Ring Captains Discuss Early Training and New Region

by | July 5, 2012, 3:10pm 0

The USAU regional redraw is doubtlessly weighing heavily on many minds this club season. However, the captains of Ring of Fire from Raleigh, North Carolina, have had a much more pressing matter on their hands: the US Open. Skyd’s Victor Smith talked with Ring captain Noah Saul about the team’s focus on being as well-prepared as possible for this early-season tournament. Team leaders hope that new players, early tryouts, and rigorous practice schedule have primed them to go toe-to-toe with the some the the worlds most notable teams. 

Skyd Magazine: Who is your best new pickup? 

Ring of Fire: We have several new players this year and we are very excited about all of them. Eric “EO” Olivier is an extremely gifted athlete and Ultimate player who we have battled against for years. Micah Hood is a local college stud who we have been recruiting for a long time. Johnny McNaughton is an international star from Australia. Every new Ring brother is a pick-up to be excited about this year, but you will have to wait to see the rest.

Skyd: Who is your worst player loss?

Ring: We did lose a few key players from last year’s team. Josh Torrell was one of our captains last year and an absolute workhorse for the D line who will be sorely missed this year as he finishes up graduate school. Pat McNally was seasoned veteran who brought many intangibles to the team including his incredible field sense and passion for winning. Zach Washburn is also gone, as well as his huge lefty hucks and inspiring competitive drive.

Skyd: How is the team looking compared to last year? Faster, better with the disc, grittier?

Ring: Right now it is tough to tell. Overall, I think we have a group of players this year that is a bit more athletic and talented, but it’s too early to tell if we will be a better team or not. Grit is never something we have to worry about.

Skyd: How is the team preparing for the US Open?

Ring: The US Open presented a unique challenge for us and many teams by being so early in the season. First of all, we moved our try-outs 3 weeks earlier this year. Since then we have been battling hard against each other for 2 days almost every weekend, doing lots of scrimmaging in order to put ourselves in a position to play well at the US Open.

Skyd: How do you expect the redrawn region to affect the season/series?

Ring: We try not to focus on things that we cannot control throughout the season, such as the USAU regional redraw. It is disappointing having North Carolina bumped from the Mid-Atlantic region- a region we know and love, in which we have enjoyed good rivalries, and of which we have been champions for the better part of the lest 2 decades; however, we are excited to join a new region with new challenges and rivalries. We are particularly excited about the opportunity to compete against Chain more times throughout the season and it will undoubtedly be a battle for the regional title. To be honest, the only effect we are concerned with right now is potentially having to travel all the way to Florida for both Regionals and Nationals due to the redraw.

Skyd: The team is looking pretty young this year, with 2/3 of the team having clocked in less than 3 full years on Ring (including 8 rookies). Is this a rebuilding year, or simply a reloading year for Ring?

Ring: Well I guess I would have to say it’s a reloading year rather than a rebuilding year. Many of the young players who may have fewer years on the team are players whom we recruited and are very talented. In addition, there were multiple returners who lost their spots to try-outs this year which is a huge testament to the quality of our rookie class.

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