Joe is one of the most consistent players on Luther LUFDA. Most importantly, if you need to know what time it is, he’s your guy.
How did your ultimate career start?
My former captain and neighbor, Greg Shirbroun, started a mixed team at my high school called, Ames ToP. Essentially it was a group of my friends that got together 2 times a week to play a pick-up game or two. I came to Luther planning on running Cross-country and track, but somehow ended up playing ultimate instead, though I can’t really say that I was serious about ultimate until LUFDA went to nationals in 2009.
What is your sports background and how did those skills transition into ultimate?
I have been a runner for a long time. I have been on the cross country and track teams since 5th grade up through high school. I dabbled in soccer for a while, but it wasn’t for me.
Tell us about your LUFDA ultimate career.
My freshman year at Luther, I decided to not run cross country and went out for frisbee instead. That year I played on Pound, the Luther B team with John. That year was all about fun. Come sophomore year it was down to business. Made the A team as one of the 5 underclassmen. John Anderson and I like to joke that I only made the team because I was the only one that had a watch as I am always found wearing one during a game/tournament. In 2009 I unfortunately fractured my L5 Vertebrae and had to sit out for some of spring season, playing just a few points over our spring break, sectionals, and Regionals. With a senior heavy team I didn’t see much playing time at Nationals until they all had to leave to walk for commencement; leaving our team with just 13 players. Playing in pre-quarters against Wisconsin was my ‘break-out’ game per say, as I finally moved past being the watch keeper! Since then I have been playing on the O line and it has been great. I am by no means the best player on the team(in fact, I would say f
ar from it!), but I’m decent at doing what I am supposed to do. This year we as a team have focused on figuring out your role and playing up to what is expected out of that role. When we all do that; we play very well. We came out of a tough North Central region, placed lower than we had aimed, but ready to make some noise at Nationals.
What is your life outside ultimate like? What are you studying in school? Do you have any hobbies or interests?
I am graduating with a degree in Biology and Environmental Studies so outside of Ultimate I pretty much focus on school. A lot of my free time before practice is taken up by labs. To balance all of this structured time I generally try and keep the number of ‘social’ events in my life to a maximum as bad decisions always make for good stories. Other than that, I really enjoy playing cribbage, 500, and euchre with my teammates. John and I will take on anyone.
What’s the plan after college? Do you plan to stay involved in ultimate?
That’s a good question. I have many theoretical plans, but for now I just hope that one of them comes true. For the summer I will be back doing sustainable agriculture research at Iowa State University. I hope to either teach abroad in Chile for next year or get accepted into a Sustainable Agriculture/Sustainable Development graduate program. I hope to stay involved in ultimate, but my location will really determine to what capacity this can be true in the short term. In the long term I would love to play club if the time, money, and my location allowed.