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All-Region 2018: Great Lakes (D-I Men's)

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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.

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Not gonna mention everyone of note in the region just people I have matched up against or played with.

Kyle Rutledge- Dude is quick and clearly ain’t no scrub. You push him out of the handler space he will make some noise downfield. I matched up on him at sectionals and regionals and he was my hardest matchup of each tournament.

Beatle- Dude has throws. hucks breaks you name it and some of the prettiest bids in the region. Despite not being the tallest guy on the field he is big. Also is a really nice guy.

Jeff Holmes- This guy is a huge part of NUT’s offense. Tall guy with some smooth throws. Seems to have everything you want out of an oline cutter. Also seems like a dude you could just kick it with. Surprised he is not mentioned more.

Jay - Also surprised no one is talking about this guy. He is insanely speedy and has good bids. Def deserves some recognition.

Joe Byerly- Purdue player captain. Have not seen him play this year due to injury I believe, but guy definitly deserves a shoutout. He has arguably the best throws in the region, (definitely best in wind) is a work horse and large enough to be dominate downfield. Also, words cannot descibe how much I respect the fact that even though he could not play he was always with his team. At huck finn I saw him on the sideline in miserable conditions cheering and I assume coaching and Regionals he was there too. Major props to this guy. If he was not injured could be in conversation fo POTY.

Josh Deeman- (I’m talking about the guy that got injured in the finals of sectionals). Seemed to be their most dominate force downfield, had great speed and cutting shapes. Also very nice guy from what I can tell.

Ben sabourin (Number 2 on ILL): Wore a orange headband. Seems like a good player, solid throws.

Jeff Zhao-
Whenever he has the disc in his hands he is a threat and everyone is viable. He has some of the prettiest bids in the region, and has the speed of Mercury and wisdom of solomon. He is also an amazing human being and the captain we needed. His pulls are amazing, and Very few people have been able to stop him from going up line when he wants it. This guy is the whole package. Can’t imagine why someone would want to egregiously foul him when the disc is on the ground.

Judah- Judah, Judah, Judah. Started playing ultimate as scrub, someone on the passenger side of their best friends ride and not getting no love from me. Now he’s driving. One of the best players in the region, possibly the best handler defender, great sense of the field and insanely crafty thrower in small spaces and has some BIG throws. Insane stamina, great work ethic and anyone who plays him knows he has a huge impact on whatever game he is in.

Jeff “Wets” Weis-
“literally unguardable” “The most dominate person on the field” True and true. Every game I’ve played with him this year I haven’t seen anyone that can contain this guy. On jump balls w/ wets I either get surprised or it’s Uchicago’s disc and we ran out of surprises a long time ago. Dude also has a pretty good flick inside and out. Respect to all other players, but I firmly believe Jeff “Wets” Weis is the best in the region. Quite frankly I can’t think of anything scarier then playing a team have Wetses, they would win nationals.

Now Gotta give some shoutouts to my bois, #squad. I don’t think everyone listed here should get an all region nod but these guys do deserve recognition.

Kenneth Debbacker - The fact that people in the region do not know his name is a shame. Ken is a goddamn champ, most likely to bid in any game and also most likely to get the D. Guy Can read Frisbees like no one’s bussiness and has some of the best closing speed I’ve ever seen. Ken is what any coach wants when they need a turn. Just sheer power. https://media.giphy.com/media/t8LoTPs4Fs24S4W6NR/giphy.gif

Milan Rivas - Above I said Joe had the best throws in the regoin if anyone is going to give this guy a run for his money it is Milan. Not only does he have the best flick huck on uchicago (it is a canon upwind) but also has something more rare from a handler w/ his arsenal: restraint. He is the most consistent player I’ve ever played with. Milan is the corner stone of whatever line he is on. Might not get all region nod this year but next year I’ll bet anything people gonna dread seeing him on the field.

David Ran- Best hammer fakes in the region hands down. Also, a workhorse with an never ending engine and a great teammate. It’s been a great time playing with this guy.

shit forgot the most important part, to dab up the best coach I ever had. Due to bureaucratic issues I don’t think Zub is eligible for COTY but words cannot describe the sheer brilliance of this man or what he has done for this program. All I am going to say about Zubair Abdulla has all been said before from different players/coaches/almns but how can I not say it after all he has done for me and my school? Zubair is uchicago ultimate. Every year he draws on from a dismal tiny pool of 5,000 undergrads most of whom have no frisbee experience and to be honest, uchicago is not known for its athletic student body so not the best athletes in the game. In the past 5 or 6 years there have only been 2 uchicago students on the freshmen all region team yet zubair produces players to go on to play with machine and/or wildfire every year for the best 5 years (maybe more). When he first came and took his fifth year with junk they did not qualify for regionals, this year Junk won sectionals and beat arguably the best team in region first game on Sunday. He put in work and made uchicago a real program. He is someone that deserves respect and admiration and I am truly thankful I was able to be coached by Zubair Abdulla for the past three years.


I am David Hoffman, Coach of Notre Dame Papal Rage.

Congrats to Northwestern! I can’t speak enough to how well Kyle Rutledge played in our game but it wasn’t just a one man show. The Northwestern team is good from top to bottom. Very impressed with this team and wish them the best of luck in Milwaukee.

Ok here is my All Region Team

Luke “Beetle” Brennan (Notre Dame) - The Man from Notre Dame that can do it all. Was so proud of how well Beetle played at regionals and it has been a pleasure coaching Beetle these last 4 years.
Stephen “Babs” Babcock (Notre Dame) - Babs is a leader on the O line for us and is one of the most efficient players I have ever had the privilege of coaching.
Kyle Rutledge (Northwestern) - Kyle is definitely a guy that can do it all. What impressed me most about Kyle in our finals game was how calm and confident he played. That is what any coach wants in a leader. Northwestern played confident as a team the entire game and I saw it was because of their leader Kyle.
Jeff Weis (Chicago) - Just one of those dominant players that everyone wants on their team. An athlete that can match up with any teams best player and is still always open.
Judah Newman (Chicago) - This guy has to be the best thrower in the region. So dangerous with the disc in his hand. His vision with the disc is fantastic.
Jack Shanahan (Illinois State) - An all around player and great leader. His team looks up to him and Jack seems to thrive in big situations.
Jake Steslicki (Michigan) - Another big thrower that plays with so much confidence. Dangerous with the disc but also has some amazing vision on both offense and defense.
Daniel Lee (Michigan) - Big time playmaker. Dangerous in the air, lights out defender and gets open at will. Another great leader for Magnum

Yea I know that is 8 guys. I can’t take one off that list. These 8 guys that I have seen these past few years are just leaders. When their team needs the big play they look to these leaders on their team and these guys just deliver time and again. They are all just fun to watch.

2nd Team All Region
Collin Klenke (Notre Dame) - Klenke and Beetle were my freshman the first year I coached Papal Rage. To see what Klenke grew into as a leader on and off the field this year was amazing too me. Lights out D and led our D line all season! You knew he was going to do big things for Notre Dame Ultimate when he created the “Crab People” cheer (Auburn thinks they started) his freshman year! Such a joy to have on your team and many of our young players consistently talk about how watching Klenke on defense pumps them up to play harder. That is a great leader!
Connor Buckley (Notre Dame) - Buckley dislocated his shoulder on the Thursday practice before regionals. He laughed at the doctor when Doc said 3 weeks in a sling. He played a few points on Saturday to test it out and played as normal on Sunday. It probably hurt but he didn’t show it one bit and played fantastic for us all weekend.
Colin MacGregor (Notre Dame) - MacGregor was a do-it-all cutter for us this year and kept the offense moving. He was also was great in the air for us. MacGregor seemed to always get open even against the best defenders.
Jeff Zhao (Chicago)
Jeremy Burril (Illinois State)
Nathan Shapiro (Michigan)
Jeff Holmes (Northwestern)
Josh Deeman (Illinois)
Lowell Knight (Purdue)

Yea and that’s 9. Too many good players!

Shoutout to MSU and Indiana on their great seasons. Michigan State with their upset of Michigan at conferences and Indiana with their Quarterfinals fight against us. Two teams that have shown a ton of growth, are young, and the region should look out for these two teams in the near future.

Coach of the year: Kevin Yngve (Northwestern)
It has been a pleasure coaching in a region that is loaded with great coaches. Zubair Abdulla from Chicago, Tyler Kinley from Michigan, and Dan Donovan from Michigan State all could be in this conversation for COTY. This year though, I think it has to be Kevin from Northwestern. The man has built a program at Northwestern that has its stars but is more of that faceless army you fear. The entire team is fundamentally sound. The sidelines are engaged and helping. He does a good job at making in game changes. His players play without fear in big situations. That comes with preparation and Northwestern was well prepared because of Kevin.

A close second would be Zubair Abdulla. It amazes me how well that Chicago team has played these last couple years from a smaller school. I thought I had it rough with a smaller Notre Dame school. Zubair coached Chicago in 2015 to 12th, 2016 to 6th, 2017 to 2nd, and 2018 to 4th. That is growth and consistency. Impressive!

Great Lakes, Great Times!

Good luck to Northwestern in Milwaukee!


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Seems like everyone has a good idea about who the top players in the region are. I just wanna echo the support for Kyle, Shanny, D Lee, Beetle, Judah, and Wets for first team - Wets should be POTY imo - before talking a bit about the UChicago guys you probably don’t know too much about.

Jason Vallee - I know his name has come up a few times but I want to emphasize how crucial to our success Jason was this season. He’s an excellent defender, has a great mark, and can sky pretty much anyone. He has by far the best backhand break in the region as well - even when you know it’s coming, he will break you. At sectionals, he singlehandedly got us our first break against NUT by handblocking Kyle on their own goal line and then breaking him around for a score (sorry Kyle). He is the heart and soul of our D line, which broke Michigan 7 times. More than all that, Jason is also a top-notch human being. His only downsides are his love for Buffy the Vampire Slayer and his hatred of fruit.

Ken DeBacker is easily our top D generator. He’s good for one or two layout D’s per game, and on a turn, you can throw the disc as far as you can and trust that he’ll chase it down. He absolutely owned his matchup against Michigan, earning 3 D’s and 3 goals, including the insane bookends that Jason posted in GIF form above. It’s a shame that Ken isn’t more well-known because he is truly one of the best and most athletic defenders in the region.

Having Milan Rivas on our team was a blessing in many ways, not least of which was his ability to fill a multitude of roles. At the start of the season, we weren’t sure where we should play him, so we experimented with him cutting on O line and handling on D line and vice-versa, before finally settling on “play every point you can” - he played 19 out of the 24 points in our win against Michigan. His flick huck might be the best in the region and he has incredible composure with the disc. He’s only a sophomore, too, so he will be one of the top players in the Great Lakes over the next couple years.

Here are some freshmen of ours that deserve to be in the conversation for all-freshmen:

  • Alex Jeon is the most polished rookie we’ve ever had arrive at this program. He’s extremely fast and explosive, plays incredible handler defense, has excellent throws, and is a very knowledgeable player.

  • Alan Countess was an O line cutter for us this season - confident with the disc, great throws, makes great cuts, plays solid defense, has phenomenal instincts. This guy is gonna be one of the best players in the region soon.

  • Kaden Han - tenacious defender, huge flick, real Texan sweetheart.

Lastly, Zubair should be COTY. All due respect to Yngve for leading NUT to natties, but UChicago would be fucking trash without Zubair.


Alan Kingston - (Fr.) solid O line player who can shoulder a lot of responsibility
Alex Jeon - (Fr.) guarded top handlers and cutters, relentless energy on O and D
Milan Rivas - (Soph.) most consistent deep thrower on Uchicago, fiery and gutsy
David Ran - (Senior) Dline cutter who showed up big against nut and magnum, amazing personality and humor, A+ teammate
Ken DeBacker - (Senior) Somehow still an unknown player. Ken got about 3 D’s on unders against Magnum and bookends for the game, amongst other heroics. Ken stopped celebrating his layout Ds and catches around the middle of his second year, but the rest of us didn’t. He is an incredibly humble, level-headed player who always seems to get overlooked by opponents, but insists on talking with his play rather than his mouth
Zubair - (Coach) great at strategy implementation, in-game adaptations, and huddle talk, Zubair is a true leader on the field. He is an ambassador of spirit (one time nationals spirit award winner, and he won’t let us forget) and teaches us how to come together as “best friends,” which was a motto he brought to the team. Zubair is also a guide in the path of improvement, turning a bunch of Uchicago nerds into serious contenders in college, club, and AUDL

All Region Candidates in Order, from my experience (did not see MSU, Indiana, Notre Dame)

Kyle Rutledge (Poty) - NUT
Beetle - Papal Rage
Daniel Lee - Magnum
Judah Newman - Junk
Jeff Zhao - Junk
Jack Shanahan - Gnomes
Jake Steslicki - Magnum
Ben Sabourin - Illini
Jeff Holm - NUT
Jeremy Burrill - Gnomes
Ken Debacker - Junk
Jason Vallee - Junk
Jay Valdillez - NUT
Max Moore - NUT
Josh Deeman - (injured at regionals) Illini
There should at least be another Notre Dame guy in here, heard good things about Babcock from Beetle and the coach

Yngve and Zubair would be my COTR picks, I think y’all know where my vote lies

Hi, my name is Ben and I play for Illinois.

I believe the following individuals from teams I have played deserve some recognition:

Jeff Weis, Judah, Jeff Zhao, Jack Shanahan, Jeremy Burril, Cal Tornabene, Kyle Rutledge, Jeff Holm, Jay Valdillez, Jerry Kelly, Michael Armstrong.
(why all the Js…?)

All have well rounded games and play with intelligence and consistence.
From what I can tell most of them are nice people too, which may or may not be important to you.

Based on my experiences this season, Jeff Weis is the best player in the region.

There are certainly people who deserve recognition from other teams, but i won’t comment on those I haven’t played against; previous posts do so with more accuracy.

I love all my teammates equally, but some are better at frisbee than most.
(this is the part you skip if you’re not on Illinois)
Kevin Lin throws the disc nicely, as does Cameron Hartman. Josh Deeman cuts nicely, as do Jacob Cuthbert and Frank Dore. Drake Hill and John Kulikowski play great defense, are very fast, and turn my bad throws (hucks) into catches; Walter Jaskowiak does this too, but isn’t quite as fast. Grant Whitman is the best at catching pulls, swinging, and glue.
Reid Martin, Anthony Ruzzo, and Asa Bowen are standout freshmen.
Reid Martin is the best freshman in the region.

Daniel McDonald (Dr. McDonald to you) was too busy making a calculator to create a USAU account, so he can’t be the COTR. He’s pretty good though.
Instead, I’ll be voting for either Yngve or Zubair. Haven’t made up my mind yet.
(Also, shoutout to Badger for his work with Boomland and building the Illinois program generally)

Sorry I probably haven’t contributed much new here, but this is all about egos anyways and it’s nice to read your name again.