2010… A look into the future by Grant
January 11, 2010, 1:09 pm
Filed under: tournament write-ups

2009 was an absolute blast to cover on the college circuit. I got to watch how the Atlantic Coast Regionals unfolded including Florida’s meltdown, an exciting Mardi Gras final between Michigan and Wisconsin and saw first hand just why Georgia Bosscher was a worthy Callahan winner. College Nationals provided a terrific stage for Carleton to dominate the field en route to their second open title and the Burning Skirts of Santa Barbara fended off a bevy of Northwest teams to breakthrough and capture their first title in the women’s division in 18 years. As seniors left the field after their last collegiate game, many spectators and players shifted gears towards the club season to see what new developments were taking place at the peak game.

Now the club season is over and 2010 has arrived marking the beginning of yet another exciting season in college ultimate. Fall results can be a tricky mess to decipher but there are already a few teams that are beginning to exert some muscle and could be threats in May. Here are some teams and players to watch out for this spring:

Oregon EGO – The team that could have been in 2009 is making no excuses and could be primed for a bid to Nationals in 2010. With seven 5th year seniors returning for one last chance at glory, this team is going to be dangerous.

Eli Janin wants another trip to Nationals, courtesy of Andrew Davis

Eli Janin still has the throws and has the name recognition from years on Rhino but the rest of the cast will be on par at such a high level of play. Eli Friedman, Joe Condon and Andy Bryn are all integral parts of the team working the cutting lanes and getting open deep. Losing Dusty Becker hurts, but for the past decade, Ego has never worried too much about having to replace people. Also look out for Josh Wardle, who crossed the pond for some more schooling but not before cutting his teeth on the UK club circuit with perennial world power Clapham United. This team runs much deeper than its starting seven so staying at peak performance on Sunday shouldn’t be a problem.

Cornell Buds – I certainly got my wish last year when Cornell faced off against Humboldt in a Buds v. Buds matchup that leapt off the pages of RSD and onto the field. But the (Rose)Buds didn’t stop there and captured their first Metro East title in 7 years with a tall roster and an incredible deep game. Think about this: Cornell had seven players last year who were at least 6’3″ and Seth Reinhardt is the only one of those players who has graduated. Jon Hershberger is back with his throws, grabs and D’s that almost pulled off the win vs. region rival Pitt in the pre quarters and he’s surrounded by second team all region stud Arthur Shull and tallasaurus rex Ethan Pollack. If the Buds are anything on point like they were last year, they should punch a ticket to Madison.

Wisconsin Hodags – Too easy. When you have a student body of 42,030 (thanks Wikipedia!) its no sweat drawing top athletes for your program. Combine that with a budding local scene and the host site for the 2010 College Championships and this team will be there. One person of note is main gunner Evan Klane. Chances are if you hear “Boom! Headshot!” it’s Evan’s handy work.

Carleton CUT – Again, too easy. Reigning national champions. Grant Lindsley’s back. Luke Powers is back. Sam Kanner is back. Adam Fagin is back. In fact you could say the same emphatic statement about all of their returners. CUT never left.

Brodie Smith usually skies people, even his own team, courtesy of Andrew Davis

Florida Gators – If there is any team that has caught more flack over the past few years than anyone else, it has got to be Florida but it hardly diminishes the work this team puts in on the field. The upstart superpower turned the world on end in 2006 with its second trip to Nationals, first National Championship and first Callahan winner. Then it seems that Florida started drawing the ire of many opponents and many more online trolls who have never played against Florida. But the Gainesville crew doesn’t let it bother them one bit and none of this changes the fact that Florida is still a damn good team. If there’s one flaw in their program, its depth and that became apparent at Regionals last year when the heat wore down the starting seven and gave Brodie health problems on Sunday. No matter what happened last year, this team cannot be counted out for 2010. Especially with Brodie, Chris Gibson and Cole Sullivan coming back, expect Florida to be right in the thick of things this spring.

UC – You pick em – All of the big California school system programs are looking sharp for the upcoming year. The entire Santa Barbara community is putting a lot of effort into bringing back its team to prominence and Black Tide is going to benefit from a rebuilding Condors team. Last year’s natty’s squad was noticeably small also very young, with only 19 players on the roster and a few seniors. Jeff Silverman will be hard to replace but Max Schteir-Dunn leads a group of Black Tide players who return to the college scene after playing with the Condors this past fall. San Diego is back after a Nationals bid and they arent slowing down one bit. A finals appearance at Sean Ryan saw them only lose to the champions, twice. Josh Nickerson is going to be a primary threat in the goal scoring department and the other big man Justin Elliott brings Streetgang experience to the college level.

Josh Nickerson, courtesy of Amy Chang

Santa Cruz took an early spring lull through the college season last year but reemerged at the right time to take a bid to regionals and upset Western Washington in pool play. Now after winning their home tournament which is the west coast equivalent of Classic City Classic, the Slugs are looking comparable to 2008. Mr. motor Cassidy Rasmussen is an absolute freak, even the Bay Area wunderteam Revolver thinks so and now boasts the status of upperclassman to go along with his frisbee skills. Berkeley also can’t be counted out especially after returning to Nationals last year following a four year absence. Ugmo likes to play the part of the faceless army and truth be told, besides their bevy of seniors, a lot of underclassmen were making crucial and huge plays against the best competition in Columbus. Even Davis can’t be counted out. Taylor Lahey has been a big part of the Dogs for years now and the coaching staff reads like a who’s who of national level club stars in Kevin Cissna and Eric Halverson. With a strong Sean Ryan, Davis could once again return to the national discussion.

There are many more programs both traditional and new that will be contenders this spring but these were only a few that have had promising starts so far. Other teams to look out for include Tennessee, Minnesota and Georgia Tech. Generally speaking if you are going to get a fully sublimated jersey as a college team, you’d better be pretty good. That’s exactly what Tennessee has done this year and after a seed breaking 5th place finish at regionals last year, Tennessee might be a surprise team of 2010. Phil Brock and Chris Mullinix are the veteran returners who will provide the leadership to Agent Orange this spring and have already beaten some top ranked opponents in Wilmington and Chattanooga. Minnesota made no excuses last year with four bids to nationals out of the Central region and the team took home some valuable experience from Columbus. The young team returns this season largely intact with Michael Arenson back to blow past defenders in usual spirited romp. Georgia Tech beat Georgia for the first time in eight years at Classic City Classic and that could provide the spark that leads to a breakthrough in a region dominated by the Dawgs, Florida, the North Carolina schools and William and Mary over the past decade. The last time Tribe made it to Nationals was in the old South region and the current roster was in diapers. There is some top talent on this team in Michael Spear and Andrew Fish, but it certainly doesn’t hurt to have a club national champion on your team (for a few more years!).

Of course twelve teams doesnt satisfy a 20 team nationals field and the bid allocation wont be known until April (I think, if I read the restructuring rules correctly) and by that time, the community will have a better understanding of who’s performing well this season. But when there’s action Spin will try to be there.

Spin Tournament Coverage is Back! by Grant
January 7, 2010, 7:46 pm
Filed under: tournament write-ups

It seems only yesterday that teams took the field in Columbus and honestly I wish it was. How could I apologize for months of neglect and piles of notes unpublished? Well, I can’t but I can indeed make excuses and it goes a little something like this:

Lots of information that looms over me like the Sword of Damocles

Scribble notes furiously in my composition book at Natty’s
(time elapses)
Let a few months pass, occasionally staring at the pile of notes
(time elapses)
Still nothing, and I mean nothing at all as I was laid off from my job in March
(time elapses)
Decide to go back to school. The real world is no fun anyways
(time elapses)
2010 arrives

Well, I can’t wait any longer and it’s time to get back in the swing of things as the 2010 college season gets in gear in only a few weeks. Look out for previews all weekend as well as a few tidbits from 2009 and what to look forward to from Spin in 2010! In the meantime check out Aguilar’s blog for all your recent big time tournament coverage from the Classic City Classic this past month in Chattanooga, TN.

A Typical Choice