The first major intra-divisional event of the D-III season
February 8, 2024 by Bix Weissberg and Theresa Diffendal in Preview with 0 comments
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The spring season has so far been a tad disheartening for fans of D-III ultimate. Too much time spent sitting through (majority) D-I tournaments, eagerly awaiting our belated opening day. But the long wait ends this weekend. Teams will flock to Portland to give the division its first exclusive taste of intra-divisional sanctioned action at the inaugural D-III Grand Prix.
- Date: February 10-11
- Location: Portland, OR
- Weather: Upper 30s to low 50s with a chance of showers on Sunday
- Top 25 teams: 5 women’s division, 2 men’s division
- Schedules & Results
All Ultiworld Standard and All-Access subscribers will have access to watch the live broadcasts from this year’s D-III Grand Prix, where we will have one game in each broadcasting round.
The broadcast schedule can be found below:
All times are PT.
Saturday, February 10
Sunday, February 11
8:00 AM: Whitman vs. Portland [M]
9:50 AM: Portland vs. Lewis & Clark [W]
11:40 AM: Lewis & Clark vs. Pacific Lutheran [M]
1:30 PM: Final [W]
Six teams who finished the 2023 regular season in the top 30 of USAU’s D-III rankings1 converge in Portland for the season’s first D-III on D-III action, headlined by 2023 Nationals finalists #3 Carleton College Eclipse. Four of the teams in attendance – aforementioned Carleton, #2 Portland UPRoar, #6 Whitman Sweets, and #7 Colorado College Zenith – were at Nationals last year and will be looking to assert themselves early against high-level competition. Not to be outdone, this will be a litmus test for #13 Lewis & Clark Artemis and Puget Sound Clearcut to see if they have a chance to upend the Portland/Whitman Northwest regional hierarchy and claim a bid to the Big Dance.
With a seven-team format, Saturday and the first three rounds of Sunday play are round-robin style. Teams will then be paired based on record and funneled into one-off match play, with the game between the two teams with the best records ostensibly crowning a tournament champion.
Carleton and Portland are the early favorites to meet in the first place game, with an initial test between the two occurring in the second round of Saturday play.2 Look for stars to make plays early and often, as Carleton’s Rowan Dong, Frankie Saraniti, and 3-star YCC first-year Molly Horstman clash with Portland’s own Julianna Galian and Hayden Ashley. In all their trips to Nationals, Portland and Carleton have only played once, in the semifinals of the 2021 winter Nationals, and it will be fascinating to see how the current iterations of these two divisional heavyweights stack up against each other.
Sure to challenge for the top spots are Whitman and Colorado College, who have their own matchup in the very first round of play.3 Viewed by many as a First Team sub, Gemma Munck hopes to lead Whitman to the victory they couldn’t find in prequarters last year against Colorado College, while Zenith’s Nationals +/- leader Casey Shaw-Merrigan plans to continue the trend they started in prequarters, which marked Zenith’s first ever win over Whitman.
Grand Prix will feature an eclectic mix of teams, some of which will be returning from a run to Nationals, while others look to make a name for themselves early in the season. #9 Whitman and #10 Lewis & Clark are easy favorites. They’ll challenge each other, and will likely be tested by Claremont and Pacific Lutheran as well (the latter of which took Lewis & Clark to universe in 2023 Northwest Regionals game to go). Every team will use the weekend as an opportunity to scout out regional competition. Results will yield a clear picture of the Northwest’s frontrunners and dark horses.
The weekend will also give the division a first impression of the event and what teams should expect from Lewis & Clark’s hosting abilities. If Grand Prix is well enjoyed by its attendees, it will spell fortune for the tournament’s future and could help cement the tournament as a desirable option for the division’s elite teams. Saturday night’s mixed showcase game between the tournament’s all-stars will add a welcome bit of spice to the tournament experience.
So without further ado, let the games begin.
Plus D-I Oregon State ↩
Also available to stream for Ultiworld subscribers ↩