Who are the best players in the Ohio Valley region? This is an open thread to discuss All-Region nominations, All-Freshman nominations, coaching awards, and more. Stay positive and keep it civil.
Xena Williams for the West Virginia Wild has been a revolutionary coach. Not only is she paving the way for women to push themselves into the coaching role more into men’s league but she also transformed the way WV ultimate runs. In her two years of coaching led WV to their best ever season back to back, placing 11th and 10th in the region respectively. Regionals has only been accomplished once in the history of the team and led the team to 4 regionals wins in the two years. She created a hybrid defense and treated everyone on the same pedigree while the games were occurring showing life was more than about the game itself. She also made students into multiple AUDL participants while going for a doctorate devoting as much time for her degree as her team. This two year run will be hard to replicate with the amount of talent and resources in the program. She deserves all the respect she’s given and created a force of a team in her tenure.
West Virginia Men’s coach, Xena Williams. This was her 2nd year coaching the team. Her first year coaching this team (2021-2022) the team had 4 who played in a sanctioned tournament in college. She took a majority rookie team to regionals for only the 2nd time in school history and won games at the regional level for the first time.
This year (2022-2023), without the leadership of the 4 returners the previous year, was able to elevate the play of the team as a whole and finish the season with a better record and better final seed at regionals.
The countless hours put in outside of practice for this team, while working towards a PhD, did not go to waste. Teaching a group of young men not only how to play the sport, but to grow as people off the field as well. Setting the example of on field conduct, off field success, and overall a great mentor for a very young team.
The grind and determination to get the team to the best performance in school history back to back years, while being dismissed as a credible coach/leader by outside teams, coaches, tournament organizers. The head down, internal grind mentality that has rubbed off on numerous players has been an inspiration to say the least.
100% best coach and mentor in not just the conference or the region, but really the nation. WVU may not be a national level team (yet), but the progress and leadership from Xena Williams has been nothing short of spectacular.
Another vote for Xena. Did a great job with her team on the field, and as noted above, did a great job off the field organizing the team and building a team culture. Xena was great to coach against as well. Wishing the program well as Xena moves on to her next job in academia.
Luke , PSU coach
Some additional stuff added about all region and foty stuff.
A very limited / incomplete all region/ foty, from PSU coach perspective. Sorry, new to the region, and I don’t really know names. I fully acknowledge bias, and apologize for my lack of knowledge.
For Pitt, the guys that stood out in our finals game are Aiden Landis and Henry Ing. Henry is the focal piece of the best team in the region and he gets plenty of press. Aiden gets my nod b/c he’s a key part of their team’s success, and also really seems to love playing the game. I love seeing people have fun playing a game. Perspective is a good thing. He’s also EASILY one of my top 6 favorite Landis family members, if you include the dogs (kidding). Good example of smile on O, frown on D.
For CWRU, James Kennelly and Michael O’Brien are obvious choices. James is clinical, working well in small spaces, great repertoire of throws, and great maturity in his choices. Michael is some truth though, with excellent athleticism working in the deep space, generating chunk plays with motor, and then being a key piece in their endzone set working well in small spaces.
For CMU, Wyatt Brooks and #41 (Sorry CMU, there’s no 41 on either of the past 2 year’s rosters if you let me know I’ll edit). Wyatt was everywhere on the field, extremely athletic, and made plays on both sides of the disc. And 41 kept their offense moving, super high usage, savvy w/ the disc.
Sry OSU/Temple just didn’t play you but I know y’all got some shining stars - I’m sure someone will give you the props you deserve. And sorry for my lack of knowledge of the stars on the teams that didn’t get as deep in the bracket - there were tons of great players all over the fields and hopefully someone who knows you better speaks up.
Now the homerism:
For PSU - They are all my faves, so I picked 3 out of a hat. Here are some guys who are extremely low variance and high impact, and D feeds the O so I give you…
Mike Dzelzgalvis - Mr. Clean. I guess he had a turnover this weekend but it’s hard to put my finger on it. Big stat line, locks up after the turn, showed real club level maturity for the team. Huge calming force.
Zander Lutz is a sophomore lockdown defender who moved to the O-line late season and shined at all levels cutting, handling, and goal scoring. He is also a defensive savant who we trust against any player. Played both ways in all the big moments, and all the big games. Loaded +/- stat line. Also picked up a coveted layout Callahan.
Alex Mullen is a junior, also makes life brutal for opponents, and basically steps into whatever role is needed. Also primarily a defender until this week, stepped into an O-role and was nails, moving downfield or into the handler spots, generating stats, and having very few turns. Like Zander, huge motor and lockdown defender who generates both high stall counts for team blocks and personally gets blocks.
Shane Donaher - Spent 3 years mostly on the O line then agreed to move to D-line for regionals and came up huge. Generated breaks starting with his tireless D, and then doing the heavy lifting offensively on the D-line that came up big (for us) and raised our ceiling when it mattered most. And,
stopped the bleeding when we were down 3 in the Semis and we called upon the D-line to take the pull.
Rookie line/ FOTY candidates - I know literally no-one on any other team, so…
Doug Hoyer - Started on O, and played both ways and showed a full array of throws. Huge release valve in pressure situations and came down w/ big grabs at key times.
Ethan Pidgeon - Another D-> O guy this weekend, also played both ways. Like so many guys on our team worked through all positions, put up big stats in all the columns except the T column and came up big when most needed.
Logan Piercy - zero ultimate experience before this year, Logan ended up as our primary puller, anchored the deep space, locked up players of all sizes, and put up a gaudy line. I think he had 35 pulls, no bricks and consistently placed them deep in the EZ. When down 6-8 to CWRU, Logan led the charge to the final score of 14-11 with second half line of 3 goals, an assist, and at least one block plus doing the dirty work for some ‘system d’s’ .
Final shout out to the Smash Brothers on the team - if you know them you know them. These 3 guys didn’t get the run in the big games that they probably deserved, but they are truly the heart and soul of the team. They did the dirty work to power us through pool games so that we were able to end the season on a relative high note.
PS - an overall shoutout to Lehigh who went toe to toe w/ everyone they played, and gave as good as they got. Broke seed, and kept swinging all the way through seeding. They wanted it bad, and they played a slugging style that always gave them a chance.
This is my formal vote for Xena for the best coach in the country let alone the Ohio Valley district. She has the ability to uplift and elevate every player that she has on the roster as well as motivate them to continue to strive for the best. Personally I can not thank her enough for pushing me and helping through some very tough and difficult situations in my life. I have never had a coach believe in me and motivate me to strive to better myself on and off the field as well as being one of my best friends. She is the best thing to happen to West Virginia ultimate frisbee and there is no possible way to recreate what she has done for the team and if it were possible for the university to pay her to stay that be a better investment for the future
Xena Williams, coach for the West Virginia Wild is nothing short of an asset to the entire sport of Ultimate Frisbee. Despite being amidst a PhD program, she exerted herself to revive the frisbee program at WVU. Had it not been for her drive, the team would most likely be ranked near the bottom in every tournament. She is a kind and caring person who supports and builds the team academically, physically, as well as emotionally. The team has grown to be a family under Xena, and many members of the team are unrecognizably better off since her involvement.
The Pitt team also is extremely friendly and a great playing experience. Though they play at a caliber far above my own, when I get the opportunity to play them, I always learn something that stays with me.
The Toledo men’s team has a player whose name I cannot remember, however, their defensive abilities are not to be taken lightly, and they are a team to be reckoned with.
Alex Warrington #99 out of Ohio State. The tall defender spent all weekend helping out Ohio State. There is nothing to be said that ultiworld hasn’t already said about him. The chimney and thunderbirds player stands 6’ 3” and is able to make any play asked of him. This weekend on the sideline he was also a great teammate always hyping up his fellow teammates and filming when he wasn’t called on. He was down for the Pitt game but if he had played that outcome could have looked very different. Alex should be someone that is put on the first team all region.
Let’s get a couple more Ohio State players in here.
Sion Agami: Not exactly a sleeper pick, but deserves recognition nonetheless. I think what is noteworthy about Sion is how few dumb mistakes he makes. He was asked to take on a huge load for Leadbelly and handled it admirably, always finding the right throws and never cracking.
Charlie Vukovic: Everyone knows Charlie Vukovic is really good at ultimate. He can get open on anyone, make any throw, he’s super athletic and strong in the deep space, plays great defense, and crossed over to the O-line plenty. But I want to talk about his pulls. Charlie is an outstanding puller, and set up Ohio State’s D-line in favorable positions a ton of times by pinning opposing offenses deep and giving the defense plenty of time to set up. Good defense starts with a good pull, and Charlie does that better than almost anyone else in the region.
As someone who played in the tournament (psu), some respect needs to be put on mike o briens name. (case)