College Update: Centex Takes Center Stage

Every division saw action at last weekend's Centex, with Northeastern and Colorado coming out on top

Iowa Saucy Nancy go all out for the disc at 2023 Women’s Centex. Photo: Matthew Brooks.

College Update, presented by Spin Ultimate, is back! Throughout the spring season, we will publish a bite-sized weekly recap of all the action across the college division. This will serve as a supplement to our standard tournament reporting and will offer a high-level look at the latest happenings and the biggest stories of the week. Please support the brands that make Ultiworld possible and shop at Spin Ultimate!

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D-I Women’s

Northeastern Cement Undefeated Season With Centex Title

Northeastern rolled through everyone down in Austin to cap an undefeated season. The Valkyries didn’t give up more than 8 to anyone except surprise finalist Colorado State Helles Belles. Well, they beat CSU 15-7 in the final to “avenge” a close 13-11 win in Pool Play. With 5th year Clara Stewart leading the way, Northeastern’s handler movement set them apart from other teams and paved the way for their victory. With the wins, Northeastern enter the series with a perfect 22-0 record. Though they haven’t faced a top ten opponent yet, the Valkyries have vanquished ranked teams Virginia, Cal, Brown, Yale, and Penn, and will be a challenge for any opponent this spring.

Second place finisher Colorado State upset Michigan and Virginia in the bracket, setting themselves up well for the series by moving up 18 spots in the preliminary rankings to their current position as a bid earning team.

Virginia impressed despite falling to CSU in the semifinal. Typically, Hydra’s results correlate with the play of their star Kira Flores, but Hydra played incredibly patient in the wind and relied on the whole team rather than just Flores to make solid plays.

Like Colorado State, Cal surprised many by reaching the semifinal. Not seen as a typical powerhouse in a loaded Southwest division, the Pie Queens moved up 11 spots in the unofficial rankings on the strength of their great weekend. Upsets over Ohio Valley’s Penn and Ohio State just show the strength of the Southwest in the women’s division. Their win over Wisconsin was Nationals-quality. With Cal’s sudden ascendance, it looks like the Southwest is in for another barnburner of a Regionals weekend in just over a month.

You can read more in Zack Davis’ creative Day One Recap, sorting the division into an alignment chart. Stay tuned for a full tournament recap coming soon.

One more important note: the USC Hellions of Troy won the annual Centex dance contest.

Elsewhere in the Division

Looking Ahead

D-I Men’s

Colorado Get the Win

The most confusing tournament format in recent memory graced the viewing public with some simple-to-understand results: Colorado retained its top spot in the South Central with a 14-13 victory over Texas in the tournament final. With wins over Wisconsin, Carleton, and Tufts, Mamabird earned their spot atop the podium, though they did take a loss to BYU (see more about them below). This was Colorado’s first complete performance at a tournament after somewhat inconsistent showings at Pres Day (where they couldn’t notch a single break in the final) and Smoky Mountain Invite (where they lost in pool play to Vermont and in the semis to North Carolina).

Though Texas lost the final, Tuff left with a signature win: their Friday night 13-12 toppling of BYU handed CHI their first loss of the season. Zach Slayton, John Clyde, Jake Worthington, and co have formed themselves into a formidable team capable of taking the region for the first time in recent years, as evidenced by their double-game-point loss to Colorado.

BYU may have suffered their first blemish on an otherwise perfect season, but also showed why they’re a contender for the top spot in our power rankings, with a come-from-behind victory (a 6-1 run to close the game!) over eventual tournament champions Colorado. If you don’t know who Chad Yorgason and Porter Oyler are yet, go watch the tape before they wreck havoc on your offense.

Tufts made it to the semifinal with a second consecutive impressive showing in as many tournaments, as did Carleton CUT who finished third. Zach Singer stood out on the Tufts offense, but Centex was really a tournament for Oscar Graff to show opponents and livestream viewers why he should be on an All-American shortlist. Often the best defender on the field, Graff is a plus with the disc and has speed to burn good defenders deep. His talent elevates a solid Tufts team from Nationals contention into bracket contention.

CUT’s Declan Miller and Cullen Baker stood out as usual, and the team got a solid win over Wisconsin to set an early regional pecking order.1 Though he often plays offense, Miller’s defense stands out as well-developed for his rookie status. Closing out the tournament with a quality double-game-point win over Tufts in the 3rd place game shows the kind of grit CUT will need to win games against Nationals-level opponents. A one point loss to Mamabird is not something to be thrilled about, but also not something CUT should lament given how dominant Colorado has been over the past two seasons. A 4-3 record might not look great, but CUT only lost to the three best teams at this tournament. We’ll see CUT again in two weeks when they’ll be the top seed in their pool at Easterns.

You can read more about Centex in Chris Cassella’s Day One Recap and subscribers can relive the action through our Centex event page. Stay tuned for the full tournament recap, coming soon.

Elsewhere in the Division

  • Appalachian State beat East Carolina 15-9 to win Southerns. The Nomads picked up two wins over Carleton CHOP along the way.
  • Temple took down Pitt-B 12-8 to win Spring Fling-adelphia. Games were notably halted midday to allow players in the nearby varsity softball game to warm-up indoors (apparently per NCAA cold-weather policy), and allow ultimate players to ponder their sport of choice.
  • UC Irvine went undefeated at Sundown Showdown against local competition in the Southwest.

Looking Ahead

  • With many of the top teams gearing up for Easterns in two weeks, this week is light on Top 25 games but high on intrigue with plenty of Regionals-level teams in action at tournament staples like Needle in a Ho-Stack, New England Open, and Old Capitol Open, among other events.

D-III Women’s

Middlebury Undefeated at Centex

Middlebury took on some tough D-I competition at Centex, finishing in 9th place without the opportunity to finish any higher per the tournament format. After a close opening win against Florida (13-11), a win they would later replicate in 9th place semis with a 15-9 scoreline, the Pranksters cruised through games against Colorado College, Boston University, USC, WashU, and UT Dallas.

Until proven otherwise, Middlebury should be favored to threepeat and anyone who bets the field will need to have a good reason why. This is one of the strongest showings at a D-I tournament that the D-III division has seen and it’s a shame we couldn’t see the Pranksters move up into a higher placement bracket.

“It’s a little frustrating because we know that we can be competing against the top teams in tier one,” Claire Babbott-Bryan said in Zack Davis’ Day One Recap. Stay tuned for a full tournament recap coming soon.

Carleton Eclipses The Field

Carleton Eclipse were utterly dominant at Southerns, not allowing a single goal during Sunday’s bracket play. Score reporter will tell you that they won the championship over Charlestown 15-0, but Eclipse took half 8-0 and Charleston simply forfeited rather than suffering through another scoreless half. Maybe Middlebury have a worthy challenger after all!

D-III Men’s

OC, CC, and Middlebury Take on Centex

Oklahoma Christian, Colorado College, and Middlebury took on D-I competition down at Centex. In the only games between them, OC beat Colorado College 12-11 to set an early regional pecking order, and Colorado College beat Middlebury 11-10.

OC had the best weekend of the bunch, defeating D-I nationals contenders in Georgia Tech and Wisconsin and falling to Carleton CUT on double game point. In their Georgia Tech game, OC were down 12-9 before rattling off three straight breaks with the help of a zone defense to pull out an unlikely universe point win, 14-13. Colorado College played close with the D-I teams they lost to (absent their 15-5 loss to Georgia Tech) and earned a nice in-state win over Colorado State, while Middlebury beat Tulane, Illinois, and Virginia.

Based on these results, Oklahoma Christian should retain its top spot in the Power Rankings and enter the postseason as the championship favorite.

Elsewhere in the Division

  • UMass-Lowell and Bates led the way at the Mill City Throwdown, going 3-1 in the Northeast round robin, with all of UMass-Lowell’s wins coming by one point.
  • Meltdown looked…not very melted. 2022 D-III Nationals darling Grace College beat Carthage 10-9 to win the final. Carthage went on a real March Madness-style Cinderella run, entering the tournament as the 18 seed.

Looking Ahead in D-III

  • Recent D-III Nationals teams Williams, Kenyon, Brandeis, and Oberlin are in attendance at Haverford’s Layout Pigout.
  • Teams are headed back to Vineland for Garden State, featuring women’s top 25 teams Haverford/Bryn Mawr, Lehigh, Ithaca, and Skidmore and men’s top 25 Ithaca.

  1. Obligatory spoiler alert: if they do it again this year, it wouldn’t be the first time the Hodags have knocked out a better CUT team in the backdoor bracket at Regionals 

  1. Alex Rubin
    Alex Rubin

    Alex Rubin started writing for Ultiworld in 2018. He is a graduate of Northwestern University where he played for four years. After a stint in Los Angeles coaching high school and college teams, they moved to Chicago to experience real seasons and eat deep dish pizza. You can reach Alex through e-mail ([email protected]) or Twitter (@arubes14).

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