I had a chance to sit down with Terence Checkett of Ohio University who was the Rookie of the Month winner for March.
Terence is a Freshman studying Political Science at Ohio University. He made a splash this year on one of the youngest teams in the NCDA and was a standout player who played a key role in the Bobcat’s offense. Going forward, expect Checkett to continue to be household name within the realm of college dodgeball.
Hunter: Ok so right off the bat, why is O-H, I-O a thing?
Terence: Well hello to you too Hunter, I don’t know if that chant is specific to Ohio University, maybe even more geared toward Ohio State. I would have to say it stems from our sense of camaraderie and pride knowing we come from the most bang average state to ever exist.
H: On a serious note, congrats on being selected as ROTM, how did you feel when you heard the news?
T: I was truly honored. With the insane amount of turnover in the league from Covid, we’ve seen possibly the biggest pool of rookies ever this year. Having my name called for ROTM really felt amazing just considering the amount of talent I was up against.
H: You’re definitely not wrong on the amount of rookies this year compared to most, and you should certainly be proud of that accomplishment. What are some of the key aspects of your play style that help separate yourself from your peers?
T: I’ve been a pitcher my whole life so throwing a dodgeball comes pretty naturally to me, I would assume that’s probably what sticks out at first. As far as my style, I would like to think I’m one of the most aggressive players on my team, whether that works out more often than not remains to be seen, but I try my best to emulate our “no fear” mentality at Ohio.
H: What areas do you think you have the most room for improvement?
T: Definitely limiting the dumb mistakes and getting ahead of myself, the aggressiveness can definitely be a pitfall and I’ve seen that play out especially against the better teams. I’m a tall guy so I get killed at my feet quite a bit, learning how to make myself smaller and to get better at blocking will be big. And lastly even though I feel that I’ve made strides in my catching, everyone can always be a better catcher so absolutely add that on there.
H: Playing next to experienced veterans like [Caleb] Arnold and [Alex] Jonauskas can certainly help you see what it takes to play at a high level. Besides just watching them play, did they offer any tips or tricks that you feel like helped up your game?
T: Alex and Caleb are not only fantastic guys who I enjoy being around, but insanely knowledgeable and skilled dodgeballers, truly the glue of this team. Caleb was the first person to talk to me specifically about my frame and how to work around it which was a huge help. Meanwhile, Alex really helped me manage my aggressiveness, assuring me that my presence at the end of points is much more valuable than making a risky throw early in the game.
H: Going into next year, what would you say is the current goal for Ohio Dodgeball in the 2023 season?
T: Anything short of a National Championship is going to be a disappointment I’m afraid.
H: Are there any opponents you like or look forward to playing most?
T: We’ll definitely want a piece of revenge against Grand Valley as they took 2 heartbreakers from us at Nationals. We’re also super excited to compete against Cincy, OSU, and the rest of the top-tier talent in Ohio.
H: At the end of your college dodgeball journey, what would you like to accomplish that makes you say ‘I did everything I set my sights on’?
T: The goal at the beginning of every season has to be to hold the trophy at the end, and that will never change, so in a literal sense I’d like to win 3 championships. Another goal of mine is definitely to host Nationals at some point here in Athens. And finally, I think I would be selling myself short if I didn’t say that I want to and believe that I can be a league MVP down the road.
H: What’s the biggest piece of advice you would give to upcoming rookies joining the NCDA next season?
T: Don’t sell yourself short, never in a million years did I think I would be playing dodgeball my freshman year of college much less being selected as Rookie of the Month. Improve on what you can but also focus on what you’re good at, there’s a place on the court for every skill set. On the other hand though, just enjoy it in any way that you can because God knows I have.