Major League Ultimate announced the Spirit Award recipients for the 2014 season during the MLU Championship last Saturday. Quinn Hunziker of the New York Rumble and Clay Dewey-Valentine of the Seattle Rainmakers were voted the most spirited players in the Eastern and Western Conferences, respectively, by their fellow players.
The Spirit Awards are given to the players that demonstrate exemplary sportsmanship on and off the field throughout the season. MLU players voted on the most spirited player in their conference.
Hunziker, re-joining the Rumble for his second season (he was a rookie in 2014), filled a necessary role on the young New York roster – veteran leader. “Everyone knows Quinn as a talented athlete who goes out on the field and creates plays.” said Rumble Co-Head Coach Anthony Nuñez, “His teammates know a different side of Quinn, the Quinn that always has positive things to say. The Quinn who shows up to every practice and is willing to work hard, and create this fun energy. Quinn will always put his teammates first and pushes everyone to be a success on the field. His ability to always smile and be the perfect teammate is why I will always want Quinn on my team.”
Like with Hunziker, 2016 was Dewey-Valentine’s second season in the league. Dewey-Valentine once again proved himself to be a productive member of the Seattle roster, however it wasn’t his athletic plays or accurate throws that won him this award. He was voted by his teammates and conference rivals for his outstanding spirit, on and off the field. “Throughout the season, whether in practice or a game, Clay gave his absolute all on the field.” said teammate Ben Beehner, “He’s one of the best competitors I have ever seen, but he never abandons his morals, no matter how high the stakes. He plays with respect and communicates with the player he’s going up against. As a captain, he pushed for us to play a clean game. If the referee made a call that was in our favor but wasn’t right, the coaches and captains wanted the player to overturn it. Clay is an embodiment of that idea. He wants to win, but the right way.”
Spirit is at the very core of ultimate, and while recognizing victories, scoring records and individual on the field accomplishments is paramount in sports, recognizing players who truly represent what it means to play ultimate is of the utmost importance. Major League Ultimate strongly believes in highlighting and encouraging the ideals of Spirit of the Game and recognizing those that best embody it – on and off the field.
Others receiving votes:
East: Austin Bartenstein (DC), Lloyd Blake (DC), David Brandolph (PHL), Frederik Brasz (BOS), Isaiah Bryant (PHL), Justin Carter (NY), Gabe Colton (PHL), Mason Compton (NY), Alex Cooper (BOS), Nick Hirannet (PHL), Andrew Hooker (BOS), Trey Katzenbach (PHL), Himalaya Mehta (PHL), Jibran Mieser (NY), Michael Panna (PHL), Gabe Webster (DC)
West: Cam Bailey (SEA), Grant Cole (PDX), Raphy Hayes (PDX), Erik Hunter (VAN), Tad Jensen (PDX), Raj Maitra (SF), Matt Melius (PDX), Brian Penner (PDX), Timmy Perston (PDX), Thomas Pineda (SF), James Sheridan (SF), Devon Williams (SF)