Alex Kadesch, #10, is one of the current captains at Cornell as well as the main voice. He keeps up the intensity and the fire, especially when the Buds were down 8-7 at halftime of the Metro East final. One of the smaller but more elusive cutters in the game, but isn’t afraid to match-up against bigger men on defense. Should Cornell break seed, he will be a major reason why.
What is your sports background and how were you introduced into Ultimate?
I played sports all through high school. I played soccer most of my life and continued this my first two years of high school. I quit because I wasn’t enjoying the sport as much as I used to and it was taking up too much time. My junior year I ran track and my senior year I played football. I was the starting kicker and I also played cornerback and wide receiver. Once football season ended my senior year, I started playing ultimate because all my friends were playing. There were three of us who played football then converted to ultimate. Brian “Moose” Nevison (5 years at Penn State, All-Region 2010) and Eric “EA” Alexander (Carleton GOP for 4 years and Wisconsin starting o-line player this year). If it weren’t for those guys I wouldn’t be playing now. Playing soccer has helped tremendously in terms of field awareness. Movement away from the disc is key in ultimate the same way movement off the ball is essential in soccer. Football taught me how to cut and defend in isolation. As a wide receiver, you need to be able to beat your guy in a fraction of a second not unlike an initial cut from the stack. As a corner back you need to be able to watch the quarterback while keeping your guy covered. This is exactly what good defenders do on the field in ultimate. As a kicker, I learned how to come through in pressure situations. My first game as a kicker, I had a chance to kick a game winning extra point in overtime. I missed, wide left. The only way to learn to play in pressure situations is to fail in them. I lost my focus during that kick, I looked up too early. I learned the consequences of losing focus when the game is on the line the hard way.
What was your Buds career like leading up to this point?
When I got to Cornell, I knew I wanted to play ultimate and made the Buds as a freshman. I improved a lot my freshman year, but didn’t get any playing time in the spring. It wasn’t until the series my sophomore year (in which we placed fifth at regionals that I saw significant playing time. The next two years I was a d-line starter always getting assigned to the other players top handler. This year I’m an O-line player and I’ve had to adopt a completely different mind-set. I cut in a lot more than I used to and I touch the disc a lot more. As a d-line player, I was looking to end a point early by cutting deep. I still cut deep a fair share, but I rely a lot more on my quickness to get the disc moving on in cuts.
What do you do outside of Ultimate and what are the plans for the future?
My undergraduate major was mechanical engineering. I’m currently getting a one year masters in mechanical engineering with a minor in systems engineering. I’m a sub-team leader for an engineering project team that is designing and building a Mars rover to compete in a competition held in Utah. I have had a job lined up since January working at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena California. I’m moving in mid-August. I’ll be working as a systems engineer on any number of projects. I’m planning on using ultimate as a way of meeting people when I move out to California. I grew up outside of Philly so LA will be a completely new experience for me. I would like to play club for a couple of years after school, but probably not more than 5. I’ll likely continue to play summer league and would like to get into coaching.