Monday, January 29, 2018

Three Takeaways from the Santa Barbara Invite (M)

Our spring for CSU Hibida officially kicked off this past weekend at the Santa Barbara Invite. Our goal for the tournament was to win the whole thing - pretty straight forward. We came up a little short, getting demolished in the finals by a very impressive Washington squad but nonetheless we had a blast and here are a few of my takeaways from the weekend.

Huck Heavy Teams Did Well (to a point)

Early season hucks can net solid results. Chemistry, polish, spacing, etc all tend to be less defined in the early season. The more throws you attempt the greater chances for problems within those aforementioned categories. There are also more opportunities to isolate your top players/athletes within a huck-heavy scheme.Victoria, Utah, Washington all over-performed relative to (some folk's) expectations coming in, and from my observations, all three teams largely relied on their deep game on the offensive side of the disc. 

I don't mean to use the term over-performed to imply that any of these teams were undeserving of their results (especially Washington - they were the 1 seed after all - see below). I think those were just the three most surprising teams to onlookers. It's also interesting to note that Arizona, who ran a very well-practiced zone, unexpectedly beat Utah in the final round of pool play. Also, Western Washington, who ran quite a bit of junk and bracketing against us, max-scored Utah and USC, who also ran their heavily-practiced zone, beat Utah as well - all schemes that disrupt hucks. 

This isn't mean to be a bash on Utah section; I was very impressed with their squad. We also run defensive scheme built towards making hucks difficult and they beat us. It's also conceivable that they punted the Arizona game knowing they had the pool already won and those other games were in consolation play. However, after two pool play wins against 2017 nationals qualifiers (SLO and us), I would hope they would have kept the gas on the pedal no matter what the context of the game was - those early results had "bid-earning" potential. 

Washington Is Really Good

We played Washington at Santa Barbara last year while Khalif was injured and this is what I wrote about that game:

"Despite not having their top player (Khalif El-Salaam), they still ran a brutally effective offense with pinpoint hucks and elite speed across both their O and D lines...they are a team with all the tools they need for quarters+ at nationals." 

Our finals game vs Washington this year felt almost the exact same as our pool play game last year. We just didn't have an answer for their speed, spacing and pinpoint hucks. The difference in last year's 11-13 loss and this year's 7-13 drubbing is that they put consistent pressure on our O-line while maintaining their extremely crisp and efficient offense. 

I'm sure they had some "bulletin board material" from their preseason ranking but I'm also sure they'll shoot up Ultiworld's rankings now, probably into a much more deserved top-10 location, and you won't hear me argue - they're a really good, deep team with a lot of throwing depth and a lot of speed. 

BYU's Impact On the Bracket was...? 

Let's rabbit-hole the Sunday matchups if BYU stays in:

UCSD vs USC --> Davis vs USC

For the second year a row, USC gets the BYU boosted pre-quarters matchup, this year in UCSD. Swapping that over to a strong Davis squad that went 3-1 adds some definite intrigue to this game. I'm not sure who comes out on top but I don't think either squad gets through the Washington buzzsaw in the next round. 

Davis vs Victoria --> WWU vs Victoria 

This matchup swap is fascinating and I think where the bracket could have potentially changed the outcome the most. Western was prepared schematically for huck-heavy teams and if they can get through Victoria here they get a Utah squad in quarterfinals they beat 13-5 in the non-hypothetical world. This likely gives us the semis rematch from last year that was arguably the game of the tournament, in which a fired up Western squad took down Washington on universe. I don't think history repeats itself, but that was a heck of a game. 

CSU vs WWU --> CSU vs BYU

The quarterfinal matchup swap here could be interesting but with Western beating BYU Friday night and the actual CSU/WWU game not being overly close, theoretically this doesn't change the outcome and subsequent semi-finals matchup. However, I know different teams match-up in different ways - we'd have loved  to play BYU - we've played them a lot in the past 12 years and it's always been an extremely tight, fun game. 

End all be all, I don't think Washington is losing this tournament no matter who they play. There are definitely some interesting changes that could have happened on their half of the bracket, but in the end I don't think BYU's dropping changed that much about the results. However, for the algorithm, keeping WWU and Victoria away from each other in the pre-quarters could have bid implications down the road if they continue their strong seasons.

My All-Tournament Team (from only teams we played against)

Cody Spicer - CSU
Jack Hinchsliff - CSU
Steven Benaloh - Washington
Derek Mourad - Washington
Gabe Hernandez - Stanford
Jeff Letsinger [edit] - Utah
Nate Pettyjohn - SLO

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

CSU Men's Ultimate - Meet the 2017-2018 Team!

Here They Are...!

Mark Stratford (captain)
Name: Mark Stratford (captain) "G-Mark"
Year of Eligibility: 5th
About: Mark enters his fifth and final year on the team as a second year captain. He looks to lead the team in a deep nationals run with impeccable fundamentals, supreme effort and a big smile. He polished his skills over the summer playing club men's with Choice City Hops and will be called upon to lock down other team's main handling threats all year long.
High School: Cherry Creek - Greenwood Village, CO

Cody Spicer
Name: Cody Spicer "Spice" 
Year of Eligibility: 5th
About: The man in the pants returns with his sights set on the biggest matchups in the country. With a deeper, more experienced team around him, Spicer looks forward to the opportunity to largely play on the d-line, locking down the other teams main threats and being a devastating deep force on the turn.
High School: Fort Collins - Fort Collins, CO
Accolades: All Region (SC) selection 2015, 2016, 2017. South Central Player of the Year, 2017. 

Toby Nordhoff
Name: Toby Nordhoff "Grandpa"
Year of Eligibility: 5th
About: In his final year of eligibility, the resident old man of the team will slide into a downfield role, showing the youngsters that winning with your legs doesn't fade with age. A four year veteran of Choice City Hops, Toby has a full career of college and club he's ready to showcase for Hib this season.
High School: Greeley Central - Greeley, CO

Cole Turner
Name: Cole Turner
Year of Eligibility: 4th
About: The guy on the line that nobody wants to cover, Cole continues to round his game with amazing field sense, a complete understanding of scheme and blazing speed. Another Choice City Hops veteran, Cole will continue to threaten all phases of the field for Hib in his fourth and final year.
High School: Poudre - Fort Collins, CO

Matt Bush
Name: Matt Bush "Cookies"
Year of Eligibility: 4th
About: Matt enters his fourth year excited to match-up against other teams top threats. An all-around threat himself, Matt can operate behind the disc or downfield - he is equally comfortable roasting defenders deep or burning them up the line. Another year of Choice City Hops under his belt over the summer and Matt is ready to show the region and country the kind of lock-down defense that will the calling card of the team this season.
High School: Arapahoe - Centennial, CO
Accolades: High school All State selection (CO) 2014.

Dylan Johnson
Name: Dylan Johnson "Bucket"
Year of Eligibility: 4th
About: Dylan looks to slide back into the backfield for Hib again this year showcasing his absolute cannon hucks and physical handler presence. His length, drive and field IQ are unmatched on the team and Dylan will be a huge contributor all over the field.
High School: Arapahoe - Centennial, CO

Jack Hinchsliff
Name: Jack Hinchsliff
Year of Eligibility: 4th
About: Jack had the distinction of being the first Hib player in 10 years to make the Johnny Bravo roster while still in college, but unfortunately suffered a crippling injury the final day of tryouts. He's worked hard all summer to rehab and is regaining his form as devastating athletic threat for Hib.
High School: Arapahoe - Centennial, CO
Accolades: High school All State selection (CO) 2014.

Jake Servaty (captain)
Name: Jake Servaty (captain)
Year of Eligibility: 4th
About: Jake will continue his tenacious work on and off the field for Hib this year, his fourth, and first as captain. From blazing speed to beautifully crisp throws to elite defense, Jake's been one of the team's top players since his freshman year and he will again be called upon to take on a key roll this year for Hib.
High School: Spearfish - Spearfish, SD
Accolades: All Freshmen (SC) 2015. All Region (SC) 2017. 

Daniel Crump
Name: Daniel Crump "Chuck"
Year of Eligibility: 4th
About: Chuck maintains arguably the best repertoire of break throws on the team. His huge extension and crisp release allow him to threaten just about every throwing angle get the disc around and inside of even the toughest marks. Add in soft hands and a propensity to get off his feet and Chuck is a rock in our backfield, rounding out his skills with a second club season with Choice City Hops over the summer.
High School: Chatfield - Littleton, CO

David Miller
Name: David Miller
Year of Eligibility: 4th
About: David has been our top deep threat since his freshman year - the full package in the air - height, speed and ups. He's consistently tasked with taking the 'big' matchups on the other teams and thrives in that defensive role. This year David expects to be our 'big' matchup - stretching the field for Hib and forcing teams to pit their best deep defenders against him.
High School: Lakewood - Lakewood, CO
Accolades: High school All State selection (CO) 2014.

Jake Marrapode
Name: Jake Marrapode "Pode"
Year of Eligibility: 3rd
About: Jake struggled with injury his first two years in college but that didn't stop him from showcasing his nasty break-throws and big ups at nationals last year. Pode is fully healthy for the first time ever in his college career and after spending the fall semester in New Zealand, will return to Hib in the spring ready to make big plays all over the field.
High School: Neuqua Valley - Naperville, IL
Accolades: High school All State Selection (IL) 2014, 2015. South Central Freshman of the Year 2016.

John Miller
Name: John Miller
Year of Eligibility: 3rd
About: John is the best all around athlete on the team. His martial arts background gives him unbelievable body control to go with elite straight line speed as well as quickness. Couple the physical attributes with excellent throwing form and an ever-growing field sense and you have one of the most complete players on the squad.
High School: Collegiate Academy - Littleton, CO

Jack McGinnis
Name: Jack McGinnis "Snapjack"
Year of Eligibility: 3rd
About: Jack combines rock-solid fundamentals with some of the biggest huck range on the team. He's becoming one of Hib's most reliable deep threats and continues to grow as a player as he's still relatively new to competitive ultimate. An unlikely O-line player last year, expect Jack to use that big game experience to make contributions all over the field.
High School: Downers Grove North - Downers Grove, IL

Hudson Martin
Name: Hudson Martin "Huddy"
Year of Eligibility: 3rd
About: Hudson will build on his breakout 2017 season as a core handler on Hib. With elite quickness, a cannon forehand and backhand and a unique breakmark throwing repertoire, Hudson will continue to cause headaches for opposing defenders as well as locking down other team's main handlers himself.
High School: Lake Travis - Austin, TX
Accolades: High school All State Selection (TX) 2015. All Freshmen (SC) 2016.

Luke Beal
Name: Luke Beal
Year of Eligibility: 2nd
About: Luke returns to Hib for his second year eager to build on a promising first season with the team. A soccer convert, Luke showcases size, speed and bidding ability and prides himself on utilizing an extremely diverse set of throws.
High School: Thompson Valley - Loveland, CO

Sean Peskin
Name: Sean Peskin
Year of Eligibility: 2nd
About: Sean is excited to grow his role on the team in his second year. Another big body with great quickness and speed, Sean spent the summer developing his throwing game and has some of the longest range of any hucker on the team. He gets off his feet at will and plays with such a fire and intensity that his teammates can't help but reciprocate.
High School: Silver Creek - Longmont, CO

Dylan Custer
Name: Dylan Custer "Slendy"
Year of Eligibility: 2nd
About: Dylan burst onto the college scene last year, quickly establishing himself as one of our top defenders. Second on the team last season in blocks to only Spicer and with a season of men's club under his belt with Syndicate, we're excited to see Dylan showcase his ever growing offensive skill set as well as continuing his defensive dominance.
High School: Discovery Canyon - Colorado Springs, CO
Accolades:  High school All State Selection (CO) 2016. All Freshmen (SC) 2017.

Mo Scott
Name: Mo Scott
Year of Eligibility: 2nd 
About: Mo employs the most complete set of throws of any player on the team. As an O-line handler last year, Mo was Hib's main thrower but he doesn't let his offensive stat lines rule his game. He's a workhorse defender and puts absolutely everything he has into every single point. His energy is infectious and he partners with fellow second year Sean Peskin to act as the emotional leaders of the team.
High School: Denver East - Denver, CO
Accolades: High school All State Selection (CO) 2014. All freshmen (SC) 2017. 

Will McDonald
Name: Will Mcdonald
Year of Eligibility: 2nd 
About: As a freshman, Will settled into a primary cutting role for our O-line. With a uncanny knack and feel for space and timing coupled with impressive athletic ability, Will led the team goals scored and was our most consistent cutter for the entire year. With immaculate throwing form and a big flick huck, expect to see Will become a multi-faceted threat in his second year.
High School: Nathan Hale - Seattle, WA
Accolades: South Central Freshman of the Year 2017.

Ted Dhanens
Name: Ted Dhanens
Year of Eligibility: 2nd (1st year on A)
About: Ted is next-in-line behind John Miller as the best all around athlete on the team. After getting tons of reps on B last year as their main deep threat, Ted will be a key defender for Hib this season utilizing both his speed and quickness to lock down other team's downfield threats. 
High School: Torrey Pines - San Diego, CA

Josh Martinez
Name: Josh Martinez
Year of Eligibility: 1st
About: The heir apparent to David Miller, Josh is Hib's next generation of big man. With soft hands, great size and no qualms about getting off his feet, he'll be called upon to be a physical defensive presence and huge deep threat on the team all year.
High School: Boise - Boise, ID

Jonathan Olavarria
Name: Jonathan Olavarria "JJ" "Jet"
Year of Eligibility: 1st
About: Jonathan is small in stature but has already cemented himself as a big defender, leading all three split-squad teams in blocks at our first tournament of the year. He doesn't shy away from physical play and has an elite combination of speed, quickness and bidding ability.
High School: Monarch - Louisville, CO

Sam Goldstein
Name: Sam Goldstein
Year of Eligibility: 1st
About: Sam is an all-around threat. With a big body, touch throws, good field sense and great bidding ability, Sam is comfortable lining up just about anywhere. As he continues to grow and thrive within our system we expect great things from the big man.
High School: Cherry Creek - Greenwood Village, CO
Accolades: High school All State Selection (CO) 2017.

Ren Pretkelis
Name: Ren Pretkelis
Year of Eligibility: 1st
About: Ren is a workhorse defender. With great physical attributes and a continuous motor, he's already taking our tougher matchups at practice and relishing in the opportunity to play against the best. With a big forehand and no qualms about putting it out there, Hib looks forward to big contributions from this young man. 
High School: Prairie Ridge - Crystal Lake, IL
Accolades: High school All State Selection (IL) 2017.  

Dylan Latham McGraw
Name: Dylan Latham McGraw
Year of Eligibility: 1st
About: We knew Dylan would be a contributor before he'd even committed to CSU. During his college visit this past spring, he cleated up, practiced with us and immediately made his presence known, skying soon to be South Central FotY Will McDonald in a deep drill. So far for Hib, Dylan has lived up to that hype - employing a devasting combination of length, speed and extremely crisp throwing ability. Expect to see him all over the field for us showcasing his west coast talents.
High School: Gunn - Palo Alto, CA
Accolades: High school All State Selection (CA) 2017.

Peter Raines - Coach
Name: Peter Raines
Year Coaching: 1st at CSU - 4 at Cal Poly, SLO
About: After years of being our favorite opponent, our consolation prize after losing to SLO at nationals... was their coach! Peter joins the Hib program after four years of coaching at SLO to contribute his upbeat attitude, his offensive and defensive prowess and his big play mentality to the team. Everyone has enjoyed his presence and his voice thus far and the team is thrilled to add such a savvy leader to our sideline. 
Accolades: Southwest Coach of the Year 2016, 2017.

Tim Kefalas - Head Coach

Name: Tim Kefalas
Year Coaching: 10th
About: In his 10th year as head coach of the program, TK is thrilled to have such deep roster and coaching staff. With a year of nationals experience under the team's belt and a stellar group of new athletes to contribute, the competitive expectations for the team are sky high and TK is proud to be at the helm. 
Accolades: South Central Coach of the year 2017. 

Monday, September 25, 2017

2017 - Hibida Hall of Fame - Easton Archibald

2017 - Easton Archibald

There just aren't enough words to really do this wonderful young man justice. In 2015 Hib went through a significant culture shift, placing an emphasis on supporting each other, an inclusive, positive atmosphere and playing for the joy of the game. The competitive success that followed, culminating in a nationals berth in 2017 (Easton's 5th year on the team), was not a coincidence and Easton championed and embodied the attitude that took us to nationals - he simply was Hib. 

On the field, Easton went from a gangly freshman to a fundamentally flawless super-senior. He could handle. He could cut. He had spectacular fakes. He was always outworking his opponent. If he did happen to get beat defensively you knew a big bid was coming. He executed our offensive and defensive schemes as well as anyone on the team and even in his fifth year was constantly seeking feedback on how he could improve. 

I was lucky enough to both coach Easton for five years and play one season of club with him on Choice City Hops in 2016. That season on Hops, Easton, who had previously had a reputation for mostly being the fundamentally-solid-but-not-flashy guy took the reigns of big-time playmaker. My most distinct memory of this shift came at club sectionals, on the first point of the game against Syndicate from Colorado Springs. A huck went up and Easton closed the ground and made a spectacular layout block on the trailing edge of the disc, knocking it just out of the offense's reach. 

Off the field, Easton was a never ending fountain of encouragement and helpfulness. He took young players under his wing and taught them not just how to play on Hib, but also what it meant to play on Hib - why the team culture was what made (makes) the team successful. 

Easton was our spirit award winner at nationals (pictured above) and there couldn't have been a better candidate. After we had played our final game, we circled up to do end-of-the-season wrap up where it's customary for each player to give props to a teammate. When Easton's turn came up in the circle, he pulled out hand-written notes, not 1-2 sentences, but full on letters, for every single member of the team. I can't speak to the content of anyone's message but my own, but I can say that my letter is currently framed above my work desk at home.

I can truly say the team will not be the same without Easton, and we already miss him dearly. Lucky for us, his spirit will resonate with the team for many years to come and there could be nothing more fitting than inducting him into this Hall of Fame where we can be reminded of that spirit every time we think back on the greats of Hib history. 


Honorable Mentions: Sten Larson, Jordan Trepp, Thomas Theodorescu

Monday, September 18, 2017

2016 - Hibida Hall of Fame - Noah Brown

2016 - Noah Brown

Noah was and is my kind of player. A fundamentally sound guy who's all about working hard, doing the right thing on the field, and maximizing his personal abilities through work at the gym, track and in the film room. 

His freshmen year, in 2013, we went to our first warm-up tournament in Logan, Utah. Noah was the unfortunate victim of a bad bid directly into his knees which I believe tore his MCL and PCL. I've, unfortunately, seen it happen before - a young guy gets a season-ending injury and it's really sad, but that's usually the last we see of them. 

Noah didn't let it phase him. He didn't miss a practice that year. He spent all year learning, absorbing and working on his throws. His sophomore year he developed into a strong handler with excellent on-the-field smarts. In 2015, his junior year, he was elected captain alongside Tanner Gossack. He captained his senior year as well. 

He was always a bit of a gruff individual, but nobody would ever question how much Noah put the team before anything else. He was the captain that kept people accountable on their workouts. He was the captain that kept the team mentally focused when we'd have a run of sloppy play. He was the captain that believed so thoroughly in everything that the team was doing that he poured every bit of himself into it. I can honestly say, the team wouldn't have been the same without him. 

2015 and 2016 were our breakout years after the disappointing 2014 finish and Noah was at the helm for both seasons - a huge part of our success. He also coached our B-team in 2017 - the first year the program has ever had a B-team participate in the USAU series. 

Noah's the kind of person who deflects praise and isn't super comfortable in the spotlight, but I hope he knows how much he meant to Hib, and how much I respected him for his hard work and dedication. Truly a G.o.a.T. for pushing Hib in the right direction. 


Honorable Mentions: Scott Wheeler, Luke "Fitz" Doyle, Marshall Rawley, David Raul Cuellar

2015 - Hibida Hall of Fame - Tanner Gossack

2015 - Tanner Gossack

Tanner was a big athlete - both in actual size and in athletic ability. Hearkening back to the days of Jordan White and the 'linebacker's frame', Tanner had the kind of speed, size, and body control that could dominate on the Ultimate field. 

Tanner joined the team in 2012 as a raw prospect, eager to learn and develop his disc skills. By the 2013-2014 season, as a third year, he'd earned the respect of his peers and was elected captain. His disc skills had developed certainly, but I think what earned Tanner that respect both amongst teammates and opponents was his effort, commitment and dedication. He was fiercely loyal to the team and very protective of his teammates and coaches.

As a high school athlete, Tanner had knee problems and his doctors had more or less told him, "Stop playing sports." Tanner's stubborn insistence on continuing to participate in athletics was Hib's boon, as he consistently made monster plays for us.

My favorite Tanner memory was a drenched, muddy MLC in 2013. The fields were cold, mud pits. Tanner had a massive bid on an under cut that he just missed, landing square in a puddle with a huge, dramatic splash. Being the concerned coach that I am, I was yelling at him to get up and get on the mark. He flies up, his face completely covered in mud, no ability to see anything whatsoever and starts flailing around trying to block the next pass - which he came within an inch or two of doing despite having no vision. It still brings a smile to my face, to this day.

My saddest Tanner memory is from fall 2014 MLC. There was one particular point, I don't remember who it was against, maybe Kansas. Tanner was flying all over the field - he had a couple nice bids on a defense and the other team scored. Nothing overly notable about the point itself. After the point, I was at the far end of the field from the scoring endzone and I watched Tanner, who hadn't looked in any way shape or form limited during the point, slowly hobble, barely able to walk, towards the bathrooms. His knees finally had given out.

Tanner wasn't able to finish his senior season. The knee problems that had began in high school finally caught up to him. But I can still remember that last point - the last one he ever played - so vividly in mind. He looked like the same athlete I'd coached for four years. I can't imagine the pain he was in and I know how hard he fought to keep playing as long as he could. That spirit and that dedication are why Tanner is in the Hall of Fame and why I'm proud to have gotten to coach him and to still call him a friend.


Honorable Mentions: Iain McConachie, Logan Stagg, Andrew Spada

Monday, September 11, 2017

2014 - Hibida Hall of Fame - Stephen Gross

2014 - Stephen "Stacey" Gross

Stacey was the most skilled freshman we'd had join the team since Andy Stringer in 2006. In his first year, he immediately became an O-line player and top thrower. He had a devastating baseline of speed, size, footwork, throws and a tenacious attitude.  He was a core player and our main thrower in all four years that he played.

One night in late fall 2012, we had an indoor practice in the field house on the campus. Stacey was late, which was pretty unlike him. I didn't think much of it as we began a warmup around the track. Maybe fifteen minutes into practice Stacey snuck in the side door, limping slightly. I'll never forget the look on his face - just so filled with shame, guilt and disappointment. He'd come down awkwardly at indoor league just before practice and torn his ACL. It was a bummer for the team, but it was most disappointing for Stacey - he lived and breathed Hib.

As I outlined in Kyle's entry, we re-tooled the team strategy after Stacey got hurt - we just couldn't replicate what he could do with the disc. Stacey got surgery for his knee as quickly as he could and dove into his rehab with the same tenacious attitude he took on the field. At sectionals, (~6 months after his surgery), he played a couple of the easier games. At regionals, he was back to doing Stacey things, helping us to a 7th place finish, our best since 2008.

For his senior year, Stacey was healthy and at full strength for the entire year, but unfortunately the rest of the team just slogged through a barrage of different injuries. Throughout the entire Spring, we struggled to get the team healthy with Stacey and largely just first years our only consistently healthy players. At sectionals, with 7 starters not playing, we went 0-4, missing out on regionals for the first time since I'd been a part of the team. It was a heartbreaking turn of events, but I felt it most for Stacey; he'd lost most of his junior year to his ACL injury and his senior year, the team just couldn't stay healthy around him - he put everything he had into it.

Stacey played out his fifth year of eligibility at Brandeis University, leading the team to a 2nd place finish at DIII nationals. He returned to Colorado to work on his PhD and bounced around to different club teams including Choice City Hops and Inception. Stacey took the 2017 club season off (mostly) but I look forward to him getting back into the mix next year and displaying his talents on a national level.

To this day, I believe the two most well-rounded players to ever play at CSU during my time here - guys who could literally do anything on the field at exceptional levels - are Brett Kolinek and Stacey. I have such a huge respect for Stacey's dedication to the team, sport, and to always working hard to better himself. I'm really proud of the player he was during his time in school and the player he continues to be.


Honorable Mentions: Oliver Feind, William Haden Chomphosy, Daniel Walker-Murray, Matt Marrapode

2013 - Hibida Hall of Fame - Kyle Enns

2013 - Kyle Enns

It seems almost hard to believe, but Kyle was the first player to play his full five years of eligibility since I had graduated in 2008. He had come onto the team as a plucky freshman in 2009, but as a young player he hadn't really stood out to me as a coach - mostly I just thought he was weird.

Through his early years on the team, and playing club with Killjoy in Fort Collins, Kyle became a rock-solid player. He developed a big flick, a nasty throw-and-go, got off his feet with perfect form and, like Kyle Brochu, had a wonderfully positive attitude and effort. Kyle was elected captain by his teammates for both his fourth and fifth years.

In 2013, Kyle's fifth year, our offense was designed to largely go through junior Stephen "Stacey" Gross' big array of hucks. Unfortunately, Stacey tore his ACL in the late fall of 2012 so we re-tooled our offense more around Kyle's skill-set of breakmarks, throw-and-goes and power-position hucks. The team blossomed under this new strategy and finished back in top 8 at regionals for the first time since 2008 (Stacey worked his butt off on rehabbing his knee and made it back for the series).

This was an eye-opener for me as a coach. It was the first time I really bought into the idea that movement/break-based offense could be viable in college, and it was Kyle's multifaceted skill-set that showed me how devastating it could be.

In the four years since Kyle graduated, our offense has pushed and evolved more in that direction - we develop breaks before hucks, value possession over big plays, and do our best to take the highest percentage deep shots we can, culminating in our first nationals berth in 2017.

Outside of Hib, Kyle played Killjoy, Choice City Hops, and is currently a captain of "shame." who is, as of this entry, 8th in the country in the mixed division and is poised to make their second consecutive return to club nationals.

Beyond everything I've already mentioned, the thing I most appreciate about Kyle, is he's simply just a good, positive, friendly person. In 8 years knowing him, I've never seen him angry. I've never heard him disparage an opponent. He has the rare ability to play with great intensity and effort, but without an aggressive attitude. He really does embody what makes this sport so wonderful. I'm proud of the player he's become - from goofy orange hat kid who could barely throw a flick to captain of a top 10 club team - Kyle has worked hard, stayed true to himself and had a resounding impact on the club and college community in Fort Collins.


Honorable Mentions: Chris "Bearcat" Gauen, Michael Lin, Andy Brew