Northwest: 2012 Open Preview

by | February 14, 2012, 10:39am 0

The Northwest was one of the nation’s most dominant regions in 2011. British Columbia, Oregon, Washington and Whitman all punched their tickets to boulder, and the first three played their way into the championship bracket. Oregon is looking strong, bringing back young talent, but Whitman has only lost 3 players from their nationals run. Only time will tell if Washington and British Columbia can make it back for the second year running.

Oregon Ego

Can Oregon replace Cody Bjorklund in 2012? - Photo by Andrew Davis

The major loss for Oregon is none other than Cody Bjorklund, who was the center piece for their quarter finals run. Enter NexGen counterpart Dylan Freechild, who may just be the best player in college ultimate, as a sophomore. Bold claim? Yes, but there’s at least evidence to back it up. He lead NexGen in goals, had the highest retention rate on the team despite being 4th highest in touches. If you’ve gotten the chance to watch him in club, he’s one of the few players that will guard top handlers. He has the agility to shut players down on the dump, the explosiveness to get up, the speed to go deep, and the throws to complement the rest of his game.

The rest of the club features an assortment of experienced seniors with a blend of new youth. John Bloch and Topher Davis are the headliners of the upper class. Ian Campbell is now a sophomore, and Aaron Honn is the freshman that everyone should be watching out for. Speculation is that with this combination of young and old that this could be Oregon’s year, other people are doubtful pointing to Bjorklund’s absence as a big hole to fill. Regardless, Ego should be a top ten team, and if they’ve learned the lessons from their last two finishes, Oregon could be breaking through to the semis.

We had incorrectly reported that Tim Gilligan would be playing for Oregon this year in one of our SkydCasts.

Whitman Sweets

With losing only three seniors from the previous year’s run, Whitman is looking to not just make nationals, but go deep into the championship bracket. Jeremy Norden and Jacob Janin are the two names that everyone already knows on Whitman, but captain Ben McGinn knows there are more pieces to the puzzle.

Whitman looking to head back to Boulder in 2012 - Photo by Andrew Davis

“Everyone seems to know Jeremy and Jacob.  That being said, we’re much more deep than those two chumps this year.  Nick Cross is a quick junior cutter, who has recently added some beautiful throws to his arsenal.  When Peter “Gangles” Osseward is feeling it, he is a senior deep that can sky almost anyone in College ultimate.  I’ve also been refining my downfield abilities this fall to complement my throws.  And it should go without saying that sophomore Walker Larson has some of the best spirit in College ultimate.”

With low roster turnover, Whitman has a chance to do what Cornell did in 2010. Cornell was a squad full of talented seniors that had experienced finishing below expectations in 2009, but broke through to the semi-finals the following year. Last year, Whitman wasn’t sure where they would end up.

“Last year was a journey for us in terms of team expectations.  We started the year knowing that we had potential, but we didn’t really know how high our ceiling was (turns out it was 15th at Nationals).  With that experience (and further growth) under our belt, we feel like our potential is even higher.  That being said, it’s all about playing to our potential”

Washington Sundodgers

After seeing the departure of Phil Murray and Bryan Uhrig-Fox, Washington was left with a gaping hole. Despite those of us leaving them for dead, they have shown that they are at least going to be on the fringe of the top 20, placing third at Santa Barbara Invite.  Michael Capeloto is a relatively unknown handler that has got the respect from other squads in the region, and Jesse Macadangdang has come over from the 2011 Virginia’s squad, adding a standout defender to the line. Connor Smith has also come back to his hometown Seattle from Middlebury. Coach Pat McCarthy had this to say on his team’s outlook for the 2012 season.

“We’re hoping to build on our showing at nationals last year and will go into each game with the belief that we can win.  Each week we want to get learn more, get more cohesive, get physically stronger and push ourselves on the practice field.  We want to treat each game as an opportunity to prove that we are a great team.  “

The Best of the Rest

British Columbia has been relatively quiet heading into the 2012 season, but still may retain some Furious George talent. With President’s Day upcoming we shall see how they stack up. Victoria is someone to consider, as they are led by another Furious player Kevin Underhill. Western Washington and Oregon State are also squads looking to rise up, but will have a hard time breaking through to the top.

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