On the evening of Jan. 30, Memorial Stadium, located at the base of the Space Needle in the heart of Seatlle, was enveloped in a fog so unusually dense that it was impossible to see from one end of the stadium to the other.
Yet, despite the visual obstruction, ultimate players from the greater Seattle area cleated up at 7 p.m. to test their skills among the city’s elite on the first day of tryouts for the Seattle Cascades roster.
The two-day audition featured skills stations and actual gameplay, drilled under the watchful eye of several of the area’s most accomplished players. There were only 12 spots available on the Cascades’ roster, with 17 Sockeye members rounding out the majority of the team.
Though tryouts for various ultimate teams occur annually in Seattle, a combine matching the intensity of the Cascades’ was uncharted territory.
A whopping 90 players crowded onto the field the first day and divided into four groups which cycled through separate high-level skills stations.
Icons from Seattle Sockeye headed each group, and challenged each player to stand out from the crowd.
On the outskirts of the fields, accomplished veterans like Rohre Titcomb, Jacob Speidel and Kelly Johnson roamed with clipboards, taking detailed notes of the successes and shortcomings of each play. The selection committee placed a significant pressure on the players to perform well, and many of the tryouts did not disappoint.
While the drills on Jan. 30 were intended to showcase the skill set of each player, the set-up the next day offered those trying out a chance to play 7-vs-7 with their group.
At 10 a.m. the next morning, they returned to Memorial Stadium to participate in fitness testing and show off their potential on the field. In this setting, players ramped up their intensity, refusing to bow down to one another for fear of risking a chance to make the team.
After the members of the selection panel had a lengthy discussion on the performance of tryouts, the Cascades came to a tough decision and are proud to announce the 2015 roster:
Joe “BJ” Sefton
Those players who registered for the combine but did not make the team received personalized emails containing the observations from the selection panel as feedback to incorporate into their future gameplay.
Of the non-Sockeye players who made the team, none surprised the public more than the additions of high school students Nick Hirning, Robbie Farwell, and Sam Cook. Though young, these players held their own during the combine, and in many cases, outplayed those around them.
Due to their exceptional skill level, the selection panel unanimously agreed that Hirning, Farwell, and Cook would benefit from making the team. Not only will the Cascades gain their abilities, but the Cascades strengthen their own future by investing in the area’s youth.
While the list of eligible players has been set, not each person will receive playing time for each game. Of the 29 people on the Cascades, up to 20 individuals may be selected for the game day roster.
Furthermore, AUDL rules require each team to submit an official roster of 28 teammates by June 1. Due to the fluidity of the roster, players may be added or subtracted from the active roster depending on the needs of both the Cascades and Sockeye.