The Manitou Messenger had the chance to catch up with two members of the men’s ultimate frisbee team, the Berzerkers: Matt Whear and Drew Otterlei. Whear and Otterlei reflect on the ultimate frisbee season thus far, and expand on their goals moving toward nationals.
Q: How has the ultimate season gone thus far?
Otterlei: This season, we may have the most well-rounded squad ever, [especially] after hiring a coach this season and gaining some very helpful first-year talent.
Whear: I think we are off to a great start, winning both of our regular season tournaments and being ranked sixth in the country.
Q: How has the team shaped up in comparison to last year?
Otterlei: Our chemistry on the field has grown a lot. We have played really smart this season and have athleticism all over the field which makes our deep game unmatched.
Whear: Our biggest upgrade from last year came with a new coach, Caleb Szydlo. He has played a key role in our success this season. We also returned everyone from last year’s roster and gained a loaded group of first-years.
Q: What are the benefits of and struggles that come with being a club team here at St. Olaf?
Otterlei: The only real struggle we face with being a club sport are not getting the money needed to compete all over the country, which for frisbee is really necessary. The benefit is that we have a lot more freedom with uniforms.
Whear: As a club team, we have to manage our own practices, budgets and tournament logistics. But in order to be competitive, we have to travel around the country which our school funding simply can’t cover. Fortunately, we are able to find other ways to raise money as a team.
Q: What are your goals and expectations for the rest of the season moving forward?
Otterlei: My only goal is to make it to nationals so that we, as a team, can display our talent and depth. This has been my goal for the last three seasons and I would love for it to happen. Once we get there, all we have to do is just play our game and have some fun with it.
Whear: Our goal is to make it to nationals, and I think we have the talent this year to do so. In order to get there, we need to be successful in our upcoming conference and regional tournaments. Our focus right now is on the next few weeks. We are doing everything we can to get the team prepared, in order to be ready for when the time comes.