Opening Pull: College Championships, Portland Rejoins WUL, Disc/Diversity Recap

College, college, college.

Photo: William “Brody” Brotman —

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.

North Carolina Wins Title in Both D-I Divisions; Oklahoma Christian Men’s and Middlebury Women’s Top D-III

After being postponed during the 2020 season, USA Ultimate finally held the make-up college Nationals. The 2021 D-I & D-III College Championships marked the first time both divisions competed for their titles at the same site and included extended eligibility for participants who might have missed a chance to end their careers in 2020.

North Carolina swept both the men’s and women’s D-I gold medal spots, the first time since 1990 that a school has seated two simultaneously D-I champs. The men earned their third title with a comfortable win over shock-finalist Georgia. The women took home their first championship, thoroughly outplaying Washington in the final.

In D-III, Middlebury had a chance of matching UNC’s D-I success, but only their women’s team won their final. They outgunned Portland in an exciting final. Meanwhile, Oklahoma Christian took down the Middlebury men’s team, winning their first title in only their second year as a program.

It would be hard to discuss the tournament without recognizing the impact COVID-19 had, particularly with case rates on the rise across the country as the omicron variant has become more pervasive. During the first round, Carleton CUT reported a positive test result, forfeited the game they had just begun, and eventually dropped out of the tournament. By the event’s end, three additional teams reported positive cases. More teams have stated on Twitter they have had cases on their teams after the event. Best wishes and speedy recoveries to any affected by the virus.

Disc/Diversity Recaps Inaugural Year

It was a big year for Disc/Diversity, headlined by the excitement surrounding the Con10ent Tour, an all-Black ultimate tour with three showcase events in the US. Shanye Crawford was joined on Instagram by Katiana Hutchinson and AJ Merriman to discuss the organization’s year and it’s impact.

Part of the recap was announcing that the Con10ent Tour raised over $50,000 to their cause.

When asked about the future of the tour, Crawford envisioned it matching this year’s fundraising success, and even seeing it year after year, 10 years down the road.

Western Ultimate League Adds Portland Franchise

Oregon Onyx

The Oregon Onyx, based out of Portland, will join the league in 2022, which would bring the league back to seven total teams. The league’s previous seventh team, the Portland Swifts, withdrew from the league in January of this year. Given the success and history of the women’s ultimate community in Portland and the state of Oregon, a franchise there remains a very interesting prospect for the league and fans.

More Callahan and Donovan Videos

Sure, Nationals has come and gone, but that has not stopped the award nominee videos! Ultiworld’s full collection of all the videos will help make sure you don’t miss a layout, sky, testimonial, huck, or goofy opening and ending scene showing how the candidate is a weirdo just like you. While voting for the Callahan is closed, Donovan voting is open until Dec 31.

If you notice any videos that we’re missing, please send a link over to [email protected] and we’ll get it added to our collection. If you’d potentially like clips from your video included in an Ultiworld highlight reel like the one we did for 2020, please include a file link of your video.

USA Ultimate News: BoD Election and Beach Masters National Team

Finally, let’s get to two pieces of news from the governing body in the US.

First, the Board of Directors is still collecting votes for two seats: At-Large and Elite Athlete. Voting is open until Wednesday December 29, so make your voice heard. It doesn’t take long and really does matter and impact the sport.

Second, the US Beach Masters teams’ rosters were announced. The selections for each of the men’s, women’s, mixed, and men’s grand masters squads were each released, featuring a cast of recent and past club stars. If you’re like me, seeing some of these names as masters will make you, too, feel old!

Coming Up

  • There’s still more to come from the College Championships, plus we will wrap-up the college season with our annual Awards! Time to find out who the Players of the shortened Year were, and more.
  • The end of the year is a time for reflection, so expect us to look back at the year that was, from the most popular articles to the most spectacular photos. I, for one, am grateful 2021 had some ultimate in it, because for a while there, it was pretty bleak.
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