2022 D-III Men’s Player of the Year

Recognizing the top performer of the 2022 season.

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.

We begin our awards presentation with Player of the Year, our most prestigious award. Our Player of the Year winner is the best performer of the 2022 college season, and the highest vote-getter for All-American honors. The winner is not eligible for consideration in any of our other individual awards. The runner-ups up will be identified as the second and third vote-getters when the All-American Teams are revealed.

D-III Men’s 2022 Player Of The Year

Elliott Moore (Oklahoma Christian Eagles)

Oklahoma Christian’s Elliott Moore at the 2022 D-III College Championships. Photo: William ‘Brody’ Brotman — UltiPhotos.com

Let’s begin with a quote:

“Sometimes there’s a man… I won’t say a hero, ’cause, what’s a hero? But sometimes, there’s a man. And I’m talkin’ about the Dude here. Sometimes, there’s a man, well, he’s the man for his time and place. He fits right in there. And that’s the Dude.” – The Stranger from The Big Lebowski.

When you think about a Player of the Year, you think about the lynchpin — the man for that time and place, someone who fits right in there. For the second consecutive season, we find that player on the Oklahoma Christian Eagles. In the 2021-2022 season, the Eagles strung together the most dominant performance in the history of D-III Men’s ultimate. We’ve talked in great detail about OC’s ability to be immune from the typical ails of D-III ultimate; they’re great at player retention, recruitment, and have consistent funding. But at times this can eclipse the most impressive part of the Eagles’ program. That is, dominant top talent. In the 2022 season, Elliott Moore was the best player on the best team in the country. As such, he is the 2022 Player of the Year.

Moore’s impact on the OC program should not be understated. He was one of the original key signings back when the Eagle’s announced their scholarship program. From that point on he took it upon himself to build this winning program. He did this both as the star player on the field, and as a recruiter within the South Central region and around the country. This speaks to something you cannot teach; incredible leadership and the ability to get players to “buy in” to the program.

But this award isn’t determined by career accomplishments. If anything that just sweetens the story. Moore put together a standout performance in Milwaukee this May. His stat line was impressive — six goals, 20 assists, one block, and a positive (+4) plus/minus over the three-day tournament. He was the main cog on the offense, playing a true hybrid role. He could start downfield on tougher points, getting great separation as the initiating cutter. He could also drop back into the handler set, taking dozens of touches during zone points to calmly work the disc down the field for goals. It was clear that the OC system ran through Moore. His teammates trusted him to make the right decision in higher-pressure situations. This is a necessary trait needed to lead a team through the bracket at nationals. He was a bailout on high-stall hucks and resets. He was a lockdown defender on crucial D-points. He was the total package for OC.

And, one of the undersold parts of Moore’s game is his spirit on the field. It is something that typically won’t get talked about a lot in the POTY conversations. On occasions, Moore would argue against his own teammates and offer a fair perspective. Granted, other teammates and observers would rule independently of Moore’s perspective, but it does not change the integrity of his approach to the game. Moore is fiery, but respectful and respected by other players in the division. He’s a veteran student of the game, and it’s evident when you watch him play.

It’s wrong to talk about Moore as emerging from the “shadows” of POTYs past. Moore really did something impressive this 2022 season. He did his own thing, and wrote his own story. He’ll leave huge shoes to fill at Oklahoma Christian, and leaves an admirable and praiseworthy legacy on the Eagles.

  1. Chris Cassella
    Chris Cassella

    Chris Cassella is from Orange, Connecticut, and started playing pick-up at the age of 11. He is a graduate of the University of Richmond, where he played four years with the Richmond Spidermonkeys. While at Richmond, Chris won a national championship (2017), two High Tide titles (2019, 2020), and the “worst decisions award” four years in a row. He is a current graduate student at the University of Texas at Austin, where he played for one season. You can follow him on Twitter (@nerdyboypolis) to see his daily takes about zone defense, political science, and I-35 traffic jams.

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