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Colorado Furniture Invite

July 29, 2009

There’s a lot of good Ultimate going down this weekend. Between Colorado Cup, the New York Invite, and Furniture City Shootout, 12 of last year’s 16 Open Nationals qualifiers are cleating up, along with a number of this year’s contenders and a handful of others that are of particular interest to me. It’s almost August, and for anyone who loves club Ultimate, that’s certainly something to celebrate.

I’ll go ahead and post the “Elite” pools of each, offering up whatever nonsense I deem to be somewhat pertinent.

(I’d like to put a page break here with a “read more” link, but when I use the WordPress tool to do so, it won’t work. Anybody?)

In Colorado, there’s only one pool of eight: Jam, Johnny Bravo, Doublewide, Truck Stop, Sub Zero, Machine, Madison Club, and Street Gang.

  • The only one of these teams that I’ve seen play so far this season is Truck Stop, who I caught at the DC Ultimate Championships as well as the DC United game later that night. What I noticed about Truck Stop is that they run a lot of vertical stack and look to break the mark a lot off of stopped discs. They definitely spread it out and go horizontal plenty, but in both cases, I think they’d benefit from putting it deep more; that is, at least, what I thought after watching the regional final in Fredricksburg last year.  Since seeing them at 2007 Sectionals, Truck has struck me as a team that has the determination and commitment to really make some noise but hasn’t quite put it together yet (although as a Virginia player this past year, I’ve got nothing bad to say about tying for 5th at Nationals). They also just picked up Alan Kolick, a sick  William and Mary player who gave the Blue Ridge fits during his playing time, so I guess I’m sort of rooting for them to break seed because Alan is a boss.
  • I’ve read about some roster shakeups with Jam, but you it’s hard to be sure who will and will not be playing by the time the Series comes around. Kevin Cissna is, in fact, out due to injury, they did pick up Ron Kubalanza and some others, and they were without a lot of key guys at Cal States (source here and here), but from there, who knows? I suspect that, as usual, Jam will be very good. As everyone knows, though, getting out of the Northwest not all that easy, so if there are really all that many losses from last year, Colorado could be a good time to readjust.
  • Bravo is definitely going to be a different team this year, with Beau and Mac Taylor playing for Revolver, David Popiel taking a year off, and Chicken going to Ironside. (source)
  • Doublewide picked up Kurt Gibson. He’s yet to play club since dominating in college last year, so this is definitely an interesting one. My guess: Kurt will be good. Also, Kiran Thomas was extremely impressive at both the Nationals All-Star game vs. Team USA and at Potlatch while playing with Downtown Brown. He’s fast enough to do a decent job matching up against Beau, and is typically in the right place at the right time. They’ve been playing Doublewide for a few years, but I’m looking forward to seeing what the Texas guys, particularly Franchise and Loskorn, can do on the club level because they both really impressed me at Nationals.
  • Word on the mean streets of RSD is that Sub Zero lost a number of guys. And by a number of guys, I mean a lot of the recognizable names from Wisconsin and Carleton’s past few seasons: Heijman, Hector, Brown, Muffin, Foster, Riley, Bayliss, Lindsley, Kanner, etc. etc. I know nothing more. 
  • Other than that much of the Hodag contingent is now playing with Madison Club.
  • My boy Joe MacDonald is playing for Machine. This according to his boy, Petey Prial.
  • So that’s a whole lot of name fluff and not a whole lot of actual commentary on how these teams will do this weekend, but that’s because it’s all I’ve got. There aren’t many results up on Score Reporter for these teams, and even if there were, I’d be remiss to speculate on exactly what can be deduced from them. Someone in Colorado should do a write-up.

 

In New York, there are 15 teams (the website shows 16 but Score Reporter is saying that Ironside dropped), with pools going:

A: GOAT, PoNY, Rhino, Sons of Liberty, Wiretap

B: Bodhi, Phoenix, Voodoo, Replicants, Mephisto

C: Forge, Pike, Colt .45, Wilmington, Brooklyn

I won’t go into what I know about each team, both because there are too many teams and because I don’t know all that much. Here’s what I got:

  • GOAT won Boston Invite, and I’d expect them to be strong in New York. John Hassell was among the most impressive players that I saw on both Team USA and Team Canada, and I’d imagine he’s even more comfortable with GOAT than he is with the national team. Also, Andy Ouchterlony is a very big cutter who matched up well with USA’s big men. From there, all I know of GOAT is names with no information behind them.
  • PoNY is another one of those teams who is really trying to get out of their apparent place of stagnation. Picking up Dan Heijman could help, as could another off-season of training since what I’m sure was a disappointing Nationals. 
  • Rhino looked a lot better this year at Solstice than when I saw them last year. They work very hard and put it deep a lot. This is obviously great when they complete their shots, but they’re also subject to turnovers, and while some of their players do a good job of matching up on a turn, they don’t quite seem to be that talented across the board. I’ll go ahead and say that I won’t be shocked if Rhino breaks seed.
  • I went to a Wiretap tryout before I knew I had made Axis. They’ve got a lot of guys that I know both on the field and off, and most of them are pretty talented. Frankie Hazera = The Rasheed Wallace of Ultimate. 
  • I don’t know much about Bodhi, other than that they’re pretty young and have a lot of Amherst/Junior Worlds alumni. They took down Truck Stop at Boston, which impresses me, and I imagine that they’ve improved since last year. It will be interesting to see if Bodhi remains Twisted Metal to Ironside’s DoG, or if they can become more like Revolver (who I think will be better than Jam this year). With Ultimate growing the way it is, my money is on the latter. 
  • I don’t know anything about Phoenix other than that they are from Canada and challenged for the fourth bid to Nationals out of the Northeast last year. While I’m at it, same for Mephisto.
  • On the other hand, I know a lot about Voodoo because I have a number of friends on the team and practiced with them while I was back in Seattle. Voodoo is an interesting case. Being in Sockeye’s shadow is tough because all of the top talent leaves once it’s good enough to make Sockeye (ie: Nate Castine, Sam Harkness, Aly Lenon, BJ Sefton, Spencer Wallis), making it hard to plan anything for the long term. That said, Voodoo is working with some serious talent. Danny Karlinsky is co-captaining and will certainly bring some high level handling to team, CUT 2009 captain Chris Kosednar is joining the roster, and Ben Carlson and Matt Knowles are both very long, steady, and crafty throwers. Julian Childs-Walker made the final group of cuts for Sockeye and is an extremely talented lane cutter and a very smart defender. He’s also 18 years old and will be a freshman at Carleton next year, where he’ll probably impact their system immediately. The team itself has a very aggressive offense where handlers are concerned, going upline a lot and moving the disc quickly, but I think that they, too, could use more well-timed deep cuts. I imagine that this will come as the season develops. Though I don’t know how many Voodoo is actually bringing to New York, I hope they snag some quality wins.
  • My guess is that Replicants are underseeded. Tim MacGougan, the captain, played Floodwall with me last season, and is very, very good. Aside from his cutting, throwing, and defensive abilities, Tim brings that balls-out style to every game he plays in, and is fun to watch because he’s good for a number of gigantic layouts each round. He also brought with him some similar style players like Andrew Eaton, Michael Fisher, and Andrew Schutte, and will be adding Connor Maloney for the Series. If what I’ve heard about this team being a team full of MacGougans and Conors is true, it’s got to be a blast to watch.
  • Forge’s Tad “Hot Sauce” Wissel is entertaining and has always impressed me. Also, while I didn’t watch the game, these guys lost in the semis of Regionals last year, and I’m curious what’s up in 2009. Their results so far have been scattered, with a rough Cazenovia but a more promising Boston Invite.
  • Pike was not all that great last year, and has been on the decline since their vaunted 2004 Semis run. We’ll see what happens this year.
  • I don’t know anything about Colt .45, Wilmington (other than when I saw them at Regionals last year, Rusty Ingold-Smith was running the show, and he now plays for Ring), or Brooklyn.
  • My prediction is that GOAT wins New York because they’re the only upper-level Nationals team there, but aside from that, I’ll predict good weekends for Bodhi, Forge, Rhino, and The Replicants. 
  • New York Invite, to me, is really cool because it’s bringing together a lot of on-the-verge teams from across the country and showcasing them on the main stage rather than as a second tier Open event. Plus a tournament in New York just sounds fun. 

 

Last on the list is Furniture City Shootout. There isn’t a website, and there aren’t any pools posted on Score Reporter, but the team list is currently as follows:

Ring of Fire, El Diablo, Los X (no Y?), X-Rates Open, Iron Men, Boneyard, Queen City Thunder, Floodwall, Cannibal, Tanasi, Clemson, and Eastern Motors FB.

  • I have little doubt that Ring will win this one, but I wish I were going so that I could see their new guys, namely those from the Atlantic Coast college region. Rusty was amazing at Wilmington, but I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a bit of a growing period since I doubt Ring will be running their offense through him. I suspect that Chris Gibson will be a pretty immediate contributor just because Florida runs such a regimented system that is built upon players getting really good at their specific roles. That is, of course, if Ring uses him to run down long throws and be a fast defender against fast cutters. 
  • Don’t know much about El Diablo, other than that they made Nationals last year and that Nick Lance, who impressed me a lot at Georgia Tech, is now playing for Chain.
  • If Los X is half of the Los team, they’ll be decent. If it’s actually Los but they’re just calling themselves Los X, they’ll be good enough to challenge Ring. Los came within two points of beating Truck Stop in the game-to-go last year by playing classic North Carolina Ultimate: fast players who play hard, physical D, and who look to jam it up the force side on offense. Mat Thomas had a layout in the Truck Stop game that is still one of the best plays I’ve ever seen, and their college talent is a year older. Look for Los to be good come Regionals.
  • X-Rates Open will probably be dickheads. 
  • Iron Men will probably be talked about a lot by Brooks.
  • Boneyard will probably be old.
  • Floodwall will be full of my roommates and friends. The team is year is an interesting case, as only five roster players from last year are returning, and the core Richmond contingent has retired to Mixed. Matt King and Tom Bannard, the captains, put a lot of the focus on teaching and developing Virginia’s young talent, as a lot of players from Virginia, Virginia Tech, William and Mary, and other schools are joining in. I played a couple of games with Floodwall in DC, and while things are certainly rough around the edges and there is, indeed, a lot of basic learning that needs to be done, there is a lot of promising athleticism and hunger to improve. This weekend will be rough because a lot of the Virginia players, particularly handlers who have a feel for playing together, will be in Bulgaria, but I think it will be another strong step toward improvement for the Series.
  • Tanasi, from what I know, is a lot of Tennessee players that spent the last couple of seasons playing for Deliverance and trying out for Chain. We’ll see what they can do.
  • Eastern Motors FB (Flatball or Frisbee Bros? You decide…) is another local (Washington DC) team with whom I have some connections. They have matched up pretty evenly with Floodwall since last summer, getting the best of things at the DC Championships. They’re a pretty dedicated team that really wants to improve, and I hope they have a good showing this weekend. I also wouldn’t mind seeing them really challenge Wiretap throughout the rest of the season just to shake things up in DC.
  • Furniture City predictions: Floodwall eats a lot of Cookout, Virginia players wish they were in Charlotte and it was late April, Ring defeats Los X in the Finals, and Toad complains about it all. Word has it that Mike G is looking for a team to play with, but I’m guessing he doesn’t try to eat a disc this year. If you ever want to hear a good story, ask me to tell you about the time that Mike G tried to eat a disc. Really.

That does it. This post was long, but almost all but the very best of the nation’s teams(alright, East Coast/Northwest bias) playing this weekend and me still looking for a job, I figured it wouldn’t hurt.

Also, Jesse and I ran 9 miles this morning and it was tight.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. July 29, 2009 3:42 pm

    Interesting side plot for NYI: will Rhino have it in for Voodoo because Danny didn’t let them into Labor Day?

    Also, Michael Stout will be a game changer for Truck Stop this year, but I don’t think he will be back in the US in time to play at CC. I guess we’ll have to wait until Chesapeake to see what 2 stouts, 1 D line looks like.

  2. neeley permalink*
    July 29, 2009 5:02 pm

    Is Danny still running Labor Day even though he’s in Seattle? Either way, I guess I see his logic because they did so shitty last year, but it still sucks because, like I said, the Rhino that was at Solstice looked like a much more energized, organized, and dangerous team than the “Rhino” of last year. I won’t see them again unless they make Nationals since I’m back on the east coast, but I can only hope that the Northwest gets more competitive because, well, that’s awesome.

    Michael Stout will for sure be big for Truck… I’ve liked how that dude plays since I first saw him (enough that I took him for my mock draft team), and he’s only going to get better. This could be the year that Truck Stop overtakes Ring, but I think that to do so, they’ll need to become more dynamic… last year, they went down like 4 breaks early in the Finals because they just kept throwing into the same poaches over and over. Then, they put Stout on O and hucked it to him for an easy score. Then they took him out and went back to throwing into the same poaches. It was dumb.

  3. Rusty permalink
    July 29, 2009 11:59 pm

    Don’t know that Voodoo can bring it together. Talked with Allen this past weekend, turns out track and pod are optional and so they have 1 practice a week. I think they are trying to bring a lot of the stars together at the series time and hope they can gel, and I don’t see it happening, too many personalities. NYC will be a bad barometer as a lot of the team cannot make it due to flight costs, but I will be looking at updates.
    -Rusty

  4. August 11, 2009 2:00 pm

    “Someone in Colorado should do a write-up” – okay

    Doublewide: Kieran and Max are running the O-line this year. The team has enough talent to be quarters team this year. Doublewide has needed a big man down field for some time and so Kurt is an excellent addition to their O-line. He’s better as a receiver though he likes to stay back around the disc and bomb forehands that are questionable at times. Kieran is one of club’s best cutters as he is light and agile but I disagree with your statement that he can keep up with Beau. No one can right now.

    Doublewide ran several offenses this weekend. They had a split stack that started off as a side stack and when we started fronting them they had success with a vertical stack. I found it interesting that they started switching Kieran back as a handler in the final. I don’t know if it was because they were looking for better match-ups or particular match-ups, but both Max and Kieran spent more time in the back with Salad after halftime.

    Tank is leading the D line, Doublewide’s D is good because they can turn it around and didn’t have any difficulty moving the disc efficiently after the turn. They’ve also got some great athletes on D which they didn’t seem to have in the past.

    That said, I love playing against Doublewide.

    JAM: JAM looks really good. They are still one of the most experienced teams in the nation and that counts for a lot. Look at the average age on championship teams and you’ll see it’s closer to 30. The players they picked up are good enough for JAM to make another run into the final this year. From our game against JAM, their turnovers came from deep shots that were either over-thrown or throwing to a covered cutter on a deep shot. Bart & Co. like to huck and they weren’t quite able to make the altitude adjustment. If JAM can put together the chemistry and precision of last year’s offense back together again, there’s not much to stop them. And, it was nice to see Jim playing again.

    Johnny Bravo: Lost some guys, picked up some new ones.

    Machine: I thought Machine was going to be the clear favorite in the Central region but it’s not so clear anymore. We jumped out on them early. They had some miscommunication turnovers in the first half that really hurt them, and they seemed to roll over for us. Machine has some older players and some really young players but they were not connecting in our game. The only other game I watched them play was the end of their win over Truck Stop. Truck Stop was making some horrible decisions with the disc and Machine patiently moved the disc around for the win. Machine is not a deep team, and will need to play much more disciplined later on in the series.

    Madison: Madison has a great huck game and it serves them well. Muffin and Hector generally ran the handler sets until one could get into a power position to get a huck off, then it was off to the races. Thibideau and #8 (Gaynor?) ran well downfield. I didn’t have a chance to see Madison play any other teams, save for the end of the JAM game when Muffin threw the callahan.

    Street Gang: Street Gang also had a great huck game and used it effectively. Kevin Smith was working the disc well and SD’s big man (didn’t catch his name) came down with some nice grabs. We were able to shut down their huck game and force some difficult throws to generate turns mid-way through the game. San Diego also turfed it a couple of times. I don’t know what changes San Diego made Saturday night, but this young team is probably going to nationals this year. You’ll be able to catch an early look at them in Santa Cruz this year.

    Sub Zero: Sub Zero had a small roster at the tournament, so I’m not sure what part of their team they were missing. It was clear that Sub Zero had lost the better part of their handler corps. They should have won the JAM game with two chances to win on offense but they threw it away with a blady same-third forehand pass. The central region is wide open.

    Truck Stop: Truck Stop pretty much plays to the level of the team they’re playing against. They don’t have any spectacular players, but they play hard and don’t give up. I saw them force bad throws to George a few too many times, most notably in the Doublewide and Machine games. TS is best when they grind it under.

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