The next seven players who had the best 2022 seasons.
June 30, 2022 by Edward Stephens, Patrick Stegemoeller and Alex Rubin in Awards with 0 comments
Ultiworld’s 2022 College Awards are presented by the National Ultimate Training Camp; all opinions are those of the author(s). NUTC helps young players become better athletes and community members.
Each year, Ultiworld presents our annual College Awards. Our staff evaluates the individual performances of players from throughout the season, talking to folks around college ultimate, watching film, and look at statistics, voting upon the awards to decide those to be honored. The regular season and the college Series are both considered, with extra emphasis for performances in the competitive and high-stakes environment at Nationals.
Our All-American teams recognize the top performers across the division. While we typically close our Awards with our First Team and Second Team, displaying the top seven and next seven players who had the best seasons, they have been moved up this year. As our voting process is ordered, the top two vote-getters for All-American honors, excluding the Player of the Year, will be recognized as our Player of the Year runner-ups. As such, those three players are listed in order, with the runners-up identified; the other four players are listed in alphabetical order.
D-I Men’s All-American Second Team
Ben Dameron (North Carolina)
Was the men’s division ready for the sudden superstardom of Ben Dameron? After just half a rookie season of promising play in 2020 and a fall championship campaign in which he played a tick down the depth chart behind a few elite graduate players, it’s safe to say Dameron had been flying under the radar.
But he won’t be sneaking up on anybody after his Memorial Day weekend coming out party. The Darkside junior burst into the spotlight in 2022 with 17 goals and 18 assists for the National Champions – including a stupendous 4G, 2A, 0T, 283-yd line in the final against a Brown defense that had flummoxed every opponent for the entire season up until that point. His power through the lanes to soak up continues and deep shots evidently overwhelmed all challengers. It was simply a spectacular spring from Dameron, the most newly minted addition to the division’s elite.
Cole Jurek (Minnesota)
Cole Jurek was the headliner for Minnesota Grey Duck as they pushed their way into the quarterfinals at Nationals, the deepest run the team has made since 2017. Jurek could credibly be considered the best offensive and defensive player in the North Central this year, combining his shutdown downfield stopping with an increasingly varied offensive toolkit.
A fearsome deep cutter for several years, Jurek’s acumen around the disc has steadily improved and this season he demonstrated some wily handler cuts and an impressive back shoulder fading flick huck that punished defenses trying to help off into the forceside lane. These features of his game completed the picture of an all-around offensive menace who could hurt opponents from any spot on the field.
KJ Koo (Cal Poly SLO)
Entering the season as the focal point of the Cal Poly SLO offense, Koo took on big expectations and still managed to woo and wow as SLO made a third consecutive run to the bracket at Nationals. Koo has always been a unique player as an offensive centerpiece who thrives on defense and does not have an obvious super power; he just does all of the little things right. Whether finding helpful positioning for resets, timing an isolation cut, or simply making space for his teammates, Koo doesn’t take an unintentional step on the field.
As the vocal and determined leader of a SLO team that keeps pulling in high level recruits from all over the west coast, Koo’s impact will be felt on this team for years to come, even as he graduates and moves on from college ultimate.
Danny Landesman (Colorado)
Landesman was one of the top recruits in the country back in the shortened 2020 season; now that we’ve finally seen the class of 2023 play a full season, we can say he was worth the hype. With an incredible sense of timing honed by over a decade already of playing ultimate, Landesman is equally comfortable working through a handler dominator set as he is acting as the striker and finishing points in the end zone.
Illustrating his flexibility and all-around dominance, Landesman led Colorado in each scoring category at Nationals with 13 goals and 20 assists. With a bevy of talented teammates, it is notable how much Landesman stood out on the Mamabird offense.
Trevor Lynch (NC State)
Trevor Lynch has been so steadily excellent for so many years now that it’s difficult to find novel ways to write about it. No player in the division exceeds him as both a cultural leader and a dominant force in all aspects of the game, and you’d only need a couple of fingers to tick off players who can match him in those respects. He throws all the difficult shots, takes all the difficult matchups, and puts his body on the line for every difficult play, all while inspiring his teammates on Alpha to rise to his level. That’s how he played in 2019, 2020, and 2021 – and that’s exactly how he played again in 2022.
Okay, Lynch did add at least one new trick that I would be remiss not to mention. Against Indiana at Smoky Mountain Invite, he was trailing a cutter in the open-side lane by a yard. The throw goes up, and Lynch goes vintage Lynch with a textbook inside-angle layout block. Normal, right? But here’s the kicker: he starts trash-talking the cutter before his body hits the ground. It was lowkey the coolest thing that happened on a frisbee field this college season. Don’t forget your crown, King.
Evan Magsig (California)
One of the biggest stock-risers in recent memory, Magsig’s performance this season was one of the key reasons Ursa Major was able to not only make Nationals, but to push as far into the bracket as they got. Constantly playing with a smile on his face, Magsig has developed into an intelligent defender and an all-around weapon on offense. His passion for the game and his team shines throughout his play, most notably during a five goal, five assist performance in the Southwest game to go.
With a motor that doesn’t stop, throws that reach targets all over the field, and defensive positioning that makes opposing coaches jealous, Magsig may be the most underrated player in the division.
Joe Merrill (Brigham Young)
The time has come once again to decry the fact that we have not yet found a way to include one of the very best college teams in the country at Nationals. This year, that institutional shortcoming has deprived a wide audience the chance to witness the absolute brilliance of BYU CHI’s Joe Merrill.
Long one of the division’s most accomplished cutters and cutter defenders, Merrill ran roughshod past anyone trying to keep up with him in the open field just as well (or perhaps even better, if we’re splitting hairs) in 2022 than in CHI’s previous campaigns. There was, as has become the norm, simply no way to keep him from getting to the disc at will. On top of that, he truly opened up his deep throwing game for the first time in his college career, turning every matchup against him into an unwinnable game of pick-your-poison. There’s no telling how high he might have risen on this list if BYU had been given an opportunity to compete for the championship.