In this series, Skyd Magazine will be talking with College Ultimate’s future stars. These are people that have distinguished themselves from other freshman/sophomores in the game and will be major players on their teams for the rest of their college careers. Article one features Colin Camp of the University of Wisconsin Hodags.
In case you were not at the College Champions, or near a computer to watch the CBS live stream (with its fantastic announcing team of Kyle Wisebrod and Brent the CBS guy) of the semifinal game between the Hodags and Colorado, you missed an epic game and an epic performance by sophomore Colin Camp. In a match that had Wisconsin scoring 14 points, Colin was involved in 10 of them – 8 goals and 2 assists. Toss in 2 d’s and 0 turns and you get one amazing show. He was a presence at all times and was a huge factor in the convincing 14-10 victory. With significant playing experience in high school for Hopkins, everyone in the Hodag organization knew to expect big things from the baby faced cutter. He had a strong freshman year, albeit with a bit of inconsistency, and gained a lot of confidence playing for Madison Club over the summer. Camp finally arrived as a dominant threat when the Hodags needed it most against long time foe Colorado.
We caught up with Colin Camp to find out more about his game:
What impact did playing for Hopkins have?
Colin Camp: It gave me a lot of basic skills, throwing a flick/backhand. These really helped transition me into college. Also, I played against most of the top high school players, so I had already experienced some very high level Ultimate playing at High School Westerns.
What were some highs and lows from your freshman season on the Hodags?
The first high was playing at Trouble in Vegas and it was my first taste of really high level collegiate Ultimate. Playing teams like Florida got me ready and made me realize this is the level of play I will have to face all season. College Nationals was also a great experience. Some of the lows would be Regionals. We had high expectations to play CUT in the finals, everyone always talked about it. We did not even get to play them and we lost to Minnesota twice. That really helped fuel the fire for this year and we knew every game counted at Regionals and it was a great learning experience for the long run.
How did Madison Club impact your style of play?
Playing club taught me how to cut deep better. A lot of players on Club could consistently put it deep. The likes of Jon Gaynor, Nate Bosscher and Hector Valdivia make you adjust to cutting deep. I was able to cut deep on the best players in the country and get the throws. This really improved my deep cutting and disc awareness.
What was the Fall season like this year?
It was good. We did our typical split squad at No Wisconsequences, where both teams made finals. We then went to Missouri Loves Company and lost to Colorado in the finals. We knew we were not where we needed to be yet and knew we needed to train harder. Fall was really good for team bonding.
More specifically what was your role on the team for the fall?
I was really trying to help anchor the O line. We were still early in trying to figure out which player would play which line. I was really trying to establish myself as a presence in our offense this year. I really was just trying to play my role on the team as best as possible.
How did the early part of the Spring season go?
Florida Warm Up was great for us. A lot of people got a glimpse of what high level Ultimate was. We got a big win against CUT and we walked away pretty satisfied. We lost in semi’s but were not upset as it was the first outdoor tourney of the year. Going into Stanford we were ready but struggled. We expected to do better but took it as a lesson. We needed to train harder and get outside more. Stanford really was a great learning experience for us.
For me personally Florida Warm Up was great. It was amazing to finally play outside. I was finding the game a bit easier. I knew where I was supposed to cut and at what times. I was in good physical condition thanks to the team training we do. I really was focusing on finding myself open deep. I think I adjusted and did well. Playing with Feldman and John Bergen helped with their consistent ability to get the disc deep.
My other major focus was improving my defensive game. The o line will turn it and we need to get it back. I really wanted to get better on my man to man defense and I definitely feel like I have improved my game, but I know I still have a lot to learn.
How was Easterns?
It was my turning point for the season. The conditions were weird at times. Some very strong upwind/downwind conditions. It really made cutting under more important. We played well, not great, but everyone got a lot more experience in what was the most competitive tournament of the year so far. I got to figure out who my match-ups would be for the rest of the year and to figure out what worked best. It really helped me figure out what I had to do in order to be successful against them.
Huck Finn was a late season addition to your tournament schedule. What inspired that and what did you take from it?
We did not feel that we were ready to go into the College Series yet and we needed to refine our basic fundamentals of throwing and catching and our defense still needed work. This was a huge confidence booster for me. Against Minnesota I had a pretty big game, about 6 goals, and it really helped give me the confidence to know what I can do and it helped avenge last years losses in Regionals. The entire team knew what it would take to win and that was big for us.
What did you learn and how did you improve your game at Regionals?
Regionals was huge for us. We all realized that if we buy into the system, play our offense and defense and big sideline help, we can beat anyone. CUT would have been the 1 seed going into Nationals had we not beaten them.
It was a huge confidence boost for me as well. We finally got over the hurdle of beating CUT in Regional finals and I can match up against anyone. We had been building up confidence all year and it finally came through in Regionals. The entire team believed, and so did I that we can play and win against anyone. We finally got the Hodag swag back. Every player improved because of this tournament. For me, my defense was the biggest thing. My coaches and captains had the confidence in me to come in and get a break, whether it was Iowa State or CUT. This really made me believe in myself and get me ready for Nationals.
How do you think you played at the College Championships?
I thought I played solid, but was not the impact player I would like to have been, especially on the offensive side. There were times our team was struggling and early on I kind of got lost, maybe it was some jitters at being at Nationals, but I was not playing as well as I wanted to. The team was still winning so that was huge though. After pool play, I took the night to reflect and realized I needed to make a bigger impact. That was the mindset I had going into quarter’s against Harvard. I knew I needed to step up to help my team win.
How were quarterfinals?
It was awesome. We came out strong, got a few breaks, and we all fed on that for confidence. The jitters were gone and we were playing our game. For me personally, I happened to score on the first point, which was called back, but just knowing I could get open and make an impact was important for me and translated to the rest of the game. I had a few goals off deep throws in that game. I was finding it easier to get open deep and was confident I would be able to. I was also building a good connection with Feldman and Bergen and flowing off their disc movement.
Semifinals, the game belonged to you. How?
It was a great feeling for me simply because the team won. All I wanted to do was to get to finals and it was the teams success not mine. That game was all about establishing myself deep early. I had a plan going into the game early and I wanted to stretch out Colorado’s defense, mostly to get open-unders for my teammates. Ben was throwing amazing, just perfect hucks. I was timing it to where I would see him getting the disc and taking off knowing I would get a perfect throw from him. We had been building to this all year and that game was a showcase on all that we had worked for the entire year.
We all know finals was tough, the wind was the biggest factor and did not give anyone a chance to show their skills. What are you going to do this summer to improve your game?
For me its continuing to stay in shape. I actually got elected to be an officer for Madison Club. It will give me the chance to refine my leadership skills as well. Also, I will get to play as much Ultimate as possible. I plan to improve my deep throws and defensive ability. I really want to focus on staying in shape. The better shape you are coming into the college season the better you can be. I want to come out even stronger next year in a larger leadership role for the Hodags both on the field and with my voice. I want to let my play lead the team. We have the taste of National Finals and we want that again. It will not be about me and my play, it will be about the team. All of us continuing to play hard, develop their skills and step up into new roles. We lost 5 key players and we will have to take up those roles. If we as a team fill those roles we can definitely get back to where we want to be.
Throughout the entire interview, I had to keep reminding Colin that this was about him, but he kept going back to how the team was the reason he was able to succeed. Made it annoying for me, but speaks to the character of what makes a good player and teammate. Look for Colin Camp to dominate the air deep this summer for Madison Club and all of next year for the Hodags as he tries to lead the baby blue back to the finals for the second straight year.