2012 US Open -- Open Day 1 Recap

Posted: July 6, 2012 10:14 AM
"It’s Frisbee central down there," said Phoenix coach Tully Beatty as he handed me a large cup of Starbucks. "Everyone’s down there." Rolling his eyes, Tully ducked back into the hotel room next to mine for a few more minutes of rest before facing the day.
I knew in my head that Tully was right, but I didn’t quite feel it until I hit the Antler Hilton lobby for breakfast. I saw brightly colored jerseys along with subdued, more serious warm ups. There were piles of duffel bags outside of the breakfast buffet’s entrance, and trucker hats everywhere. Old friends that now play on rival teams were embracing and catching up, while new friends were exchanging quick handshakes in the omelet line. An ultimate tournament had most certainly taken over the hotel, and the energy was palpable. 
As I said yesterday, there’s good reason for the buzz: this is the beginning of the 2012 season. When I arrived at the field sit, which sits on an expansive plot of farmland and, like the rest of Colorado Springs, is nestled into the Rockies, I knew that the scenery and sunshine alone would make for a pleasant day. Add in more familiar faces and jerseys from around the country, national anthems from Canada, Colombia, and the US, and the first pull, and the excitement peaked around 10:30 this morning. 
2012USOpen D1 O3 LeClaire
PHOTO CREDIT: Kevin Leclaire, Ultiphotos.com
Here are my impressions from Truck Stop’s games today:
We started our weekend against Texas Doublewide and came out with a 12-7 win. They were a shell of themselves, as they only have 14 guys at the tournament and are in between tryout weekends. Doublewide still did what it does well—lots of isolation plays in both the front and back of a vertical stack—but it’s hard to compete against strong teams in this kind of heat and altitude when nobody can rest for longer than a point. A number of their hucks sailed and they had some uncharacteristic drops. Our game ended with a Doublewide score because of the hard cap, which you never want, but that was the first time our offense was broken all game. We’ll take it. 
Of the guys that made the trip, Jared Wolfe, Max Cooke, Kiran Thomas (back from two seasons with Chain Lightning), and Mike Natenberg ran the show. Natenberg is a particularly fun player to watch, as both his downfield cutting and throwing fakes are some of the most convincing that I have seen. Doublewide got a win against Kie in round two but from what I heard, their small roster showed against Chain Lightning in round three. 
Truck Stop’s second game was against North Carolina Ring of Fire, a long-time regional rival before this year’s redraw. As is typically the case when we play, the game was physical for the sake of being physical, and both teams received TMFs for illegal marks. Ring won the battle of firsts, breaking us and hucking for scores before we did the same, and it lead to them taking half 8-6. Brett Matzuka and Ken Porter did their jobs as playmakers, Brett throwing an impressive flick huck while falling to the ground and Porter making a nasty grab over one of our guys on a disc that I was sure our defender would block. That snag killed a late break opportunity for us. Our defense stepped up late in the game and we pulled to 11-10, Ring, but we didn’t get a turn on the final point and Paul Weeks scored to give them the win, 12-10. 
Our final game was against Johnny Bravo, the hometown team from Colorado. Bravo’s deep game was on, with Jimmy Mickle getting big downfield multiple times and, just when we thought we had the line necessary to stop it, throwing long shots of his own. Bravo was the first team we faced that didn’t struggle with throwing hucks out the back of the endzone. It also didn’t help that they either hand or foot blocked at least three of our throws, one of them being mine. Given that it’s early July, Bravo looked impressively in sync, especially on the endzone line. 
When it comes to running their offense, Jack McShane was underrated in college and is underrated now. He, along with Josh Ackley and a back-from-retirement Parker Krug give Bravo a strong handler corps to go along with a cast of big, young receivers, most notably Hylke Sneider, who is back from Sockeye. Our final score against Bravo was 15-6. 
That final loss was certainly disappointing, and it was hard to concentrate on my dinner when my thoughts kept wandering back to why we lost so badly. But as Truck captain Keven Moldenhauer reminded us at the end of the day, we’ll probably have a chance to avenge today if we make it to bracket play. 
That starts with our first game against Kie tomorrow and will continue as we go on to face GOAT, Inception, and Chain. If today’s theme was excitement, I’m hoping that the next one is focus and execution.

Open Division Schedule (SRT)


Day 1 Photo Gallery by Ultiphotos.com