Location: Bowling Green, Ohio
NCDA Region: Midwest – Ohio
2014 Nationals Finish: Lost in first round to Michigan State
2015-2016 Captains: President – Tyrell Smith, C – Tyler Broyles, C – T.J Wickham, C – Jacob Triplet (out until spring)
Returning Varsity Players: 14
Players to Watch: Tyrell Smith, Tyler Broyles, Nick Broyles, T.J Wickham, Marc Ritz
The Falcons come into the 2015-2016 season sporting a previous record of 4-12. In a vacuum, one would hardly consider them any form of threat to take the National Tournament. However, factor in that 14 varsity players will be returning, and the presence of some up-and-coming young talent, and BGSU very well might make some noise.
An initial point of intrigue is the region from which they hail. Ohio sports five club dodgeball teams: Baldwin-Wallace, Akron, BGSU, Kent State, and Ohio State. OSU, as one would wager, has established themselves as the team to beat coming out of Ohio, and BGSU has had their fair share of struggles against them. Kent State has produced tough teams as well over the past few years. However, there’s certainly merit to enduring a battle with one of the more challenging teams in the NCDA, most notably a sense of familiarity with higher-level play. Baldwin-Wallace and Akron are in their infancy stages, having just begun last year, though who knows what leaps those programs might take this year. The more challenges in your region, the better.
And who better to face potential challenges than a team that boasts a multitude of leaders. Tyrell Smith returns to the club as President, and brings a reliable captain council of Tyler Broyles, T.J Wickham, and Marc Ritz. President Tyrell Smith described T.J Wickham as an “excellent shoe shiner” and mentioned a collective ascension in catching skill regarding this year’s captains. There’s nothing sexier than a pivotal catch during a heated match. It’ll be interesting to see how their developments come in to play.
That may have been the focus of last year for BGSU: development. They brought in a great deal of rookies and thrust them into the limelight, and while they bowed out in the first round this past year, the year of experience could work wonders for this young team. Michael Nelson Trout of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim hit .220 in his rookie season. He finished 2nd in MVP voting in his sophomore campaign.
Okay, so some comparisons may be far-fetched, but the message remains the same. BGSU brings a lot of young talent into this year, and seems to be a dark horse in terms of contention. It doesn’t hurt that 2015 Nationals will be held at their home campus. It’ll be difficult to go toe-to-toe with the NCDA powerhouses, but BGSU is at least a team to keep an eye out for.