The St. Olaf Berzerkers was able to finish off their season by taking the 3rd and final bid from the North Central region to propel them to the big dance. Their captains Evan Doucett and Charlie Whitmore answered a few questions for Skyd leading up to this weekend’s DIII Nationals.
Evan Doucett & Charlie Whitmore: We had a large turnover from last year, graduating nine and losing two others to various circumstances. Needless to say, we have a lot of new players on the team this year and we were lucky to have a solid B-team program to develop players. Despite losing a lot of experience, we were able to replace that talent with athleticism and all the new players dedicated themselves to improving their ultimate skills.
Up-and-coming players, guys on your team that are going to be making plays come the season?
Evan & Charlie: Our new talent includes freshmen Ben Liska, Ben Marolf and David Anderson, as well as a host of sophomore talent brought up from last year’s B-team. Look for Jeffrey Hudson and Matt Metcalf to make some plays on D and Weston Birnbaum and Mark Emmons to generate some points on O.
Star Players, who would be your Callahan nominee? Who are the big playmakers and leaders?
Evan & Charlie: Senior Cole Stiegler anchors the O-line cutters and creates a lot of opportunities down field with his hucks. Co-captain Evan Doucett impacts the game on both sides of the disc, and the other captain Charlie Whitmore is looking to come back from an injury and make some plays during the series. Junior Tommy Cullen and sophomore Donny Harder are our top defenders, with the D-line offense running through veteran handlers Ben Aastuen and Eric Emmons.
What tournaments have you been to in the regular season? How did you play? Is there anything interesting we wouldn’t get from just looking at your Score Reporter page?
Evan & Charlie: We have been to College Southerns, Huck Finn, and the Northwoods D-III Conference Championships. We placed 11th at Southerns and 2nd at Huck Finn and Conference. With each tournament we have seen improvement from our newer players and our depth this year has allowed us to play deep into Sundays. One thing you may not see from our Score Reporter page is how we never give up on a game, no matter what the score is. For instance, in the quarterfinals of Huck Finn, we were down 1-5 to Northwestern and rallied back to win the game 12-10. Our new motto “Zerks don’t lose on Sundays” helps push us in every game. It started as a joke but the team has taken it to heart and we let that attitude set the tone for each game.
Who are the big DIII teams and players to look out for, both in your region, and in the entire division?
Evan & Charlie: We feel like we have a pretty strong region. St. John’s was in the finals of D-III last year and Carleton GOP has won the tournament in the past, so it won’t be easy to make it out of the region. GOP has tremendous talent and discipline. If you want a D against them, you will have to earn it. The only other major D-III contender we have played this year was Harding in the finals of Huck Finn. They were a very strong team with a lot of skill and athleticism. We wouldn’t be surprised to see them go far at Nationals.
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?
Evan & Charlie: Yes, this is our first time. Last year the tournament was too far away for us to attend because it falls directly on our finals weekend. Luckily this year it is much closer (Appleton is about 5 hours from St. Olaf) and we can pull some strings with the administration to get players out of their finals. We have always wanted to attend and are confident that this year could finally be the year.
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!
Evan & Charlie: We now have a team Facebook page at http://facebook.com/stozerks and a soon-to-be Twitter account so that parents, alumni, and students can follow the games as they happen, rather than waiting for Score Reporter to update. Should be called something like Berzerker Ultimate or St. Olaf Berzerkers or St. Olaf Ultimate.
Editor’s Note: https://twitter.com/#!/ZerksUltimate