Seattle Riot 2011 Preview

by | August 4, 2011, 8:00am 0

Seattle Riot has always been on the edge of greatness. Competing in arguably the toughest region in the Nation, they have qualified for Nationals every year since 2001, winning the title in 2004 and 2005. Since then, Riot has finished no worse than tied for third, including three finals appearances. Led by Gwen Ambler, and Flywheel alumna Sarah Griffith, Riot is looking to win back that elusive Nationals title, and earn the right to represent the USA at Worlds in 2012. Revamping their roster with a combination of old and young talent, Riot looks poised to challenge San Francisco’s Fury for the National Championship in Sarasota this year. With a strong  semi-finals close loss to Vancouver’s Traffic at the 2011 Colorado Cup, Seattle Riot is well on its way to having a top notch club season.

Team Name: Riot
City: Seattle
Year Founded: 2000
Current Captains: Gwen Ambler & Sarah ‘Surge’ Griffith
Pre-series tournaments: CO Cup, ECC, Labor Day, Fusion

Who are the new, promising additions to the Riot roster and what do you hope to get out of them for the season?

Kate Kingery: This year Riot has 6 new rookies.

Nora Carr -Nora is a big, tough experienced player. She played in high school in Seattle, in college with both Eclipse and UW and since then with various co-ed teams in Seattle. We’ll be looking to her to use her height and jumping ability as a cutter and as a forceful, aggressive defensive player.

Keely Dinse -Keely has been spending her time in Michigan, coaching the Michigan girls. She was awarded the 2010 Great Lakes Women’s coaching award! She played for Michigan in grad school when she first discovered Ultimate after playing D1 soccer. She’s aggressive. She’s ripped. She’s fast. She’s got ups. We’ll be looking to her for big grabs on O and even bigger D’s.

Hana Kawai – Hana Kawai has returned to Seattle after playing for Brown and Brute Squad. She’s tall, fast, and a force on defense. We’ll be looking to her to play killer deep D. She’s also an experienced, skilled offensive player and someone we can expect to see on either the throwing or receiving end of big hucks.

Riot comes together prior to defeating Fury at 2010 NW Regionals. Photo by Alexander Yuen.

Hannah Kreilkamp – Hannah Kreilkamp is able to grind with the best of them. Originally from Alaska, she has sick endurance and works her butt off. She’s an aggressive cutter and marker and we’re looking forward to seeing her run other teams all over the field on offense.

Callie Mah – Callie Mah is currently playing for Western Washington University and was a real force for their team this year. She is a tall, aggressive, confident player with great throws. She’s been sidelined by an ACL tear, but we’re hoping the recovery with be speedy and only make her stronger.

Lindsey Wilson – Lindsey Wilson is the token lefty on the team. Lindsey just finished a season playing with UW Element. She’s got big throws and is a strong cutter. We’ll be looking to her to use her cutting and throwing skills to open up our offense and give us new looks.

Talk about your past season results. What were the big ups and downs?

Kate Kingery: Last season we had a great time at Worlds, we didn’t finish as well as we would have liked, but had a tough road with a late quarter final showcase game the night before the semi finals. For Cal States, we broke out our roller derby garb and tore it up! We looked great, played great and won the tournament. Once Regionals came along, we came out firing on all cylinders and crushed every team that we played. Unfortunately, we struggled in the quarter finals and then lost in the semi finals at Nationals, which was an obvious disappointment for us.

What kinks do your captains have to iron out this preseason?

Captain Sarah 'Surge' Griffith focuses on the catch at 2010 NW Regionals. - Photo by Alexander Yuen

Kate Kingery: This year the team voted to have a strategy committee helping the captains. The captains have been working together with four others: Drew Johnson, Kate Kingery, Shannon O’Malley, and Rohre Titcomb to create a plan for upcoming tournaments and the whole season. We’re working hard on smoothing out our offense and learning a number of different defenses. The idea is to be accustomed to playing offense against all sorts of defenses as well as having a variety of defenses ready to play against any team we face.

Are there any big changes in your club routine? What will be the big difference this year for Riot?

Kate Kingery: We are changing up our practice schedule a bit this year. We have replaced our traditional track practice with a tempo practice. The emphasis for this practice will be on fitness, conditioning and skills. We have created a fast paced weeknight practice with little rest but lots of drilling, running and playing.

What does your road to Nationals look like this year? What are your goals pre-series to make it there?

Kate Kingery: We’re going into the season without expectations! Our goals are centered on team unity, development and trust. We’re working on getting to know our teammates both on and off the field. We’ve also taken a step towards developing our mental toughness and we plan to improve on staying focused at practices and tournaments by staying out of our front brains and in our hind brains.

Who is your biggest rival? What causes tension between your teams and what do you gain by playing them?

Kate Kingery: Well, this is nothing new. Fury is our biggest rival. We play them many times throughout the season, with mixed results. We’ve beaten them at Regionals the last two years, only to be knocked out at Nationals before having the opportunity to play them there. Every time we play them, they throw a variety of defenses at us. This gives us a good opportunity to challenge our offense. They are fit, aggressive and consistent and always make us step it up a notch. Another team we face a lot is Traffic from Vancouver. We always enjoy the challenge of playing them. They work hard on the field and we enjoy the opportunity to try out our defenses and work on our offense against a strong, fit team. This year they’ve starting practicing before us in anticipation of Canadian Nationals, which puts them in a strong starting place. Finally, it would be short sighted to overlook the Capitols who beat us in the semi finals of Nationals the last two years, but whom we haven’t had much opportunity to play otherwise.

Captain Gwen Ambler gets her team pumped up at 2010 NW Regionals. - Photo by Alexander Yuen

What is the most difficult part of running an elite Ultimate team? What’s the most rewarding part?

Kate Kingery: I think the most difficult things about running an elite Ultimate team is balancing life and work with Ultimate. Running an Ultimate team is a ton of work even with delegating as many things as possible to others. The most rewarding part is being a part of an elite team of confident, motivated, awesome women!

At the College Championships this past May it was clear that coaches helped young college talent really peak in Boulder. Does Riot have a coach or an X-factor adviser? What is his/her role and what does he/she bring to the team?

Kate Kingery: Lou Buruss is acting as a strategic adviser from his home in Oregon. We do not currently have a coach because we have not found anyone who would be both a great fit and willing to commit to the whole season.

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