DIII Nation – North Park University

by | April 11, 2012, 10:00am 0

Jeffrey Erickson (left) and Tyler Nelson (right) both sky a Missouri S & T player at Free State Classic.

The North Park Lost Boys come from North Park University located in Chicago, Illinois. They are DIII veterans, having competed in championships last year in Buffalo. There, they broke seed and took 5th. I haven’t had chance to see them play, but based on their record they show flashes of brilliance, beating Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Washington University, and Cal State-Long Beach. They also have dropped some easier games, most notably against DIII hopeful, Truman State, and Michigan-B (in the last game of Chicago Invite). We’ll see if they can peak at the right time for the series and DIII Championships (if they qualify).

Notable Roster turnover, young team? Veteran team?

Grant Blankenship: Age-wise our team is in an interesting position this year we are lacking a junior class and have only 3 sophomores, but have a very large, talented & committed freshmen class as well as 4 four-year seniors and 3 grad students with a lot of experience. After last year we graduated/lost 8 seniors and a junior which comprised our entire starting O-line, but looking at our team this year you wouldn’t know it. As a senior I am very excited to have had the freshmen come out so strong, and I know that the future of the Lost Boys is very bright.

Up and Coming players, guys on your team that are going to be making plays come the season

Grant: In the handling position, Tom Williams has really stepped up big as a freshman, so much so that he is currently one of our starting O-handlers. Tom stands out, but our freshman class is the best freshman class I have ever seen at North Park. They are all good, with the capacity

Grant Blankenship gets a layout D against a Wisconsin-Whitewater player in the last game of Motown Throwdown

Star Players, Who are the big playmakers and leaders?

Grant: Tanner Mayo is a huge cutting threat, both under and deep. Sean Burke is a veteran leader on and off the field with great decision making and skills to match. More than anything, his calm, collected attitude and great spirit has an incredible impact when he is on the field or the sideline. Granite Blankenship is our defensive leader, using his speed to beat his man to the disc and popping in and out of the throwing lane, frustrating handlers. Connaught Donnelly is a versatile cutting leader on the field, getting the action going with smart, consistent cuts. He is also one of our few cutter who is a deep threat as a thrower.

What tournaments are you planning on going to in the spring?

We have already attended Music City Tune Up, where we went 6-1, letting a close game slip to Tennessee Chattanooga, but we came out of the tournament with alot of confidence in ourselves as a team to be reckoned with.  We will also be attending Free State Classic, Midwest Throwdown and our own Chicago Invite. (Editor’s Note: This is being published long after the interview took place. North Park went 3-5 at Free State, 5-2 at Midwest Throwdown and 3-4 at Chicago Invite. Overall, they are 5-3 against DIII teams, only having lost to St. John’s and Truman State)

Who are the big DIII teams and players to look out for, both in your region, and in the entire division?

We haven’t seen any DIII teams from our region since regionals last year.  Out of our region we have been impressed by Tim Ferguson on Truman State.  Tim Kreutzfeldt of Wake Forest played with a few of us on club and impressed us very much.

Is this your first time competing DIII? If so, what made you change your mind from last year? If not, how did you do last year?

Last year we finished 5th at Nationals.

Do you have any footage/media you want to show the world? If you have trouble sending it to me, just ask, and we can arrange something!

Grant: Here our highlight from DIII Nationals:

Do you have anything else you want to publicize? I know it’s hard as a smaller school to get any press, but here’s your opportunity!

Grant: North Park University has recently been recognizing us more and more as a legitimate team on campus, and we are very grateful and want to show our appreciation for that. (Editor’s Note: Thanks North Park University!)

Feature Photo by Brent Gustafson

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