Recognizing the top seven performers of the 2023 season.
July 4, 2023 by Fiona "Scotti" Nugent and Zack Davis 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.
Our All-American teams recognize the top performers across the division. While in the past we have closed 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 in the schedule. 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.
- Player of the Year
- All-American First Team
- All-American Second Team
- Offensive Player of the Year Award
- Defensive Player of the Year Award
- Breakout Player of the Year Award
- Rookie of the Year Award
- Coaches of the Year Award
D-III Women’s All-American First Team
Keziah Wilde (Middlebury) Player of the Year
There isn’t much to say about Player of the Year Keziah Wilde’s performance at D-III College Nationals that hasn’t already been said. The role of a central handler on a top national team is not an easy or relaxing one, and Wilde was able to pilot the Pranksters to yet another national championship with grace. Wilde played the majority of the points in the final, initiating defensive possessions with a mighty flick pull and stopping Eclipse handlers on the sideline. Wilde controlled every game she was in from the first point she stepped on the field and certainly helped Middlebury with their decisive three-peat championship.
For more on Keziah Wilde, check out her Player of the Year writeup.
Tess “Roo” Dolan (Wellesley) Player of the Year First Runner-up
Tess Dolan was by far one of the most dynamic players to watch in Ohio. Snagging a Callahan in the first round of the tournament and setting the bar high early with chest-high catches, Dolan grabbed 11 goals over the course of the weekend and was a crucial aspect of the Wellesley offensive line. 2023’s Donovan award recipient, Tess Dolan is graduating with an exceptional Division III trophy cabinet.
Claire Babbott-Bryan (Middlebury) Player of the Year Second Runner-up
2021 and 2022 Player of the Year Claire Babbott-Bryan had an exceptionally dominant showing in Ohio in 2023 as well. Her height, throws and fearlessness made her one of the most central players to Middlebury’s performance. Scoring 14 goals, throwing 19 assists, and tacking on 11 blocks for good measure, one may wonder when Babbott-Bryan had the time to recover between points and keep playing at the top of this level. Her jaw-dropping plus/minus of +34 led the Nationals field and was nine ahead of the second-highest. It is exciting to picture what her future trajectory will be in ultimate as one of the defining players of Division III.
Alex Rowell (Carleton)
2023 Defensive Player of the Year Alex Rowell was dominant on both sides of the disc for Carleton Eclipse. A steadfast deep deep in a zone with the ability to read a lofty throw and snatch it away from offensive cutters, Rowell easily switched over to offense with beautiful hucks to Rowan Dong, who would already be in the endzone. If stats are more your style, Rowell’s more than speak to their performance: 12 blocks and 21 assists.
Gigi Downey (Mount Holyoke)
Gigi Downey is ending her 2023 college season as a Donovan award finalist and U24 Team member. With a full arsenal of throws at their disposal, Downey was a pivotal handler for Mount Holyoke Daisy Chain. Their exceptional disc reading skills led to 14 blocks over the course of the weekend, reminding us why they were 2022’s DPOTY. A leader on the field, it is clear that Downey is more than a talented player, but a teacher and inspiration for her teammates to improve and deepen the connection between Daisy Chain’s players.
Julianna Galian (Portland)
Julianna “JJ” Galian literally balled out in Ohio. She scored 15 goals, she threw 14 assists, she got 7 blocks and consistently shut down her matchup – who was often the best player on the opposing team. Galian played with spirited intensity and kept her teammates up throughout the course of the tournament. This consistent energy is certainly impressive, especially because she played almost every point through the bracket. Galian truly embodies the heart and energy that is Division III and it was a delight to watch her play.
Maya Kalmus (Carleton)
Throughout the tournament, Kalmus was an unstoppable handler with pinpoint throws and quiet confidence in her teammates. The amount of practice and work that Eclipse put into their 2023 season was demonstrated through Kalmus’ playing, as she put up dimes to her receivers before a mark even had the chance to start counting. Throwing 26 assists throughout the weekend, Maya Kalmus was essential to Eclipse’s success in the 2023 season.