Presidents’ Day Invite 2024: How to Watch, Tournament Preview

Debuts for Quandary and Mamabird amid some of the best western clubs.

Abigail Shilts’ UC San Diego will host Colorado for Quandary’s first tournament of the season, Presidents’ Day Invite. Photo: Rodney Chen – UltiPhotos.com

Ultiworld’s coverage of the 2024 college ultimate season are 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.

A cornerstone event in the Southwest Triple Crown, PresDay (officially renamed from the President’s Day Invite) marks the shift from early season appetizer tournaments to the main course of play. Introductions never do this three-day extravaganza justice, so let’s dive right in.

Tournament Profile

  • Date: February 17-19
  • Location: La Jolla, CA
  • Weather: 50s to 60s with 5-10 mph winds
  • Top 25 teams: 6 women’s division, 8 men’s division
  • Schedules & Results

Streaming Schedule

Graphics by Lucia Wei

All Ultiworld Standard and All-Access subscribers will have access to watch the live broadcasts from this year’s Presidents’ Day Invite, where we will have two games in each broadcasting round.

The broadcast schedule can be found below:

All times are PT.

Saturday, February 17

9:00 AM: Colorado vs. UC San Diego [M] | Washington vs. Utah State [M]
10:30 AM: Colorado State vs. Southern California [W] | UC Santa Cruz vs. Oregon State [M]
1:30 PM: UC Davis vs. UC San Diego [W] | Colorado vs. Western Washington [W]
3:00 PM: UC Santa Barbara vs. Colorado State [W] | UBC vs. Oregon State [M]

Sunday, February 18

8:00 AM: Power Pools (TBD) | Power Pools (TBD)
9:30 AM: Power Pools (TBD) | Power Pools (TBD)
12:30 PM: Power Pools (TBD) | Power Pools (TBD)
2:00 PM: Quarterfinal [W] | Quarterfinal [M]

Monday, February 19

8:00 AM: Semifinal [W] | Semifinal [W]
9:30 AM: Final [W] | 3rd Place Final [W]
11:00 AM: Semifinal [M] | Semifinal [M]
12:30 PM: Final [M] | 3rd Place Final [M]

Tournament Preview

Women’s Division

Will Colorado Come Out Swinging?

The program that’s tried to play foil to #1 North Carolina Pleiades for the past two seasons still has a long way to go before they can challenge the title favorites again. It’s not just that the season is long; #5 Colorado Quandary are a few steps behind where they’ve been in previous seasons thanks to the loss of some premier players from their 2023 roster. That’s not to say Quandary are suddenly going to struggle: Colorado is a system-based team after all, and they’re the no.1 seed for a reason. The reason to be skeptical of their success at PresDay has more to do with their approach to the season than their overall talent or depth. The coaches have the full season to think of, and often treat PresDay as an opportunity to sharpen the team’s fundamentals and isolate the areas needing improvement. For this reason, they might be a little more vulnerable, as their eyes aren’t necessarily on the PresDay prize, but rather something much more illustrious.

What’s the Pecking Order in California?

The water is murkier than ever when it comes to the best teams in California. Hopefully this weekend will start to provide some answers.

It’s clear #7 Stanford Superfly have reclaimed their position as the team to beat, but after that there are more questions than answers. Down a rung in the ladder for now, #10 UC Santa Barbara Burning Skirts have an opportunity to bounce back from an uneven SBI to retake the regional advantage with a splashy win and a little more consistency. Staring up at them are UC San Diego Dragon Coalition, national champions as recently as 2019 and now, after a poor SBI, unranked. The onus is on talented players like Abigail Shilts, Margot Nissen, and Emma Smith to prove they belong back in the conversation, and a good showing at PresDay is a necessity.

#25 UC Davis Rogue, Cal Pie Queens, and even Cal Poly SLO SLO Motion have an opportunity to raise their stock above the perennial Nationals contenders. It’s open season in the Southwest and everybody can feel it.

Bid Watch: Southwest vs. South Central

With the Southwest not looking as resolute as previous years, the sharks are circling. The region that is always fighting for a fourth bid might now be struggling to hold onto three. Three teams from the South Central are descending on San Diego this weekend and if they all do well enough, we might see a flipped bid going a little east. Last year the South Central was already good enough to have three bids, who’s to say they can’t get another if things go well enough? There aren’t always a ton of opportunities to steal a bid for your region, so this tournament will really count. Denver Hype are something of a wild card but both Colorado and #12 Colorado State Hell’s Belles made Nationals in 2023. If they can pull out a number of dominant wins against the Californians, Southwest Regionals might just get even more interesting than years past.

Men’s Division

Oregon Ego’s Mica Glass in the final of the 2023 Presidents’ Day Invite. Photo: William “Brody” Brotman – UltiPhotos.com

The Potential Best of the West

After their dominant display at Santa Barbara Invite a few weeks ago, #2 Cal Poly SLO SLOCORE are the favorites to win the event, but #7 Colorado Mamabird will make their much anticipated debut and will certainly have the firepower to challenge SLO.

Cal Poly showed at SBI that they have the means necessary to win a national championship. They’ll see some repeat matchups this weekend, and will need to win the chess match of strategic adjustments if they will continue to succeed. If everything goes to seed, SLO will face off against Colorado in the final. Mamabird have yet to play this season, but are loaded with talent. Colorado bring back plenty of returning stars, but PresDay will also be our first chance to see Tobias Brooks in action at the collegiate level. After dazzling youth, club, and semi-pro seasons, Brooks is likely to be a difference maker from his first point. Where Colorado’s coaches elect to play him and his effectiveness in that role will be one more X-factor to watch.

After storming to the final at SBI a few weeks ago,#9 Oregon Ego will be looking to score a signature win in their signature basketball jerseys which have become a PresDay tradition. With Mica Glass back in the fold, we’ll finally be able to see a full Oregon team though Ego proved they could hold their own even without their star player. #14 Cal Ursa Major round out the top four seeds. While they only have one loss on the season (to Oregon), Ursa Major have yet to beat a higher ranked team. With the unique power pool structure at PresDay, they’ll likely have multiple chances to do so this weekend. #15 UCLA Smaug likewise are looking for another crack at a top team after failing to beat Cal Poly, Cal, or BYU at SBI.

Potential Breakouts

#16 Washington Sundodgers, #23 Utah Zion Curtain, and UBC Thunderbirds round out the list of likely bracket teams at PresDay. Each are coming off of up-and-down showings at SBI that hint at the potential for improved play without the consistency to cement themselves as favorites in a competitive Northwest region. The three-day tournament is long and provides opportunities for lower ranked teams to catch opponents drifting in focus with so many games packed in a tight span. Up and coming teams like UC San Diego Air Squids, #22 Utah State Scotsmen, and UC Santa Cruz Slugs all have the talent to produce at least one real upset over the course of the weekend. PresDay is shaping up to be an exciting event out west as the bid picture comes into focus and teams sharpen their strategies.

  1. Graham Gerhart
    Graham Gerhart

    Graham Gerhart is a Senior Staff Writer at Ultiworld, focusing primarily on the Women's and Mixed divisions. Graham graduated from the University of Cape Town in South Africa after playing 4 years with the UCT Flying Tigers. He now lives and works full time in San Diego. Follow him on twitter @JustGrahamG

  2. 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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