The D.C. Current re-signed seven of its top players from last year’s playoff team this week, including the league’s most prolific passer, Alan Kolick.
They’ll make up the core of Washington’s team, which opens the 2014 Major League Ultimate season April 12, 2014 at Philadelphia.
Kolick (The College of William & Mary/Arlington, Va.) led the league in pass attempts and completions in 2013, connecting on 481 of 506 passes. That’s a league-high 95.1% of his attempts despite throwing 118 more than Christopher Mazur, the league’s second-highest passing leader (358 of 388). Kolick also recorded 34 assists — second-highest in the league — and grabbed 13 goals to finish seventh overall in total points.
“Last season was one of the most unique and exciting experiences of my athletic career,” Kolick said. “There was never really a question in my mind that I would want to do it again.”
The Current also signed last year’s captains Daniel Kantor (Cornell University/Boulder, Colo.) and Sean Keegan (University of Delaware/Lindenhurst, N.Y.), as well as offensive starters Tom Doi (Green Mountain College/Bethesda, Md.), Calvin Oung (Brown University/Towson, Md.), and Jeff Wodatch (Bucknell University/Wallingford, Conn.) and defensive line starter David Cranston (Xavier University/Suffern, N.Y.).
“We wanted to keep our core together,” said Matt Dewhurst, D.C.’s new general manager. “I wanted our first signing to reflect the strong bond that this team showed last season, and these guys exemplify that commitment to the team and to each other.”
In 2013, the Current started slow before making a late-season push to sneak into the playoffs after beating New York in a winner-take-all final game of the regular season. The victory celebration was short lived, however, as D.C. suffered a crushing 23-15 defeat to the eventual MLU champion Boston Whitecaps in the Eastern Conference championship a week later.
But with the seven players already inked to contracts, and the strong likelihood of returning defensive studs Ryan Todd (13 defenses), Delrico Johnson (10 defenses), and last season’s points leader Markham Shofner (50 points: 17 goals, 33 assists; 8 defenses), the Current have to be considered a favorite to challenge Boston’s dominance in the Eastern Conference.
“Bringing back this group of guys allows us to build on top of the foundation we developed last year,” said assistant coach Will Smolinski. “We believe we are poised to take another leap forward in 2014. These players are smart, talented, and ready to show sports fans everywhere how exciting professional Ultimate truly is.”
Here are the players themselves on re-signing with the Current:
Alan Kolick, Offensive Handler (47 points: 13 goals, 34 assists; 11 defenses)
“I think that we all expect to win this year. I know that we have the talent to win it all; we just need to demonstrate that on the field. Outside of winning, my hope is that we can continue to spread the sport to more people. To me, growing the fan base and getting people excited to play frisbee is just as much of a reward as winning.”
Sean Keegan, Offensive Cutter (39 points: 13 goals, 26 assists; 6 defenses)
“The decision for me was easy. The league is just too much fun. We have season ticket holders. We have fans who want our autographs. We have people traveling hundreds of miles to watch us play. It’s not something I was willing to miss out on.
I love Ultimate and I know I’d miss it too much watching my best friends play in front of screaming fans if I didn’t do it. Truthfully, I was a little burnt out on Ultimate after last year’s club season ended and wanted to take some time not thinking about Ultimate at all, but I just couldn’t pass up an early signing with the Current.
I’d love to see us go further than we did last season. We had a great first year in terms of making the playoffs and winning multiple do-or-die games, and I think that experience can help us make even more progress this year. Last year’s blowout loss to Boston was a bit embarrassing for a lot of us. We want to put the work in to avoid anything like that again.”
Dan Kantor, Defensive Cutter (3 points: 2 goals, 1 assist; 4 defenses)
“Major League Ultimate gives us the opportunity to play against some of the best players in the country. I thrive on competition and only through playing against great players can I make myself better.
Our team underperformed during the first half of the season when we were still adjusting to the larger field and new rules. But we had a strong finish to our season after being written off by a lot of people, and this is why I expect us to win it all in 2014. I wouldn’t play this sport or be in this league if I didn’t think our team could do it, and I look forward to the challenge and battles of another year in the MLU.”
Jeff Wodatch, Offensive Cutter (38 points: 30 goals, 8 assists; 7 defenses)
“The MLU is doing a great job spreading the sport and making it available to people who haven’t seen it before. At the clinics we’ve hosted, I saw more and more elementary school aged kids out there who had never played before and wanted to learn. That’s exciting to be a part of.”
Calvin Oung, Offensive Cutter (43 points: 21 goals, 22 assists; 11 defenses)
“We didn’t finish our job last year. Our goal going into last season was to bring home the MLU championship to D.C. and to our fans, but we came up short. We’re glad the MLU is continuing for its sophomore season to allow us to fix that.
I felt the inaugural season presented a laboratory for the league and players alike to learn and grow, and I’m excited to be a part of that experience again. I am eager to take the field with teammates new and old who are just as hungry as I am to win.
With our core group returning, we will be aiming high again this season. We want to end the championship drought for D.C. professional sports teams.”
Tom Doi, Offensive Cutter (19 points: 14 goals, 5 assists; 3 defenses)
“Getting the opportunity to play the sport I love, with some of the greatest teammates, in front of cheering D.C. fans; just tell me where to sign.
We have an amazing core of players in the D.C. area, many more than just this first group to sign, and I look forward to playing with the returners and hopefully some new faces this season.
Our goal is simple. We want to win every match-up, every point, and every game; and hopefully we can bring a conference and maybe even a league title to D.C.”
David Cranston, Defensive Cutter (23 points: 15 goals, 8 assists; 7 defenses)
“I love the sport of Ultimate, I love competition, and I especially love winning. I felt that playing with the Current gave me the best opportunity to become a better player, teammate, and person.
Our goals are simple. Win the the Eastern Conference regular season title. Win the Conference Championship game. Win the MLU Championship game.”
The returning players will be recognized at a signing event on Tuesday, December 3, at 201 Bar. The event is open to the public and will begin at 8pm. RSVP on Facebook, here.
The complete schedule for the 2014 season is available online, here.