2016 End of Year AwardsJan 9th, 2017 | By AndyBandit | Category: Awards
BREAKOUT FEMALE PLAYER OF THE YEAR – Alyssa Perez
After winning this award back-to-back in 2010 and 2011, it’s been a 5 year absence before another USC Hellion took it. Tattoo is well deserving, playing a vital role for 7 Figures this year. And establishing herself as one of the faster players in the game. The last time we had women’s combine results posted was 2014. If there was a new one this coming year, I’m certain Tattoo would be up there in the speed categories. She also was a key figure on helping to get USC their first bid to Nationals in several years.
BREAKOUT MALE PLAYER OF THE YEAR – Brandon Severson
This is the first category that we put out to the LAOUT membership group for a vote, and Brandon beat out Brent George in a close battle. Both were first time Aviators. Brandon did make a noticeable step up this year, and not just for his pro debut. In the Summer League 2015 draft, he was confused for another Brandon by one of the captains. That kind of thing definitely did not happen in 2016. You could certainly make the argument he had a step up in recognizability last year when he played for the first time on Ninja Squirtles after being on a C Division Winter League team the year before. But this year he went even higher, and it’s awesome to see the progress he’s making in such a short period of time.
CLUB TEAM OF THE YEAR – Los Angeles Aviators
The Aviators aren’t technically a club team. They’re “pros”. But this year we didn’t really have a club team that stood out in LA. None of them made it to Nationals, and it was worth giving a shout out to Aviators’ first season in the playoffs. They followed up a 5-9 2015 season by opening the year 1-3 and the one victory was only by one point. Four games later they were still below .500 at 3-5 and holding barely out of last place. Then came a stunning 27-22 upset over the San Francisco Flamethrowers on the road, and things really rolled from there. 6 straight wins to finish the season had them ending with a 9-5 record, a complete turnaround from the year before, and their first trip to the post season in three years of existence. They hosted Seattle in their first playoff game at Oxy, and the home crowd was raucous in support. Although they lost, it was the beginning of something special.
COLLEGE TEAM OF THE YEAR – UCLA Bruin Ladies of Ultimate
In the 8 years we’ve been doing the awards, UCLA BLU has won this now five times. They continue to be the Gold standard by which LA college women’s is judged. They had to overcome a difficult end to their 2014-2015 season when they lost to the 19 seed Texas in pool play. But flawless play in the first two months of the year set them up for another big run, finishing 2nd at Regionals to Stanford for the second year in a row, and then upsetting #2 seed British Columbia to win their pool before losing in Quarters to the #1 seed Oregon. Highlighted by stars Heist and Vendetta, who you’ll see a little further down in these awards for two wins right next to each other.
LEAGUE TEAM OF THE YEAR – Dune Squad (Beach League)
They flat out dominated to win for their third straight Beach League title, and this one was definitely the biggest. Prior to Dune Squad’s performance, it was going to be an interesting conversation between 10-1 Summer League finalists Dark Phoenix (who won) and Clarence Boddicker (who set the record for Point Diff.) but then Beach League happened and it wasn’t a question. Finishing 15-1 and only losing on the last day of the season with a shell of their team, Dune Squad made quick work of their opponents in Quarters and Semis, leading to a fairly uninteresting Finals where they again rolled over their opponent Dinosaurs who just played an insane overtime game in Semis, and was exhausted trying to take down the well rested Squad. This puts them in the elite tier of LA teams who won three-straight titles, which is a small list that only includes Quake from the 90’s of Winter League, She Sells Sea Shells in the first years of Beach League, and Boobs and Balls, who won the only three years of the short-lived Goaltimate League.
TOURNAMENT TEAM OF THE YEAR – Tic Tac Toe (Huck It Long Beach)
Huck It has been dominated by Dan-O-Mite recently. I don’t have any stats on that, but I know they’ve won this award a couple times. Also, in the past, Huck It has been won by Beach Worlds teams. And then there’s always some Long Beach team of tall dudes lurking in the wings. I’m saying it’s a hard tournament to win for a new team. And this year, 7 Figures brought two different teams to compete, making the competition level extraordinarily high for such a small tournament. But this rag tag group of players Evan Valdés put together beat them all. And count it as another notch in Jeff Landesman’s belt. He will never stop winning tournaments. I promise you. The polar ice caps will completely melt before Jeff is done collecting titles.
B DIVISION TEAM OF THE YEAR – Retro (Winter League)
It doesn’t matter how you divide Winter League, by tournament time Retro will find a way to win B. That’s what they do. That’s all they do. Sometimes it’s been by disqualifying their opponents. Sometimes it’s been by strangely working their way into B. This year they did it for the 5th time in a row, and it took taking down a team in Kong that had previously been tournament champs. Retro’s season started out with two straight losses to Hungry Hydra and Animal Style. It was not looking good as much discussion began on maybe this was the end of the line for their B chances. But then they started winning, and kept that going into the tournament when a revenge win over Animal Style brought them face to face with Kong, a team they’d only faced once before, and lost to pretty handily, and who had been in A finals as recently as the previous year. Some even argued it was unfair that Kong was allowed to fall into the B bracket at the tournament. But Retro does what Retro does, and they knocked down Kong on their way to 5 straight. That’s amazing.
TOURNAMENT OF THE YEAR – U.S. Beach Open
How about a tournament that didn’t exist before as the best of the year? While Lei Out continues to grow to ludicrous numbers, it once again had its issues, including lack of water, fields that were too small and a make-shift pub crawl instead of a party. Enter the U.S Beach Open as the new standard of excellence, showing what a major beach tournament can be, where every field was lined with a scoreboard, there was a breakfast, 9 games were live streamed, there were spirit scores, and the winner got a $1000 prize. It also introduced 4 on 4 Co-ed Beach Ultimate to the National stage, showcasing, as well as leading the way, for true gender equality in the sport.
TOURNAMENT FINALS PERFORMANCE OF THE YEAR – Charlie Capron (Summer League)
In another category that went to on-line vote, Charlie beat out AJ from Marshall by just two votes. Both Summer League and Winter League finals went to universe. But while it was tough for any one player to stand out much in the wind of Winter League, Charlie was a very huge presence when Clarence Boddicker took on Dark Phoenix in a match-up that seemed destined to happen. Time and time again they would send it to him long, and nobody could match up on him. He also played his usual strong D. I always say, look for where Charlie is before you throw the disc, but who listens to me? And let’s not forget the patented Charlie hammers that nobody can block. When he and others went down with cramps in the near 100 degree weather, it was over for Clarence Boddicker, proving just how important he was.
TOURNAMENT PARTY OF THE YEAR – Beach Westerns
Another rookie tournament gets into the awards with the party that Eric Brach put together in March, which had the distinction of being the west coast’s first and only 5v5, single-gender beach tournament. The party took place at the Garage on Motor Avenue, the same location as Chuck Aramaki’s 70th birthday party last year, and it didn’t disappoint. The Garage is a great venue, with lots of open space, and all the usual craziness you expect to see. Brach was particularly drunk that night and did in fact bite my tip before he left. It was a wow moment. Also, Brach said he “signed the credit card receipt inside the bar’s store room — and then, because the party was so out-of-control large, I had to call the credit card company to confirm that it was real. I felt like I was getting shaken down in the back room of a Vegas casino.”
LEAGUE/TOURNAMENT DIRECTOR OF THE YEAR – Russell Gaskamp (U.S. Beach Open)
This is not the first time Spike has won this award. He previously took home gold three years ago when he ran Goaltimate League and St. Pat’s Hat. But this time he put his talents towards starting something totally new. After winning the inaugural Beach Nationals in 2015, he helped expand upon the division, and brought the concept of the US Open grass tournament to the sand. And to make it unique, he personally made new lined fields out of rope that you can’t find at any other tournament. He added scoreboards to each field. And he live streamed selected games, with announcers. Spike is always going above and beyond, and he once again hit one out of the ballpark.
COACHES OF THE YEAR – Nate Warden, Dan Oettinger and Samantha Zyck and CINDERELLA TEAM OF THE YEAR – USC Hellions
During the time when Broccoli played for the Hellions, they were an exciting story. When coach Frankie Rho looked at his freshman class, and predicted in three years, a team that never made it to Nationals before, that had only even existed as a program little more than a few years prior, would be playing in the big show, it was a bold call. But he proved it and they finished 5th at Nationals in 2010, tied with perennial LA behemoth UCLA BLU. Broccoli was a huge part of that team, and has been coaching the Hellions through the last few years while they’ve tried to get back to that peak. This year, alongside Dot and Nate, they accomplished the goal. Coming into Regionals as the 6 seed with only four bids, the task was daunting. They would have to get through multiple higher seeds, but they pulled off two fantastic upsets, beating #4 UCSD and #3 Cal by identical 8-7 scores to lock up a spot at Nationals for the first time since that 2010 team did the trick.
YOUTH COACH OF THE YEAR – Peter Van Pelt
This might be a first. I don’t even know where to research this fact, but to the best of my knowledge I don’t know of another LA high school team to win the state, but PVP took La Canada High to the Division 2 State Championship this year. It didn’t come without challenge. According to asst. coach Laura Wheeler, “When he looked at La Canada High School, he found some more motivated and consistency [than the previous school he considered coaching]. However, still being high school boys, there is a frequent problem of thinking they’ve got it all figured out already. Pete was relentless in telling them he was not going to come out just so they can get better at whatever scrumball they were playing. They would have to be willing to admit they had come into some bad habits that would need to change. Some of the boys actually walked off, but enough of them stayed to build a stellar high school.” They beat Napa Valley New Tech High School 13-9 for the title win.
LEAGUE CAPTAINS OF THE YEAR – Ulises Castellanos, Kate Ashton and Ethan Lacoe (Summer League)
I was going to say that first year captains historically have not done well in Summer League. But then I actually looked it up, and first year captains have almost exactly a 50% success rate in the regular season. That was a surprise. But it should be encouraging for anyone considering captaining Summer League for the first time. You should do just fine. Well, Dark Phoenix’s trio of first timers did better than just fine. Kate and Ethan made it to the draft, and selected primarily players from their Ventura County pick-up game. That must be a pretty good game, cause the team was unstoppable for much of the season. A great combination of speed and patience (for the most part) led them to a 10-1 record, first place, and a tournament win in a thrilling finals that came down to one incredible jump-disc in the end zone on Universe point.
OFF-THE-FIELD PERFORMANCE OF THE YEAR – Grant Boyd
Just get used to it. Grant is probably going to be winning some kind of award every year. The category may change, but it’s hard not to include him when he does so God damn much for the community. Although I’ve been doing these on-line awards since 2009, Grant brought them to the next level when he organized the first ever LAOUT Awards Banquet at Villains bar. He not only booked the venue and pretty much ran all the set up, he had special drinks made up, and oh by the way also spearheaded the auction that benefited youth Ultimate. For years, I’ve heard amazing ideas that people come up with, but so often it’s “Here’s an idea. Can you make it happen?” What sets Grant apart from most is he comes up with the idea, and HE makes it a reality. That’s clutch.
VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR – Mariana Rodrigues
This is from Grant: “From helping arrange the silent auction for the last two years to checking people in at hat tournaments, the Volunteer of the Year is an all-around Rock Star! As the secretary of SCYU, our Volunteer of the Year has provided an invaluable service to helping push the youth ultimate community forward by being a leader and always being the voice of reason. On behalf of SCYU and LAOUT, we’d like to say ‘thank you’ and ‘congrats’ to this year’s Volunteer of the Year: MER!”
BIGGEST MALE LOSS OF THE YEAR – Simon Evans
These are the saddest awards. LA is so transient, so we’re going to lose a lot of people each year. Usually to the Bay Area, but this year the winners on both sides of this award amazingly did not move to San Francisco. Avatar got married this year to Calypso, and they promptly started their new life together in Washington DC. Avatar has been such a staple in the club scene over the last several years with Renegade since their inception in 2011, and with the Aviators all three years. A top receiver at UCLA, he continued to dazzle crowds in the pro league making highlight reel end zone catches. It’s been a fairy tale 2016 for him and Calypso and we wish them both success on the East coast.
BIGGEST FEMALE LOSS OF THE YEAR – Samantha Pitman
Oh man, what didn’t Woz do? She did everything. She ran tournaments, ran Women’s League, coached a college team, captained Summer League teams, worked for USAU, was on the LAOUT Board and helped out in so many different aspects for the community, it’s easy forget she was only in LA for a few years. She burst on the scene, winning the Ubiquitous Award, and added TD of the Year just last year. She’s been an important presence, willing to do pretty much anything from offering body shots at the Viva Poker parties to starting dance parties at the Summer League tournament to offering her time to help anybody who needed it, and always with a smile on her face, and a Canadian reference at the ready. We wish her well in Seattle and she is incredibly missed.
SCANDAL OF THE YEAR – Orin Moore
This might be the Scandal of the Century so far. When you take the field on January 21 and 22 for Lei Out, and it’s not on the 3-day MLK weekend like it usually is, and you’re wondering, why would they move Lei Out? Oh, let me enlighten you. This was going to be an article in Ultiworld I think, because it was the rare LA scandal that affects the National Ultimate community. In an effort to force positive changes at Lei Out (supplying water, for example) Orin contacted the permit office, proclaimed himself a member of the 2017 Lei Out team, and booked the permit for Santa Monica Beach on MLK weekend, essentially holding the tournament hostage, possibly with the intent of creating a rival tournament on that date. Refusing to kowtow to Orin, Calle made the decision to instead move the tournament to the following weekend. Shortly after the announcement of the new tournament date was released, the two sides finally got together at the bargaining table, but due to several teams having already booked flights and rooms for the new date, it was decided to keep it on the 21st/22nd. Now you know.
CONTROVERSY OF THE YEAR – SoCal Condors
Top level players leaving LA teams to play for the Condors is nothing new. It’s as old as Whammo. I can’t imagine any elite player not being faced with at least the decision at some point in their career. Hell, half of the LA Monster team that made Nationals in 2006 ditched the team to play for the Condors immediately after failing to make it to Sarasota the next year. And it seems that anytime Renegade makes any gains, they have to endure the inevitable flight to Santa Barbara of 1 or 2 key members. But if things seems daunting before, it got downright ugly when Santa Barbara and San Diego announced their merger in March. The moans and groans that I heard from Renegade players and others were loud and angry. The monster you’ve been fearing under your bed just grew another head and another set of arms. Good luck.
GOOD/QUESTIONABLE DECISION OF THE YEAR – Live Streaming
This wins both of these awards, but for different reasons. At the US Beach Open this year, they live streamed several of the games, and had announcers, and it gave a much more legitimate feel to the tournament, and certainly upped the overall level. On the other hand, we live streamed the Summer League draft this year on Periscope, and there were more than a few people concerned that maybe that wasn’t the smartest move in the world. It was intending to live stream only the first five rounds, but drunk Seth Gillum had so much fun providing commentary, we did it into the 10th round. A little questionable probably.
DISAPPOINTMENT OF THE YEAR – The Lei Out Party
It’s kind of becoming such a cliche now that the Lei Out Party will fail that it’s hard to call this a disappointment since I know a lot of people are now setting their bar of expectation lower than their belief in Donald Trump’s presidency. But this has to win the award again because this time the party didn’t even happen at all. At least in the last couple years it started to occur, but got shut down. This time the Santa Monica Police Department decided to put the kibosh on it before it even began. And not well in enough in advance to come up with a great 2nd option. Their last minute decision forced the organizers to scramble and come up with a bar crawl, which was fun for some, but hardly for all.
MALE COLLEGE PLAYER OF THE YEAR – Mikey Sylvester (USC Lockdown)
After winning the Breakout Player of the Year award last year, Mikey adds to his trophy case with another award. Also notable is Mikey is the first winner of this award from the USC Men’s team. In his senior year, he helped USC to a spot at Regionals for their third straight year, which was pretty impressive when you consider they hadn’t made Regionals in the three previous years. He’s also been a staple on 7 Figures for his second year now.
FEMALE COLLEGE PLAYER OF THE YEAR – Han Chen (UCLA BLU)
This was another of the votes that went to the LAOUT Membership group, and it went back and forth between Heist and Vendetta the whole week, until Heist took the honors by just one vote. Like Mikey, she also won Breakout Player of the Year last year. And is also a staple on 7 Figures. With UCLA BLU, she was a beast, helping them to a 2nd place finish at Regionals and another Nationals appearance where they made it to Quarters and finished tied for 5th. On top of this, she was also in both of the plays considered for Amazing Play of the Year below, throwing the score in both of them.
AMAZING PLAY OF THE YEAR – Kristen Pojunis (College Nationals)
The Vendetta toe tap. If you haven’t seen it, go here. I want to say that personally, I was in favor of the Heist to Vendetta full field huck at the finals of the President’s Day Invite, but it was just barely beaten by one vote to this other bit of amazingness. In the end, it basically came down to a Heist throw to Vendetta vs. a Heist throw to Vendetta, so one way or the other, Vendetta would be getting this award. And people have even said that these two great plays were eclipsed many better ones they made this year, but it’s hard to beat video evidence.
POLL OF THE YEAR – March 28, 2016
It’s not that I thought this St. Pat’ Hat poll was that spectacular. But it had the most surprising answers from all the polls I did this year. Because once again, I’m astonished by some of the things you guys are okay with. As you know, Hat D’s are legal in St. Pat’s. So the fact that 31% of you say it’s okay to wear a plastic helmet and 28% of you support attaching metal coins to your hat to weigh it down, you’re more leniant that I’d expect. Also one third of you were okay with wearing a second hat under your primary hat. 26% of you are okay with attaching sun reflectors to your hat, and 14% of you actually said it’s okay to wave your hat in the face of the thrower. Sometimes I just include things in the polls to see what you guys will say, and I thought all of these things would get below 10%, but you guys are cut throat, and I can’t help but laugh.
RECAPPER OF THE YEAR – Joanna Whitney (Winter League)
Once again, some fantastic recaps this year for Winter and Summer League. People really stepped up, and once again we had over 100 different people recapping games. It’s so awesome to hear from so many different styles. I looked back over some of my favorites, and in the end it was clear that the winner this year is Joanna from Animal Style. From trying really hard not to name her boyfriend in one of them, to great puns in the Rooks game, to equating Kong to the bear in the Revenant, every recap seemed to have a theme, and they all great reads. Keep it up Joanna. I’m looking forward to reading the 2017 entries.
RECAP OF THE YEAR – Mary Carlson (Winter League)
But for best individual recap, I had a few really choice ones to consider. Liverpool’s cartoon recap was pretty great. Mary Carlson of the Rooks submitted a recap from one of her 5 year old students, someone even submitted a recap from their mom (I couldn’t find which one that was, I just remember getting it, and that was hysterical.) But Mary Carlson went another giant step forward and made a crossword puzzle for the February 9 game against Sky Life. Think of the time it takes to put that together. I mean, Jesus, talk about going above and beyond. I was floored when I saw it, and knew right then she was a shoe in to win this award. Very deserving.
CALL OF THE YEAR – Remy Schor (Winter League)
On an incredibly windy day at the Field of Dreams in March for the Winter League tournament, rookie team Skeeter played long time stalwart Marshall in finals. On the opening flip to decide the pull, Grant Boyd and I sent our discs up, and Remy called “different”. Who could possibly know at that moment that this simple call would basically determine the winner? Grant’s disc came down easily, landing printed side down. But mine rolled and rolled and rolled forever, the wind keeping it up as it tantalizingly continued on its edge for half a field’s time until finally landing on the same side as the other disc. After playing a semis game where only one point was scored upwind, it was an easy decision for Marshall to forego any choice of O or D and instead chose downwind to start. 19 points later, every single point was scored downwind and gave Marshall the 10-9 win.
QUOTE OF THE YEAR – Rooks (Winter League)
Oh, the Rooks. You gotta love that team. In 2015, in their third year, they finally won a Winter League game. It was awesome. Colin Whitman has been fantastic in bringing newer players to the sport, and although the Rooks pulled some more crafty veterans into the fold this year, they still had some of the original players from their roster. On February 2nd, they played a game against Animal Style. It was the first time the teams had met, but considering Animal Style was a shade below the Elite teams, it didn’t feel like it would much of a contest. Which is why after the Rooks took a 1-0 lead, and the lights suddenly went out for no good reason, the Rooks shouted “We win!” and those two simple words were probably the funniest all year. Poor Rooks ended up losing the game 15-5, which only makes the declaration all the better.
GIFT OF THE YEAR – Daniel Kwok (LAOUT Awards)
With props to Brian Calle for not only the huge donation he provided to LAOUT this year (in the thousands and thousands) and also to the $100 he gave to the Viva Poker Party, I’m going with something that’s not a monetary amount for best gift. At the LAOUT Awards last year, Kwok auctioned himself off for a date. The winning bid was from Drea Rosas who put up $90 to go out with the beautiful man, but sadly the date never happened. So what did Drea do at this year’s Awards Banquet to make up for it? She again bid on him, and again won a dinner from him, this time for $100. So basically she’s now in for close to two hundy, and I’m hoping she at least gets a little somethin somethin from the guy. I mean, c’mon people. I’m looking for early favorites for New Cute Couple on 2017.
SIGN OF THE YEAR – Samantha Zyck (Aviators home game)
I don’t know if you can read this fully, but it says “Best Mustache Ride in Town”. And it was one of many signs that Broccoli put together to support the Aviators, and her own personal Aviator Blitz. I happened to see this photo while searching for another photo, and I’m so glad I stumbled upon it, because it’s perfect. The Aviator games do get the best signs. Last year the Allen Lai heads won this award. And it makes me wonder what other amazing signs are being done at games in other stadiums.
GEAR OF THE YEAR – Summer League jerseys
For the first time ever, every Summer League team got to have their own team shirts, and it was a perfect time to do it. With the Villains theme, Spike put together a basic circular design for all the teams that represented their villain, and they were great. So great David Reed created an on-line ranking of all the team logos, and not surprisingly listed his own team’s at number one. But they were all well done, and one of them even required licensing the rights to the image from Fox. Turns out it helps to have someone on the inside of the studio.
HAIR OF THE YEAR – Doug McLaughlin
For the second straight year, the hair award goes to the facial variety. Box was the first to win it for beards last year. Although Bofa in his day would’ve taken it for sure if he still lived here when I started the awards. This year we had some great contenders for hair. Lincoln Scott and Blitz in particular let their locks flow, and Don Macatangay’s red hair is gorgeous. But for all out commitment to theme, Doug McLaughlin took the cake with his red leprechaun beard at the St. Pat’s Hat tournament. Watching him play out there felt like a rainbow had actually landed into a pot of gold.
UBIQUITOUS PLAYER OF THE YEAR – Jess Altamira
This is one of the most interesting awards, given out to the person who is either new to LA or new to the LAOUT community and then is suddenly everywhere. It was put out to the Membership group for vote, and she was a landslide winner. Really it’s all about popularity, and everyone who knows her loves her. So much so it’s hard to really believe she’s only been here a year. Jess started her 2017 on the Rooks in Winter League, and by the end of the year, she was the Queen.
NEW FEMALE PLAYER IN TOWN OF THE YEAR – Liz Gupta-Harrison
Keeping on the theme of new players, we go to new top level folks who we’re excited to have playing with us. LA always loses really great players every year, and so it’s sweet to pull in some great ones. At 2010 Nationals, Liz went to finals in the mixed division with District 5 from Conneticut, a team that also, by the way, featured USC’s Uzi and UCLA’s Docta Jones. And then she moved on to New York’s Bent in the Women’s division who also made Nationals. She comes over from the Northeast and played on Viva this year as well as Hot Lava in the Women’s Masters division. Happy to have you Liz.
NEW MALE PLAYER IN TOWN OF THE YEAR – Eli Friedman
In Eli, we actually have a former Callahan winner. Not too shabby. He won in 2010 from the University of Oregon. That also appears to be the first year he started playing with Portland’s Open team Rhino. And first made it to Nationals in 2012. He also won Silver at Beach Worlds in 2015. He signed onto the Aviators this year and helped them to their first post season appearance. But he also made contributions this year to the local leagues, even playing in Men’s Beach League in the Spring and guiding Black Friday to a 10-1 first place finish. And if I ever gave Ubiquitous Player of the Year to a guy, he probably would’ve been right there with Jess in the voting I’m sure.
NEW CUTE COUPLE OF THE YEAR – Stephanie Hicks and Nate Warden
Awww, one of my favorite awards to give out. And look at how adorable they are. Steph and Nate are one of those couples you really root for, and not just because “hell yeah Stephanie, way to bag yourself a young stud!” and not just because if it doesn’t work out Steph may write it into a future TV script, and not just because I know personally at least one of them is a really good kisser, and you can guess which one, but because they always seem to be really happy around each other all the time. It’s just sick, and gross. So yeah, it’s awesome.
SPIRITED PLAYER OF THE YEAR – Daniel Landesman
You’re all about to be schooled by a 15 year old. Check this out. Danny’s team pulls the disc. A player on the other team drops the pull. Now, even at the high school level, dropping the pull is a turnover. And Danny picked it up on the goal line. Sounds like the other kid probably wasn’t aware of the rule and maybe he wouldn’t have tried to catch it if he was. I know there’s some of you out there who would’ve given the disc back to the other team in a pick-up game. But with something on the line, I wonder how many would do what Danny did, throwing the disc straight into the ground so his team could earn the disc. That’s true sportsmanship, and it’s no surprise when you consider who his parents are, and you know he’s taught right.
YOUTH ORGANIZER OF THE YEAR – Don Macatangay
Don is pretty much the perfect person to work with kids. He is a kid himself. You don’t find too many people with his level of exuberance. He was the Spirit Award Winner last year, and deservedly so. He’s moved his talents to a perfect place, and works on the SCYU Board, and helps organize most of the Youth Ultimate activities that are happening in LA. Working with kids is not new to him, he’s been doing that for awhile now. And when you see him with kids, you totally get why he’s ideally suited for this award.
PHOTO OF THE YEAR – Brian Leung (Sectionals)
I looked through A LOT of photos this year. I basically scoured through Facebook looking for anything that stood out as interesting. To me, layouts and skies are cool, but I want to see something a little different that makes me go wow. And this photo of Chicago of Family Style getting completely sandwiched between two guys on Sunday at Mixed SoCal Sectionals is my personal favorite. If you can look closely and just see the complete pain on his face. Poor Chicago. He jumped as high as he could, but he’s just really short.
GIF OF THE YEAR – Annie Ngo
Taking photographs is hard work, and this shot of Annie at the Aviators game falling over the Savage sign shows just how difficult it can be. I didn’t think any photo could ever replace the Licious meme, but this might be the one to do it. The two other really cool things about this is how the sign pops right back up as though nothing happened. Savage makes good products. And the guy just to the right, who puts up his left hand for something on the field, and then puts up his right to point out Annie’s fall. (Not to help, just to point it out.)
All at once awesome, creepy, hysterical and disturbing, Retro was at it again with another fantastic video. This year’s concept was that in an effort to defeat Marshall, Retro would reintroduce the Benbot, and new time travel technology to go all Arnold Terminator style on them, thus forcing a forfeit. But when that plan failed, they decided to send the Benbot even further back in time to kill Marshall’s parents. Again, the plan was thwarted when Mariana Rodrigues (in a sultry and perplexing acting performance as her own future mother) surprised the Benbot and the rest of the Retro team, conceiving an idea for Plan C, and THAT was worth the price of admission. Give it another look, if you can handle it.
HEROES OF THE YEAR – Alison Regan and Chuck Bender
More field space! That’s what we want. And when do we want it? Now. Alison and Chuck went to Santa Monica City council meetings where they discussed the allocation of funds for a new sports field at the Civic Center. And after speaking and making strong cases for why there needs to be more fields, on May 24 the Council earmarked $3.45 million for the construction of the Civics Center Sports Field 1.0, to be completed by the end of the Summer 2019. Politics working. Every extra field makes a huge difference, and we owe a huge thanks to Alison and Chuck for helping to make this happen.
COMEBACK OF THE YEAR – Orin Moore
There’s few more interesting people in LA Ultimate than Orin. And after years of being a key figure in the club scene, including starting Monster, and going to Nationals with the Condors and 7 Figures, Orin formally announced his retirement from club in January of this year, a few months after getting surgery on his ACL last October. He hardly sat around and rested. No, he was busy running clinics, helping with youth, announcing at Aviators games, and showing up to support his teammates in any he could. He even came to league tournaments just to volunteer his time. And that’s part of why it was so gratifying when he stepped back on the field for the US Open, and played at the level we’ve gotten accustomed to from him. Welcome back young man.
GAME OF THE YEAR – Dark Phoenix over Clarence Boddicker (Summer League)
This game could’ve been predicted by like the third week of the season. Both of these teams dominated Summer League and came from such different drafting backgrounds. While Alex Carey was already a seasoned drafting vet and his teams have always done well, Kate Ashton and Ethan Lacoe were having their first draft ever. But the two teams battled it out at the top of the rankings all season, and at times both challenged for the all time record of highest point differential in history. For much of the season, Dark Phoenix looked like they’d break it AND go undefeated, but a surprise late season loss ended their hopes for the record, but Clarence Boddicker did actually break that record, and when the teams finished 1-2 in the standings, it seemed inevitable they’d meet each other again in finals. The close competition was exactly as expected, going all the way to universe point. There were multiple players who left the game mid-point due to cramping in the excessive heat, and it even included the strange head-scratcher of Dark Phoenix never using their Summer League power of forcing the other team to pull to them when they started on D. Finally it ended on a crazy jump disc in the end zone, which cemented its rightful place as the Game of the Year.
UPSET OF THE YEAR – Family Style over 7 Figures (Sectionals)
Family Style was born in 2015 as the third Mixed team in the area behind 7 Figures and O.C.’s Naughty Love. They finished with an overall record of 6-15 that year, and that’s the exact same score that they lost to 7 Figures by the first time they played them. It was even worse when they fell to them 13-1 at Sectionals. This year, they were the presumptive #4 team behind newly created Long Beach Legacy. But they carried an 8-6 record into Sectionals and were about to prove their worth at 9:45AM on August 27. After a really tough 10-9 capped loss to #3 seeded Rubix from Phoenix, Family Style took on 7 Figures for the first time since that 13-1 drubbing the year before. And something happened that makes you excited for sports. They refused to back down to the defending Sectionals champs. They took a lead, survived a comeback, and held on to win on Universe when Charlie Capron pinpointed a crossfield hammer for the win. It was an especially nice win for several players who were cut from 7 Figures, and should give them plenty of confidence going into this year.
END OF AN ERA AWARD – AFO (Winter League)
They came into the league in 2010 as (a formidable opponent) and it actually included the parentheses. When Pirates folded at the end of 2009, AFO (who officially changed their name to that in 2012, and without any of these parentheses) was the new team to emerge, although only including a small percentage of the old Pirates players. AFO was probably the most talented team never to win league. In their first season, they met Empire in finals on a Friday night, but lost. They played the most amazing finals against Ninja Squirtles in 2013 but lost. And in fact, between 2010 and 2014, they were beaten by the team that went on to win every time. 2015 was the only season that didn’t happen, and then after 6 seasons they disbanded.
POWER COUPLE OF THE YEAR – Charlie Capron and Felicia Yang
These two are all over the place on the awards list this year. From playing in the Game of the Year at Summer League finals, to Charlie’s win of Finals Performance of the Year, to playing with Family Style for the Upset of the Year, helping to make Video of the Year, winning B Division at Winter League for Retro which got them B Team of the Year and winning Huck It Long Beach with the Tournament Team of the Year, they kind of did everything. They even won the B Division tournament at Beach League with Treehouse at the end of the year just to put a cherry on top. They have the second greatest height diff of any couple (Drew and Scrappy), and now they can add this award to their spectacular year.
FEMALE PLAYER OF THE YEAR – Jane Carlen
Just about any year, Jane is a strong candidate to win this award. But I’ve always maintained that this award is not about who is the best player, but who had the best year. And in 2016 it was Jane by a landslide in the on-line poll. League-wise, she won Beach League with Dune Squad who had a nearly undefeated season at 15-1, and she lost on universe point with new team Skeeter in the Winter League finals. Add to that she captained JAM Patrol to a win at One Love One Beach, and also made it to the finals of Beach Nationals with Point Break. And to top it off, she went to Nationals this year with Wildfire. It was a great year, and well deserving of this award. I’m sure this won’t be her last one.
MALE PLAYER OF THE YEAR – Evan Valdés
Evan joins Peaches as the only guy to win this award twice, having also taken the top honor in 2014. But at look at this year he had. He started it out by winning Winter League with Marshall. Won One Love One Beach with JAM Patrol. Then captained Tic-Tac-Toe to a win at Huck-It-Long Beach. With the SoCal Condors, he won both CBR Memorial and Sectionals. And finished off the season by captaining Dune Squad to their runaway win at Beach League. That’s six tournament wins. Another big year for the person once voted as the expected top pick if a professional team ever came to LA. That of course does beg the question……..
So there you go. I hope you all enjoyed the awards. You’re welcome to argue with me in the comment section, or just simply give someone who won an award a much deserved “Great Job!” Thanks to those who helped me out in the award selections. It was a great 2016, and I’m looking forward to another fun year!