Leading into Nationals, we look to spotlight as many teams as we can in hopes of shining a bright light on standouts from participating teams. These glow-ups include up to 2 of each team’s standout rookies as well as a handful of core contributing players that have gotten their respective team to where they are going into the National Collegiate Dodgeball Association’s annual finale. Lastly, we get a glance into each participating team’s mindset and expectations going into Nationals.
Pioneers’ Rookie Spotlight
Jalen has been impactful in the past few tournaments, especially for being so new to the sport. His solid arm and blocking skills are the exact reason why he always makes the starting 12. Jalen, like the many other freshman who joined this past Fall, was eager to have fun and meet friends after the first phase of the Pandemic. However, Jalen quickly developed an interest in competing and has shown more improvement than any other rookie on the team. The team is excited to see Jalen’s abilities further develop in the coming semesters.
Yet this only being his second semester in the club, Caleb has been serving as Captain since the start of Spring semester, which says a lot about his leadership qualities. Caleb is also one of the best throwers on the team. Through his past experiences in football and baseball, he has developed quite the arm and is not scared to show it off. The club is sad that Caleb will be graduating in the coming Fall semester but hopes to end his time in the club with a strong appearance in Michigan.
Key Contributors for the Pioneers
Jacob Sebranek #22
There is no surprise that five-year veteran Jacob Sebranek is on the top five list this year for UWP. Jake is one of the best when it comes to catching, blocking, and game awareness. This is especially valuable to the team because we need more players that are as well-rounded as Jake is. Additionally, Jake has been a strong leader in training the newer players during workout sessions to complement the things we work on during practice. We hope to see more of Jake’s phenomenal gameplay at nationals in the coming weeks.
JT Warren #34
Not only is JT the President of the club, but he is also hands-down the best at catching among all UWP Dodgeball members. In fact, he is the kind of guy that will leap for a catch that others wouldn’t even bother going for, even if it means he might get thrown out after. A sports fan at heart, JT is very competitive and is the fire that drives us to not hold back at each game, and it will be same at nationals. While we may not be going into the tournament at a high ranking, JT will surely keep spirits high even when the going gets tough.
Austin Kurey #23
Austin has one of the most unique and powerful throws on the team due to his range and accuracy. His sidearm throw is practically everything that Coach Erik Zander tells new players to avoid, yet Austin consistently will get outs from a distance with his sidearm. Both his throw and experience will be a huge asset for the team both in nationals and tournaments to come. Light-hearted and comical, Austin is always there to boost morale and remind everyone of the importance of having fun at practice, which at the end of the day is just as important as winning.
Eli Huntley #8
Another player that UWP would like to recognize is none other than Eli Huntley. Eli is a fourth-year veteran of the team who has developed quite the throw since starting his freshman year. An interesting thing about Eli is that he brings a sense of humor and fun to practice while still being competitive. Because of his adept understanding of the game, other players often look to Eli to call out when to throw and be aggressive.
Tomas Zander #25
This top five list would not be complete without mentioning Tomas Zander. Tomas is a well-seasoned player from his experience prior during his undergraduate studies, and now that he is back in school for his graduate degree, the club is excited to have another strong leadership figure on the team. Tomas has been incredible in helping the rookies improve their throw, as well as calling out throws and plays during games. Whoever UWP will be facing at nationals’, they will certainly have a difficult time dodging any throw from Tomas.
Mindset for Nationals – Caleb Newell
“Our mindset heading into nationals is to embrace the dark horse. This team is full of high caliber veterans who, when given the opportunity, have the talent to take over games. Throughout the year our team has shown we can compete with the best. However, I don’t think our team is shown respect for our talent level and I welcome other teams to overlook us. Even though are record shows a different story, we know our power and plan to show that on the court come nationals.”