Who are the best players in the Southwest region? This is an open thread to discuss All-Region nominations, All-Freshman nominations, coaching awards, and more. Stay positive and keep it civil.
There are a lot of talented players all over the region, but honestly, one stands above all else. Jaykumar “Callahan” Kesavan has been an unstoppable force for Las Positas College all season. His incredible consistency and uncanny knack to find the endzone has helped lead LPC to high placings at all their tournament, including a first place finish. In the finals at Silicon Valley Rally, Jay (whom we call Cal) showed up at halftime due to some business he had to take care of (probably a Revolver tryout he attended just so he could show the plebs his godlike skills) of the finals and could not be stopped. His skies and layouts are something to behold, and his teammates praise him as being better than our coach, Marcelo Sanchez. Clearly player of the region
Players to consider from Stanford. Yes, I’m biased.
Sam Kunz (3). Your quintessential “that guy hasn’t graduated yet?” player. (Oh wait.) A 5th-year player and former captain with all the savvy you could ever want (USAU ID 100k club!), every throw in the book, and a layout D always hidden up his sleeve. An absolute rock for the team.
Alvin Kim (74). You would think that now that he’s a 5th year and former captain, people would learn that you’re a fool to overlook Alvin. No worries, he’ll get a few blocks on handler defense, beat everyone down the field, and remind you that his box is actually about the width of the field on any skyball. He’s been a D-line stalwart for the last 4 years - it’d be a crime to overlook him when it comes to the regional awards.
Allan Ndovu (1). Who’s your best player? Go ahead and forget about them, Allan’s gotten the defensive matchup and we’ll check in on your star in the end-of-game high five line. A member of the #rookiedynasty, he’s figured out that it works better when you use your hands to catch and is pretty much unstoppable as a cutter, after he gets his n-th block when you forgot that your star isn’t getting the disc.
Drew Mathieson (4). How many limbs? Well, apparently he only needs 2 to dominate. This unstoppable iso cutter will beat you deep if you force him out or bomb a goal to Mike (more on him later) if you let him come under. Watch out - he’s gonna be fully healthy in Milwaukee.
Mike Becich (28). He’s 6’5", a national collegiate club track champion, and someone decided to teach him to read a disc. Is it a bit boring to run the #becichoffense? Only if you don’t like seeing effortless destruction in the air.
Nick Hirning (33). Sometimes when you watch him play, you swear he’s not trying but then you realize that he’s skying everyone, running faster than everyone, using his go-go-gadget-arms just when you thought that dump pass was open, and you may as well not even try to mark him. This " 5’10" " handler is an impossible matchup.
Other guys you might consider:
- Kevin Tien (24), an O-line cutter from day 1 of his freshman year who’s really started to flex his athleticism on defense, too. #MVl33ch
- Ri Chen (0), absolutely coming alive as a lock-down defender
- Max Melin (88), the biggest mark around
- Spencer Hodson (7), this former BYU captain fits literally any role he’s asked to fill and you’d better believe he’s gonna make a play
- Sergio Licon (16), handlers beware, you’re not gonna shake him
- David Mondry (22), many teams, he’d be the main central handler already
Finally: Ryan Thompson deserves recognition for Coach of the Year. He’s a huge part of the consistency of the Stanford development - 8/13 of the guys I’ve listed up never touched a frisbee before they met Ryan. And he’s fantastic about planning not only practices but working with each year’s team to set goals and values that match that group, and then planning the entire year accordingly.
Gonna start off with people on the Stanford team who I think 100% deserve first or second team all-region.
Gabriel Hernandez #23. I don’t think I need to say anything because he’s a clear lock for player of the region. Peep his callahan vid if you haven’t: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g2ta4C2PzOE&t
Nick Hirning #33. He’s unstoppable in the air and has incredible break throws. Oftentimes our d-line offense is just relying on him and Gabe to do dominator all the way down the field.
Sam Kunz #3. Has developed into a great handler and we rely on his hucks to help stretch the field. Defensively he’ll pull out massive bids or big skies as well.
Allan Ndovu #1. Allan shuts down every team’s best player and does so with monstrous layouts. He’s really improved though on the offensive side, becoming a great deep threat and being able to do damage with his throws.
Drew Mathieson #4. Our primary o-line cutter, he can either grind unders and bomb flick hucks deep or outrun/outjump people for goals. More importantly, has greatly improved his defense so that he’s either getting handblocks or poaches on the turn so that our o-line doesn’t get broken.
Kevin Tien #24. Only a sophomore but an o-line cutting stalwart, he really developed his throws so that he can hit nice continues. Has improved his defense to the point that he crossovers to d-line on important points, and usually plays the 3rd amount of points behind Gabe and Nick. He deserves extra recognition for a phenomenal regionals where he was easily one of our most impactful players. Watch him get 4 layout d’s in finals for proof.
Here are some people from other teams who I think also deserve recognition. I also respect these players for being fair competitors and generally fun to play against.
Ian Sweeney #33. Tall lefty handler. Can really boost it to his athletic cutters and also is great in the air.
Caleb Merriam #21. Center handler, has very precise throws. Very impressed with his defense on a turn.
Dillon Whited #8. Super athletic cutter that can outjump almost anyone.
Sam Cook. He can comfortably play either the main handler role throwing hucks and breaks or he can go downfield and come up with some pretty crazy grabs.
Taz #23?. Don’t know his actual name but this guy is a workhorse cutter and really drives Scab’s offense downfield. Also shows great spirit.
Tolfa. Davis’ clear go to guy, he does a lot for their offense and also takes tough matchups on defense.
Ben Chiu #10. Cal’s center handler who has great hucks and hammers. He’s a huge focal point of their offense and is also quite athletic and plays great defense.
Ashwin Vaidyanathan #17. This dude’s quick af and has really good give-go’s and fast throws. Uses his speed very well on defense as well.
Gavi “Tana” Gelbart. Pretty unstoppable in the air for LPC but can also play handler and throw great hucks.
“Tako”. Their Callahan nominee. We only played them at Sean Ryan but he was a beast, crazy layouts and speed and also had super pinpoint hucks that were hard to stop. Definitely deserves recognition.
I also wanted to give a huge shoutout to the entire North Arizona team. They were our loudest supporters during finals of regionals and in general super fun/chill people. They embody the spirit of ultimate perfectly.
Reflecting on Regionals in the Semi’s/Finals, these are the guys who really stood out to me.
Sam Kunz: Leads the o-line for Stanford, brings tons of experience and pinpoint flick hucks. On the turn, plays lock down defense and has some of the best layouts you’ll ever see from a 6’5" handler.
Dillon #8: Crazy athletic, his sky in the finals over a pile of 8 guys was absurd. Plays deep in SLO’s zone and is the primary cutter on offense/after a turn.
Sean #20: Another guy who is simply more athletic than everyone on the field. Plays lockdown defense and embodies SLO’s reputation as playmakers.
Sam Cook #8 was absolutely dominant in the Semi’s of Regionals, either piloting the team from the handler position or taking advantage of matchups to take guys deep. He must have assisted or scored ~80% of USC goals. Also watched some of the quarterfinal against Arizona, and Sam was going every other to grind through the Arizona zone every point.
Maybe #23 as mentioned above? Someone can comment if they know who I’m talking about. Great layouts on defense, wears gloves, is super solid with the disc, and is very dangerous as an iso cutter.
#23 for SCAB is Ryan Messersmith. Dude is an all around baller and has great spirit too
1st Team All-Region
Gabe Hernandez (Stanford #23)- POTY. Complete player and the best player in the SW
Nick Hirning (Stanford #33)- Outstanding breaks, dominant in the air.
Dillon Whited (Cal Poly #8)- Elite defender, now with a great offensive game to match
Sean Liston (Cal Poly #20)- Incredible defender, driving cutter on a turn
Sam Cook (USC #2)- The motor for SC. Makes plays throwing and receiving
David Sealand (USC #29)- Athletic receiver, dynamic defender
Kieran Bates (UCSB #32)- Stepped up big as an all-around player to fill in for Alec
2nd Team All-Region
Caleb Merriam (Cal Poly #21)- Center handler for SLO with breaks for days
Ian Sweeney (Cal Poly #33)- Dominant mark, huge throws on a turn
Drew Mathieson (Stanford #4)- Workhorse cutter that has made great progress as a thrower
Ryan Messersmith (Santa Clara #23)- Driving cutter for the team that finished 3rd
Wyatt Paul (USC #4)- Such a pain. Tall, fast, and now more of a threat with the disc.
Elliot Davis (Cal #9)- The tall lefty guy. Great hucks/breaks, athletic playmaker
Ben Chiu (Cal #10)- Outstanding thrower, uncanny edge control. Throws receivers open everywhere
Johnny Bridges (ASU #3)- Best player on ASU, impressive arsenal of creative throws
Ryan Takoyama (Reno #3)- Best player on Reno, good D and solid throws
Kevin Tien (Stanford #24)- Only a sophomore but already primary cutter, solid thrower, and playing strong D
Allan Ndovu (Stanford #1)- Developed into a top shelf defender. Run through blocks primary cutters
Sam Kunz (Stanford #3)- Solid handler with reliable breaks. Doesn’t make many mistakes.
Alec Kupelian (UCSB #12)- Hurt partway through the season but a top notch defender for Tide
Nick Tolfa (Davis #??)- I don’t know his number off hand, but I know Tolfa is good.
Conor Schofield (Cal Poly #19)- Primary O-line cutter for SLO with the full set of throws and great D on a turn
I don’t know many freshmen on other teams but I can tell you that both Sam Wedegaertner (Cal Poly #31) and Keaton Bates (Cal Poly #42) each played 9 points in the game to go for SLO. Sam starts on the O-line and Keaton starts on the D-line. I’m confident that they are among the top 7 freshmen in the SW and would give Keaton FOTY because the boy gets buckets (and by that I mean layout Ds)
Stanford player here, I think these guys from our team are 100% All-Region players:
Gabe Hernandez: POTY, no doubt about it. Plays almost every point of every big game, makes every big play, deservingly our undisputed leader.
Nick Hirning: Commands the offense with unmatched reliability. Unstoppable in the air, always open for resets, almost never makes mistakes.
Drew Mathieson: Our main cutter all year, has been unguardable in iso situations, often takes top opposing cutter when he crosses over to D
Mike Becich: Top goal scorer for us this year, an automatic goal if you put it to him. Also drives our energy every single tournament with his speakers, face paint, and savagery. Deserves more recognition than he gets.
Allan Ndovu: Shuts down the other team’s top defender every single game, and is a primary cutter that either skies people for breaks or opens up tons of field space every time he goes deep.
From other teams, these people stand out:
SLO: Ian Sweeney, Dillon Whited, Sean Liston, Conor Schofield–agree with everything said about the first three. Conor is another guy who’s super quick and athletic. Played his heart out in the finals while being guarded by Gabe, and deserves recognition IMO. Only a sophomore!
SCAB: #23 (Ryan Messersmith?)–this dude is legit. Quick cutter with great throws, burned us deep like 5 times in their preseason tournament, always their main guy whenever he’s playing. Great spirit too!
Cal: Ben Chiu–awesome throws, skies some people too. Another guy that represents his team’s spirit well
Davis: Nick Tolfa–main cutter, seems to take on hardest D matchups
USC: Sam Cook–almost singlehandedly beat us. Has monster throws and is nice in the air too
Reno: Ryan Takayama–super athletic and great thrower from what I saw when we played them at Sean Ryan
Sam Masling: zone shredding handler, savvy throws, quick reset cuts
Ryan Ressmeyer: Seattle product, dominant in the air, great continue throws
JC Meave: absolutely electric defender who led our team in Ds at Sectionals. Future co-Callahan nominee
Nico Rodriguez: layout machine. Reliable cutter on offense who goes 100% for the disc all the time
Hey everyone, this is Gabe and below are the players that stood out to me this year (DISCLAIMER: these names come from my own experience playing these teams. I know there are some dope players out there who fly under the radar… #sad)
TOP SHELF (Definite 1st team):
- Nick Hirning (Stanford): Dominant O-line handler, gets open at will, has all the throws you would want in a quarterback. Rarely loses a jump ball.
- Dillon Whited (SLO): Dominant cutter in my mind. Quickness, speed, and hops for days. Also a great defender. Top it off with great spirit. Easily my favorite opposing player.
- Sean Liston (SLO): Athletic specimen. Sucks his shoulder is hurt. Amazing how he still balls out and comes in clutch for slocore.
- Sam Cook (USC): Knew him only by name last year, and after playing against him a couple times this year, I can confirm he is good at frisbee and USC’s go-to guy. Keep it up homie.
NEXT TIER (all of these could be slotted into 1st or 2nd team or honorable mention depending on the argument):
- Mike Becich (Stanford): Led Stanford in plus-minus and goals scored all year and at Regionals. 6’5" offensive machine that comes down with almost everything.
- Sam Kunz (Stanford): Best hucker in the SW. Great defender. Sick breaks throws.
- Allan Ndovu (Stanford): Beast defender who frequently shuts down top cutters in the country.
- Drew Mathieson (Stanford): Workhorse cutter with great throws. Limited by injury at Regionals.
- Kevin Tien (Stanford): Has been a dominant cutter since freshman year, but this year he’s added a variety of sick break throws and is a rising defender. Keep your eye on this one next year.
- Ian Sweeney (SLO): Tall lefty. Big mark and bigger throws.
- Conor Schofield (SLO): This dude made me fall in the Regional Final while guarding him lmao. Sidelines were like “oohhhhhhhh shit” and I laughed to myself as I got on the mark. Gotta love it. Smart cutter with solid throws. Quick defender and capable of explosive plays.
- Caleb Merriam (SLO): Center handler. Great breaks. Crisp throws. Impressed by his defense on the turn.
- Ryan Messersmith (Santa Clara): Played against them at Sectionals twice. Solid cutter with great throws. Comes down with a lot of frisbees. Strong reason why UCSC finished 3rd this year.
- Nick Tolfa (Davis): Santa Clara got 3rd, but they only beat the Dogs by 1 point. The Dogs also knocked out Santa Barbara. Played them at Sectionals and Nick is a solid all-around player and has been big for Davis for a couple years now.
- Ben Chiu (Cal): dope throws all day long
- Ryan Takayama (Reno): I remember being impressed by this guy at Sean Ryan
- Honestly don’t know much about the rest of the teams, and the ones I do are only by face.
- I would’ve put 1 or 2 dudes from LPC on here but I don’t know which ones were eligible #rip
- Shoutout to all the other teams I don’t know much about. UCLA, UCSB, Chico, Reno, Arizona, NORTHERN ARIZONA UNIVERSITY PONDEROSO, etc. Much frisbee love <3
COACH OF THE YEAR:
- Alright, I’m going to take this time to hype up my day one coach Ryan “Pulse” Thompson. Stanford is a place where we don’t get to pick, choose, or recruit players from high school because of the low acceptance rate, which means we are stuck with a large number of players who have never thrown a frisbee in their lives (though we do get lucky sometimes). I was one of those people. The way that Ryan is able to balance the skill and experience of Seattle frisbee grandpas like Nick Hirning with frisbee n00bs like me during my freshman year is actually amazing. In just 4 years of coaching Stanford, he is a HUGE reason we have been able to make it back to Nationals for 2 years in a row after not making it for like 5 or 6. Players like (mentioned above) Allan Ndovu, Drew Mathieson, Kevin Tien, and I were all incredibly new to the sport and have learned so much from him. He is a big reason why we have been able to develop as players and as a team the past few years. Pulse for COTY!
A lot of the more well known players have already been named above so I just wanted to name one or two people from UCLA that I think are pretty deserving of consideration.
Matt Yee (3) was one of our captains, and easily the biggest impact player on the team. He’s got crazy throws, is fast, and gets a bunch of layout/run-through Ds. He anchored the o-line at Regionals and was throwing pinpoint blades and dimes even in the wind. It’s also worth mentioning that he was really sick for the entire tournament but played through it anyways at such a high level.
For all-freshman, I think Jack Brewer (21) is a solid candidate. He’s tall and has insane hops and timing - he regularly drew some the hardest matchups as teams tried to figure out how to guard him, and was easily our most consistent deep threat all year. I think someone must’ve told Stanford to watch out for him, since in our quarterfinals match against them they instantly stuck Gabe Hernandez on him for most of the points he was on - that’s got to say something about your skill as a freshman.
Yeah I would echo Matt Yee as being a big impact player. He can damage you with his throws but also is comfortable going upfield and doing work as a cutter.
Gabe Hernandez (Stanford): Lock for POTY
Sam Cook (USC): Pretty unbelievable semis performance after we lost our 2nd best player early in the 1st half. Has been amazing all year for USC, improved significantly as a thrower this year, and was 1st team all-region last year as a sophomore.
Nick Hirning (Stanford): Probably the toughest cover in the SW. Can handle if you put a big guy on him and go downfield if you put a small guy on him. At SBI he was unreal. Gabe’s performance overshadowed him a bit at regionals, but Nick was still great.
Dillon Whited (SLO): SLO was a different team when he went out with an injury in the finals. He usually doesn’t take over and just executes his role well, but he was everywhere in that finals until he went down.
Sean Liston (SLO): Consistently takes other teams #1 matchup and does a very good job on them. Throws and overall offensive game improved a lot this year.
Ian Sweeney (SLO): I don’t think he had the best regionals, but he had been amazing for their d-line offense for years now. They don’t give him much offensive firepower on D and just trust him to go every other a lot or shoot it to athletes. Underrated defender with his length.
Mikey Sylvester (USC): He was injured most of last year, but played jr worlds and has been better than Sam for stretches this year. Doesn’t have as much big play potential as Sam, but probably our most versatile player. He got injured near the end of the 1st half of Stanford and we didn’t look the same after that.
Caleb Merriam (SLO): Best breaks in the region.
Someone from Santa Clara: We played Santa Clara in the 3/4 game, but we were resting our top guys and I’m pretty sure they were too. Didn’t get a chance to see them in full force, but they probably had someone in this area if they made semis. Maybe Ryan Messersmith based on previous responses?
Matt Yee (UCLA): One of the toughest covers in the region. Extremely quick center handler with great power throws.
#88 for Arizona: Don’t know his name, but great player. Long, athletic, and improved throws this year.
David Sealand (USC): Top notch athlete. Really came into his own this year and is rounding out his game nicely.
Sam Kunz (Stanford): Great handler for Stanford and underrated defender.
Johnny Bridges (ASU): Really good handler. Doesn’t have a ton of great cutters to throw to, but still very effective.
I know UCSB and Cal played well all year and I didn’t put any of their players on this list, but thought both teams were very deep and weren’t as top heavy as other teams. That being said I thought Elliot Davis and Ben Chiu for Cal should be in the conversation for 2nd team as well as Marcelo Osborne and Bailey Wu from UCSB. Ryan Takayama was great on Polar Bears this past year as a cutter, but was forced to do a lot of handling for Reno and didn’t shine as much
Coach of the Year:
Ryan Thompson or Colin Gall. Ryan did a great job with Stanford. I thought they were pretty reliant on their top end early on in the season and he did a great job working on their depth; it showed at regionals. UCSB graduated a ton of talent last year and didn’t have that much of a drop off in Colin’s first year coaching. Really impressive coaching.
I also coach for USC with Joe (see above). Here’s my list for All Region:
Gabe Hernandez (Stanford, #23) - Player of the year for the region and a legitimate Callahan winner candidate. I watched the end of Regional finals vs SLO - super clutch as he took over to help Stanford win (basically read Ultiworld’s recap).
Nick Hirning (Stanford, #33) - Also an overall excellent player for Bloodthirsty. Big size and vertical ability made us gameplan around him a lot.
Sam Cook (USC, #2) - Our best overall player. Hucks, breaks, give-and-goes, skies, layout blocks - he did it all for us.
Sean Liston (Cal Poly SLO, #20) - Very athletic player with knack for making some insane plays, especially defensively. Took a lot of prime matchups as a defender.
Dillon Whited (Cal Poly SLO, #8) - Very good and consistent cutter for SLO. He’s perhaps one of the most fundamentally sound cutters in the region as he was a rock for SLO.
Ian Sweeney (Cal Poly SLO, #33) - SLO’s handler with monster throws. Good defender with size, and he ran SLO’s D-line with lots of success.
Garrett Hable (Arizona, #88) - Another overall great player. Played pretty much every point vs us in the quarters of Regionals and was doing everything for Zona.
Sam Kunz (Stanford, #3) - Very consistent handler for Bloodthirsty and basically anchored the Stanford backfield.
Allan Ndovu (Stanford, #1) - Athletic defender and tough to guard on a turn as well. Consistently made plays like this.
Drew Mathieson (Stanford, #4) - Very fast and one of Stanford’s most lethal cutting threats. Scored a majority of their goals in our semis game.
David Sealand (USC, #29) - Probably the most athletic guy on our team. Super fast, would bait and get blocks at will. Also one of our best deep cutting threats.
Mikey Sylvester (USC, #45) - Very reliable and fundamental player for us through the entire season. Quick and fast, could break the mark consistently, and also scored a lot in the deep game as a cutter.
Caleb Merriam (Cal Poly SLO, #21) - Super consistent and reliable handler for SLO and their O-line. Smart player and always seems to be making the right throws/plays.
Marcel Osbourne (UCSB, #42) - Very athletic and powerful cutter of UCSB. Offense ran a lot through him and he was the workhorse for them.
ASU - #3 Johnny Bridges
Cal - #2 Nick Sparago, #9 Elliot Davis, #10 Ben Chiu, #25 Tommy Lin
Cal Poly SLO - #10 Jeremy Dolezal-Ng, #19 Conor Schofield, #35 Justin Ting
Nevada-Reno - #3 Ryan Takayama, #14 Robert Eardley
Santa Clara - #23 Ryan Messersmith
Stanford - #24 Kevin Tien, #28 Mike Becich
UCSB - #11 Adonay Bahta, #88 Bailey Wu
UCLA - #3 Matthew Yee
USC - #4 Wyatt Paul
I didn’t really witness and am going off others’ testimonies: Nick Tolfa (UC Davis)
Coach of the Year
Ryan Thompson and Stanford’s coaching staff (Josh Kapilivsky, Matthias Broner) - Stanford had/is having a great season: 3rd at SBI, clutched it out at Northwest Challenge to get the (back then) 2nd bid for the SW, and won Regionals to go to Nationals. That is achieved with good coaching, player development, overall good planning to peak at the end of the season. Kudos to Bloodthirsty and good luck at Nationals!
Arizona schools are usually left off the All-Region teams since we seem to not play all the California schools as often (I’m sure Nevada can relate), so I’m here to rep all of us!
Northern Arizona (Biased):
#12 Michael Gehrke: Our captain who is always the shortest guy on the field, but will get his IO flick off every time. He will also give and go your best handler defender into submission with his quickness. On D he rarely makes mistakes and just plays smart defense overall.
#49 Tyler Liddie: Our initiation cutter most of the time to finish the season. Try to stop him from getting the disc under, you can’t. On defense, he will lock down your best handler or get a layout D if he heads down field. Also our super emotional player that loves to get us fired up. He will also be the guy to win your squad a game of Fortnite.
#0 Brad Wylam (Me): Captain that was mostly a cutter near the end of the season, but will be the one to huck the length of the field in a windy game. Led team in goals, assists, Ds, and turns at like three tournaments this spring. Not an STF All-Star. Going to Auburn next year for Grad School for some reason.
Who to look out for on the Pondos?
#8 Evan Taylor: Sophomore D line handler that will be the first to call the foul and break the ice at the beginning of the game. He’s improved so much since being our last cutter on O line last year, and will captain the team next year.
#21 Hayden Hoelkstra: Our sophomore giant deep defender. He struggled with injuries this year, but if he’s on the field, he’s getting the D on your huck. He comes down with everything. Also a captain for us next year.
#16 Dawson Peters: Rookie this year, but became a quality handler after a turn on our D line. He’s probably the fastest guy on the field and will continue to get Ds and roast your players for years to come.
#3 Johnny Bridges: Main handler for them and makes everything flow in their offense. He can hit most throws no matter how guarded the downfield guys seem. Check his Callahan video for more reasons.
They had an injury riddled season, but look for them to continue to make regionals year after year on the back of some dang good players.
#88 Garrett Hable: He does everything. It’s that simple. He will sky your best player on D and then go every other the rest of the way down the field. He’s too good of an athlete to play ultimate.
We played U of A twice this season in super windy games, so it’s hard to get a true feel on who should be here. They’re a tall, athletic team that makes you work for every point.
We are now big Stanford fanboys, but it is clear who their best player is:
#24 LEECH- He wore 22 at regionals for some reason. Apparently his real name is Kevin Tien, but Leech put the team on his back in the finals. MVLeech. He’s also incredibly nice. Came over to our huddle after our last game at regionals to thank us for cheering them on. If no one from Arizona gets on the All-Region teams, this guy better.
Just came on this forum, typed ‘Pomona’ in F3, and was pretty bummed to not see ANY mentions about players from the CPP Cows, who almost beat Santa Barbara at Regionals.
Great discussion so far; I definitely agree with a lot of the choices. Not the most structured post, but I just wanted to highlight some more players.
The best player and my callahan vote is for Gabe Hernandez.
Kevin Tien (24) really stepped up this year. He had great cuts and some awesome Ds.
Trevor Aquino (23) needs to be in the freshman of the year running. He was our team’s best handler defender, and has insane speed. He also had a crazy sky over Gabe at Sectionals.
Ben Chiu (10) is our team’s callahan nominee. As mentioned above, he has all the throws, and really drove our offense. Also has some sick Ds
Suraj Patel (00) what’s a great thrower without a great receiver? This guy is a monster in the air. We had a pull play where Suraj would just run deep and Ben would boost it to him. It worked nearly every time!
Rajiv Sambharya (26) This guy does it all. Incredible defense, awesome throws (especially scoobers), and always gets open as the king cutter.
Tako -> see all the comments above. This guy in unguardable
Gavi not only a killer deep threat, but also a master heckler
Tolfa -> see all the comments above. He has the throws and is also unstoppable deep.
Sam Cook our team’s gameplan revolved around stopping him. He has great cuts and even better hucks.
I unfortunately don’t remember much about SLO, UCSB, Santa Clara, or the Arizona schools because I only played them once.
Everybody knows about Gabe Hernandez and a lot of Stanford and SLO people are hitting this post pretty hard. So I’ll focus on others who haven’t been mentioned yet, but should absolutely be in the conversation for all-region with some of the SLO and Stanford players
Matthew Yee (#3) He is incredibly quick and has incredibly good hucks/blades etc. and preforms in windy conditions. Guarding him is a struggle
Max De Viser #99 Blonde man with absolutely fantastic athletic ability and a stalwart on skyballs and defense
Stephen Smoots “Smootie” is incredibly quick and a dominant deep cutter
Rob Horewitz (#24) Absolutely a big fish in a small pond. He does everything for them. Deep Balls, Handles in zones and drops perfect scoobers and hucks. Gets great D’s. He should absolutely be getting more recognition. He sprained his labrum before New England Open, and still played only throwing with his left hand. Against BU, he scored 9 of 10 goals only being able to raise his left arm
Josiah Reeve (#94) - Short guy with a Cincinnati Reds cap who is always cutting and burning people deep.
Daniel “Brita” Koble (#37) Center Handler. Absolutely dominant break throws. Michael Tran’s best friend. Jk, don’t vote for me. Vote for Rob or Josiah
Freshman of the Year
Josh Schroeder This is their 6’3 freshman who is absolutely unstoppable in the air. One of their go-to plays was basically send him deep if there’s a mismatch.
Noble Schlueter Very tenacious defender that sticks on handlers like glue.
Daniel Ouk - He may be short, but he does a lot for them. This team runs through Ouk.
Ryan Takayama - Everythings already been said about this guy
Raymond Lopez - Center handler with glasses. Very strong upwind thrower with good hucks and solid D.
Wyatt Paul #4 Ginger kid, right? I’m not sure why he’s being left off a lot of lists. He’s a very strong player.
Sean Liston #20 and Caleb Merriam #21 Highlight-reel playmakers and fantastic athletes. They don’t get enough credit when SLOs name gets thrown around.
Cal captain here. Late but wanted to share my thoughts:
Cal (obvious bias)
Ben Chiu #10- Commanded our offense with big hucks, hammers, breaks, and getting open at will. Athletic and intelligent defender. Our POTY and imo should be a lock for first team. Not only a great player, but the heart and leader of our team this year. Glad to see that other people are noticing him and giving him the recognition he deserves.
Rajiv Sambharya #26- Very underrated player. Stellar defender who has actually been making big plays for us on O Line, with solid cuts and great hucks. Being tall but agile allows him to be a stifling handler defender but rangy enough to get layout D’s on cutters and poaching in the lane.
Alex Pan #19- Lefty handler who is pretty much unguardable in dump sets. Great hucks (including break hucks), and outstanding speed allow him to also work well as an initiating cutter, and get layout d’s. Watch out for him on the Flamethrowers.
Ashwin Vaidyanathan #17-Another handler who is incredibly quick and difficult to stop in the reset space. His ability to win matchups upline and take shots often drives the offense for our D Line, along with a knack for getting blocks.
Suraj “Tesla” Patel #00- Looks like your normal lanky Indian guy before he takes you to the house and skys the pants off you. Came down with pretty much every deep shot we sent his way, and it didn’t matter if it was Washington, Ego, or Pitt on the other end.
Gabe Hernandez #23- Easy choice for SW POTY. Best player we’ve played-big athletic plays downfield and on defense, powerful hucks, and great breaks. Amazing finals performance at Regionals. Seems like he’s been putting the team on his back in big games all year. Major props.
Nick Hirning #33- Pretty much impossible to mark him without getting broken. Tore up our zone set well at Sectionals.
Honorable meniton: Kevin Tien #24- While I don’t think Kevin is quite at the All-Region level yet, I do want to shout him out as being only a sophomore and coming up HUGE in the finals with a ton of bids on D. Really impressed with his motor and work ethic, and he is finding his spots in Stanford’s offense.
Ian Sweeney #33 -Great upwind hucks kept SLO in the game in the Regional Finals.
Honorable Mention: Conor Schofield #19- SLO has a bunch of athletes and studs that I’m sure are worthy of All-Region consideration, and a bunch of them are talked about already. Conor really stands out to me as a younger guy on the team but someone who is constantly coming up with huge skys and bids, and was frustratingly always open when we played them at SBI.
Sam Cook #2-This guy is huge for USC. Seems like he is always on one end of a score, whether he is pulling down a huck or boosting one himself.
David Sealand #??- I think this is the guy who seemed to win every single 50-50 ball that was thrown his way, whether on defense or offense.
Nick Tolfa #15- Strong player who comes up with big blocks on defense and all around solid on offense.
Ryan “Tako” Takayama #3. Echo everything above. Even if you play good D on him, you can’t stop his great motor. Keeps working until he gets open, and had impressive upwind hucks in the series. Great guy too from my limited interactions.
Aaron Hom #27- Unfortunate that UCSC didn’t make it to Regionals this year but Hom still deserves recognition. Big hammers over our zone looks despite the wind and great breaks and hucks when we ran man.
Apologies to any teams that I haven’t gotten the chance to play this year or some of the SoCal/Desert teams that I only saw once early in the season. Santa Clara had an impressive year and was very competitive but I unfortunately can’t remember out any individuals who stood out above the rest of their team.
I don’t know who the freshmen are on other teams so I can’t speak to any of them, but I thought Cal had one of the strongest freshmen classes in the region. In particular, these three played big roles for us late in the season:
Trevor Aquino #23 One of the most natural handler defenders I’ve ever seen. Extremely quick and agile, allowing him to shut down top handlers and then has the speed to make them work downfield off the turn. Developed into a reliable d line dump for us.
Jace Bruner #15 Absolute workhorse on defense. Fast and athletic and never gives up. We would often assign him to other teams big threats and he would work them into the ground or get big layout blocks. Smart cutter on offense.
Munis Thahir #12 Always looking to take on challenging matchups and often won them, coming up down with deep shots and blocks against teams like the Hodags and Mamabird. His best asset his is heart and constant desire to keep learning and improving.
Coach of the Year
Our coach Dan Silverstein deserves some recognition that he put into the team this year. His hard work in developing players and implementing smart systems and strategies helped us improve bounds from last year, with regular season success like winning Stanford Open with only 13 active or placing 3rd at Pres Day (didn’t even make bracket last year). His effective gameplanning helped us beat Nationals caliber teams like CSU, Colorado, and Victoria.
Outside of the technical aspects of the game, Dan puts in extra work to help our personal development with meetings to work on mental toughness and image. He empowers younger players to be leaders and to take on work in important initiatives like our crowdfund or collaborations with pro teams. He always makes sure we are playing with good spirit, and is a great mentor for us in our non-frisbee lives as well.