The first-years who have already established themselves among the division's best overall players.
June 15, 2023 by Jenna Weiner and Keith Raynor in Awards with 0 comments
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.
The Rookie of the Year award recognizes players who impressed in their first college ultimate seasons. That includes both freshman and true rookies. Each season, it feels like this group of players becomes more impactful; as the level of youth play and of coaching and development rise, so does the bar for the division’s best rookie. Whether they come to the college game from years of youth experience, a background in other sports, or none of the above, these players made debuts to remember in high-level college play.
D-I Women’s 2023 Rookie Of The Year
Trout Weybright (Oregon)
There’s never a guarantee that a prodigal player will pan out. Any number of factors can potentially keep a long heralded rising star from achieving what might have been expected from them. That hasn’t been the case for Trout Weybright though, and the former South Eugene star established themselves as one of the division’s best from the jump.
Weybright helped lead Oregon back to the promised land after two seasons away with key contributions in all facets of the game, his booming hucks and plethora of highlight blocks and bids certainly the most noticeable features. A centerpiece player for Fugue on offense and defense right away, Weybright both marked, and was marked by, some of the best players in the division on a regular basis. And when the likes of Abby Hecko are marking up on you in the bracket of Nationals, that’s as good an indication as any that Oregon’s opponents were recognizing and respecting Weybright’s impact on the field.
It’s not often that a rookie can step right in and lead their team statistically nearly right across the board, but there was Weybright leading Oregon in assists and blocks at Nationals, and finishing third on the team in goals. Weybright has a cannon of an arm and put it to good use to open up the Fugue offense, while their already keen sense of defensive positioning helped them pick up blocks that few other rookies would be able to complete. By the end of the season you’d be forgiven if you forgot that Weybright was just in their first college season, and their presence on this Oregon team for the years to come could help return the storied program back to its historic heights.
Caroline Stone (Vermont)
Stone’s wonderful 2023 season was a beautiful combination of talent and fit. While her combination of skill and size would have made her an immediate fixture in any lineup in the division, Ruckus provided a perfect platform for the rookie to let loose. The energetic team built a more versatile offense this year, in part enabled by Stone’s capability as both a thrower and threat as a receiver. That well-roundedness was reflected in her scoring output, as she finished top three on Vermont in both the goal (8) and assist (13) leaderboards.
Quincy Booth (Georgia)
A highly touted and skilled recruit, it wasn’t a shock to see the amount of talent Booth brought to the field in her college debut season. High level youth players have begun to establish pretty high baselines for competency. No, what stunned about Booth was the immediate gravitational pull she had on the game, absorbing so much of the air in the room before more seasoned players could get their fair share. You probably know she led the women’s division with 37 assists, which is still absolutely wild, but did you hear about the 15 blocks? That’s being a major factor — often the game’s defining one — on both sides of the disc.