November 7, 2023 by Alex Rubin and Laura Osterlund in Awards with 0 comments
Ultiworld is pleased to announce our annual Club Awards, starting with the Club Player of the Year in each division. While we consider both regular season and postseason performance, because of the nature of the Club division, we weight success in the Series and at Nationals above all else. The Club Awards are voted on by Ultiworld reporters, contributors, and editors.
Our All-Club teams recognize the top performers across the division. Our First Team and Second Team display the top seven and next seven players who had the best seasons. As our voting process is ordered, the top vote-getters for All-Club honors function as the ordered list in our Player of the Year voting — our highest individual award.
Player of the Year Award
All-Club First Team
All-Club Second Team
Defensive Player of the Year Award
Offensive Player of the Year Award
Breakout Player of the Year Award
Coach(es) of the Year Award
Club Awards Voting Breakdown
Snubs and Superlatives
2023 Mixed All-Club Second Team
Mark Whitton (Ann Arbor Hybrid)
Stepping into a bigger role on the Hybrid offense, Mark Whitton experienced a breakout season in 2023. His 17 assists at Nationals were good for second in the division as he used his length and balance to create a set of release points for his throws that markers struggled all season to stop. Whitton’s 12 goals also led the team, as he showed off his aerial ability, timing, and speed. With a handful of new faces taking reps with the Hybrid O-line, Whitton’s flexibility and chemistry with his teammates proved incredibly valuable as he powered Hybrid back to the national championship game.
Amber Sinicrope (Boston Slow)
There’s no way around it: Amber Sinicrope has proven that she can hang among the best in the mixed division when it comes to adept throwers. With the experience on her side, Sinicrope knew how to marshal her team’s offense and was one of the driving forces that brought Slow out of their consolation bracket slump and all the way to the quarterfinals at Nationals this year. She brought a confident finesse to the field whenever she touched the disc and always seemed to know the best throws to put in the right places. She was consistently available for resets and her commanding presence on the field at any given time was welcome. A mark on her throws, any additional defense, and even the wind did not bother or pressure Sinicrope one bit, as she fearlessly perfected the art of her inside break throws and windy day throws with minimal turns. Not to mention the fact that when catching the disc, she constantly proved to out-read her defender.
Linda Morse (Philadelphia AMP)
A do-it-all player, Morse filled a variety of roles for AMP this season. Because of her breadth of talents, AMP never needed to nail down a traditional role for Morse. Instead, the team used her like a firefighter, putting Morse where they needed her most and trusting that she would succeed. Her nine assists were second on the team, though she often started D-points (AMP does not run traditional O- and D-lines), showing off her ability to play on both sides of the disc. The statistics tell one story, and Morse passed the eye test as well. She was the primary defender tasked with slowing down Robyn Fennig in a comeback pool play win, and she caught the game winning goal to help AMP escape a tight prequarter game over Drag’n Thrust with a win. Those are just two standout moments among many, Morse played a season to remember.
Lindsay McKenna (Philadelphia AMP)
Like her teammate Morse, Lindsay McKenna is a well-rounded player who finds ways to positively impact her team no matter where she lines up. Her five blocks at Nationals led the team while her ten assists were second for AMP (by just one). A confident thrower who can get open with ease, McKenna proved vital in the backfield all season, and her ability to drive the offense with break throws and hucks changes the shape of the field on an AMP team stacked with talent. Even with other luminaries shining around her, McKenna stood out this season and earned the first of what could be many appearances on an All-Club list to come.
Katrina McGuire (Ann Arbor Hybrid)
To some, it may come as a surprise that this is the first time that Kat McGuire has made her way onto our humble lists of postseason club awards. However, after this season, it’s safe to say it may not be the last. Time and time again, she was one of, if not the, biggest threats on the field at any given moment. Throughout the season, McGuire showed up as a dominant asset in the cutter space, and with the absence of Maddy Simko during the postseason, she only grew stronger. On defense, she took on some of the toughest matchups and best players and found ways to shut them down and minimize their impact on the field. On offense, her ability to shake free of defenders to get open and create separation was really what set her apart from the rest, however. Any team that did their research on McGuire knew to take away her deep cuts (and for good reason because she’s a hard one to stop) but it didn’t matter because from the beginning of the point until the end, whenever she was on the field she would not stop moving and eventually found that deep space (even if it followed several unders first).
Khalif El-Salaam (Seattle Mixtape)
Khalif El-Salaam reached ultimate’s peak in 2022, earning three prestigious gold medals (WUCC, World Games, Club Championships). Well, he might have moved back to the D-line and out of the limelight in 2023, but he continued to play S-tier ultimate. El-Salaam nearly racked up a triple-double at Nationals (11 goals, 12 assists, 8 blocks), leading his team in all three major statistical categories. He played the dueling roles of a premier shut-down defender and a backfield distributor while serving as the emotional pace-setter for his team. Though Mixtape’s up-and-down results this season kept El-Salaam out of the spotlight, his play certainly turned heads.
Caleb Denecour (Minneapolis Drag’n Thrust)
Step aside Michelangelo, Donatello, Da Vinci, and Raphael, there’s a new Ninja Turtle in town. Like these artists, Caleb Denecour is a master in his craft and the playing field is his canvas. Although not as showboating as these Renaissance legends, Denecour shares their creativity, as he always enjoyed finding new ways to get the disc to his receivers, past their defenders with throws coming in many different forms. Like any real hybrid player, Denecour is a renaissance man at heart. Whenever he stepped foot on the field, he always hustled; whether that was being the first person to chase down the pull or bust into the deep space. And when he couldn’t get open when cutting deep, like an energizer bunny1 Denecour went come under just to go back deep again in a vicious cycle that would not stop until he would inevitably get the disc in his hands, most times in the end zone. And let’s not forget his contributions to the team off the field. As soon as Denecour stepped off the field, he returned to his iPad to take team stats, which truly rounded him out as a player.
or turtle? ↩