The Ohio Valley Region again finds itself with two bids and two strong favorites. Pittsburgh and Ohio are very likely to advance to Nationals again this season. But Carnegie Mellon, Penn State, and Cincinnati are looking to surprise. Read more →
Every February, a collection of the country’s top college teams fly down to sunny Tampa, Florida, for Warm Up, an early season tournament promising lots of games (and lots of upsets). This year’s pool of teams included the four best in the country, eight of the top 25, and a handful of bubble teams and programs on the rise.
With the significantly expanded line-up this year (up from 8 to 16), teams got a look at a wide collection of out-of-region teams as marquee matchups happened almost every round.
Here’s a look at the biggest storylines coming out of the first elite level tournament of the 2013 season.
WISCONSIN ROLLS TO UNDEFEATED WEEKEND
The Wisconsin Hodags (#3), with a perfect 9-0 record on the weekend, become the first team since the 2010 National Championship Florida team to go undefeated at Warm Up. With a dominant performance, including two wins over defending champions Pittsburgh (#1), the Hodags have jumped into front-runner status as the best team in North America.
Wisconsin’s toughest game came against En Sabah Nur on Friday night in the showcase game under the lights. After jumping out to a 5-2 lead with three early breaks, Pitt slowly closed the gap, taking advantage of Wisco turnovers to tie it at 9-9. But the Wisconsin offense tightened the screws, with Brian Hart and Colin Camp leading the way to easy scores. Up 11-10, Wisconsin’s defense got a big block near their own endzone and punched it in for the late lead. They would hold to take the game 13-11. Read more →
- Wisconsin (#3) had the best results of the day — and looked the best in their games. With a decisive win over Pittsburgh (#1) that wasn’t as close as the 13-11 score indicated, the Hodags sealed a 4-0 day that also included a win over #6 ranked Texas. Colin Camp played extremely well against Pitt and should lead the team to more wins tomorrow. They’ll have big tests against Florida and Carleton (#2) back-to-back in their final games of pool play.
- Florida may be the surprise of the tournament so far, notching a huge second round upset over Pitt 13-7 before easily beating Dayton and Cornell. In their showcase game in the evening, they played a gritty game against Carleton, and, despite going down a handful of breaks, rallied back late and got a big layout D with a chance to tie the game. But Jesse Bolton, in off of an injury substitution, made a huge layout to get Carleton the Callahan and the W, 13-11. Read more →
The first tournament of the year that tests elite college teams, Warm Up is more than a chance to shake off the early season cobwebs. The Tampa tournament is a bellwether; the winner in the past three years has gone on to win the National Championship.
This year, the country’s top four teams — and eight of the top 25 — face off with an opportunity to test their strength against the best. Here’s a look at each of the teams heading into the weekend.
Pittsburgh (#1): The road to the repeat for the 2012 National Champions En Sabah Nur starts this weekend in Tampa. For the first time, Pitt can enter the season expecting everyone’s best game, as the top contenders look to knock off the champs. Luckily for Pitt, they will be up to the challenge, as they return their top playmakers, Alex Thorne and Tyler Degirolamo. With many of their other top players getting elite club experience playing with Oakland, their depth is as much of a weapon as their top end talent.
Georgia Tech (#21): Georgia Tech had a decent showing at their first tournament of the year, the ACC Ultimate Championships, with a 15-9 finals loss to North Carolina (#8). But this will be their first big test after losing 2012 Callahan winner Nick Lance, who led the Tribe to a 12th place finish at the College Championships. Jay Clark, a 2012 1st team All Region player, will have to rise to the occasion if Georgia Tech is to make another deep run this year. Watch for Nick Hunter and Tyler Plunkett to make big plays this weekend as well. Read more →
Earlier today, the proposed NexGen league took another major step towards becoming a reality as Kevin Minderhout received a signed letter of intent from the last of the 18 teams included in his plan. After successfully meeting with the final holdout on Monday evening — at which time 17 of the 18 teams had already submitted signed letters — it seems that all of the necessary parties are now on-board and the NexGen league is ready to move forward with its next phase.
This is a developing story and Ultiworld will be providing updates throughout the day as more information comes in.
With the announcement of the AUDL settling its lawsuit against the Connecticut Constitution and Rhode Island Rampage, gears are moving in New York as both the AUDL and MLU look to set up shop. We talk about the New York market before turning to a discussion of the on-going discussion about the NexGen “pro” league.
Photo courtesy of Jeff Bell of Ultiphotos. Check out more great pictures from the Club Championships.
Texas, Texas, yeehaw.
After a rocky regular season mired by tough losses and key injuries, Austin’s Doublewide shocked the ultimate world last month by winning the 2012 USAU Club Championships and bringing the Lone Star State its first national title. Entering the weekend, it was clear the Texas squad had assembled enough firepower to make some noise but few believed its hodgepodge collection of talent could overcome the likes of perennial favorites Boston Ironside and San Francisco Revolver. As it turns out, though, that’s exactly what happened.
Despite an up-and-down start to the tournament — the team went undefeated in the opening round of pool play but suffered through a 15-3 thrashing from Revolver on day two — Doublewide finished in impressive fashion, to say the least. Not only did the underdogs take down both Ironside (14-12) and Revolver (15-11) en route to the crown, they trailed for just a single point between the two games — a stat that’s even more remarkable when you realize Doublewide actually started each of the games on defense. Almost literally overnight, the often-shaky Austin club had transformed into a dominant force, leaving fans and spectators wondering, “How did they do it?” Read more →
Over the past couple weeks, details have started to emerge about ultimate’s newest professional league, leaving many of us anxious to learn more specifics about the organization’s plans. Until this morning, the league’s website had simply been a placeholder with the MLU logo and a date, 10/15/12, suggesting that more information would be made available about their vision for a national pro ultimate league.
Based on the new teaser site that was launched today, it appears that the MLU’s organizers aren’t ready to spill the beans just yet. To their credit, the updated page does look pretty cool. It stands in stark contrast to the American Ultimate Disc League’s official site, which from an aesthetics standpoint leaves much to be desired. Aside form the new design, though, there really hasn’t been much to report on a day that many thought would be filled with breaking news.
By far the most intriguing aspect of the new MLU site is the countdown tracker prominently featured at the top of the page. There’s no telling what event the timer is actually counting down to but it’s seems safe to expect some exciting new details by the time it hits zero, which will be 28 days from now.
If there is one thing we’ve learned about the MLU from today’s update, it’s that these guys know how to create some hype. So far, the enigmatic league has done a good job capturing attention without releasing much information at all. And while that bodes well for their prospects of successfully establishing and promoting the new pro league, let’s just hope that when the specifics of their plan eventually come out, the details live up to the somewhat lofty expectations they’ve created for themselves.
With details beginning to emerge on Major League Ultimate, it’s natural to start pondering how the newly-formed professional league will differ from the American Ultimate Disc League. Considering the circumstances surrounding the MLU’s creation, some of the basic structural shifts that can be expected are apparent and have already been discussed briefly by the league’s organizers. This is just the tip of the iceberg, though, as the long-term success of both the MLU and AUDL will depend on the product that each presents and the strategies they use to promote their respective visions for professional ultimate.
The one thing that we know for certain about the MLU is that the organizers — Skip Sewell, Jeff Snader and Nic Darling — want to avoid conflict. If you’re reading this, you’re probably well aware that the AUDL’s inaugural season was marred by scandal. Battles between the league and individual teams disrupted the regular season schedule, tarnished the AUDL’s reputation and, undoubtedly, influenced Snader — owner of the AUDL champion Philadelphia Spinners — in his decision to move forward with the MLU. While it’s difficult to place the blame for this debacle on the AUDL’s organizational structure — I would argue that the league’s decision to start a very visible conflict by filing a lawsuit against its own teams probably did the most damage — employment of a stronger model would’ve prevented the situation from ever arising. Read more →
The following piece is based on an essay which described the role ultimate played in various transitional periods in my life. From high school to undergrad at the University of Florida and then to graduate school at New York University, ultimate turned out to be a more important part of my life than I would’ve ever imagined.
Sports have always been an integral part of my life. Growing up in south Florida afforded me the opportunity to participate in some form of athletics year-round without interference from the elements. Like most kids, I tried my hand at pretty much every sport before eventually settling on one — which in my case was actually roller hockey — that I ended up playing competitively throughout middle and high school. I was born a very competitive person, a trait that has admittedly gotten the best of me a number of times over the years, and athletics was the arena I used as an outlet. It wasn’t until I started playing organized ultimate, however, that I began to fully understand where the true value of team sports actually lies. Read more →