Angelo “Ajo” Olcese is finishing his 9th year playing ultimate.
As a sophomore in high school, Angelo built his school’s program from the ground up. While simultaneously teaching himself the game online so that he could lead practices for others, and aggressively recruiting as many people as he could, he dreamt of bringing home a New York State Championship. The championship never came, but his dedication, leadership, and grit caused his young team of 25 to buy into his dream and give their all.
After graduating, Angelo arrived at Johns Hopkins to a team that self-identified as a “drinking team with a frisbee problem.” Despite the team’s culture at the time, he committed his time and energy into building a successful ultimate-first program. He spent his time teaching rookies how to throw on the quad, encouraging teammates to join him for sprints after practice, even shoveling mountains of snow so we could play in the winter (check out his photo!). Although the growth process was as slow as it was painful, he wouldn’t stop sending workout selfies to the group chat in hopes that his continued encouragement and leadership by example would motivate his teammates to reach as high as they could.
As the years have gone by, his persistence has not wavered. A lot of people say they are chasing their dreams, but very few do it with the unadulterated passion and drive that fuel Angelo’s pursuit. Generations of us have joined the DangerZone family, inspired by Angelo’s infectious love of ultimate and his burning desire be a part of something bigger. He has never stopped believing that all of us have greatness inside; it is just a matter of motivation.
On the field, Angelo has shown that he can fill every role imaginable to fit what the team needed, from handling, to busting deep, to catching jump balls, to shutting down the other team’s best guys. In his fifth year, he settled into a role as an initiation cutter, kickstarting our offense with precise, truly unguardable cuts all over the field. His awareness, speed, and grit make him a threat in any and every scenario on the field. He’s our go-to guy, and he always comes through when we need it most.
We, the DangerZone family, are honored to have played by Angelo’s side, and we are proud to nominate him for the 2019 Callahan Award.