Monday, May 16, 2011

Callahan Profile: Sara Miller (Northwestern)

Over the course of the next two weeks, we will be profiling some outstanding Callahan candidates. Our first Callahan profile is of Sara Miller, one of the co-captains of Northwestern GungHo. We asked Sara some questions, and then asked some of Sara's teammates, including her co-captain Lien Hoffman, to talk about Sara. Fun fact: Michelle's college roommate was Sara's HS coach...

Sara, first some questions for you...

1. What is your playing history (teams, role on the field, leadership positions, awards, etc.)?
I first learned to play ultimate at a summer camp, and decided to join the ultimate team as a freshman at Stuyvesant High School. I started off as a cutter as almost everyone does, but started to handle my sophomore year, mostly to fill a void after our best throwers graduated. I’ve been a handler ever since. I captained the Sticky Fingers my junior and senior year, and received the team’s MVP award as a senior.

Once I joined GungHo at Northwestern, I had to learn to incorporate defense, and aggression into my game. Good throws and a strong field sense would not cut it against other competitive teams. Last summer, I played for Nemesis, Chicago’s elite womens club team. We finished 7th at club nationals. I have received GungHo’s Rookie of the Year award, Best Offensive Player, and MVP.

2. Tell us about your role on GungHo this season.
This year I have captained GungHo along with Julia La Manna and Lien Hoffmann. Together we have led the team to tackle many ambitious goals this season, traveling to farther and more competitive tournaments, and qualifying for Nationals for the second year in a row.

3. O or D?


4. What is your favorite ultimate memory?
One of my favorite ultimate memories was playing in Singapore Open in 2009 with the China United Ultimate Party team out of Beijing and Shanghai. I studied abroad in Beijing that summer, and jumped at the opportunity to fly to Singapore for the weekend. Playing against teams from all over Asia, including the Philippines, New Zealand, and India, was a mind blowing experience. I love that the ultimate community is so close-knit and yet extends across the globe.

5. What does the Callahan Award mean to you?
Callahan winner is a very prestigious title, and means joining the ranks of amazing players such as Shannon O’Malley, Georgia Bosscher, and Courtney Keisow. The award gives recognition for terrific spirit of the game, and head-turning playing ability.

And now some questions for Lien...

1. How has Miller changed Northwestern women's ultimate during her time on the team?

Over her college career, Miller has seen GungHo evolve from a regionally competitive team to one of truly nationals caliber. She's had a lot to do with it too. Her freshman year, she was immediately integrated as a main handler. In only her sophomore year, she became (and still is) the go-to handler. Miller has given GungHo an exceptionally better deep game and many more options on the break side by being able to put the disc wherever she wants. By being personally excellent, she has set an example for all other GungHo handlers to follow.

2. What are some meaningful ways that Miller has given back to women's ultimate?

Miller is a huge proponent of women's ultimate. She guest-coaches her old high school team and this year, assisted in the Midwest Throwdown skills clinic.

3. Tell us about your favorite / funniest memory of Miller
. Her inability to count to 7. And she calls herself a math major.

4. How has Miller impacted your ultimate experience?

At tournaments, I always enjoy cutting when Miller has the disc. I can literally take my pick from almost anywhere on the field, and, if I'm marginally open, she'll get it to me. I most enjoy running down her hucks; they're always just within my reach. During practice, I make an effort to mark up against her. What better way is there to improve my mark than match up against our best handler? Also, she's taught me to favor my flick over my backhand. It's contagious.

And what do others have to say about Miller?

I've had the opportunity to both play against Miller in college and alongside her in club. She's been a dynamic player on Northwestern and Nemesis and her passion for the game is contagious both on and off the field. She's an extremtely talented handler who leads by example with patient O and aggressive D. How do you think she earned the nickname "Killer Miller"?! Miller would make a deserving Callahan winner as she has been a force to be reconked with during her ultimate career thus far.
-Kelly Marshall Johnson, Nemesis #21

Miller's throws can handle basically any wind. when she's on the field, she dominates with her remarkable control over the disc.
-Carol Li, GungHo #32

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