Opening Pull: Who is Going to College Nationals, SportsCenter #1

Plus Callahan and Donovan Award news.

Connecticut’s Jeremy Bernier led his team to Nationals with a win over Cornell in the D-I Metro East men’s final. Photo: Bryan Pfalzgraf.

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.

Regional Qualifiers Secure Nationals Spots

The fields for the D-I and D-III College Championships got a little more full over the weekend as various Regional Championships commenced across the US. Seven D-I women’s teams and nine D-I men’s team secured positions among the 40 total teams headed to Milwaukee for D-I Nationals at the end of May. 18 more D-III teams earned their place in the season finale, with only three more of the 32 bids still available this coming weekend.

You can view the full list of Nationals qualifiers on Ultiworld. We will add updates as teams close out deciding games, and be adding context via recaps throughout the week.

Our video package will also be adding season-defining games from Regionals.

After the coming weekend, we will know the full list of teams still eligible to win college titles. The Atlantic Coast and New England host all D-I and D-III Regionals, while the North Central (D-III Men’s), Northwest (D-I), Ohio Valley (D-I), and Southwest (D-I) feature their own championship events.

Callahan and Donovan Awards Accepting Nominations

The most prestigious player-voted awards in ultimate have both opened their nomination processes for US college players.

The sixth annual Donovan Award recognizes outstanding D-III players who represent the best of the community. The Donovan is accepting nominations until May 18. Voting will begin May 24.

The Callahan Award is perhaps the most well-known individual award in the sport. USA Ultimate is accepting nominations through May 15.

Callahan Tweet

Matt Smith #1 on SportsCenter

The AUDL’s first night of action yielded a high profile highlight right away. Atlanta Hustle’s Matt Smith is one of the league’s most prolific scorers and no stranger to getting noticed for his playmaking ability. But he didn’t just get handpicked for the top 10 plays on ESPN’s SportsCenter, but he landed at the top spot!

Matt Smith SC #1

WUL Postseason Lineup Set

The final weekend of the Western Ultimate League regular season provided some drama, as Los Angeles Astra and San Francisco Falcons played a regular season match with postseason implications. Either could advance to the playoffs, or the idle Arizona Sidewinders could take the final spot, with point differential coming into play. Los Angeles needed to win, or lose by four or fewer, to keep their berth. San Francisco needed to win by eight or more goals.

Neither came to fruition, as the Falcons won 13-7, but it was the Sidewinders who profited, and who will be competing at Championship Weekend. They’ll join the no.1 seed and undefeated Seattle Tempest, San Diego Super Bloom, and Oregon Onyx.

WUCC Team List

The international ultimate calendar is pretty packed this year, but the World Ultimate Club Championships is a massive event occupying a marquee position. The full 128-team list was announced by WFDF, with 30 countries represented. The US will send the most teams, with 17, understandable given both the country’s deep talent pool and position as host. Canada, with 13 clubs, and Great Britain, with 12, follow the States. The tournament will begin July 23 and take place in Cincinnati, OH.

Coming Up

  • The second weekend of College Regionals means more college coverage coming your way: live, video, recap, and preview!
  • College Awards season approaches, so be on the lookout for Callahan and Donovan videos (teasers are already dropping on social media), our Awards shortlists, and make sure people know about your awesome teammates in our All-Region Discussion Threads.
  • The return of Bets Perspective, our sportsbetting column, highly profitable in 2021 👀
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