DIII Nation – Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

by | April 3, 2012, 9:25pm 0

First, I apologize, I will not be adding a recap like I said I would in the Kenyon feature. It was going to be a bit too much work, and I think I’ll be summing up most of the action in my rankings coming later this week.

Now, onto this week’s featured team: RPI TRUDGE is another DIII team from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York. They are DIII veterans, having played in the division since before it was part of the official USAU (then UPA) series. After a tough loss to Connecticut College in the finals of Metro East DIII regionals last spring, they are back this year ready to make a run deep into DIII Championships. Here is an interview with the team’s media contact, Tim Langr.

Notable Roster turnover, young team veteran team?

Tim: Last year was a rebuilding year; we were a young team with one senior and mostly lead by juniors who had been thrust in the spotlight. Coming to this year we lost only one D-line handler and our bottom O-line cutter but our additions this year more than make up for the losses. This year we have a huge group of seniors that have been playing together for four years now and are excited to make some noise on the national’s level.

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

Tim: The star of our underclassmen has to be Russ Katz. He led our team in goals last year as a freshman and is a work horse of a cutter. He was brand new to the sport last year but played O-line because he made great decisions and played within his ability. On the other side of the disc grad student addition Chris “Chetti” Persichilli is an exciting player to watch. He has no regard for his own safety and plays with a dangerous abandon which is perfect for the D-line.

Star Players, who would be your Callahan nominee? Who are the big playmakers and leaders?

Dan Donovan throwing a flick huck against Boston College - Photo by Emma Stoltze

Tim: RPI’s D-line struggled last year to find any sort of transition offense and didn’t have a consistent deep game to test other teams with. This year RPI has the depth to mix up the lineups and now has the personnel in place to completely change the D-line strategies. Senior Dan Donovan (Tanasi ‘11) has come over from the O-line to join Persichilli and senior Stefan Dicker (Manhattan Project ’11) to form a dangerous handler core primed for big plays. Donovan is a very offensively minded player (O-line handler in club) so there are questions on whether he’ll be able to handle the defensive assignments. But once RPI gets a turn he’ll be leading the offense and looking to take advantages of mismatches in the deep game. If a D-line can score quickly after turns, it can be devastating to an O-line. With Donovan and Persichilli picking up, RPI is capable of scoring with one throw from almost anywhere on the field.

If there was a D-III Callahan Award, John Henry Hosmer IV would be our nominee. Last year at D-III Regionals ‘Hoz’ and Jonah Guerin of Connecticut College were on a different level from everyone else there. Their matchup in the championship game at Regionals was an interesting battle between very different types of players. Hoz is really a defensive cutter by trade. He played with Sons of Liberty two years ago and was on Garuda’s roster this year but was unable to play. In club he’ll take on primary cutters from other teams and make them work for every disc. He can be very physical and at 6’3” and a former track runner, he has the physical attributes to win most match ups at the D-III level. Hoz is a third year captain now and with RPI he has a very different role than for his club team. For TRUDGE, Hoz looks to win matchups for O-line as the primary cutter. He always draws the other team’s best defender but still the offense runs through him. Senior Chris Blum is responsible for feeding Hoz the disc from the center handler position and will probably lead the team in hockey assists this year. Once Hoz has the disc he’ll be looking for his two favorite deep threats, Russ Katz and senior co-captain Max Dyer. Not many teams at the D-III level have the personnel to take away three potential deep threats, Blum and Hoz’s jobs will be to find the mismatches.

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

Tim: Our first tournament is fun mixed indoor tournament up at Clarkson but our season will really start in Stevinson, CA at the Stanford Open. Because it is an expensive trip we will be running with a very small roster missing a few notable players such as our leading goal scorer Russ Katz. But a lot of the core of the team will be there excited to play outside for the first time. We are also hosting a D-III exclusive tournament at the end of March. D-1337’s is hoping to be the who’s who of the D-III scene in the New England and Metro East regions (http://d-1337.weebly.com/index.html). (This is being uploaded late, so D-1337 has already occurred. RPI took 5th out of  20 teams mostly from the Metro East and New England regions) After that we have two open weekends before sectionals where we are hoping to go to Roll Call and possibly the Dan Wang Invite.

Who are the Big D-III teams and players to look out for, both in your region, and in the entire division?

Tim: Last year a couple of the top D-III teams in the metro east region did not compete in the D-III series. If any of them decide to drop down to D-III Regionals they would be front runners for the region. Wesleyan was the best of these teams but guys like Vassar, Princeton and TCNJ all could pose big threats. Last year’s region winner, Connecticut College graduated Guerin and some other seniors who were huge to their success so unless Max Weigert really steps up I think they are going to have a hard time repeating. I’m curious to see who comes out of WNY-III. Some teams out there had some funky results this fall including wins over Cornell (Colgate and SUNY-Fredonia). Teams like SUNY-Cortland, Hamilton and Ithaca seem to be improving every year so whoever wins that conference is going to be a dangerous team.

On the nationals level Carleton-GOP is a very exciting and fun team if they decide to stay D-III and of course the big names from D-III nationals last year (Claremont and St. John’s).

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

Tim: RPI has been a participant at 4 of the last 5 D-III Nationals tournaments going back to when they were run outside of USA Ultimate in Versailles. We also qualified for and played in the first recognized D-III nationals in 2010 (fun fact: the last UPA tournament in history). Last year we failed to qualify for D-III nationals losing on double game point in the regional championship to Connecticut College. This year we’ve set our sights on a top 8 finish at D-III Nationals.

Anything else to publicize:

RPI wanted us to publicize D-1337 in this feature, but, of course, now D-1337 has occurred. However, now you can check out the preview and the score reporter page to see the results!

Feature photo by Matt Williamson

Comments Policy: At Skyd, we value all legitimate contributions to the discussion of ultimate. However, please ensure your input is respectful. Hateful, slanderous, or disrespectful comments will be deleted. For grammatical, factual, and typographic errors, instead of leaving a comment, please e-mail our editors directly at editors [at] skydmagazine.com.