January 7, 2019
By Adam Ruffner
This is an article in a series chronicling players around the AUDL who have made their mark at 25 years of age or younger. This list is by no means definitive or exhaustive. Full list available.
Travis Carpenter is already one of the most prodigious stat getters in league history, and will be entering his eigth professional season with the Indianapolis AlleyCats in 2019. He also won't turn 26 until April, a fact that produces roughly this feeling inside my head—he's much too young and on the near side of his playing prime to have the game that Carpenter displays.
Known affectionately as "The Kid" since his first season with the AlleyCats scrapping for playing time on the defensive line, Carpenter has always held the drive to succed at an elite level, and a flair for big plays. He amassed 56 blocks combined in 2013 and 2014, and made regular appearances on the weekly Top 10 plays for his defensive acrobatics. But in the last two seasons, he's taken his play from promising to dominant, sculpting an all-around repertoire that has allowed him to average 4+ scores, one block, 35+ completions, and 28+ points played per game in 27 regular season contests since the start of 2017. For a player that spent the beginning of his career emulating his role models, Carpenter has solidified his own, singular, Saiyan-like style.
Just check out the ridiculous sequence above from the 2018 Midwest Division championship game. To start, Carpenter peels off his cover to range over and fly for a full speed, full extension layout block in the lane to generate a turnover. The read, reaction, and athleticism to make that play alone would be a season-level highlight for most players. But Carpenter is just heating up.
As an AlleyCats teammate picked up the disc and launched an immediate huck in the opposite direction, Carpenter trailed the play by a good 25 yards. No matter. As two players jockeyed downfield, Carpenter took off at a full sprint, erasing the considerable gap in moments. As the disc descended into the endzone, Madison Radicals defender Thomas Coolidge made a spectacular over-the-shoulder play to avoid contact and swat the disc, but it's not enough. Carpenter's comet approach had reached critical velocity, and there was no stopping his pursuit as he once again got fully horizontal to make the monumental play.
Carpenter finished with an appropriately atomic kick spike that sent the disc somewhere into low orbit as he let out a primal howl. Although the AlleyCats would fall to the Radicals 27-18, Carpenter finished with two assists and three goals in an impressive individual playoff performance. This coming just a week after Carpenter helped seal Indianapolis' first postseason win since 2012 with a game-clinching block over a much larger Minnesota Wind Chill opponent.
If there's a play to be made, Carpenter wants to be the one to make it. Before the 2015 season, Carpenter said he wanted to "become someone that is so threatening that other teams in our division have to adjust their game plan around me", and in the intervening seasons he's put in the work to become just that: a gamebreaker.