2019 Women’s D-III College Rookie Of The Year, Presented By VC Ultimate & NUTC

The top freshmen in the division.

Ultiworld’s 2019 Women’s College Awards are presented in part by VC Ultimate, a leading supporter of women in ultimate. They are also presented in part by the National Ultimate Training Camp, who can help prepare you to be an All-Star. All opinions are those of the authors. Thanks for supporting the brands that make Ultiworld possible!

Ultiworld is pleased to announced our third annual D-III College Awards. The criteria for each award can be found here — we consider both regular season and postseason performance in our selection of awards. As the overall top performers of the year, players selected as top three in Player of the Year voting are removed from consideration for other individual awards.

Links to all of the 2019 D-III Women’s Division awards will be added as awards are announced:

Player of the Year Award
Offensive Player of the Year Award
Defensive Player of the Year Award
Breakout Player of the Year Award
Rookie of the Year Award
Coach of the Year Award (will be announced later this week!)
All American 1st Team (will be announced later this week!)
All American 2nd Team (will be announced later this week!)

D-III Women’s 2019 Rookie Of The Year

Claire Babbott-Bryan (Middlebury)

Middlebury's Claire Babbott-Bryan. Photo: William 'Brody' Brotman -- UltiPhotos.com
Middlebury’s Claire Babbott-Bryan. Photo: William ‘Brody’ Brotman — UltiPhotos.com

The hype around Claire Babbott-Bryan in 2019 was a lot for one pair of shoulders — big expectations for the Valley Ultimate YCC alum as a rookie of a program that just missed out on a Nationals bid in 2018 —but Babbott-Bryan delivered on and exceeded expectations.

Middlebury proved they could hang with the rest of the New England region, in part thanks to Babbott-Bryan’s ability to cut at will and make the disc work for her. At Nationals, the freshman logged 16 goals and 16 assists, a combined total that put her in the top four players of the tournament next to the likes of Josie Gillett and Abby Cheng. Babbott-Bryan’s ability to find space, read the disc, and come down with the grab even under high-pressure situations are a testament to the years of ultimate and developed skills under the rookie’s belt.

As Middlebury graduates several key handlers in 2019, expect Babbott-Bryan to keep burning up the stat sheet and driving the engine of the Middlebury offense for years to come.

1st Runner up: Anna Clements (St. Olaf)

St. Olaf's Anna Clements. Photo: William 'Brody' Brotman -- UltiPhotos.com
St. Olaf’s Anna Clements. Photo: William ‘Brody’ Brotman — UltiPhotos.com

Not just any player can walk on to the previous National champions’ team and start producing the way freshman Anna Clements did, but it’s no surprise given the rookie’s capabilities with the disc on offense. Clements more than helped fill the production left behind by 2018’s graduated seniors for Vortex, finding her way to 14 goals and 16 assists at the D-III College Championships.

With a complimentary play style to the upperclassmen of Vortex, Clements has found her place in the gritty and athletic St. Olaf system, typically directly involved in scores on either side of the end zone line where she found success for a certainly-not-to-be-discounted Vortex squad.

2019 may have started as something of a rebuilding year for St. Olaf with a roster full of underclassmen, but Clements and other young playmakers quickly showed it wouldn’t take long for Vortex to be back near the top of the division.

2nd Runner up: Leona DeRango (Puget Sound)

Puget Sound's Leonna DeRango. Photo: William 'Brody' Brotman -- UltiPhotos.com
Puget Sound’s Leonna DeRango. Photo: William ‘Brody’ Brotman — UltiPhotos.com

DeRango impressed throughout the D-III College Championships, but particularly on Sunday when fellow rookie Ally Constantino was unable to take the field. Pairing up with handlers like Emma Piorier and Bethany Llewellyn, DeRango’s ability to get open as the reset or activate the deep space as a handler were impressive.

Her confidence and collected play in the quarterfinals match against Oberlin made spectators take notice, and the rest of the division should be on alert; in 2020 she’ll be returning after a season of playing club with Drag’n Thrust —don’t sleep on this rising sophomore.

  1. Sam Echevarria
    Sam Echevarria

    Sam Echevarria is the Women's D-III College Editor at Ultiworld. She has been playing ultimate since 2010, starting with the Centerville HS Outsiders and later the Claremont Colleges Greenshirts. Currently based in Madison, WI, you can reach her on twitter (@sechevarria27).

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