Drag’N Thrust, Seattle Mixtape Set For Another Epic Showdown

Mixtape and Drag'N Thrust meet for the third time this season, this time for all the marbles.

Drag'n Thrust at the 2015 USAU Club Championships.
Photo: Paul Andris — UltiPhotos.com.

On Sunday morning, Minneapolis Drag’n Thrust and Seattle Mixtape will square off for a National title in a rematch of last year’s championship game.

This time around, the story isn’t just one of a defending champion and a random upstart riding a high and just happy to be there.

After their amazing semis comeback win, Mixtape captain Brad Houser said that his team came into the season with no hard expectations and wasn’t necessarily expecting to make Nationals again.

“This isn’t an everyday thing for us. We definitely don’t expect this,” Houser said. “It’s still a thrill. Lots of fun.”

The thing is, it’s tough to buy that.

Houser isn’t lying or exaggerating or being overly humble when he says that. He most definitely means it, especially in the manner of not assuming that anything is going to be handed to Mixtape or anything like that.

But in terms of how Seattle must feel about tomorrow, you know it’s way more than just gratitude about getting the chance to play another game.

If you look at their faces when they’re in the middle of an elimination game, there’s no way you’d believe that Mixtape is a team that’s content to just have fun and doesn’t care much about results. They are competitors. And so is Drag’n Thrust.

Both squads had some close calls and zany comebacks in bracket play this weekend, which almost certainly fueled the fires of both teams and contributed to a feeling that no matter how bleak it looks, as long as they have trust in each other and work hard, they can win any game. To up the ante even more, both teams seem to be peaking at the right time.

Though Mixtape had some slumps against Washington D.C. Ambiguous Grey and San Francisco Polar Bears, and Drag’n Thrust likewise suffered problems against San Francisco Blackbird and Boston Slow White, their composure and execution to finish out those four games — most of which were comebacks — left little doubt about the fact that these two programs proved themselves to be the best all weekend.

And with all the history these teams have already amassed in the past year — including Mixtape’s 15-9 devouring of Drag’n Thrust in pool play Thursday — it’s pretty much a guarantee that they’re both going to come in with a concentrated game plan and a deep-seated hunger to bury each other.

They know each other’s match-ups and how each squad likes to play. And it’s unlikely that either is going to alter their style much, regardless of what happens. The difference will likely boil down to who can execute better.

If Seattle can stay aggressive and keep taking shots to good match-ups and separation — and not just any old huck look — as well as snag enough heads-up poach blocks, they’ll be in a good position to exact sweet revenge on the only program that’s really got their number in recent memory.

But if Minneapolis can stick to their game of waiting for the good looks, taking advantage of what’s handed to them, and maintain the madman-level person defense they’ve whipped out during the most pivotal moments of bracket play, then the Mixed Division might just be in for its first three-time champion.

Either way, given Drag’n Thrust’s pedigree and the amount of growth Mixtape has seen since their already impressive 2014 campaign (and Seattle’s tendency to light it up whenever the cameras are flipped on), ESPN3 is most certainly in for a stellar showcase of top-level ultimate.

  1. Alec Surmani

    Alec Surmani and some close friends began playing ultimate in high school and started Hercules Jabberwocky. He played college ultimate with UCLA Smaug and has played with various Open and Mixed club teams in the (former) Northwest and Southwest divisions. He started and now leads the team Bay Area Donuts.

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