who is your favorite team to play against? Tell us about a memorable game.
Zack: Our favorite team to play against is WSU. They are always a fun bunch and we enjoy the competition they provide. Each year they put on a hat tournament and it’s always good to play along with them as well as against them. A memorable game against WSU was two years ago when we played them as our final game at sectionals. It was a relax game while the other teams were still in a winning mind set.
Tell us about your captain/coach, Zack Ranck. What does he bring to the team?
Aaron Wooley and Kerina Weinbach: Our captain has been playing Ultimate for longer than I knew it was a sport. He understands concepts of the game well and has taught them to a new generation of ultimate players in a way that has kept them excited about the game. Plus, he’s an all around athlete and he sets the standard as to what a good Ultimate player should be. He brings the fiery competitiveness as well as the laid-back exuberance that makes ultimate such a unique sport. On top of this he is patient, fair, listens, and loves teaching.
Who’s a player you have to watch more carefully to see how valuable he is to your team?
Zack: We watch every player carefully to see how valuable they are to the team. Over the last two years we have players come in that seemed to have little potential, or seemed to have trouble progressing in the sport but now they are some of our top players on offense and defense. More specifically we had one player who only stuck with the team because he enjoyed hanging out with us more than he enjoyed the sport itself, but halfway through the season he became one of the best defensive players around. Now he can’t get enough of the sport.
Without giving too much away, what does your team like to do on offense and on defense?
Zack: On offense we run a ho-stack with two middle “poppers” and two secondary deep cuts. The ho-stack allows us to have our flick huck get set to the break side, set a strike and either dishy back to the handler or ship it to the secondary cutter for the touchdown. On defense we love playing zone. Setting a 3 man cup, quick wings and short deep, and a tall deep-deep helps us shut down the offense and keep it trapped back with their handlers.
Has your team set any goals for this season? What are they?
Zack: Our goal is to have a solid line up to compete at the upper level at every tournament. The team is being more strict than last year, upping the workout and conditioning drills as well as making sure everyone is prepared for tournaments.
What has your team been doing this fall to prepare for the spring season?
Zack: Catching, throwing, and running. We have focused a lot on our cutters to be able to break away from their defender and create opportunities for our handlers to progress the disc up field.
What tournaments do you plan to attend in the spring? Which are you most looking forward to?
Zack: Onionfest, The Hot Apple Turnover, PLU BBQ, and Sectionals. We are looking forward most to PLU BBQ and Onionfest because they are fun tournaments for our team to compete in. Both tournaments have had great competition and we learned a lot together at each.
What does your team do to get pumped up for a big game?
Zack: Rock out to music in cars as we travel. We also have pep talks where we make fun of ex-teammates and throw down hats.
What song would you pick for the soundtrack to your team’s 2011 highlight video?
Zack: Tik-Tok by Ke$ha (thanks to Brandon’s lovely dance to it)
What’s the matter with UW?
Zack: Too much pressure?