12 Days of College Ultimate 2024: First Year Players

On the first day of Christmas Ultiworld gave to me...the top prospects of the 2024 season!

Ultiworld’s coverage of the 2024 college season is presented by Spin Ultimate; all opinions are those of the author(s). Find out how Spin can get you, and your team, looking your best this season.

It’s time to unwrap some presents as we introduce the 12 Days of College Ultimate. For the next 12 days, we will be releasing one gift per day, though don’t count on getting any holiday fowl: it’s all college ultimate. From highlight videos to player chatter to a season predictions, we’ve got a little something for everyone. On the first day of the 12 Days of College Ultimate, we highlight some of the top new recruits joining the ranks of college ultimate.

Women’s Divisions

The U20 US National Team’s Bella Russell at the 2022 WFDF U20 World Championships. Photo: Kevin Leclaire – UltiPhotos.com

Bella Russell (UNC)

A product of the Triangle youth scene, Russell joins North Carolina Pleiades having already won a PUL Championship with Raleigh Radiance and a gold medal with USA U20 at WJUC 2022. She is a strong thrower, capable of powering offense at the college level. It will be exciting to see where she fits into the Pleiades system, but expect to see her behind the disc for Pleiades as they graduate three of their most touch-heavy handlers.

Lauren Goddu (Washington)

After two seasons with Seattle Riot and a USA U20 gold medal, Lauren Goddu will take the field in the college division for Washington Element. She is a powerful and dynamic cutter who can put up huge bids. With her size, speed, and experience, she will be a matchup problem for the women’s division for years to come. Expect to see her step into a major role for Element who is losing nearly 53% of their offense from D-I Nationals.

Harper Baer (Stanford)

Baer is another Triangle product with two U20 selections (2020 and 2022), coming off of a gap year. She is the total package for a college program. The 5’9” lefty can play any position, though probably will play as a cutter, and has the ultimate IQ of someone much older. She could easily step into Stanford’s D-line to fill the Hannah Huddleston hole or into Stanford’s O-line along with the already strong cutting core of Sage McGinley-Smith and Anika Quon.

Chagall Gelfand (Carleton)

The Seattle-Carleton pipeline remains strong. Chagall Gelfand joins Syzygy after winning a gold medal with USA U20 (2022) and Seven Hills U20 YCC team. Gelfand was a central D-line handler for the U20 team with big pulls and hucks. Expect her to be an immediate impact player for Syzygy, capable of driving offense before or after the turn.

Tatum Cubrilovic and Ann Pozzy (Vermont)

Both Cubrilovic and Pozzy come from families of great ultimate players. Cubrilovic has been competing and finding success at the college level for years now with Triangle Tourists. Similar to her sister, Pozzy brings huge throws, athleticism, and high level YCC experience to Ruckus. Vermont has had plenty of top level recruits over the past few years, and will know how to integrate another strong recruiting class, which also includes Rita Narbonne and Seattle product Ella Monaghan.

Mijoo Lee and Bryelle Wong (UBC)

Every year UBC gets some of the most talented players out of the Canadian youth scene, and this year is no different. Both Lee and Wong have won junior national titles and both were selected for the 2024 WJUC mixed team. Lee was a part of the bronze medal winning U20 team in 2022 while Wong led their team to its first-ever high school provincial title. Expect them to be big boosts to the Thunderbirds rosters, which is already considered one of the deepest in the division.

Eva Taberski (Mount Holyoke)

A rangy cutter, Taberski has good size and length, along with the wits to know how to apply those tools. That helped her lead Philly Phang in goals at the 2023 Youth Club Championships. Her sense of timing and play development is already pretty advanced, aiding her efforts on both sides of the disc, but as they sharpen she could become a real takeover player. It’ll be interesting to see her role with Mount Holyoke, as she could benefit the team in a number of ways.

Men’s Divisions

Tobias Brooks tracks down a disc for the Carolina Flyers. Photo: AUDL

Tobias Brooks (Colorado)

Lest you forgot, less than two months ago, Tobias Brooks was putting on an absolute show for Raleigh-Durham United at Club Nationals, earning a second runner-up BPOTY nod. Shining during the college season should be a relative walk in the park for the talented hybrid who also has experience playing with the USA U20 team and the Carolina Flyers in the AUDL. Rather than any specific skill, Brooks’ maturity stands out most when watching him play. His ability to read a defense and make decisions quickly are well developed for someone who hasn’t yet played a sanctioned college game.

Raekwon Adkins (Oregon)

Brooks isn’t the only AUDL talent to reach the college scene this year. Raekwon Adkins put up a solid +18 in nine games of action for the Oakland Spiders this season before starring for Berkeley Zyzzyva in the club circuit. A great puller, tenacious defender, and rangy thrower, Adkins has the tools to slot into a primary playmaking role for a team with stadium-game aspirations at Nationals.

Mark Henke (Texas A&M)

Emerging this past AUDL season as a standout defender for the Austin Sol, Henke enters Texas A&M looking to put Dozen back on the national radar. As a “3 and D” type specialist for the Austin Sol, Henke finished in the top ten on his team in both blocks and goals despite not playing in a featured role until about July.1 He’ll have to have a bigger role in the offense for A&M than he did for the Sol, but he’s more than capable of playing on both sides of the disc. Having already been elected a team captain, teams around the bid bubble will keep their eyes on Henke as Dozen looks to earn an additional bid for the South Central this season.

Julius Clyburn (Pittsburgh)

Another rookie with a famous last name, Clyburn comes from the same Devyl program as his older brother Dexter, last seen as the centerpiece of a Cal team that made the bracket at Nationals. Julius won’t need to be the centerpiece of a Pitt team that features 6th year Henry Ing, but he could become Ing’s successor as a standout defender who develops a well-rounded offensive game.

Ethan Lieman (UMass)

A standout on the Brooklyn Tech team that won last season’s New York High School state championship, and a recent Team USA U20 tryout, Lieman is the latest talent to enter the New York to Amherst pipeline. On a team that succeeds by highlighting the strengths of all its players, expect Lieman to have a big role even on a team that returns much of the talent from last season’s run to the national final.

Seth Fried (UNC)

The rich get richer and Darkside completes the set of Fried siblings. Fried comes from ultimate-powerhouse Chapel Hill High School2 and brings multiple years of Triforce experience; in 2023, he tied for most assists on the team with Tobias Brooks. He is fast and athletic, with snappy throws, and will seamlessly fit into the Darkside system. It’s hard to make an impact on Darkside as a rookie, but Fried is poised to have one of the best rookie seasons in the team’s history.

Eli Hoshide (Berry)

The former Atlanta ATLien’s captain is looking to take the southeast region by storm this spring. Already a thrower whose prowess far exceeds the average first year, Eli Hoshide is able to break any mark and is not afraid to show his range when his teammates are streaking deep. In addition to his offensive abilities, Hoshide plays an intelligent and swift style of defense that his opponents may find to be a nightmare to match up against. Alongside Donovan Award hopeful Collin Hill, Hoshide could be exactly what Berry needs to make a deep run into the bracket come College Nationals in May.

  1. Halfway through the AUDL season for those who don’t tune into the league. 

  2. Roll CHUF. 

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