Colorado College Wasabi is without question the surprise of the 2011 season. They went from a relatively unknown savage squad who have never qualified for Nationals, to challenging Colorado for the South Central title. With an enthusiastic, savage, fun loving squad, Colorado College is the “sexy” pick for the college championships.
One of the reasons that Colorado College has never really been on anyone’s radar was the lack of funding the team received. In past years, the biggest tournament they could afford was Vegas, where they would drive to save money. Finally, they were able to scrounge up the money to make the trip to San Diego. Josh Anderson, ” We fit our whole team into two rental cars.” and Nicky Spiva said, “the two rental cars was sad, no credit cards for more…had to shuttle”. Regardless, they upset UCSD and Texas, grabbing second in the pool behind Oregon. In bracket play, they gave UBC its closest game of the tournament, only losing by 2.
I was fortunate enough to interview the captains of Wasabi:
Bryan Jones: So Presidents Day was a turning point, “Wow we’re good”
Josh Anderson: Definitely…and our first real tournament with good competition.
Nicky Spiva:We weren’t initially accepted to any of the tournaments we played this semester – new years fest, pres day, centex – all got told no, then waitlisted, then into because other teams dropped – and we won centex! after being waitlisted, so tight!
Nicky Spiva: It was kind of like a U mentality – they don’t give us no respect, and we want to show them
Josh Anderson: We realized that teams with big names were beatable, and where those teams probably had some room to improve, we had a shit ton of room to improve.
Wasabi stormed through the rest of the season after Presidents Day, beating everyone in their path until the series. They won convincingly over a talented UBC squad in Centex, and they did it with a rotation of only 13 men.
Bryan Jones: So with a roster of 10-16 guys, how short is the rotation?
Nicky Spiva: 7 on offense – switch 3 out for defense if we are pushing to the max, 10. But in a normal game about 12/13 play a lot. We run a short rotation so we have to be in incredible shape. For conditioning we do this thing called the incline – which is just a battle – here is info on it – The Incline. Olympic athletes do it.
Josh Anderson: We practice 3 times a week. monday wednesday friday for two hours
Nicky Spiva: And its kind of been team bonding / just is such a fucking battle we do the incline twice a week it’s a race. Tues/thurs its a race Josh wins because he is a robot.
Josh Anderson: 25 minutes is the best so far
The Incline is a hill of stairs that changes 2000 ft in elevation over the course of one mile. It’s no longer a mystery how these guys are prepared to run the entire weekend against top competition and still have something left in the tank. While this team take the game very seriously, it’s the fun loving passion that drives their success.
Ezra Siegel: I think unlike some of the other top tier frisbee teams we havent sacrificed the fun to get to the level we are at now. Even though we have a party mentality together as a team when we are playing disc, it’s about disc, because we all love the game and playing with each other, so the serious parts come easy as long as we are all doing it together
Josh Anderson: We have more fun than any team I’ve ever known which I think is key to our success.
Nicky Spiva: People who built the program before us…Ryan Seagal,Rob Andre (captain my first year here)
Ezra Siegel: Don’t forget Zak Kaufman
Nicky Spiva: They loved the game and loved the culture (zach kaufman) as well, and then we kind of brought a level of seriousness and desire to the squad to be top level.
While a lot of the plays are made by Spiva (a callahan nominee), Siegel, and Anderson, Colorado College is infused with a bit of youth withhighschool experience and some talented cutters.
Ezra Siegel: Starting o-line handlers are myself and the two freshman Conor Crowley (FOTY) and Gavin Nachbar
Nicky Spiva: Cutters Nicky, Josh Henry Konker and Kyle Hemes. We have a scary cutting line up that gives other teams matchup issues,quite tall, all 6 feet tall or more.
Josh Anderson: Henry Konker has mad hops.
Nicky Spiva: All huge deep threats and have really good puts
Josh Anderson: Kyle Hemes is huge…bodies people out like a champ
Josh Anderson: Nicky has dangerous under cuts and of course deadly hucks but also is natural at going deep, and rips everything down as long as he remembers to knock his blue jays hat off.
With this squad, Colorado College may just be the best team seeded in the bottom half of Nationals. There’s a growing sentiment that they will do damage at Nationals and could go deep into the tournament. After all, they’ve been able to beat the 4 seed UBC, and only lost to the 2 seed Colorado by two. The most important thing is that the hunger is still there.
Ezra Siegel: i feel like we really have something to prove. I want to prove that its not just luck that we have made it this far this season.
Watch out for Wasabi, they must just be the story in Boulder.