Player Profile: Sergei McNulty

by | May 18, 2011, 9:58pm 0

A man who loves his hamster as much as he enjoys playing ultimate, Sergei McNulty has hatched from his dinosaur egg and is ready to make some heads turn in Boulder. Captain Tyler Glenn fondly says of Sergei, “He’s a huge part of the spirit of the team. He’s completely invaluable on and off the field. Definitely represents everything we love in ultimate.”

How did your ultimate career start? Do you have any idols or heroes?

I didn’t start playing until I was a junior in high school. The first team I played for was the Godzilla Warriors in a summer league called the Amateur Ultimate Frisbee League (AUFL). Looking back at the league and the players that came out of it I am proud to say that I played with such talented players including Kevin Kelly (Kansas) Walden Nelson (Illinois) C.J O’Brien (Illinois) and Jacob Bradley (Iowa). Coming into college, I had already developed a few break throws and a full field huck and I credit the older players on Godzilla Warriors for developing my skills. I know a lot of people will roll their eyes when I say this but my hero is Kevin Kelly. He was a top Callahan finisher a few years back for the Kansas Horrorzontals and he was the first person from Godzilla to break into the national scene. In 2007 I attended the UPA College National Championships in Columbus, Ohio to watch him play. Before this trip I only saw summer league ultimate so watching the best college teams compete was a complete shock for me. I instantly became hooked on the idea that I would be competing at this tournament and someday have the chance for my hero to come and watch me play. Last year when we made it to Madison I was ecstatic to see my best friends from Godzilla including Kevin standing on the sidelines cheering us on. This year in Boulder I am even more excited to see that there will be friends and family making the trip out there to come and support us.

What is your sports background and how did those skills transition into ultimate?

In high school I ran cross-country and track and was part of the Deerfield Distance Crew (DFDC). The running didn’t really help develop any of my skills but it kept me in very good shape and it helped me understand the pain you must go through to become a competitive athlete. The DFDC was the first time in my life where I felt like my teammates were my family. Going through all of the ups and downs and puking after workouts really taught me how to become a well disciplined and a hard-working individual. I will never forget the miles I ran around the Back 40 and I will never forget Coach Kauffman’s voice yelling at me to push harder and be better the guy next to me.

Sergei with the forehand pull.

Tell us about your IHUC ultimate career.

The name Garrett Brander will be a household name for me, as I will probably marry one of his two sisters. He has been my main man in college and all of the crazy things we have done I will never forget. As freshmen we were on a weak Iowa team as the year before only had eight or nine players on the roster. At the UPA 2008 Regional Championships in Decorah, Iowa we went to universe point with the Hodags in the semi-finals and lost but that game was the spark to IHUC’s recent success and growth as a program. The next year we lost to Minnesota Grey Duck by a few points in the back door game to go and last year we finally made it as we beat Carlton G.O.P to finally go to nationals. The game I was most excited about in my college career would have to be this past rematch against Grey Duck in the game to go. IHUC has never beaten them and so the victory was just that much sweeter. Former captain of IHUC Abraham Graber the 3rd used to say “GLORY, HONOR and REVENGE” and that win against Grey Duck was the definition of a G.H.R moment. I will never forget that feeling and when I looked back at the sideline after all the celebration I saw rookie Jacob Oakley crying with tears of joy. It was nice to see that our rookies were just as passionate as the veterans. All I have to say about Boulder this year is watch out… Chaos Crew is coming.

During your years with Iowa, did you play any club? If so, did that experience help make you a better college player?

I played on a few successful club teams in my life but the team I would like to talk about is Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). This was a mixed team that consisted of a few of my best friends and one summer tournament that ended with maybe 1 or 2 wins and a very tired savage team. This team was my favorite because we didn’t know what we were getting into playing with only 5 guys and 3 girls. We played all sorts of teams ranging from top tier mixed to … not so hot teams. But what I took from that team and that tournament was the most important thing I have ever learned in ultimate. When you are losing a game and your backs are against the wall, throw it to shark. Sean Parker who is still on IHUC as a grad student has become one of my favorite deep threats. It’s hard not to like a guy who can literally jump three feet high. Since playing for CCD I have been on many teams with number 88 and have been lucky enough to be graced with other deep threats like Nick Sanchez, Tyler Glenn and my new favorite Tyler Stutz. No matter where the disc is, Stutz will come down with a D.

Sergei unleashes this beast of a backhand huck around the Luther mark.

What is your life outside ultimate like? What are you studying in school? Do you have any hobbies or interests?

I play with my hamster. He is really lazy and kind of has a weight problem but he really appreciates the time I spend with him so it’s my favorite part of the day. When I’m not playing with Dean I can be found in the library not studying but partaking in a late night raid with my guild. If I’m not there I’m rolling D-20’s with my boys in the Captain’s Lair. I really enjoy gaming and playing with pets but my favorite thing to do is sit back and read a good book. I love reading fantasy tales but my favorite book is Ella Enchanted. I am studying Japanese and I plan on using this when I join the United States Air Force after college. Other then that I love listening to IHUC drop beats and create some fantastic freestyle battles.

What’s the plan after college? Do you plan to stay involved in ultimate?

I plan on joining the Air Force and I am hoping to get stationed somewhere cool like Japan. It has always been a dream of mine to play for the Buzz Bullets but I’m probably not good enough to make it so who knows what I’ll do when I’m out there. I would love to continue playing ultimate but I will probably have to give it up after college because I want to devote myself to serving my country. Plus ultimate has always been about shenanigans so quitting will probably keep me out of any potential trouble. After I’m done serving I hope to get a masters in education and become a high school Japanese teacher. Maybe I’ll get to rekindle my love for the sport by coaching a high school team but only time will tell. I also have had long conversations with my friends Peter and Sam about starting our own donut shop so the future holds infinite potential for the things to come.

Every great player starts somewhere. Check out this footage of Sergei (#9) when he was young, playing with the Godzilla Warriors:

Sergei McNulty with the Godzilla Warriors

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