Sunday, April 29, 2007
How does one define the Most Valuable Player? According to the Callahan website, the trophy is presented to the player “who combines superior athleticism with outstanding sportsmanship, leadership and dedication to the sport of ultimate. In the eyes of his peers, the Callahan winner is the personification of the ideal ultimate player.” The three areas that each player should be considered are: 1) his overall offensive and defensive abilities, 2) dedication to ultimate and leadership ability, and 3) sportsmanship in the 2007 spring college season. The Wisconsin Hodags would like to nominate Dan Heijmen as their Callahan and MVP candidate.
Why would Wisconsin choose Dan Heijmen as their Callahan nominee? A full Dan Heijmen manifesto is in order. Dan made the Hodags as only a freshman. He had never played any sort of competitive ultimate before tryouts of his freshman year, but his good looks and athletic ability gained him a spot on the roster. All season, Dan learned from the best – players who had made it to National Finals the year before. In a season that would be a dream come true, Dan Heijmen became a National Champion as the 2003 Wisconsin team beat Oregon Ego and then dominate Ben Wiggins. Dan even caught a goal in finals, screaming in joy and excitement. Heijmen would be forever hooked by elite ultimate.
Over the next season, Dan practiced his throws. He arrived to practice early and stayed late, determined to improve his ability to score. While Dan honed his throwing skills, he let his competitive desire do the rest as he was regarded as the best defensive player on the team. Anytime Wisconsin needed a D in 2004, it was Heijmen throwing his body through the air, even getting Bort at Nationals. Dan’s presence on the field put offensive cutters into trepidation because as his defensive intensity was unrivaled during practice. He worked hard and made his Hodag counterpart work ever harder. His emotion was contagious and pushed players to work harder. In countless tournaments, the Hodags were in awe as Heijmen made spectacular play after spectacular play, guarding the other team’s best cutter and giving him the business. The team underperformed with tough exit in quarterfinals as Josh Richter would be the future Callahan leading his team to a championship. The adversity of this loss only pushed Dan to want it more, to put together his own dynasty.
As Dan matured into a junior and team officer, he decided to take the next step and play Madison Club. Under the leadership of Andrew Brown, this superstar team did well at Colorado Cup and even beat Sub Zero to win Sectionals. Dan was becoming an instrumental player on the club scene as well, but missed Club Nationals with 2 chances in the games-to-go. Also during this time, the Hodags had rebuilt and were becoming the most athletic team in the nation. Top-to-bottom the skill and speed levels were the best in the land. Dan made the move to O-Line and never looked back. Moving from a defensive specialist, Dan became an offensive explosion. Dan “skying kids deep” Heijmen became a regular occurrence in the end zone with his dangerous speed as he learned the art of the iso-stack from veterans Ted Tripoli and future Callahan nominees Rodrigo Valdivia and Grant Zukowski. With 5 tournament victories in the season, the Hodags were on the map to stay. The season came to a pinnacle in Regional Finals. In the early morning snow and winds of Northfield, MN – Wisconsin was playing CUT for the Central Region title. Wisconsin broke upwind first and had taken the lead and control of the game 3-2. And then adversity struck. As Dan Heijmen skied for catch D in the upwind end zone, he jumped so high that the contact in the air made for an awkward landing. As Dan braced for the impact he stuck out his left arm, the Carleton player landed directly on his outstretched forehand, snapping his arm and pushing the bone through the skin. Losing one of our best players in the middle of a game was a punch to Wisconsin’s face. The Hodags would never recover from the loss of our emotional leader as CUT pwned to a 13-8 win. This is when Wisconsin realized just how important Dan Heijmen was to the Hodags. If you took him away, the team was never the same. However, nothing could stop Heijmen, not even CUT or a broken arm. Heijmen was not able to practice in the weeks leading up to nationals, but swore he would play. A team of 26 studs and the guy with the broken arm wants to play? With one arm in a cast, Heijmen would not be denied as he played out of his mind all weekend. Catching cross field hammers against Stanford and skying CUT defenders in pre-quarters, Heijmen had met adversity and conquered it. Dan finished the 2005 season with a high light video called “Disc 2” and a record of 44-9 with a second straight quarterfinals exit from nationals. Dan had tasted defeat twice after winning the title and was determined to lead his team back to the forefront of ultimate.
With 3 years of Hodag experience, Heijmen decided he to take his game to the next level again, joining Sub Zero on the club scene. With added firepower, Sub Zero played some of the premier club west coast tournaments. Heijmen, growing up strictly on the diet of Hodag ultimate had discovered the rest of the ultimate landscape. Dan found an opportunity to play against the best and see the game from a different perspective. Sub Zero would lose to Furious on universe point in quarterfinals at Club Nationals, after leading 14-13. This valuable experience only pushed Heijmen further.
In his senior year, Dan was elected Captain of the Hodags. From the very first day of tryouts, the Hodag team would be forever changed by Dan Heijmen. Under his command, the Hodags had the best season in history, winning 7 tournaments and placing 2nd and 3rd in two more tournaments, with a combined record of 62-3. Dan Heijmen led by example – by winning workouts and team sprints. Dan was lifting weights, conducting interviews, and preparing to put the team on his back. As one of the more experienced Offensive line cutters on the field with Dan Miller and occasionally Tripoli, Heijmen was looking to make plays on offense. With a dominate performance in on Sunday of Centex and extraordinary precision in the Semifinals of Nationals – Heijmen was a household name. Furthermore, Heijmen would be huge part of Wisconsin taking the only Nationals birth from the Central in 2006. Dan was one of the captain's ensuring Wisconsin's regular season would not be tarnished by missing Nationals. With the score 12-13 and Carleton with the disc going upwind, it is Dan Heijmen guarding Carleton's fastest handler, Chris Rupp. Dan held his mark and his ground on a huge foul call, which resulted in Wisconsin scoring downwind and winning the Central. The 2006 Collete Championships revealed that Heijmen would be an unstoppable force as he led the team to an almost perfect Friday and Saturday, just as Dan has been shown in 2003. As the Wisconsin Offense was unbreakable, Dan Heijmen captained the most dominant tournament performance the Hodags have ever witnessed, outscoring oppoennts 75-31 on the National stage. However, after a 2006 National Finals loss, Dan would again play with Sub Zero, competing with the best club teams with regularity and gearing up for his final college season.
As a 5th Hodag senior, Dan would be all alone. The only National Champion on the team of players he had taught to play the game. There was no Tom Burkly to help run the show and direct the team into something magical. The responsibility has landed squarely on Dan’s shoulders and he has risen to the challenge. Dan has always loved to talk and have his opinions be heard. Now Dan would have the opportunity to talk whenever he wanted. Under Headmen’s guidance, the 2007 team has been to date the most successful Hodag team in history, going 44-1 and already winning 5 tournaments in the spring. If you have been counting, that is a record of 150-9 since his junior year with a record of 17-6 at College Nationals. Dan is a finisher, a dominator, and superstar who averages almost 4 assists and 3 goals when he playing in a big game.
Dan Heijmen is the face of the Hodags. He embodies everything a team would want in a leader. He is well-spoken, smart, funny, sexy, extremely fast, athletic, and intensely competitive. His energy is contagious, his presence on the field is felt, and he fires up the Hodags with his heart and determination. Dan is a commander on the field and has the confidence in his throws to be unstoppable. He is an incredible person and player who has worked unbelievably hard to reach his goals. Dan is also a teacher, someone who has repeatedly passed down all of his knowledge of the game to the team. Most of all, Dan is a leader by example. He yells to the team to go out and get a sick D, really Wisconsin really needs it and Dan will sprint down and layout D the hitch. Heijmen is a dominant ultimate Frisbee player and I am glad he is a Wisconsin Hodag.
So, back to the first question, what do you look for in a Callahan MVP nominee? Dan Heijmen is the ideal ultimate player. Dan has everything you look for in a champion and something more. He is a great competitor and a great person. He is the best player on the best team. Dan is my hero.
Reasons you should vote for Heijmen for Callahan
Dan Heijmen is so good at reading the disc, in a game of 2-catch on the beach with 14 other Hodags, Dan won 6-0.
Dan Heijmen’s chest is so powerfully strong, that he once bench pressed 9,000 pounds – twice.
Dan Heijmen is so attractive that he won American Idol and Miss Universe in the same afternoon.
Dan Heijmen is so stubborn; he once out-talked and out-argued Kevin Riley just to say he did it.
Dan Heijmen’s dashing good looks are so potent, even Valley Renshaw had to comment.
Dan Heijmen is so quick, he once dodged lightning.
Dan Heijmen’s balding pattern is so fierce, that is was once rumored to have started El Nino.
Dan Heijmen’s facial hair stubble is so sharp, that 7 of out of 10 times Babe the Blue Ox mistook Dan for Paul Bunyon.
Dan Heijmen’s leadership abilities are so unshakably certain, that he once led an entire village of Africans into Northern Europe, just because he could.
Dan Heijmen’s headband and “faux-hawk” combo is so appealing, that GQ sends fashion photographers to multiple Hodag tournaments.
Dan Heijmen is so good at embezzling money from the Hodags, that he got somebody from UFUCT booted for it.
Dan Heijmen is so ballsy, that after a boulder fell on his arm; he amputated it with his teeth, squatted the rock, and then sewed his arm back on with only a needle and an orange peel.
Dan Heijmen is so stubborn he once beat Chuck Norris in a staring contest.
Dan Heijmen can drink so much, you would think he was from Ireland, but in fact, he is Dutch and thus cannot be trusted.
Dan Heijmen’s balding pattern is so prominent, that is was photographed from space.
Dan Heijmen is so attractive, that even Fabio is jealous.
Dan Heijmen’s sense of ESP is so strong, he has predicted he will layout D Chase, Nord and Mike Grant all in the same point.
Dan Heijmen’s man-tool is so large it did not fit in Paris Hilton’s mouth.
Dan Heijmen once got into a bar fight with a poisonous snake, Dan bit the snake and it died.
Dan Heijmen is so strong; he once threw a disc into orbit.
Dan Heijmen is so popular; Phil started a facebook group in which Dylan, Cahill and Rook’s mothers joined.
The sweat from Dan Heijmen’s headband is so pure, that Christian babies are often baptized in it.
Dan Heijmen once skied a player by jumping over him (Not Pictured).
Dan Heijmen is so flexible; he once out stretched Ryan Carrington.
Dan Heijmen is so chill with the disc that he is sometimes referred to as “cooler than the other side of the pillow” good.
Dan Heijmen’s chest hair is so fruitful; it photosynthesizes more oxygen than the Amazon.
Dan Heijmen is so “unblastable,” he drank a whole bottle of Bushmills before admitting how much he loved the Hodags.
Dan Heijmen is so jacked, he once flexed so hard into the mirror that it shattered.
Dan Heijmen is so feared, that the Japanese surrendered when the US threatened to “drop a Heijmen on their ass.”
Monday, April 23, 2007
The College Championship Series marks the end of the pre-season and the beginning of what really matters – Wisconsin Sectionals. The 2007 Lake Superior Open Sectionals was a sweet tournament, especially considering it was in nearby Whitewater for the second straight year. The Wisconsin Hodags came out determined to have fun and bring it to the Pimp-dags. The problem was – Wisconsin had to face Eau Claire before the trash talking Pimps would be feeling the pain. With all the early built up aggression, Eau Claire got the worst of it as Shane “Caution Tape” Hohenstein skied for a deep D and immediately launched a 50 yard thumber straight down the sideline to Bobby Lau for the lead 2-0. On Q-Tip’s first point of the weekend, Dan skied for a D and threw a 15 yard in-cut no-look chicken wing. After that turn, Q-tip got a poach D and proceeded to let one loose deep with a huge scoober 4-0. Quick turns led to quick scores as stifling defense put the game out of reach early as Madison rolled to 13-1 victory. With the Hodags looking as dominant as ever, Eau Claire rested their starters in anticipation of a difficult weekend.
The Pimp-dags were letting the Hodags know all week about how hard they would come out. With players still ready to prove why they belong on the next level, it would be a battle of wills. Literally, it was Will Lokke versus Will Yu in the competition of who was more of a minority. Wisconsin was so serious that when the game began, the Hodags called the only line of Saturday on the first point – all n00b line. As the players were called and ran through the chunnel, Jack Marsh – wearing a purple suit calmly walked through the chunnel more diplomatically than a politician, shaking hands and waving to parents and fans. With Marsh & Co. strapping it on, the Pimps struck first 1-0 on a fearless point, finally punching it in downwind. The Hodags responded as Jumpsuit Heijmen vowed revenge and scored all 7 goals for the 7-1 lead and OATBAG. The second half was filled with wind, but the Hodags got it together and won 13-4 in a well played game. With the Pimps vanquished and a 2-0 start in the pool, Wisconsin switched fields and thanked the many parents who came to watch the slaughter. This is when the wind really picked up and Madison began having a competition of who could throw the disc farthest downwind. Pretty sure Foster hit the football goal post from about 105 with the double S curve. But at this point, the Hodags had degenerated to games like who can wrestle Jim “I have a better goatee than Captain Morgan” Foster to the ground in a fit of laughter and who could flex better than Will “These pants look incredible on me” Lokke. “Operation Caution Scene” was in the midst of total domination, winning the third game over Michigan Tech 13-5 and crushing on kids. On the last game of Sunday against Stevens Point Homegrown, when Hodags were feeling that sunburn, something ludicrous happened. In the many memorable Sectionals moments over the past years: we have the winner for most ridiculous ever.
First nominee – Mike Bevers – after being fingered by out by Phil Altman as the only player in the history of Hodags to never record a D in his career, Mike promptly caught the first in-cut for a D and spiked it.
Second nominee – Jimmy McMurray – while wearing a tie around his forehead, makes a ridiculously huge layout attempt where he D’s the disc and lands on almost directly on his face. Jimmy instantly passes out midair as soon as he macks the D and lays on his face asleep until he is revived and carried off the field.
Third nominee – Matt Scallet – the Hodags were in their last game of Saturday and the day was waning to a close. Jim Foster hucks the disc deep to Scallet downwind and as Scallet surveys the end zone with 3-4 Hodags looking to score, Matt cannot decide what to do. When the stall count reached 8, Scallet let a backhand rip… upwind for the punt. The 50 yard upwind huck for a dump found a 3 on 1 match-up. Somehow Muffin skies the 2 defenders, turns 90 degrees and immediately rips the biggest downwind hammer ever, this 65 yard cross field yard hammer finds Animal right in the chest in the back of the end zone, only yards away from where Scallet stands.
With spectacular plays that took real nerve to pull off, the Hodags celebrated the 4-0 pool victory by winning the last game by many over Stevens Point. Madison had earned a birth into finals for Sunday and after poking fun at Richter for his blazing orange hair at 2004 Nationals – Wisconsin packed it up and headed for home.
Sunday would be a new day and a very windy day, with gusts hitting 25-30 mph in a straight upwind-downwind game. Jim Foster came ready to play as he combined with Jack Marsh for 4 of our first 5 goals as Madison traded to a 5-4 lead. The beginning of the day intensity was somewhat lacking. The Defensive O was working the disc but could not punch in the goal with several misses in the upwind end zone. Eventually with some zone, Wisconsin got a quick turn near midfield and Muffin found Heijmen for the first upwind break 6-4. With a universe line on the field, Madison takes the downwinder and extends the lead to 7-4 with Animal finding Heijmen. Half comes at 8-5 as Mr. Milly finds Foster and with Whitewater receiving going down wind, it would be 8-6. Thanks to the heroics of David Schleicher who got a sick layout poach D to save a goal and even snagged a for sure D from Dan Miller in a hospital pass pile, Sub-Par was hanging around. Animal throws his second goal of the game to Jim “unguardable” Foster for the 9-6 lead. Whitewater continues to punt and stick in downwinders as the game hits 10-8. The O-face continues to look confident as Jack Marsh finds Dan Miller for a sky 11-8. Wisconsin grabs another D near the Whitewater up wind end zone and Muffin quickly finds Heijmen again for the break upwind 12-8. However, Madison can’t shove it back downwind as Sub-Par scores upwind to bring the game to 12-9. With the opportunity to make it a game, the O-face closes the door and calmly works it all the way up the field to Miller for the 13-9 lead. The D is so pumped from the upwinder, Madison scores downwind as Feldman finds the dominator himself Hejimen for the 14-9 lead. The Wisconsin Hodags win the Section 15-10 and move onto Regionals with the #1 seed. Madtown snaps a picture and moves fields to cheer on the Pimp-dags and to continue practicing. The Pimps are down like 10-7 and fight back to 11-11 before closing the door 15-12 in a huge battle with Stevens Point. So all 3 Wisconsin teams move on as Bella dominated all weekend, also winning the title.
Thursday, April 19, 2007
College Easterns is a tournament the Hodags have never won. In the past 10 years, it has been the premier top tournament and extremely competitive. In 2004, Centex appeared on the map and Easterns lost many of the best teams (from the West Coast) to the more centralized Texas location. Nonetheless, Easterns still holds the legacy as one the top tournaments in college ultimate history.
Wisconsin decided that Easterns was a good idea because it provided a good tournament and better location to spend Spring Break, which was beginning the moment we left Thursday night. However, it comes only a week after a super hard Centex and the Hodags were for the most part still extremely knocked around or incredibly sore.
The day began nicely enough, with hot sunny weather and beautiful green grass. The Hodags were set to play Queen’s Kingston, a Canadian team who Wisconsin played at Nationals 2005 in pool play. However, this Queens team was not nearly as polished and the Hodags took advantage early with Rebholz finding Lokke for the 1-0 lead. Jack Marsh and Dan Heijmen continued their domination of all competition as they combined for 4 goals and 2 assists in the game. Madison broke first, as Scallet found Gaynor for the 3-1 lead. Queens began putting things together and traded with the Hodags to 5-3 as Feldman caught a goal from Lokke. The late car was almost ready to get in the game by now as Jeremiah Berlin scored 3 goals for breaks as the game opened up to a 8-3 halftime advantage. In the second half, a nice D by Doede gave Seth Meyer his second goal of the game, coming from Foster who had finally cleated up to lead 10-4. The game closed out with 4 straight Hodag breaks as Seth and Gaynor both collected D’s en route to a 15-5 win and the first unofficial OATBAG of the weekend – Schmit be warned.
Wisconsin’s next game was against James Madison University (JMU). Apparently, JMU is from the ACC and not the Metro East, which was difficult to tell with the pink numbers on their jerseys. However, Madison was not playing up to their full capacity and was content with trading. The Hodags tied the game at 2-2 as Jack Marsh threw the first 2 goals of the game to Ben and Jimmy Foster. A nice Shane D allowed Wisconsin to break first as Seth found Jeremiah for the 3-2 lead. The Hodags stayed on serve for the rest of the half 8-6 on the back of Heijmen who found the end zone 7 times in the game. Tom Annen collected a D and point block along with Will Lokke getting an awesome super sick layout D that was goal saving at 5-5. In the second half, JMU broke back to bring the game to 10-9, but the D line responded as Muffin found Seth deep for the immediate re-break as Wisconsin led 12-9. Jack Marsh continued his dominance on the day, finding the end zone almost as often as Heijmen with 6 scoring plays, as Wisconsin won 15-11.
Madison’s last pool play game was against UNC-Wilmington, who won a National Title more than 10 years ago with some guy Mike Gerics. The winds picked up a little bit as Wilmington, suited up completely in black came out fast and hard, spiking the shit out of the disc. The Hodags were getting fired up and wanted to really give it to Seamen. The familiar combination of Marsh and Heijmen again put Wisco on the board first 1-0. Wilmington was going deep early in the game and was able to tie it 1-1. The Madtown O-face saw that going deep was a good idea as Dan Heyman found Feldman deep 2-1 for the obligatory re-spike. Wilmington still had an answer going downwind with a second chance goal and that guy really ripped into the disc this time 2-2 with a slam spike. The disc was getting dirty from hitting the floor so many times, but Marsh had no problem as he found Foster to the break side deep for a 3-2 lead and windmill spike with a fist pump. Wilmington was unimpressed, as they quickly tied the game 3-3 and were contemplating the breakdance steps for their next goal scoring celebration. That sort of showboating can really get some people fired up. The D line was getting angry about being spiked upon and the O-face was even getting annoyed at the Defenses lack of ability to put in a break. Matt Rebholz was making sure nothing got out of hand as he found Foster for the quick strike 4-3 Hodags. I think this is when Chris Doede became so upset with his play that he threatened to kill a teammate, as Wilmington held on O and scored the first break upwind 5-4. As soon as Wisconsin was no longer winning, the leaders on the team rose to forefront. The unguardably fast Jim Foster scored the next 2 goals from Rebholz as Wisconsin re-broke immediately for the 7-6 halftime lead. Foster was no way done with Wilmington as he went deep again in the second half from Heijmen for the 8-6 break. A second straight break, this time from Muffin to Gaynor put the game at 9-6 and a clear Hodag advantage. However, the Seamen broke back again to make it 9-8 Wisconsin. The O converts as a D by Rebholz allows him to find Animal for the 10-8 lead. After UNC-W holds 10-9 and continues the spiking, the D line decided the game needed to end. A late surge of energy from the D line ends this game on Wisconsin’s terms. A D by Marsh allows Rebholz to continue his domination as he finds Heijmen for the goal 11-9 Wisconsin. Now enter Shanezilla into the equation as he catches a goal from Heijmen 12-9. Then Gaynor gets a well timed deep sky D and Shane rewards Gaynor with the double happiness goal 13-9 Wisconsin. Shane is not done yet as he gets an under run through D, letting Scallet find Gaynor for another break 14-9. Hohenstein’s presence was definitely felt on the field down the stretch as Heijmen found Cullen for the game ender 15-9.
After winning the pool 3-0, we had our crossover game with East Carolina (ECU). ECU was low on numbers and running lower on energy. The Hodags broke twice to start the game 2-0, completing the OATBAG from the previous game to bring the Wisconsin Oatbag total to 2 on the weekend – beware Crazy Eights. However, with the perfect opportunity to make Pop Tarts feel the pain, Wisconsin blew several opportunities to score 6 breaks in a row. Wisconsin took the lead 6-1 and half at 8-2 with Seth Meyer breaking out a nasty low release upwind flick huck. Combined with Evan Klane’s Callahan goal, this game was never a contest. Matt Scallet was pwning all over the field, as he greatest his own pull back into play and was throwing breaks and goals all over the place. Wisconsin finished the game 15-4, but failed to convert the 3rd Oatbag on the day, lucky for Snoop.
The Hodags appeared pretty tired and most people passed out in anticipation for Spring Break and a hard day of games on Sunday. Wisconsin was also running out of players left and right with nagging injuries and such, down to only 17 at the end of Saturday.
Sunday was a new day and Madison would have our hands full. In quarterfinals, Wisco was set to play Edinboro, who broke seed and surprised a lot of teams by doing well in their pool. They had earned a spot in quarterfinals, while the Hodags were overlooking this team and were clearly not ready to play as the day began. Edinboro took the lead 2-0 before Marsh found Foster, but they broke again early to lead 4-1. Wisconsin was forced to call a timeout to settle down and get into the flow of the game. Right away the Hodags bounced back as Feldman found Foster in the end zone 4-2. The D line finally got a turnover and Muffin quickly launches the biggest deep shot ever to Seth Meyer streaking deep as Wisconsin grabs back an early break 4-3 and a SNAF. Slowly but surely, Madison is creeping back in the game as Wisconsin breaks again to tie the game 5-5 as Shaner goes deep for Muffin. However, Edinboro has two studs, one wearing pajama pants and a flaming orange winter hat who is throwing high release break mark flick hucks on the most intense marks ever. This kid was single handedly carrying his team with these ridiculous throws to space as Edinboro took the lead 6-5. Heijmen ties the game at 6-6 when he finds Marsh deep to space as both players recorded 2 D’s in the game. Edinboro was hanging in there and took half 8-7 despite another Feldman assist and a universe D line on the point to take half. The Hodags are getting antsy, especially when Edinboro holds on O out of half to lead 9-7. A this point things were not looking good as the Hodags were essentially sucking in quarterfinals against a terrible team with about 1 ½ good players. However, Foster finds Heijmen to keep the game close 8-9 before Seth Meyer continues his ridiculous play. Seth gets a sick D and then catches the double happiness from Shane to tie the game 9-9. Jim Foster is still unstoppable as he scores twice more, but the teams are still trading 11-11. Muffin and Heijmen resolve to finally end this team as they both grab a score and assist down the stretch to break 3 times for the 15-12 win. Seth Meyer was just beginning to play out of his mind as Wisconsin would need players to step up with the beaten up sideline.
In semifinals Wisconsin was set to play North Carolina. This would be a coming out game for several Wisconsin players. However, Darkside took the early lead 2-1 with the first break of the game. Tom Animal got into the action, finding Foster with a midrange shot sky and a 2-2 tie. The D line is just salivating at the chance of beating another team from North Carolina as Scallet finds Shane for the immediate re-break and 3-2 lead. After UNC holds, Annen finds Feldman for a goal and 4-3 lead. However, the Hodags lose their edge as the Darkside swings the game back into their control with a break and 6-5 lead. The O-face holds as Snoop finds Heyman for the 6-6 tie. With halftime looming, Wisconsin decides to turn it up a notch. Matt Rebholz records a D giving Foster the chance to find emerging superstar Seth Meyer another goal for the 7-6 break. Seth was just getting started as Wisco gets another D and Seth snatches a two-handed rocket from Heijmen in the end zone for the 8-6 halftime lead. Coming out of half Muffin jacks the disc deep to Foster who skys UNC again for the 9-6 lead. UNC saves face and scores again to bring the game to a respectable 9-7. However, Seth Meyer was determined to wreck havoc as he scores the next 3 goals, getting 2 sicks and even a D. Jon Gaynor is able to help 2 goals in late, including a double happiness after a huge sky D in the endzone and a ridiculously long huck from Muffin as Wisconsin doubles up UNC 14-7 with 4 straight breaks. The fact that neither UNC or anybody Wisconsin played all weekend could catch Evan Klane's pulls was super funny, as 3 were dropped on the weekend. The game ends 15-8 with Heijmen finding Ben Feldman to stamp a victory in semifinals.
In finals, the Hodags were set to play Pittsburgh for the 4th time already this year. Wisconsin was definitely running out of players though, as we were down to 14 and eventually 13 players, but Pitt has just come off a universe point game. Matt Scallet came out ready to go as he found Heijmen for the opening break 1-0 Madison. Pitt came right back and scored twice for the 2-1 lead as Annen makes a super sweet defensive bid, but is unable to get the D back. Madtown came right back to that as Animal found Bonkers for the first goal and Scallet found Shaner for the break as Wisconsin took back the lead 3-2. Scallet was not finished as Seth Meyer recorded a D before Jon Gaynor went deep for the 5-3 break goal. Schmittles n Bits was staying close to the disc as he found Foster in the end zone for the 6-4 lead. The rest of the first half traded out as Foster and Feldman scored twice more for the 9-7 halftime lead. By this time, all of the other games had ended and players were leaving the complex, leaving only Wisco and Pitt players to grind it out. The 9-7 halftime lead left Wisconsin unsatisfied. Ben Feldman threw Wisconsin’s first 2 goals out of half to Seth and Rebholz as we gave up a break but still led 11-9. Muffin gets a D and immediately looks to cash it in, finding Heijmen for the 12-9 break. Pitt is keeping the game close as they break back to make it 12-11, but the Hodags are clearly the superior team when it comes to stamina. Seth Meyer records his 2nd D of the game and when Muffin walks the disc into play, Gaynor takes off for the full field huck goal 14-11 Wisconsin for the break. Muffin finds Heijmen on the next O-face point as Madison takes control with a 15-12 lead. Wisconsin breaks once more after a Shane D as Evan finds Heijmen for the 16-12 lead. Jon Gaynor finishes the game right, getting 2 D’s in the game and finishing it by getting the disc to Foster in the end zone for the 17-13 tournament victory.
It was another gritty tournament performance as Madison did not even have enough players to substitute in a whole new line late on Sunday. It was sweet that the Hodags got an awesome tournament trophy and 50 discs that said “Easterns Champions” on them. At this point, Wisco celebrated, got into our cars and drove to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina to start Spring Break and the impending Goat.
Tuesday, April 03, 2007
People wonder: Why are the Wisconsin Hodags so good?
The answer is: The Hodags want to win. As a Hodag, you need to win, you love it, and you have been taught how to do it. No matter what the circumstances, a Hodag refuses to lose and will never give up for there is always an insatiable desire to murder and punish other teams (see #19). This year’s team is not more talented than the successful teams of ‘05 and ‘06 (both seasons 5+ tournament wins), but the 2007 team clearly wants to win more.
So how does this Centex Curse work again? In the last 3 years since this tournament became dominant, the winner of Centex has lost in National finals! So even if a team can win the "hardest" tournament of the year, it is not a signal that you will be a National Champion and lately has been a curse to your future success at Nationals.
With Centex quickly approaching, Wisconsin was getting healthy just in time to adjust to the new players contributing in the lineup. Our schedule and pool looked very daunting as Saturday began with both Carleton and Oregon waiting for us. It appeared to be a stressful pool, needing to win all 5 games to secure a top seed and birth into the top 8 bracket.
All week the Hodags have been visualizing and getting mentally prepared for this tournament. (You never need a disc when you can just imagine one there instead;) Madison knew it would be extremely hard on our bodies with so many tough games and we were planning our strategy. As it turns out, Wisconsin has some very good players at college ultimate. On the top lines, Wisco is far more experienced than almost every single player they line up against and can usually dominate any match-up offensively. With more caffeine free jocks than most team’s, Madison was itching to get the weekend started off right.
The very first game of the weekend against North Texas, the Hodags were ready to go. We had the usual suspects supporting on the sidelines with the Fosters and Marshes out in full colors. The “rivalry” with UNT had Wisconsin amped up to start the tournament. However, the D could not break on the first point as UNT scored 1-0. Wisconsin instantly got on track as Jack found Foster deep (a recurring theme) as Wisconsin tied the game 1-1. And that was all it took. The energy at the beginning of the day was too much as the Hodags were foaming at the mouth to hurt some unsuspecting kid. In the pre-game huddle, players were strapping on their brass knuckles and looking for the right player to nail in the knee with the crowbar. It turns out that the Hodags did not actually need those weapons as Wisconsin broke with Gaynor finding Shane in the end zone 2-1. North Texas continues to huck the disc deep as Muffin gets a sky D and then hucks it full field to Jon Gaynor in stride for the break to 3-1. Muffin continues to dominate, throwing the next break goal to Blue Steel himself for the 4-1 lead. Animal finds Feldman for another break as the game blows wide open 5-1. K-Rich & Co. (collars and all) freak out and bring the game to 7-3 half. North Texas, using the Power of the Insightful Heckle, broke the O twice out of half (only team to break the O twice in a row all weekend) to bring the game to 7-5. Finally, the O pulls it together as Marsh finds Pearce for the 8-5 lead after a Riley handblock. Muffin was not to be denied as he D’d a hammer, and threw 3 straight goals for breaks to Lokke, Gaynor and Doede for the 11-5 lead. With the momentum clearly in Wisconsin’s favor, Cullen Geppert gets a sick layout D to finish the game 13-5. After the game, both team’s got together and had a Spirit Circle Session to keep both teams positive on the day. I think the K-rich injury occurred pretty close to the end of the game and there was some serious concern by the Hodag players. At the time, no one knew the extent of the injury except maybe Atheltic Trainer Dan Miller. I guess ultimate will need to adjust to the new generation of “Diet Jocks” and do more pushups when watching TV. Only the strongest will survive. However, this pic clearly shows that this is NoT a dangerous play, but two players just falling over. It should also be noted that "90% of the people who post on rsd are terrible at ultimate" according to Ted Tripoli.
Wisconsin’s second game of the day would be no such fun loving picnic. Wisconsin has been thinking and preparing for this team far longer than just a week or two. In actuality, Wisconsin has been thinking about this game for over 17 years as CUT absolutely owned the Central Region for the period. Since their stranglehold of CN supremacy has been loosened of late, Wisconsin was feeling ready for Carleton. We were not to be tricked by their tomfoolery of throwing games in the preseason just to have teams underestimate them. I swear to you, Wisconsin will never ever underestimate how small town Carleton dominates the fuck out of ultimate Frisbee. This is probably because Carleton will always stand directly in Wisconsin’s path to a National Championship. Needing to win Regional Finals is an absolute priority to secure a high seed, which is crucial to performing well at Nationals. So please believe that every single Hodag in Texas knew the importance of this game for it would set the tone for the next meeting. The game started quickly with Wisconsin striking deep to Tim Pearce for 1-0 score. Carleton is running on high energy and punches in their first score easily 1-1. Kevin Riley continues to dominate with his throws as Wisco leads 2-1. The D line is still not breaking as the game ties as 2-2, despite Animal antics and layout attempts on Jacob. Gaynor also makes a super nice slow motion attempt on a disc. The O-face is putting things together quite nicely as Heijmen hits Foster with a buttery slick forehand 3-2. At this point the D gets a turn and works the disc to Carleton’s goal line before a timeout. Jacob Goldstein begins his molestation on the mark as Bobby Lau likes to get down and dirty. A swarming cup of 4 CUT kids berating of Bobby resulted in a foul call and huge argument ensures (video below – need sound for Bobby Lau bitching Jacob in an argument. As you clearly noticed, Bobby was clutching his lower back in pain and with welts from the vicious JG kidney punch. Anyway, the disc is finally dumped to Muffin who endures more of the Goldstein molestation and calmly throws a cross field hammer to Shane to allow the D to punch it in 3-2. At this point thanks to several slow motion CUT drops, Muffin throws the next 2 breaks, one a quick sick flick to a streaking Feldman who skies Baylis and spikes the shit out of the disc, coming dangerously close to Pat’s head on the disc taco as Wisconsin swells the lead to 5-2. Heyman Heijmen himself put the Hodag on a pedestal as he manned up, decided to hit the floor, and was accepted back as a Defender on the D line. Turns out that the Heymaker cannot be stopped as he scores 2 more breaks for a Wisconsin half 7-2. The O was never broken and Madison traded out to win 13-8. Kevin Riley threw 2 goals down the stretch, one with no mark and a huge rip backhand to TP and even recorded a sky D!? I mean, Tim Pearce completely blew up at Centex, proving he can get in-D’s and catch everything thrown to him deep, most times laying out with one hand. Wisconsin was in the zone at this point, perfect on Offense with Jack Darsh sticking out his tongue in CUT defenders faces and still getting crazy one defense. There is footage of the CUT game on the Hodag website right now which is pretty sweet.
Anyway, the third game of the day was against Illinois. This would usually be our letdown game in the middle of a hot Saturday. However, the O-face had different ideas as the some big time performances were being conducted. The Bucket of Greasy Chicken was looking a man reborn as K-Fed was wrecking marks and defenders as he threw the first 2 goals to Dan and Jimmy for a 2-2 tie. Tim Pearce was going deep and nobody was stopping him as he caught the next 2 goals for a 4-4 game. Illinois was convinced going deep was the way to go and since it was not windy, it wasn’t a bad idea. And then, Wisconsin got crazy, a little reckless, and possibly even a little scary as they bombarded defenders left and right with body shots of Hodag pain. The Hodags even called a timeout and had a strategy session about the best way to layout into someone’s legs in order to intentionally injure them. Clearly, Wisconsin had been planning how to hurt others and themselves in the pursuit of glory. After assassinating two Illini, Fist became afraid and fled as Wisconsin scored 5 in a row for the 9-4 lead. Tom Annen had a ridiculously nice O2 cut and forehand flick down the sideline to a streaking Will Lokke. Other sick plays included a Dan Heijmen in-cut layout catch on our goal line and a Foster layout D. Jon Gaynor got 2 D’s during the rout and Schmit was showing O was so easy that he was calling Touchdowns 2 passes in advance with the officials signal. That is 3-0 on the day and past 3 danger games.
However, the fourth game was against Davidson and Wisco probably was not mentally prepared for this one. They were supposed to be one of the worst teams there, but they were playing way above seed. It was a war of attrition as both teams were getting close to exhaustion as they led 2-0 with a break and fast legs. Davidson also had the most annoying group of fans as the Hodags tied the game 2-2 with Riley throwing a goal. The handlers continued to hold the game together as Wisconsin broke to take the lead 5-4. However, Davidson’s fans kept screaming and broke back to lead 6-5 and even after a Foster score, took half 7-6. During halftime, heads were hung and it was annoying to deal with a bunch of noobs wearing running shorts who were somehow dominating with a terrible junk zone that was surprisingly effective and involved zero running by the defense. This just pissed Wisconsin off and Q-“Tip the fuck up” gave a well deserved butt lashing at halftime about getting crazy, deciding to dominate and how to put your body into midair for the welfare of the team. That will to win, that desire to dominate your opponent, and that love for punishment got the Hodags freaking out and going insane as they scored the O easily for a 7-7 tie and the D broke 3 straight times for a 10-7 lead. I think a UFC fight even broke out as Wisconsin flexed and did pushups on the sideline to intimidate the opponent and even plan the finishing move. Davidson answered and scored to put it at 10-9 but the D line wanted more destruction and broke twice to win 13-9. Miller rejoiced, for he did not have to listen to that fat woman yell in her Southern drawl, “Yeah, Davidson!”
The last game was against #7 seed overall and #2 seed in our pool Oregon Ego. The Ducks were fighting for their tournament lives, needing a win to get a shot at moving on since losing to CUT first game of the day. The game began tensely and uneasily, as no one on Wisconsin liked Ego and everyone thought they seemed a little eerie and weird, kind of like ginger kids. They were those leering lemming kids in middle school and they were playing such a weak zone. The Wisconsin handlers were making it look easy like a clinic as they moved the disc easily and smoothly. However, things seemed to have worked out for Oregon’s “ego” and confidence, as they had their O working well as they stayed in the game 1-1. Jimmy Foster makes a nice layout attempt to get Oregon a little nervous about the level of intensity. And then Heartthrob Heijmen himself decides to flip his switch, as he skies for a sick ass sky, ripping the disc out of the air better than Justin Timberlake could pop a dick out of a box 2-1. Oregon was bringing more zone, as Riley controlled the tempo as Feldman found Dan deep in the end zone for a 3-2 lead. The Zone O continues to pound the Ego of the Enemy as they go into transition and Dan Heijmen has the disc. The Balding Leader surveys the field and finds the end zone suitable for a sick blading forehand to an uncoverable Jim Foster in the back corner. There was no stopping that man-beast as Dan scored or threw the first 4 goals of the game to a 4-4 tie. However, Oregon had already been getting reckless themselves as they stole a break early at 4-2. With both teams losing control on defense, emotions spiked and the physicality of the game increased past level “Diet Jock!” It did not take long for the Wisconsin D to respond to the challenge of a break. Shane the Painthriller gets a surprising 2 handed catch run-through D. Animal holds it down in the backfield as Muffin finally finds Gaynor with the cross field hammer break for the lead 5-4. The Zone O is still killing as Riley breaks the cup’s face, as Heijmen breaks his personal match-up as the Wisconsin O continues to roll 6-4 as Ben scores again. However, Oregon refocuses and gets their stuff together, scoring their O and breaking for half 7-6 in a quick momentum change, as the Wisco D started the second half. The Hodags manage as turn as Muffin chucks the disc upwind to Doede and Animal takes over with some crafty O2 throws in the end zone set, as Muffin “threatens” a reckless fouling Ego player that physical play would only end in his demise as Scallet proceeds to find Animal for the 7-7 tie. Jack Marsh finds a Tim Pearce, who is still making incredible catches for the 8-8 tie. At this point, Kevin Riley gets a chance on defense, as he throws a divine pass to space as Animal rockets the disc for Foster for the 9-8 break lead. This was the moment of weakness. The gazelle was injured, bleeding, and limping. We could see the pain and wanted to punish. The D line needed to destroy and shit was going to hit the fan. The D line was hungry as Gaynor got an awesome catch D in the air on a forced break mark huck by Ego. Jon wisely found Muffin immediately, who just as immediately, hucked it deep to the Red Headed Mexican Will Lokke. Zip-Loke proved White Men Can Jump, but also proved that Red Headed Mexican’s can’t catch, as Lokkdown strategically doinked the disc with his SuperGrip 2000 hands to add suspense to the moment 10-8 Wisconsin. The Hodags continue to pour on the jungle music as Animal finds another pass to space as and throws a smooth flick down the line to Lokke for the 11-8 break Muffin adds one more break to Tim Pearce, after the first ever Tim Pearce layout D for the 12-8 lead. Tim Pearce was still not done as he snags the trailing edge of a disc and keeps a firm grip on a huge catch. The game ends 13-9 Madison and we thank our fans (mostly parents) for the continued support on the field.
And then the fun began. The barbeque food at the fields was awesome and the anticipation for the showcase game increased. Texas was a dangerous team who had their strongest performance of the season at Nationals, playing Florida and Wisconsin the best of anyone. They had beaten the Hodags in the showcase game of 2004 and with the lights coming on, opposing teams were getting excited to heckle and jeer. The clearly pro Texas crowd was pretty funny. Too bad the Women’s team dance off was thwarted, but the North Texas jeering and Minnesota choreographed cheers were awesome. However, Texas looked a little too nervous or jacked up or something as early miscues lead to quick Florida goals. However, the first moment Texas scored, the cheers from team’s disliking Florida rang up, “Who are we? Tuff! Who are we? Tuff! TEXAS! TEXAS! YEEEEE-HAAA!!” However, the crowd did not help until it was 11-3 and Texas was able to fight back to 12-8 before the end. Some of the more memorable heckles included, “Showcase your tits” when the dance-off was about to ensue. The chant to put a number on Florida’s Hall and get him into the game was pretty awesome, as Bobby convinced Hall that he really did need a number. At least he didn’t shave the number into the back of his head, but it was cool to mistake Wyndham for Brodie, because everybody in the nation hates that kid even more than the kid with sunglasses. The Dogs of War boombox was also sweet as they had some good zingers and the atmosphere between teams on the sideline was a perfect manifestation of the ultimate community.
After all those hard games, it was time for an ice-bath. I think Jimmy Foster screamed for his mother the most, but Shane was gripping his testicles closely behind, as Lokke took it in stride and merely imagined images of gingers frolicking in the desert sands of New Mexico. Have you ever been so tired that you could not fall asleep? Probably if you did not have a bed spot or a blanket…
Whoever thought of an 8:30 am start time on Sunday was not thinking rationally. On paper it looked fine, but when Wisconsin woke up at the crack of dawn, nobody was as grumpy as the belligerent Dan Miller. We made it to the fields and were barely moving during warm-ups out of sheer pain. Wisco was careful not to underestimate Texas after last night’s performance, knowing Tuff would play us hard and that it was a new day of ultimate. It was very dewy and wet so Madison’s studs were trying to hit the ground in Seattle, just to slide on the grass and get the blood flowing for the anticipated Sobe pounding. However, Texas started out strong, scoring deep after several Wisconsin layout super reckless and dangerous layouts that were not close enough, 1-0 Texas. The O-face began a little sloppy, but was playing good enough defense to score the goal, Riley to Rebholz 1-1. The D line was rearing to prove it, as players were already getting antsy and angry on the sideline. The Bash Brother Combo of Pain, scored the break as Shane finds Lokke after a Gaynor catch D 2-1 Hodags. Texas holds 2-2 and the D line flips a nut as they run off 2 breaks to a 5-2 lead as Scallet finds Feldman deep for a break. Texas holds again 5-3, but Madison gets reckless as Gaynor gets another catch D as Muffin finds Feldman for the 7-3 lead and 8-4 half. Dan Heijmen was looking even more hot than usual with his karate kid style headband and masculine looking strong chin. He got the team fired up with stories of faltering late in the game against Texas in quarterfinals of Centex last year and the Hodags came out strong in the second half, breaking twice for a 10-4 lead as Evan Klane found Lokke deep. Texas responded to 10-6 after a timeout and was looking for the late game run. Too bad the Hodags found the jungle techno remix of domination as Will Lokke had the highest sky of his life. He got up huge and stuck the disc, but the offensive foul was called as he used his forearm to clear space. Eventually, in the best move of spirit ever seen from Texas, the coach himself explained that the play was absolutely too sick to be called back on the foul 13-6. The feeling of respect was there as Wisconsin and Texas had met so many times in the last two years and the game ended with Lokke catching the last break, after his third catch D of the game 15-6. Wisconsin was playing well and getting really psyched for semifinals because the Hodags would face the winner of last year’s Nationals quarterfinals match up of Georgia-Colorado.
The Hodags had made it to semifinals for the third year in a row. However, the intensity was not there in 2005 after a lackluster effort. That type of effort is no longer acceptable in any circumstances as the current Wisconsin team is crazier and wants to win more than ever. The team desire was certainly all over the Mamabird for they had ended Wisconsin’s season’s twice, both times in quarterfinals of Nationals in 2004 and 2005. It only adds to the suspense that the Hodags did not play Colorado at all in the 2006 season and that Richter has been assigned to spy on the Wisconsin ultimate program and report all findings to Mamabird about how playing without coaches is sweet because the team won’t sit their O-line for tardiness. Anyway, Richter is getting soft (can barely handle the Sparks Challenge as I hear from Tripoli) and will certainly be feeling the pain at the alumni game. However, Colorado still has the three biggest deep threats in the game with Jolian, Martin, and Sir Beaufort. The D line started the game and could do little to stop the Mamabird Offense as they scored easily 1-0. The Wisconsin O made it look just as easy as DJ found J-Fo for the deep goal 1-1. Colorado’s O could not be stopped as they scored easily 2-1. The pressure was building as Foster found Heijmen for the 2-2 tie. It was enough trading as far as the Wisconsin firestarters were concerned as the Hodag defense finally got control of the disc. It was quick work as Animal found Doede for the break 3-2.
After Colorado finally stuck it in 3-3, the Hodag O-face got brutal. Who can guard Dan Heijmen? Well defensive specialist Martin Cochran gets his chance. As DJ is isolated in the lane, Martin gives him a hard shoulder and a physical body position, (which would crush most kids who haven’t been doing pushups, clearly a dangerous move that would break any non diet jock), but Heijmen who can bench the plates for all who are wondering, skeets his man-juice everywhere as he chest bounces off Cockran and sprints deep with several steps. A perfect full field backhand strike from Captain Matt Rebholz hits other Captain Dan in the chest for the clap goal as he beats Martin by 7 steps for the 4-3 lead. The crowd explodes and the Colorado supporters are quelled as Wisconsin thrives on the energy and quick goal. The defense must punish as they get turnover deep in the end zone. Muffin walks to disc to the line and Lokke takes off deep. The poach shows no respect and even the defender is not concerned about the deep cut. Muffin, powers up with thoughts of his power animal, and launches the full field huck for the Lokke sky goal break 5-3. The Hodags are pumped, but Colorado responds and gets a break of their own for a 5-5 tie. Dan Heijmen continuing to prove that he is unguardable and more unblastable than Matt Bruss, goes deep and is again, hit in stride with a full field huck from Rebholz that is clapped home for the 6-5 lead. Colorado ties the game at 6-6 with Beau going deep and skying anybody who wants to chase him there (mainly Lokke). However, Riley finds Foster for the 7-6 lead and Wisconsin has the opportunity to take half. Once again, the universe D line is ready to rock the cashbox, as Colorado cannot handle the best Hodag defenders as they turn the disc deep. Again, Mamabird gives no respect as Animal puts the disc in on the cone. A sick fast move to space and filthy throw puts Muffin in power position half way down the field. The moment Muffin catches the disc, Jolian glances over his right shoulder. Muffin, going crafty, throws the inside out backhand over and around Jolian, putting the disc perfectly in the back of the end zone, completely fucking the streaking defender as Lokke pancakes that shit home for the 8-6 break for halftime.
Wisconsin resolves that it was a good half, but we have more pain to distribute. Again, Wisconsin wanted it more. The O-face started the half out right as Kevin finds Tim Pearce for a nice catch goal 9-6. The creatures of the Northwoods can sense fear, and smell blood. Colorado was reeling and matching the intensity on the field. They began faceguarding the Wisconsin throwers, locking down players and getting way more physical. Dan Heijmen got a D in the open field and as Wisconsin worked the disc around, Colorado was getting all up in Muffin’s face in the backfield. Muffin decided to go ahead and set up his deep game, maneuvering the defender into no man’s land before S cutting into the end zone as Heijmen places a perfect flick to space as Wisconsin broke to 10-6 and spiked the disc! Muffin was clearly powered up now, and put in one more break to stretchy roommate Andrew Mahowald who was debuting for semifinals for the 11-6 lead. Mamabird, completely dismayed, puts it together and scores 2 in a row for an 11-8 game. However, Wisconsin trades out to win 15-11. Other very notable plays were a Dan Schmit instinctual layout D in the backfield to keep the O on track as well as the funniest observer-player interaction I have ever seen. Beau is going deep and Jolian throws a pretty huge looping huck for Beau to sky. However, Rebholz’s poaches from the breakside and beats Beau to the spot. At this point, Rebholz launches his body into a Hodag Tomahawk Missile set to sandwich mode as Beau was to be the crème of the Oreo sandwich . However, the contact does not allow Beau to get off the ground and after a lengthy discussion, the observer rules that the disc was uncatchable and the contact was negligible so – no foul. Jolian, upon hearing that the disc was ruled as non-catchable, snapped his shit and freaked out, “UNCATCHABLE!? Uncatchable?! Do you know who that is?!? He could have caught that with his fucking teeth!” It takes several minutes for play to resume for Wisconsin players were laughing uncontrollably on the field. The observer wanted to hide in a cave momentarily, but the guilty smile of Jolian let everyone know that clearly, Sir Longshanks can catch any disc at any height, with his teeth. One more play should be rehashed, for Martin can launch his body close to 12 yards about 4 feet in the air. It is a freakish display of athleticism and very scary for any cutter trying to catch the disc as Martin almost D's Dan on this end zone catch. Anyway, it was fun to play Colorado and we were hyped to finally get a chance to nail Florida for Vegas.
However, Carleton did something unexpected. It seems like most teams cannot and do not play the style that Florida likes and that is why most teams do not play well against them. However, Carleton is an awesome ultimate team and is able to adjust to whatever other teams give them. Thus with some crafty planning and dominant performance, they beat Florida in quarters 12-10 by attacking Kurt on defense. Poaching against teams who can throw the disc is a mistake, as CUT has already taken out the likes of Colorado and Florida this year. However, CUT went down to Stanford in semifinals which landed Stanford against Wisconsin for Centex Finals 2007.
Sick, we made it to finals. This is a familiar place. However, Wisconsin was the defending champion and was the current owner of the tournament. We were going to win and we knew it. The Hodags were going to put a final statement on our spring preseason and prove that even without practicing with any regularity that Wisconsin can still dominate on the field. We were going to prove it with our legs, with our lungs, with our hearts, and with all the work we have put in on the track and in the weight room.
Anyway, Stanford started the game with more energy and toughness than the Hodags as they proceeded to throw the whole kitchen at Wisco in the first half. Their intensity, game plan and strategy on the field had Wisconsin playing pretty poorly. Stanford was scoring easily with break mark throws and hard running, breaking Madison to start 1-0. The O-face tied the game at 1-1 and got the D line on the field. With the excitement of finals, the D line got a turn and Lokke found Gaynor for the 2-1 break. However, Stanford was up to the challenge as they scored their O and with deep pulls and hard fronting D in the wind, was able to break again for a 3-2 lead. The rest of the first half was trading as Wisconsin was down 5-6. Riley got things going as he found Tim Pearce for an awesome catch in the end zone for the 6-6 tie. The Harvard love reunion of Jack Marsh and Will Chen climaxed with a heated discussion and quick man love hug as Jack only contested the handblock. Even Florida heckled that Wisconsin got the better of the Harvard graduate students – as Air Jordan Jack Darsh sticks out his tongue. It was all fun and games until Stanford got ridiculous. I think Will Chen gets a break to Cahill who throws a flick deep that hovers with both Andrew and Heijmen closing. The disc was almost D’d by both Hodags, but the final inside-out cut let a Stanford cutter sky the pile in a very aggressive and
potentially dangerous play… but it was sick as Stanford leads 7-6. The O-face could not convert immediately but had pushed Stanford back to their goal line. On a poach in the backfield, Rebholz
stole the swing pass for a Callahan, getting Wisconsin pumped up as Rebholz freestyled the spike with a little ghostriding. It was now universe D point line to try to steal half. The excitement of a sick play got Wisconsin going as they got a turn and worked it around until Heijmen found Foster in the end zone for the break to take half 8-7. That was a momentum changer. In the halftime huddles, it was clear the differences between Wisconsin and Stanford. Stanford’s huddle and coach was urging his players not to be satisfied with finals. Leader Dan Heijmen was in the middle of the Wisconsin huddle urging his players to get more pumped up and excited to dominate in the second half. At first, the Hodags resolved that we had played bad, almost terrible, but we were still winning the game. For how dominant Stanford started and how much they played out of their minds, they could still not take half. Wisconsin was not satisfied with finals, Wisconsin was not satisified with anything. When the Hodags frenzied into excitement the challenge was issued. We have more to give. We can play better, we can destroy this team. The sense was in the air and Heijmen was screaming words of encouragement in the huddle. The Hodags screamed their war cry until even Sparta was intimidated. As “Hodag Love” cheer rang out and the D line players walked to the line one spectator shouts, “Yeah Wisconsin, get more angry.” That was perfect because Wisconsin was getting crazy and psyched to will themselves to victory. Even the crowd could sense the momentum changing and how Wisconsin was going to run away with this game and tournament. Wisconsin broke twice out of half on the back of Shane Hohenstein, throwing goals to Gaynor and catching one deep from Heijmen 10-7. The Hodags freaked out and forced Bloodthristy to call a timeout. However, Stanford responded by scoring 2 goals to make it 10-9. However, Animal and Riley kept it chilly and punched in a goal for the 11-9 lead. The D line crushed and broke all the way to 14-9 and should have finished the game right there. However, this just gave Jack Marsh another opportunity to get a sick run through D and have Rebholz windmill stick the macked D. Heijmen had already planted too many daggers as hammers and on the last point, Foster made a sick layout catch on the goal line before finding Tim Pearce for fist pumping tournament winning goal 15-11.
It was awesome that Wisconsin went 8-0 and repeated as Centex Champions with many players injured and without some of our top players. It took heart, guts, desire, and mental toughness to win and it is still clear that Wisconsin wants to win more than any other team at this point. To be able to turn on the intensity and go on defensive runs was really the key to destroying and punishing teams. A Golden Skull Trophy …boo ya baby! Hodag Love.