Hi NUT captain here. This post was written with help from co-captains Jay Valdillez and Matthew Niemer. I’ll keep this as short as possible because most of what I’m saying has already been said before.
UChicago: A fresh UChicago can keep up with anyone in the country due to the dominant play from Jeff Zhao, Judah Newman, and Jeff Weis. Wets is the top cutter in the region and definitely should be considered for POTR. Jeff Zhao also had the best pulls I’ve seen all year at regionals Jason Vallee certainly deserves more recognition than he’s getting and is an excellent defender. Also shoutout to Zubair Abdulla for his work building the Chicago program.
Notre Dame: Luke Brennan (Beetle) is one of the best players in the region and should also be in the running for POTR. He’s a great athlete, plays intelligently on both offense and defense, and has an incredible spirit and energy. Connor Buckley and Colin MacGregor are both dangerous cutters and aggressive defenders that caused us a lot of trouble when we played them. I didn’t know him before, but Stephen Babcock played very well against us and deserves recognition. Finally Collin Klenke deserves a shoutout as a rock-solid defender and D-line handler. Dan Hoffman has done amazing work keeping ND consistently at the top of the Great Lakes for the past few years.
Illinois State: It’s really hard to single out just a few individuals but I’d like to shoutout Jeremy Burrill, Cal Tornabene, Cam Powers, Ricky Ramirez, and all 3 freshmen that ISU players have suggested. Blake Seegers in particular guarded me a lot and is a really good defender. Jack Shanahan should easily be first team and considered for POTR as one of the best athletes and most well-rounded players in the GL. Echoing Karl, his role coaching ISU while also playing and captaining is very impressive.
Michigan State: Dex Dremann is very good and should probably win FOTY
Grand Valley State: Mark Whitton and Justin Perticone are both very talented players
Purdue: Lowell Knight stuck out as a consistent handler and playmaker on offense and defense.
Michigan: Somehow we didn’t see them this year but I trust the hype about both Jake Steslicki and Daniel Lee
Illinois: Josh Deeman and Jacob Cuthbert are great cutters, Kevin Lin is a dangerous thrower, and Ben Sabourin is a devastating defender (and puller). They have a few freshmen (Reid and Anthony) that should be on the all-freshmen team.
Unfortunately didn’t get to see Indiana or Kentucky this year.
From NUT, first and foremost Kevin Yngve should win COTY. Adding to what Rozo said, he’s brought an elevated level or work ethic and intensity to our team. His work developing the entire roster throughout the year has really paid off for us. Since the beginning of last summer, he’s worked tirelessly working in the background to shape this team and its strategy. He keeps us engaged in the moment and while keeping the future in mind. He sacrifices most of his personal time to be with us and provides an insane amount of individual feedback to everyone on the team. Many of our players began on our B-team a few year ago where Kevin laid the groundwork for future success. He’s a very positive person and a friend to everyone on the team, investing in each one of us both as players and as people.
I feel very strongly that our success this year is due to important contributions from the entire roster, as evidenced by many others calling us a “faceless army” and not knowing many of our names. But I really do need to praise my teammates for their commitment and performance this year:
Jay Valdillez, Christian Rozolis, and Josh Venegas are all extremely athletic players that consistently generate blocks on good players and get open all over the field on offense.
Jeff Holm and Max Moore are two of the best cutters in the region who create huge windows for our throwers. Jeff is an underrated thrower, but we haven’t seen as much of that due to injury. When he’s healthy, he’s shown he can anchor an offensive unit on top of his downfield cutting abilities.
Matthew Niemer has always been a great handler defender with incredible layouts who has improved his game to be a powerful, reliable handler who doesn’t turn the disc.
All four of our freshmen mentioned by Yngve have had big contributions this year, but I want to especially highlight Nathan Graber-Lipperman for his defensive work and throwing capabilities.