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All-Region 2024: Great Lakes (D-III Men’s)

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.

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Hey - i’m the head coach for Davenport University - so I’m a bit biased, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t brag up our studs.

All Freshman:
Davenport - Rowan Jamieson, Team Canada. Phenominal player all around. Layout grabs everywhere on offense and defense. He regularly scoops up a disc that should certainly have been a turnover. He’s quick, has the hops, and never stops running. He is very trustworthy with the disc and values it every time it’s in his hands.

Davenport - Aidan Williams, Great inside cutter to initiate any offense. At regionals he had some great sky’s against every team he played.

Davenport - Juraj Hurny, Team Slovakia. Best player in the air on our team. Super spirited player. Had a couple of the best layout grabs i’ve ever seen. He is always the mark in a cup zone and ends up with a couple handblocks every tournament.

All Region:
Davenport - Jacob Felton, Detroit Mechanix. Hands down the best player in the Region. There were few tournaments we went to where he wasn’t the best player. He has all the throws - including full field hammers, scoobers over the top, and can break any zone defense apart… Sky’d several people in the air and every game has a ridiculous layout catch bailing out a poor throw… He should be in the running for the best player in the nation - especially in terms of how much he brings to the Davenport Team.

Davenport - Tyler Shannahan, Stud at Whitman College before coming to DU and Detroit Mechanix player. Donovan nominee last year. He doesn’t throw turnovers. He has so many D’s because he knows where the disc is going. He is an amazing handler and an amazing cutter.

Davenport (captain) - Darren Dyer, Team Jamaica. 6’3" beast in the air. He had maybe 10 real good D’s at Regionals. Teams adjust their offensive flow when he is around. Smooth throws all day. His undercuts are wide open because he’s such a deep threat. Just a great player all around. He’s the captain of the Davenport team and pivital to the success of our program.

Davenport - Juraj Hurny, Team Slovakia. Best player in the air on our team. Super spirited player. Had a couple of the best layout grabs i’ve ever seen. He is always the mark in a cup zone and ends up with a couple handblocks every tournament.

Davenport - Rowan Jamieson, Team Canada. Phenominal player all around. Layout grabs everywhere on offense and defense. He regularly scoops up a disc that should certainly have been a turnover. He’s quick, has the hops, and never stops running. He is very trustworthy with the disc and values it every time it’s in his hands.

Davenport - Jonathan Newman, Team Jamaica. Super positive player at all times! He led the D line for Davenport University as a handler. He’s usually the quickest player on the field at all times. He has the throws, shuts down his defender on defense, and leads the D line.

Hillsdale - Greg Moreno, Detroit Mechanix. Great handler who can carve up any offense. He had several points where he just “dribbled” down the field as he graciously walked down the field catching every other throw. Great attitude and a great person.

Grace - Joel Close - give go specialist with a quick first step that allows him to take advantage over any defender. Second year Indy Alleycats defender with a promising future in the UFA.

Grace - TJ Faur, is a textbook cutter and a lockdown defender with the ability to play any position on the field well. Overall a by the book good player and an excellent example of spirit.

Coaching of the year: Grace College
They did a great job of changing up the strategies based on the different teams they were playing. I appreciated how he put his top players in position to thrive!

Grace’s coach here - also a little biased, but I’ll do my best to be as objective as possible.

All Region: There are several players I can visualize, but I can’t remember the names of, so if any of you are reading, I apologize (Rose Hulman’s dominant cutter, I’m talking to you).

Joel Close, Grace (and the Indy Alleycats) - Again, biased, but…best player in the region. Joel’s the epitome of do-it-all: he can work it every-other as well as anyone because of a mix of field vision and absurd athleticism that you rarely see. He’s the best college layout player I’ve ever seen, and I think many will find out he’s one of the best in the entire UFA here in the coming seasons. Absurdly fast, ridiculous hops, has every throw in the book, and can’t be guarded one-on-one. He’ll slice up a zone with his throws, and destroy any man guarding him with his legs. What he provides on both sides of the disc can’t be replaced; if you throw it his way, he’ll get it; he made it so teams refused to throw to his area of the field, and even when it WASN’T on his side of the field, he’d find a way to make a play on it. Wind barely phases his throws, and we dealt with a LOT of that this spring. He’s also an exceptional leader who toes the line between fiery competitor and great sport with grace (pun intended).

TJ Faur, Grace - TJ is one of the most natural cutters I’ve ever seen who, out of necessity, has had to function as our D-Line’s primary handler the past two years. Defensively, he’s helped lead our defense to have as high of a break rate as I’ve ever seen any team have. We had to send our O-line out to play defense just to give them a rest QUITE frequently, and he’s a very large reason for that. Although he didn’t have the same absurd throwing ability or separation speed as Joel does (and he’s a top-tier athlete in his own right), he approached 100 assists in 22 sanctioned games this season on that D-Line, and that’s not something you see often. He reads a defender better than anyone I’ve seen play; if you take away one of his options, he just chooses another seamlessly. Man or zone (which we ran a lot), he was an impact individual defender who baited throwaways as well as anyone in the country. This is a guy who went from scoring 130+ goals as a first-year cutter (including 12 in a game at Nationals in 2022) to completely changing his role according to what the team needed and scoring less than 20 this year. Sacrificial leader, fantastic spirit of the game at all times, and great competitor.

Nathan Close, Grace - Nathan (a freshman) made the Alleycats practice squad this year, but plays a very different role for Grace. Although statistically he takes a back door to his older brother Joel, Nathan was essential in our success this year. He’s a natural to handler movement, a brilliant thrower, and although he doesn’t have the same quick feet as his brother, his defensive positioning is exceptional. As he gets more experience over the coming summer and steps into a bigger role next year, expect big things from Nathan. Exceptionally high character, as well, and was always a good source of humor if the team was ever down.

Jacob Koons, Grace: Jacob is a senior who made our offense smooth as butter. Against man defenses, Jacob was a constantly-available reset cutter for our handlers should they get into a jam, and his chemistry with Joel is unmatched. Against a zone, he’ll work it every other all the way to the endzone without our handlers even needing to touch the disc. He gets more footblocks than most any player I’ve watched. His competitive spirit drove this team all season.

Ethan Stahl, Grace: formerly our starting deep-deep, Ethan had to take a different role on this year due to an ankle injury suffered during winter practices that stole some of his footspeed. Despite playing with moderate pain, Ethan became a lock-down wing who got open at will and lead our team in scoring and was our of top players in blocks even with only 1.5 good feet. He was calm and collected in every scenario, no matter the score.

Kody Beachy, Grace: Kody worked alongside Joel and Nathan as an O-Line handler, and his value can’t be understated. One of the remnants of our Nationals run from 2022, Kody is one of the most collected, dominant handlers in the region and can move the disc up the field with his legs at will. Although he got overshadowed by Joel at times, had he played during any other time period, Kody would be a handler that other teams would try to box-and-one. He’s also the kindest player on the field in 100% of the games he’s ever played.

Sam Reichenbach, Butler: Sam is SUCH a tough defender. No matter where he’s at, he makes getting open nearly impossible, and his marking is as good as any D3 player’s that I’ve ever seen. I frequently told my captains that I wished our players could mark as well as Sam. In addition to that, high-character player who was always fun for our players to compete against.

Greg Moreno, Hillsdale: One of the few handlers in D3 that has the perfect mix of advanced throwing ability and good decision making. We played a pretty effective zone, and he played against it as well as anyone did all year. Good sport as well.

Gabriel Dobrozsi, Hillsdale: High-energy, fantastic defender who really excelled all year long in every game we played against them. Coming off of a big injury, too, which only speaks to his dedication to the sport.

Jacob Felton, Davenport: Jacob’s got every throw in the book, and is super high energy; makes the game look very easy. Super athletic, nothing in the game of Ultimate he can’t do. A huge amount of Davenport’s success comes down to how well he played all year.

Darren Dyer, Davenport: Advanced defender who really influenced how teams play Davenport. Unguardable cutter in man-to-man, and finds great spaces against zones.

All Freshman: Here, I’ll admit I don’t know the names of most of the freshmen on other teams, so I’ll just advocate for a few of mine.

Nathan Close: Same reasons I listed for all-Region. You wouldn’t guess he’s a freshman by his play.

Josh de Jong: Fantastic D-Line cutter who caused chaos for other teams all year long. Got a LOT of bookends; can get open at will, especially against a zone. High-energy, and a great motivator for our team.

James Suhayda: Despite having no Ultimate background and coming off two ACL tears, James developed into one of the most important players on our team. He helped TJ run the D-Line offense and became one of the best flow players on the team. Expect to see a lot of him in the coming years.

Arthur Walstra: Arthur was one of our leading scorers this year, and led the other freshman by a wide margin; he’s got a knack for getting open in the endzone, and had great chemistry with our handlers. Smart decision maker who rarely threw the disc away. Expect a bigger role going forward from him as he climbs on our depth chart in lieu of some of our seniors graduating.

Coach of the Year: There’s a lot of great coaches in the Great Lakes, and they all put a ton of time in to growing this great sport. Probably my top 3 (in no particular order) would be:

  • Mike Zaagman, Davenport: Taking your team to Nationals in your first year as a sanctioned program can’t be understated. Great team, great players, well coached; tough matchup against any team in either D1 or D3.
  • Arthur Small, Butler: Despite losing a ton of senior experience, Arthur kept Butler as a tough game against most every opponent they faced all year. Whenever their team was up against adversity, they found a way to fight and get back into contention.
  • Rose Hulman’s coach - I don’t remember his name, unfortunately, but Rose’s coach did a fantastic job of keeping his team in games against teams with more experience and more athleticism than his roster possessed. They pulled off a big upset win against Butler in Conferences, and I would give him a lot of that credit.

Arthur Small lives, sleeps, and breathes DIII Great Lakes men’s ultimate. You’ll be hard pressed to find a coach was is more dedicated than Art, and he’s put Butler in a place where they will continue being a consistent competitor. DIII programs ebb and flow, but Butler is built to last.

Hi, Rose-Hulman Captain here, just wanted to share the names of our people mentioned here.

The ‘dominant cutter’ is Ethan Chastain he’s a very athletic player and our offensive gameplan morphs around him whenever he’s on the field.

Our coach’s name is Jason Yoder we would not be anywhere near the team we were this year without him, the impact he has on our team is truly immeasurable.