I had the pleasure of interviewing one of Towson’s Captains, as well as 2019 National Champ, David Guare for his much deserved Baller of the Month award. We talked about this past season, what’s on the horizon for him personally as well as Towson dodgeball, and got answers to some of the content team’s most pressing questions.
ZD: To start us off, I wanted to start out by saying congratulations on both your Championship and BOTM honors! Can you walk me through your season leading up to Nationals? Additionally, at what point this season did you know your team had a shot at the Championship?
First off, thank you very much for choosing me as BOTM! It’s one more thing I can appreciate and look back on, for lack of better words, on top of winning the championship.
At the beginning of the year, before we had gained some valuable freshman recruits, I knew it was going to be a long one. I knew we were going to have to prove ourselves to become a competitive team in the NCDA. Deep down, I knew our core players weren’t going to be enough. Yes, Jordan Watt, Jeff Hayden, Andrew Kerr, Colin Sporer, Tyler Schmitz, and the rest of our core players were going to be huge contributors, I just wasn’t sure if it was going to be enough. After our first couple of tournaments, I still hadn’t grasped how competitive we really were. We faced an unprepared JMU team, Kent, Penn State, and some other teams to start off the year so I still had my doubts for us going as far as we did. However, after our “gauntlet” of a schedule, facing off against SVSU, CMU, MSU and Miami, I started to see our true potential and I could slowly start to picture us holding up the trophy.
Like many of my teammates, I didn’t get ahead of myself when it came down to how far we would go. I knew we had a lot to prove once we got there and I knew it wasn’t going to be a cake walk. Getting past our roadblock of the elite 8 was my main goal, anything on top of that was just going to be icing on the cake. I think going in with a level head and knowing literally ANYTHING can happen and we could lose at any point forced us to keep our head in the game and not lose sight of what we were there to do. But to truly answer your question, every big 6 team had a shot to make it to the chip. All I knew was that Towson was going to be the team to take advantage of it. It didn’t sink in until we went up 1-0 on MSU in the first 5 or so minutes of the game. At that point I knew the trophy was within reach.
ZD: Going off of that, walk me through the Sunday of Nationals as well as what was going through your mind when the buzzer sounded at the end of regulation, when you realized you had taken down the GV dynasty.
Like I said before, I knew it wasn’t going to easy. We had a very different game plan for the first day compared to the years before. Instead of trying to get the highest seed possible, being that we already had the highest seed we could get, our approach changed from aggressive to conservative. This played a monumental role because it allowed us to be at peak performance going into Sunday. To be completely honest, our game against Kent worried me a little because we were wild, probably a little too confident, and nervous overall. After it was over, I was iffy on how the rest of the day was going to play out. However, watching my team band together and reunite against both BGSU and MSU to provide some bitter sweet revenge from previous years was an awesome feeling on its own. My spirits went up even more after Colin Sporer decided to reenact the speech from Miracle when the US played the Soviets in the winter Olympics. Watching my team absolutely lose it after he was finished put a smile on my face and some high hopes heading into the match. That feeling was quickly put down after going down 2-0 in the first half. I was feeling utterly destroyed during the 4th point being down 2 players to 7 with the clock winding down. After some very clutch catches by Hunter Friedman and Colin Moerman, everyone’s spirits were lifted as they clutched the point to make it 2-2 with 13 minutes to play. Now skip ahead to after we went up 3-2 and the clock winding down. I still had my doubts as I watched Grand Valley pull a classic Grand Valley and pick off my team 1 by 1 with the clock approaching zero. When the time out was called with 6 seconds left (which they for some reason put it back at 11, still don’t know why) and my team ran on the court, I knew right then and there, not that we secured the match, but that I was about to be on the receiving end of a yellow card and asked to leave the game. I knew if I had a ball in my hand we weren’t going to lose, but I couldn’t have a ball in my hand if I wasn’t in the game. On top of not being in the game for the last seconds, Andrew Kerr decided to personally give me heart attack by forcing a balls over with 2.1 seconds left. But, as time expired and the buzzer sounded, the feeling was like no other.
ZD: I love the Miracle reference, that would definitely have me fired up. Looking back, how does it feel to say that you won a National Championship?
I’ll put it like this, playing for a region that has a) never won a championship and b) never even made it to a championship match is an awesome feeling. As Colin Sporer put it, “It’s been years of heartbreak for one moment of pure excitement”. I don’t think I could’ve said it any better.
P.S I’m proud to say the East Coast is 1-0 in championship matches, an undefeated record I might add!
ZD: I honestly didn’t even realize that the East had never been to a National Championship before. It sounds like we need to step it up… On another note, it’s a shame that we’ll be losing you to graduation this year, but looking towards the future, what can we expect from Towson next year and who are some players to watch?
From the experience that our younger players gained over our long season, I have good faith in passing along the torch to our sophomore (soon to be junior) class. I think by having a target on their back, being 2019 National Champions, they will push through the pressure and make a great run next year and in years to come. With that being said, I’m proud to announce our new head captain, Colin Moerman. Aside from Colin I think some big key players will be Hunter Friedman, who had a massive role over Nationals Weekend, Brandon Kirby, and Kyle Strong. They never really got their time to shine, but I think they’ll play a key role in Towson’s success.
ZD: On a more personal side, what goes into your success on the court?
Assuming you’re talking about my personal success, being able to watch the court from one side allows me to see absolutely everything that goes on. I base every call, play, and throw on the split second events that go on. Also being of a smaller stature is quite helpful when getting up close and personal with opposing teams and blocking from point blank. On another note, being pretty quick is a blessing. I happened to win 100 percent of my rushes over nationals’ weekend. Always having a ball in my hand is also huge for me.
Hunter Ford: You’ve also been on record as saying “I probably have the slowest throw on the team”. If you still feel that way (feel free to call out somebody that throws slower), what would you say plays into your success and makes you one of the best players on your team as well as in the league?
To be completely honest, I think my back hand is faster than my regular throw. Is it more accurate? Not a chance. Does it hurt my arm? No, which was big over the Nationals weekend. Especially for Jordan Watt and other backhand throwers on our team. It allowed us to still play without blowing out our arms. But yes, I’m probably the slowest thrower on my team. However, I’m probably one of the most accurate. Except for Watt, he has a cupcake arm and my throw is by far faster than his.
Aside from what I’ve already said, I think the biggest reason I am a competitive player within the NCDA is the fact that I am patient and can keep a level head whether we are up or down in both players and points. Not getting tunnel vision and keeping calm in hectic situations are by far the most important things.
ZD: Alright, here’s a big one for you: Who wins it all next year (besides Towson if you planned on giving your guys a shoutout) and who is the next non-Michigan school to win it outside of Towson?
I have faith in my guys to make a competitive run next year during the 2020 season. Keeping Towson out of my mouth, I think it’s really anyone’s game. There are a lot of schools that are losing a lot of seasoned players, but I would love to see Miami make a great run. When it comes to east coast teams, again keeping TU out of my mouth, it’s hard to say who brings it home next. The biggest thing that every team struggles with is depth. VCU and UMD shocked everyone with their performances, but in the end, the lack of depth took a toll and sent them home early. JMU, from what I was told, is also losing some key talent but they have some young guys that are going to come out swinging for the next couple years. They have always been able to shock the NCDA with their ability to play and talk smack while doing it. So, at the moment, I’m going to have to give it to JMU to be the next East Coast team to bring it home. BUT, a huge BUT, Maryland is a couple great recruits away from shocking the league once again.
ZD: As you graduate and move onto your next stage in life, what are your plans (work, travel, grad school, etc)?
When it comes to facing life, I’m not excited. I’m currently studying Computer Science with a track in Cyber Security. I haven’t sealed the deal yet when it comes to a job but I’m willing to go wherever it takes me. Grad School….. No thanks.
Kevin Bailey: Additionally, do you or your teammates plan on playing Elite in the future? If not, why not?
For my own health, I’m going to have to pass. My shoulder and foot can’t take it anymore. Maybe after surgery I’ll consider, but being separated from baseball for this extended period of time has made me come to miss it. I think a men’s league is more likely than continuing my career in dodgeball. As it goes for my team, I’m sure some players will continue on but as it goes for current seniors, it is unlikely.
Now onto some less serious questions (or more serious depending on how you look at it):
HF: Why do you wear the number pi?
First off I’d like to state that the symbol π is considered a number in itself so for anyone that told me symbols aren’t allowed can back off because it is. On another note, the reason I wear it was to keep the tradition going. My brother, Dean Guare, who played before me, wore the number π. Family is everything to me and wearing the number π had more meaning to me than you think. And to be honest, why be like everyone else and have a standard number?
Colby Briceland: How do you play in sweatpants?
It’s really not as bad as everyone says. The main reason I started was because I lost my ¾ leggings and didn’t want to wear my hideous Towson shorts without them. So, I decided to start wearing joggers. I also wore sweatpants every practice so It wasn’t much of a change.
KB: Rank the top 5 jerseys in the NCDA.
Towson’s black jerseys obviously takes the number 1 spot. Not just because I played for them, but because I really enjoyed the style. Second is Towson’s away Jersey because that’s a biased vote and many teams copied our jersey style, not throwing any teams under the bus. Number 3 goes to SVSU, I love the color scheme and it’s pretty intimidating, not going to lie. Number 4 goes to Cleveland State and number 5 goes to Akron.
HF: Are you single?
Yes Hunter, Yes I am….. ;)
CB:How does your hair stay in place all day and not lose volume?
To be honest, not too sure. I just push it back after I get out of the shower and let it go from there.
ZD: Are you an Avengers fan and if so, do you have any hot takes or predictions for Endgame?
Absolutely. My theory, Ant Man is going to shrink, climb right up into Thanos’ Thanus and rip him a new one. Both literally and figuratively.
HF: And lastly, our men’s club lacrosse team seems to hate your team’s success. Do you have any words for them and the rest of your haters?
To my haters: Keep on hating, we won a Natty and you didn’t. I’m ending my collegiate career as a champ. For the TU lacrosse team: Y’all shoulda bumped up your social media so people remembered your championship game.