Opening Pull: Utah Claim Winter Cup, College Nationals Seeding, US National Team Updates

Plus, Callahan videos galore.

Utah Wild players celebrate their Saturday win at the WUL 2021 Winter Cup. Photo: William 'Brody' Brotman -- UltiPhotos.com
Utah Wild players celebrate their Saturday win at the WUL 2021 Winter Cup. Photo: William ‘Brody’ Brotman — UltiPhotos.com

Opening Pull is Ultiworld’s weekly wrap-up of the previous week in ultimate, available both here on the site and as an email newsletter. We’ve gathered the news you need to know and highlights you need to see. Check back weekly or subscribe now to receive Opening Pull in your inbox along with a rundown of the previous week’s content on Ultiworld.

Wild Claim Winter Cup Crown

Years in the making and implementing an unusual scoring format, the Western Ultimate League’s Winter Cup managed a successful weekend for the semi-pro league’s first on-field event. The Utah Wild claimed a surprise title, fueled by two upsets over predicted favorites San Francisco Falcons and Seattle Tempest. The franchise also picked up points from fan engagement and individual stat leaders to edge the other undefeated team on the weekend, Winter Cup host team San Diego Super Bloom. Both teams’ 2-0 records were predicted correctly by just 3 out of 380 fan fantasy participants.

WUL Wild tweet

Despite smaller-than-expected in-person crowds, the league will see the weekend as a success as they build toward a full season in the spring of 2022. There were a number of exciting plays throughout the weekend, including this grab by Arizona’s Kody Lippincott which made the Sportscenter Top 10.

Lippincott  SC

College Championships Seeding, Schedule Announced

After weeks of speculation about how the pools would shake out for the upcoming College Championships, USA Ultimate released the seeding in each division, with results that look not nearly as random as the guidelines might have suggested. Carleton Syzygy, North Carolina Darkside, Truman State TSUnami, and Richmond Spidermonkeys — all ranked #1 in the Ultiworld Power Rankings in their respective divisions — claim the top seeds at the first event to combine the D-I and D-III Championships.

Stay tuned for loads of preview coverage of the event this week on Ultiworld, including pool previews, staff picks, and more, then lock into ultiworld.com/live for streams of games throughout the weekend.

USAU 2022 Beach Teams Announced

Last Wednesday, USAU announced the rosters for the three adult divisions at the upcoming WFDF World Beach Ultimate Championships to be held in Los Angeles this April. The men’s and mixed squads will each be defending gold medals won in Royan, France in 2017, while the women’s team will be looking to reclaim their position at the top of the podium after falling short against Russia the last time out.

Rosters for teams in the five masters age divisions have not yet been announced, but will be selected by team managers through an application process rather than an in-person tryout.

Callahan Videos Flying In

Despite the unconventional timing of the College Series, teams in all divisions have put forth nominees for the annual Callahan and Donovan awards. The annual deluge of candidate videos has begun to flood ultimate social media. As always, Ultiworld is compiling a full collection of all the videos released. Voting is now open for the Callahan and will remain open through the conclusion of the College Championships. The deadline for Donovan Award nominations is tomorrow, with the voting window planned for the week following Nationals.

If you notice any videos that we’re missing, please send a link over to editor@ultiworld.com and we’ll get it added to our collection.

World Games, WJUC Tryout List Announced

On top of announcing the rosters for the country’s beach national teams, USA Ultimate announced the tryout lists for two other international competitions taking place in 2022.

Seventy-four players have been invited to try out for the 14 prestigious spots on the team that will represent the US at the World Games in Birmingham, AL in July. Eleven returners from the 2017 roster are back in the pool, along with 13 who were not a part of the announced 2020 WUGC rosters. Exact dates and location of the tryout have yet to be announced.

The governing body also released the list of 200 players who have the opportunity to earn a spot on the country’s next U20 National teams. If will be the first World Juniors Ultimate Championships eld by WFDF since 2018, thanks to the COVID cancellation of the 2020 iteration. The United States will again be the defending gold medalists in both the Men’s and Women’s divisions at the event.

Tulane Tucks Fundraising

In a novel approach to team fundraising, the Tulane Tucks are looking for supporters to pledge donations for a local New Orleans nonprofit based on the number of points the team plays at the College Championships this weekend. Supporters have the option to decide how much they will donate per point, whether to give for each point scored by Tulane or by their opponents, or to just make a one-time donation to Southern Solidarity, an organization that works with the city’s unhoused population.

AUDL Video Game Kickstarter Taken Down

Less than a month after it launched with an ambitious goal of raising $350,000, the Kickstarter for the AUDL 22 video game was canceled by the league on Saturday after coming up well short of its target.


Coming Up

  • USA Ultimate’s D-I and D-III College Championships are just days away and we’ve got you covered with preview content, livestreams, and written coverage throughout the weekend.
  • Voting for two member-elected positions to the USAU Board of Directors is set to open later this week for terms that will run from 2022-2024.
  1. Steve Sullivan
    Steve Sullivan

    Steve Sullivan is the Executive Editor of Ultiworld. He began playing in 2001 at Boston University, helped found and then played 14 seasons with Slow White, and most recently competed with San Francisco Blackbird. He has volunteered as a college Sectional Coordinator, a club Regional Coordinator, served three terms as a player-elected representative for the Mixed division on USAU's Club Working Group, and is currently an At-Large rep on the USAU Board of Directors. He has previously written for the USAU magazine and The Huddle, and was editor of the book "Ultimate: The First Five Decades, Vol II." You can reach him by email (steve@ultiworld.com) or on Twitter (@sjsully21).

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