Portland announced on Friday the 2015 Stags roster, which includes 20 returning players, six rookies and three returning players from season one.
After a single open combine and numerous invite only practices the Stags have finalized their 2015 roster. With a majority of the 2014 roster returning, the Stags are already aimed at another trip to the Western Conference Finals.
The 2015 Stags show little turnover in the roster and the new additions only serve to augment an already formidable Stags team.
Last season proved to be a turning point for Portland as they improved from a 2013 record of 1-9 to a 2014 conference leading 8-2 record.
Joining the roster for the first time are Adam Bilbaeno, Andrew Halpin, Steven Rice, Adam Fagin, Tad Jensen, Matt Melius, Brian Penner and John Siemer. While these rookies are new to the Stags, they have been in the Portland ultimate scene for years and should be able to mesh with the team and Stags system quickly.
“I can’t wait to play with Tad and Melius,” said Bjorklund. “Both of these guys are fantastic players and will really add some depth to our team. When I joined Rhino in 2008, these were the guys that were leading the team. I am super pumped to be back out on the field with them.”
While chemistry should not be hard to create with these new players, it will be up to Head Coach Danny Quarrell to bring these players into the system that turned the Stags around last year.
“I’m excited with the variety of new guys we have on the squad this year,” said Quarrell. “We’ve got more young ex-Ego guys, we got Tad and Melius out of semi-retirement, we have John Siemer moving out from Cincinnati, and Steven Rice and Dan Shaw are guys who’ve mostly played mixed during their time in Portland. They all bring something unique to the table, and I have to find a way to integrate everybody. It’s a great challenge”
In addition to the five rookies coming onto the team the Stags are welcoming back three returners from season one. Kevin Minderhout, Sean Parker and Dan Shaw will be rejoining the herd. Riley Meinershagen also missed a majority of the 2014 season while abroad and did not re-sign until later into the 2015 campaign.
“Riley Meinershagen is playing incredibly well so far this preseason,” said Quarrell. “Last year he joined us midway through the year after being in Africa for a while and hadn’t been playing at all. After the club season with Sockeye and a full preseason with the Stags he’s on another level than he was last year.”
Of all the big names to have already signed so far this season, Timmy Perston is one of the most exciting. After playing only the first game of the 2014 season Perston left Portland for work and was unable to return to the herd until the Western Conference Finals.
“Since Timmy only played two games last year it’s almost like he’s a new addition to the roster,” said Quarrell. “He’s essentially our biggest new signing of the season.”
With only a month left before the first game of the season the Stags are going be working on conditioning and defining team roles. The West will be a competitive division, and the Stags are hungry to improve on last year.
One roster spot on this year’s team carries a special meaning for the Stags and the community. After the loss of Chris Beach-Rehner earlier this year the team made the decision to place him on this season’s official roster.
“It was decided almost immediately after CBR passed that he’d be on the roster,” said Quarrell. “It wasn’t even really discussed, we planned to give the team a chance to comment on the idea but before we could even do that the calls, texts and emails were already flying around and the players were demanding it. Everybody in this town wants to celebrate CBR in as many ways as possible; he meant so much to everyone.”
2015 Portland Stags
Aaron Adamson (Oregon State University/Corvallis, Ore.)
Camden Allison-Hall (University of Oregon/Eugene, Ore.)
Chris Beach-Rehner (James Madison University/Harrisonburg, Va.)
Adam Bilbaeno (University of Oregon/Portland, Ore.)*
Cody Bjorklund (University of Oregon/Eugene, Ore.)
Eli Blackman (Tufts University/Medford, Mass.)
Vinh Bui (University of Oregon/Eugene, Ore.)
Tyler Cable (University of Oregon/Eugene, Ore.)
Grant Cole (Lewis & Clark College/Portland, Ore.)
Topher Davis (University of Oregon/Eugene, Ore.)
Adam Fagin (Carleton College/Palo Alto, Calif.)*
Eli Friedman (University of Oregon/Eugene, Ore.)
Andrew Halpin (University of Oregon/Portland, Ore.)*
Chris Hancock (Oregon State University/Corvallis, Ore.)
Raphy Hayes (Portland State University/Portland, Ore.)
Tad Jensen (Pacific Lutheran University/Billings, Mont.)*
Steve Kenton (University of Oregon/Eugene, Ore.)
Ben McGinn (Whitman College/Walla Walla, Wash.)
Riley Meinershagen (Lewis & Clark College/Missoula, Mont.)
Matt Melius (Pacific Lutheran University/Salem, Ore.)*
Kevin Minderhout (University of Oregon/Portland, Ore.)**
Sean Parker (University of Iowa/Naperville, Ill.)**
Brian Penner (University of Oregon/Ashland, Ore.)*
Timmy Perston (Oregon State University/Corvallis, Ore.)
Steven Rice (University of Oklahoma/Nacogdoches, Texas)*
Dan Shaw (Whitman College/Butteville, Ore.)**
John Siemer (Miami University/Athens, Ohio)*
Dan Suppnick (Michigan State University/East Lansing, Mich.)
John Thornton (University of California, Santa Barbara/Santa Barbara, Calif.)
Peter Woodside (Dixie State College/St. George, Utah)
*Denotes MLU rookies
**Denotes Stags who did not play in 2014