CCC LIII Previews: UNC Darkside

There is often a debate that rages in Ultimate circles. What would happen to the Ultimate world if a true athlete decided to join the ranks of Ultimate players? What if a professional, or even Division I-level athlete, decided that Ultimate was his/her best competitive outlet.

Would the average Ultimate player become obsolete? Admittedly there are plenty of athletes in the game of Ultimate. Let us never forget the legend of Beau Kittredge challenging Colorado’s track athletes to races.

However, none, or few, of those athletes have ever met great success in the world outside of Ultimate. The University of North Carolina believes they may have the first athlete to change that in an unheard of sophomore named Curtis Bowman.

Bowman’s was the first name that Darkside captain Paul Weeks mentioned to us when we conducted an interview with him last week. Bowman is currently sitting out his transfer year and plans on trying out for North Carolina’s currently tenth-ranked basketball team.

“Bowman is a transfer student who came to UNC to join the basketball team,” Weeks wrote. “He has to sit out a season so he’s only picking up with us for this one year. He played a little bit (of Ultimate) in high school, nothing on a national/UPA level, just pickup.”

So, how good is this kid? Apparently, he’s really good. UNC is no stranger to success, as the team finished tied for seventh at AC Regionals last season even though the team was plagued by injury. So for Bowman to receive praise like Weeks is lavishing upon him is certainly a strong testament to his actual skill.

“His throws are solid, not a huge hucker, but he’s a tremendous deep threat and a phenomenal defender,” Weeks wrote. “We are extremely excited about this kid as we’ve never seen anyone quite like him on the field.”

While a plethora of Google searches reveal little about Bowman’s basketball background, Weeks assures us that Bowman’s athleticism is something that he hasn’t seen on an Ultimate field before.

The main key to utilizing Bowman’s athletic skill rests in the hands of three men, the coaches and leaders of UNC’s team. Those men being senior Sean Childers and coaches Mike Denarids and Gabe Hart.

Childers is the main cog of UNC’s fluid offense. A handler that boasts plenty of experience and the ability to move the disc from anywhere on the field, to anywhere on the field, anyway you like it. It’s likely that opponents of Darkside will quickly become familiar with the idea of a Childers to Bowman huck for a score.

Denardis and Hart bring a wealth of Ultimate experience and knowledge from the most storied Region in the nation. Denardis graduated from Iowa and is now the captain/coach of Los, a North Carolina club team that came from out of nowhere to surprise many this club season. Denardis focuses on the big picture side of developing Darkside Ultimate while Hart, a product of Carleton CUT, pounds the little things into the minds of Darkside players while in practice.

“Gabe likes to get up in players’ faces when they’re out of line,” Weeks wrote. “While Mike refers to talk to them quietly away from the team. It’s a very effective good cop/bad cop style of coaching.”

UNC's Lucas Darden catches a score over a Duke defender during last year's ACC Ultimate Championships showcase game.

It doesn’t take long listening to Weeks talk about his team before one realizes that this is yet another North Carolina Ultimate team that sees the Ultimate world just a little bit differently than everyone else. The UNC Ultimate system is one that depends on a full knowledge of one’s team, both of offense and defense. Darkside constantly switches the mark on defense, throwing smokescreen after smokescreen in the face of opponents and thrives on what Weeks calls “pure force of will” on offense. That means that Darkside cutters, like former AC FOTY Lucas Darden, will beat you to the disc, in or out. Additionally, it’s apparent that Weeks and company don’t really even fathom the idea that they won’t be coming out on top in every tournament they enter this season.

Monup: Where do you see your team ending this season? What is your goal?

Weeks: I see us winning the last game on Sunday


Don’t forget to fill out the survey that we’ve got to help us decide what games to cover in each round while at CCC.

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