October 27, 2014 by Charlie Eisenhood in Livewire, Video with 11 comments
Patrick Sherlock, a player for Philadelphia AMP, sent in his take on the Mixed Division’s All-Club 1st Team.
Most of my time was spent with AMP and our opponents in Frisco, which didn’t provide much exposure to the teams finishing on top and the players that led them, though we did play a few during the summer. With that caveat, here’s a highly subjective shot at recognizing some of the awesome athletes competing in the Mixed Division this season.
Magon Liu (Chad Larson Experience) – A calm reset cutter underneath in the middle of the field for the offense, deep threat when fronted, and a persistent competitor on D. We know we need to stop her, but haven’t quite perfected how. Given Chad Larson’s annual strong run at Nationals, it seems many other teams are having the same problem.
James Hron (Drag’N Thrust) – “Young Trey Katzenbach” plays with size, strength, and finesse. It’s nearly impossible to get the disc off him, and he does not give it away either – the most surprisingly play of the final may have been his errant throw midway through the game. He makes the routine plays to facilitate for his teammates, and gets huge when needed, scoring deep on Mac Taylor to finish off Drag’N’s closest game of the tournament. Spirited competitor who’s fun to play against.
Sarah Meckstroth (Drag’N Thrust) – Tough to single out on a team full of women who score goals, take the disc away, and always play mistake-free alongside a few guys who like to make aggressive throws, but Meckstroth gets the nod as the best in each of these areas — plus she’s still giving us nightmares after some clutch grabs in our US Open match-up. It is a little tempting to give this spot to Anna Hettler, just to correct an injustice from the USAU highlight clips.
Aaron Caulfield (Blackbird) – Maybe a biased shout-out for our former AMP teammate, but in the games we spectated — first round against Wild Card and the universe-point elimination against Drag’N — “Boot” was just constantly catching goals for the eventual 6th place finishers. Don’t let the sunblock fool you; Aaron’s an elite athlete – quick, reads the field exceptionally well, the disc in the air even better, and is a sharp and decisive thrower with few turnovers.
Ian Engler/Vincenzo Vitiello (Wild Card) – Whenever we play Wild Card we are matching up with Ian first; the team’s captain gives his offense great confidence and tempo, and plays a ton of points. The Boston team was clearly getting contributions from all over the roster though, especially after losing big man Lee Farnsworth in round one to a knee injury, and Vincenzo’s all over Brittany Winner’s excellent write-ups, so can we have them split this spot?
Kara Hammer (Wild Card) – Similarly, this could probably fall to any one of the semifinalist’s tall, speedy women, but Hammer was the one we saw moving fastest and making the most plays under pressure, eating up yards underneath or finishing deep.
Khalif El-Salaam (Seattle Mixed) – While his finals performance was did not feature as many highlights, from what we saw of semis and judging by Seattle’s record through the tournament, it’s safe to shout-out the division’s youngest star; plus, we’ve seen his movies. Finishing in the air and creating with his legs, he’s a constant threat.
Who else deserves recognition? Let us know in the comments.