Since September 2019, the NCDA has been recognizing rookie players that make a statement on the court through their skills, leadership, and ability to mobilize a team. For the first time in NCDA history, there is a Women’s league, and this is the first month women are receiving their own individual spotlight. After a stellar performance at the Cornhusker Clash on October 8th, the first Women’s Rookie of the Month ever goes to Annie Larson from the University of Wisconsin – Platteville. Annie impressed teammates and spectators alike with game-changing catches, leadership skills, and overall dodgeball IQ. Caleb Newell took some time to interview this rising player; take a look at the interview below:
Caleb: Annie, first thing’s first, congratulations on being selected as the first Women’s Rookie of the Month. The NCDA is introducing this award after the inaugural Women’s league matches. How does it feel to be selected?
Annie: I am honored to be the first Women’s Rookie of the Month.
Caleb: Let’s get some background information. What made you choose UW – Platteville, what do you study, and what do you enjoy most about the campus?
Annie: I chose UW-Platteville because I like the small town feel. I am a Health and Human Performance major with an emphasis in Exercise Science. William’s Fieldhouse has become my second home due to having all of my core classes there and playing dodgeball. It is one of my favorite things about campus.
Caleb: Lets transition into some dodgeball questions. You’re not a traditional rookie, so what made you join (and stick with) the dodgeball club?
Annie: Last year I went to most of the tournaments to watch and support my boyfriend, Caleb Newell, and you convinced me to play this year because I would be going to all of the tournaments anyways. Eventually, I decided I would join and see how it would go and figured I would just be watching anyway. But I guess I have some talent that is needed for our team and here we are!
Caleb: What sports did you play in high school and prior to joining the club? What skills do you think have helped you the most?
Annie: In high school I was a three-sport athlete playing volleyball, basketball, and track and field. Prior to joining the club I was on the Women’s Club Volleyball team for 2 years. My ability to pick up on general game play and overall dodgeball IQ before joining definitely helps as well as having played team sports before.
Caleb: Now that you’ve been in the league for 3 months, have you developed any personal rivalries?
Annie: I wouldn’t say that I have any personal rivalries in such a short time frame, but there are definitely a few people that I would like to play again and catch them out.
Caleb: What is something that has led to your early success thus far? What do you think led you to becoming the first Women’s Rookie of the Month?
Annie: Like I mentioned before, I came into this with a good understanding of the game and some of the methodology of game play. I also have been working on catching, and I am not afraid to get hit. At the Cornhusker Clash, I made some very critical catches as well as helped spread communication out on the court. That tournament allowed me to show off some skill and help my team stay competitive.
Caleb: It has been a pleasure speaking with you Annie. It’s very fun to play alongside you and watch your growth as a rookie. From the games that I have watched so far, the rookies are really helping teams go to the next level. Before we part ways, I do have some less serious questions for you. Up to this point you have been wearing old jerseys, but what number will you be wearing this year?
Annie: This year I will be wearing lucky number 12.
Caleb: Do you have any pre and post practice/tournament rituals?
Annie: Tournament wise I haven’t really had a ritual, but when it comes to practice that’s a different story. Pre practice I like to get a nice nap in and wake up last minute and show up just in time. My post practice ritual started when I played club volleyball. My roommates and I would get done with practice and at midnight drive to Kwik Trip to get a 3 pack of chocolate long johns and some chocolate milk and go home and eat 2 of them and save the 3rd for breakfast in the morning.
Caleb: If you could play with any exotic animal for a day, what would it be and why?
Annie: I have a big fascination with alligators and crocodiles, and I have watched many shows about them both hunting them and rescuing them. I think it would be so fun to play with them and do all the tricks that they do.
Caleb: Lastly, what is the worst colored dodgeball?(Choose carefully)
Annie: Yellow, every single yellow ball I have played with is hard as a rock.
Caleb: Yes! Yellow is certainly the worst color dodgeball, right behind Mikasa. Thank you so much for taking the time to go through some questions with me. Congratulations on being the first ever Women’s Rookie of the Month. We are looking forward to seeing you on the court!