UConn players make big impression at tryouts
Published: Tuesday, January 31, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, January 31, 2012 23:01
Three members of UConn's club Ultimate team will move on to another day of tryouts for Connecticut's newest professional team, the Connecticut Constitution.
The Connecticut Constitution will be one of eight teams from around the country in the brand new American Ultimate Disc League, or AUDL. From UConn's club Ultimate team, Kamil Skwarek, Ben Weyers and Matt "Gomez" Baum have all earned a spot on the preliminary roster for the third and final day of tryouts coming off strong performances in each of the previous events.
The tryouts, which began with more than 80 of the best players in the region, have since been trimmed down to just 34 men. The final roster, which will be decided upon this Saturday, will have 20 spots.
Despite a lack of experience at such a high level of play, recent success on the college level has translated surprisingly well to the pro side for each of the players, a tremendous accomplishment not only for Skwarek, Weyers, and Baum, but also for UConn's program as a whole.
Skwarek, UConn's star handler and junior co-captain, made an early impression in the tryout sporting the highest score of all players on the throwing evaluation. Skwarek is confident the road won't end on Saturday.
"I am so excited for next Saturday," said Skwarek. "This whole thing has been such an awesome experience and I think that each of us has a very legitimate shot at making this team."
Weyers, UConn's other co-captain and a senior on the team, performed well at each event and was able to showcase his strong speed and crippling defense. Weyers was elated at the accomplishment.
"I am psyched. I am really happy to make it through to another round," said Weyers. "I couldn't be more proud of my teammates."
Baum was relatively unknown coming into the tryout, but left arguably the biggest impact by the end of the day. His best performance came during the scrimmage portion of the tryout. Despite being guarded by some of the best players in the country, Baum scored with ease and was able to consistently make expert throws. With the day nearing an end, "Gomez" became a fan favorite through multiple highlight reel catches, each one leading to louder and louder cheers from his fellow athletes and spectators on the sidelines. Regardless, the whole thing has not really settled in yet for Baum.
"I can't even believe all of this. I used to watch a lot of these guys play when I was just a freshman. It's just amazing to have the privilege to play with them now and to hear the advice they have to give me," Baum said.
John Korber will be the coach of the Connecticut Constitution and was impressed by the strong level of play coming from the three players, despite UConn Ultimate being such a young program.
"They proved they were premier athletes. They made good decisions and displayed maturity on the field," said Korber. "They have shown a ton of growth over the past few years and they did an excellent job at proving they deserved to be here."
The Constitution will be based out of New Britain, CT, and will play their games at Arute Field on Central Connecticut State University's campus. The season will begin in mid-April and end in August.