Who are the best players in the Great Lakes region? This is an open thread to discuss All-Region nominations, All-Freshman nominations, coaching awards, and more. Stay positive and keep it civil.
Drew Byrne at Loyola Chicago is underrated as hell. I don’t know anyone who works as hard as he does. He can huck, catch, and throw very well. He’s a great handler and also just super nice. He will talk to you about frisbee non stop for an hour. He’s just a really great all around player and also can sky anyone and everyone.
Did not get to play many great lakes teams this season, but #12 on NUT (I think Sam Jonas?) easily makes my ‘top 5 hardest players to contain’ list for this year.
Cam Thatcher of IU HoosierMama?s here -
Big shoutout to Sean “Chop” Miranda of Notre Dame Papal Rage for All-Region. By far one of the biggest leaps in ultimate game over the last year, a dynamite cutter who is very hard to keep up with. If you take away the under he’ll burn you deep and if you take that away he’s perfectly content getting easy passes up the force side. Such a tough guy to guard and the young buck has plenty of time and ability to grow.
Another all-region nod from me goes to Eli Weaver of Magnum, there’s a reason he was put on Ultiworld’s “Players that could make a difference” list for regionals and he’s a big reason why they won regionals. Wish I could have gotten one last matchup against him and Magnum but that’s not how the cards fell.
My last all-region nod will go to Rich Tang of Purdue, who in my opinion is one of the most underrated silently insane players. Has high top speed, elevates quickly, and plays incredibly tough on both D and O.
All-Freshman nod to my teammate Aidan Ball of the HoosierMama?s, the dude started playing frisbee for the very first time at the beginning of the year and he is already a stud. Y’all remember Lucas Coniaris, former Mama and current AUDL starter and U24 Team USA player. Aidan is a younger Lucas who is further ahead and has a higher work ethic. This kid will be special in the VERY near future
This is Patrick Driscoll of Illinois Rise. Of the teams we played in the postseason, these are the players that stood out to me the most:
Richard Tang (Purdue #6)
Tang was a challenge to slow down in the semifinal. He displayed impressive athleticism and a strong motor throughout the game.
Aiden Rudy (Michigan State #45)
Rudy stood out to me on a Michigan State team with plenty of offensive firepower. Maybe it was the long hair, but that kid was fast. He was versatile as a handler and cutter and had some impressive pulls as well. All around great competitor.
Aidan Vogel (Notre Dame #77)
Vogel was an excellent center handler for Papal Rage. He played patiently and with great efficiency. Clearly Notre Dame’s go-to player with Walsh injured on the sideline. It was a fun and challenging match-up!
Ian Falck (Northwestern #10)
Falck is my front runner for Freshman of the Region. I had the pleasure of playing club with him last summer and knew Northwestern was getting something special this year. His throws are otherworldly. The entire Nut offense runs through him. With the practice reps he’ll get with Chicago Union this offseason, the region will be on notice next college season if they’re not already.
Kai Tang (Illinois #9)
I’d be remiss if I didn’t shout out my teammate Kai Tang for an amazing postseason run. Watching Kai play reminds me of why I love this sport so much. This season he shifted from handler to cutter and carried so much offensive and defensive weight on his shoulders downfield. His layout range/catching radius is ridiculously large and his motor is unmatched. He’s a true match-up nightmare and I’m excited to see how his senior season plays out next year with a healthy Eli Artemakis.
This is Charlie Geci of Northwestern NUT (#22), just wrapped up regionals for this year, and these are my thoughts:
To shout out my own teammates first:
Sam Jonas (Northwestern #12)
Sam has been the best player I have ever played with, His athleticism is unmatched as well as the throws and windows he manages. Once in motion, he is extremely difficult to contain, as he dribbles extremely well.
Ian Falck (Northwestern #10)
Ian came onto our team this year and was almost instantly our center handler on o-line. He can throw nearly anything and increased his athleticism greatly, becoming a fantastic asset as a cutter as well. He absolutely deserves consideration for freshman of the region and him making practice squad for Union speaks to his ability as well.
Jaxson Moore (Purdue #5)
Jaxson played extremely well before getting injured in our game against Undue. He was clamping handler resets and the offense flowed through him. He was a fantastic player and deserves a place on the all-region team.
Eli Weaver (MagnUM)
Eli was a lot of fun to play against and posed a massive challenge; he is a large part of their qualification to nationals. He shreds zones and proves extremely difficult to guard. Overall, he deserves a spot on the all-region team.
This is Phill Warren of Purdue Ultimate. I coached Undue for the 2023 season. I have a few guys I’d like to shoutout that I thought were very impressive throughout the region.
Ian Falck from Northwestern
This player was one of the most consistent individuals in the region. He was able to distribute the disc even in highly pressured situations. His field vision and throws were very solid. I feel like Ian also is only going to get better as I believe he is a younger player.
Noah Gross from Michigan
Noah’s defense was exceptional. His pressure and physicality I didn’t really see from many others across the region. The guy was also a driving force for Michigan’s D line offense in a turn.
Richard Tang from Purdue
Rich was able to take on pretty much any matchup in the region and perform well. His defensive reads are excellent and I’m not sure there was anyone who could match his closing speed.
Jaxon Moore from Purdue
Jaxon very well might be the most complete player in the Great Lakes college division. His defense is excellent and he’s able to lock up great players regularly. Offensively he was a problem solver that could make great plays out of nothing. I don’t think there was ever a player this season who could shut him down with any consistency.
This is Eric Badger, one of the coaches for Illinois Rise. We seemed to play just about every team in the region this year. These are the players that really stood out to me
Andrew Sin #0
- Unfortunately, Sin got hurt fairly early in our game in the semis. However, his presence was felt early on both the O and D lines for Purdue. He was an incredibly tough defender who also made quite a few big plays for them on offense
Richard Tang #6
- Tang is an athlete who can change a game on the defensive end. He has great athleticism to get blocks and pairs that with great positioning and timing
Jackson Moore #5
- Wish we would have gotten to see him play, but he got hurt just before our matchup. Sounds like he’s a great player
Chris Walsh #73
- Monk is an exceptional thrower and the king of consistency. Unfortunately an injury kept him out of Regionals, but he is a great player
Aidan Vogel #77
- With Monk out, Vogel stepped into a center handler role for Notre Dame and played with confidence and poise. His throwing ability gave their offense a pop
Sean Miranda #4
- A big target downfield who has good hands and some nice continuation throws
Sam Jonas #12
- Jonas is a very difficult cover downfield. He’s fast, quick, and has great footwork and field awareness
Ian Falck #10
- It appears Falck is a freshman, but you would never know it based on what you see from him on the field. He is a calm, composed thrower who took on a huge offensive load for Northwestern this year. I don’t know who all are freshmen in the region, but I would be pretty surprised to find one better than Falck
Joe Sifakis #0
- Sifakis is the engine that makes Chicago’s offense go. He is a relentless athlete downfield who can win in both large and small spaces
Grant Harris #28
- Harris is an impressive thrower and give and go handler for Chicago. Paired with Sifakis, Harris creates a dynamic duo that is tough to stop in small spaces
Aiden Rudy #45
- Rudy is a gifted two-way player for MSU. He kept their offense moving as a cutter downfield and was a strong defensive presence for them as well
Grand Valley State
Malachi Neil #18
- Neil is a gifted thrower. As a lefty, his big backhands demand you to rethink whether or not to stick with the standard force forehand strategy
Joe Cercello #23
- Cercello is a huge target and threat downfield who can also beat you with his throws if you give him free unders
Sam Tagle #14
- Tex is a great thrower and a quick handler who is a tough cover in the backfield
Pat Driscoll #8
- Pat is the heart and soul of Illinois Rise. His work ethic is unmatched and his leadership kept our team together through a season full of injuries. As a thrower, he has power to open up the field vertically and the break throws to open it up horizontally. As a defender, he is a glove that you can’t get off. I’m not sure he allowed a single upline all Regionals. And maybe even more important than anything else, Pat’s best ability is availability. Pat’s physical preparation allowed him to play almost 60% of our points across the whole postseason. Pat is the ultimate competitor, teammate, and leader.
Kai Tang #9
- Kai is a do-it-all player who has an endless motor. He plays O line, D line, handler, cutter, anything you need. His first two years he was purely a D-line handler for us. This year he started out as a D-line handler/cutter hybrid. Then he moved to a D-line cutter. Then we moved him over to O and made him an O-line cutter. No matter where you put him, his energy, effort, and athleticism are apparent. He runs defenders all over the field as a cutter and layout Ds any unsuspecting offensive player who isn’t ready for him.
Dean Gottlieb #3
- Dean is a freshman who I believe should have a spot on the all-freshman team. He has been a flexible offensive and defensive player for us all year. He immediately slotted onto our O line and plays both as a handler and a cutter, both guarding handlers and cutters. His lefty break throws open up the field and his length wreaks havoc on the defensive end
These are players that we didn’t have the pleasure of playing this year, but who I know to be exceptional.
Eli Weaver #13
Theo Shapinsky #23
Aaron Bartlett #14
Jeremy Keusch #21
Conner Henderson #14
Cam Thatcher #4
I also wanted to throw out some ideas for the All-Freshman group. I believe each of these individuals had a huge impact on their teams success this season.
Ben Spergel from Purdue
Ben was one of our most consistent handlers on D line. The guys has great throws and excellent decision-making. Was very valuable on the goal line as well.
Benjamin Zhou from Purdue
Z was one of our deep defenders and cutters on D line. He took on difficult matchups all year and really shined as an offensive weapon for the defense after a turn. He had some crazy catches for breaks over the regionals weekend.
Ian Falck from Northwestern
Again just to re-iterate what I stated earlier about Ian. He was a very successful and composed handler for Northwestern. Was very impressed with how he played in our game. Was surprised to hear he was a freshman.
This is Raymond Lu, coach for Michigan. We weren’t able to play everyone in the region this year, but here are a few players that stood out to me that we had the opportunity to play against.
- #24 David Zoldan - At sectionals, David worked our top players and did everything right for Michigan State. He grinded unders, won the handler space and defended great against our top players. He doesn’t make any bad decisions and runs hard for what seems like forever. Heard he’s going to be around for another year, so watchout for him…
- #14 Sam Tagle - did it all for them by winning 1v1s, going deep, throwing challenging throws.
- #12 Sam Jonas - One of the key players we scouted before playing them. He’s athletic, makes plays, throws well. Definitely one of the best players in the region.
#00 Couldn’t find his name on the roster - Their primary downfield look that grinded out points, ran hard, made plays. They trusted this guy a lot with hard deep throws and in tight situations. We rotated our top defenders on him, and he still managed to get open several times.
#28 - Grant Harris - Chicago’s main thrower in my opinion. He flipped the field on us with over the tops, challenging around throws and was hard to stop in the handler space. He was a main driver in why we couldn’t get the disc from them.
- #16 Pidgey(?) - Loved his defensive pressure he put on Theo in that game. He wouldn’t let any touch be free, played quick, was physical and had a really active mark too. Definitely one of the best defenders (if not the best) we played against this weekend.
- #7 Eric Hoy - A player we scouted a bunch and was aware of before playing them. Definitely one of the strongest throwers in the region and someone we game planned around because of his big throws.
#84 Cian Johnson - Quietly the best player on the team. He won’t stretch the field like Eli or drive the offense like Aaron or Theo, but Cian is the first person I ask to crossover, always positions well, never makes a poor decision and will consistently work you on offense and defense.
#5 Owen O’Neil - Our workhorse on defense. Owen is super athletic and will always make each pass you get feel contested. Despite being only 5’9 or so, he’ll take any matchup deep and then cook you on the turn. He’s got some of the biggest throws in the region and complements it with incredible small space quickness to make sure he gets the disc back into his hands.
#26 Noah Gross - On the field, Noah stepped up big by taking challenging handler matchups and taking the other team’s best thrower out of the game. He made it so that any touch you got was a bad one or he forced high stall situations. Truly the most disciplined handler defender in the region. Underratedly, he helps the team’s defense by using his smarts and his voice to make for smart switches and to keep teams out of rhythm
#39 James Baker Jr. - D line engine. Fantastic one on one and help defender. Jimmy came up clutch with several layout blocks and came down with several help deep Ds. More impressive though is his offense on the turn, with arguably the best throws on the team, he keeps the disc alive and keeps O line defenses on their toes with his creativity and range. This dude + Owen on the turn is a nightmare for any defense.
Eli Artemakis of Illinois Rise here. Did not get the chance to match up with anyone this year, but here are some players that stood out to me of the teams we played.
Pat Driscoll is a talented and passionate leader. As a captain, he inspired our entire team with his work ethic this year. He came in to the season as a D-line handler, but was adaptable and exceled at taking on the center O-line handler role when we needed him. Pat is in incredible shape and it shows on the field. He is a ruthless defender who will lock you down in the handler set. Offensively, he led our handler core with huge flicks, and aggressively attacking the break side. His ability to be a two-way player and lead our team this year to a 3rd place finish at regionals, has earned him a spot on all-region in my eyes.
Kai Tang is an absolute menace of a defender. He puts his body on the line more than anyone I saw at regionals. He has an unlimited and motor and never tires on defense. He also served as the backbone of our D-line cutting core on a turn. A clear no-doubter to cross over on offensive points when we needed.
-Dean Gottlieb was a freshman stand-out for us this year. He brought visionary throws and poise to our team that you would expect from a senior or grad student. He was adaptable all year as we struggled with injuries and was a threat offensively both in the cutter and handler space for our team. Definitely all-freshman if there is one.
Sam Jonas is a great all around player. I matched up with him several times last year and he was always difficult to contain. Watching him this year, it looks like he has only gotten better. A clear all-region choice in my opinion.
I’ve had the pleasure of being teammates with Ian Falck for several years growing up. Not many freshman can come in their first year on the team and become the center O-line handler, but Ian took that role this year and excelled in it. He has a calm presence with the disc and gave our defenders headaches guarding him at Sectionals. He’ll be a problem in the region for years to come. Freshman of the Year.
- Grant Harris is a player you want to have on your team. He does the little things well, and consistently makes the right decisions in the handler set. He challenged each of our defenders with his patience and break throws.
- #6 Richard Tang had a dangerous combination of speed, athleticism and solid throws that our team struggled to contain.
- #77 Aidan Vogel played exceptional for ND this year. He easily got open in the handler space, and was a main driver for Notre Dame’s success on offense.
Players we did not play this year but I know are ballers:
This is Kenny Lu, one of the captains of Chicago this year. Just wanted to shout out some of my guys here.
#00 Joseph Sifakis is one of the fastest in the region and has the stamina to back it up. Joe will beat you deep, under, and then blow by you upline. He’s been a mainstay on our O-line and will be for while.
#28 Grant Harris has only improved from a standout rookie year. He maintains a large throwing bag in all conditions with hard-to-mark arounds, head fakes, shimmys, insides, hucks, and over the tops. Most importantly, he stays calm throughout the stall and is always finding the next window with his great vision. Grant excels in small spaces and it’s tough for anyone to keep the disc away from him or take it away once he’s got it.
#18 Dale Decatur deserves 100 shoutouts because D line guys never get the love they deserve. If you see a player being praised for their offensive pressure here, we definitely put Dale on them. Dale takes a great fundamental understanding of Ultimate and backs it up with sheer tenacity that’ll make players hate being on the field. If Dale doesn’t make his matchup irrelevant he will make every window tighter as the game goes on.
#22 Ben Brink deserves an All-Freshman look. Some of y’all will recognize him as Ice Spice. He’s a great athlete with big hops and he plays with confidence on O and D. Scary stuff on the horizon.