Presidents’ Day Invite 2024: Centering Pass Day One (Men’s Div.)

The sun has set, the first interregional punches have landed, and the 16-team field has been narrowed by half.

Colorado’s Calvin Stoughton at Smoky Mountain Invite 2023. Photo: William “Brody” Brotman – UltiPhotos.com

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Welcome to Centering Pass, Ultiworld’s articles covering tournament news and event stories you need to know.

The sun has set, the first interregional punches have landed, and the 16-team field has been narrowed by half. Pool play is complete: bring on power pool Sunday. There was a lot of frisbee today, and even though we’re only a third of the way through the long weekend there were major ripple effects for the rest of the season. We’ll get you caught up with the need-to-know info, as well as take a quick look at tomorrow’s power pool action.

Competition Results

Top 10? Top Notch

The Presidents’ Day Invite tournament field in the Men’s Division is fairly deep top to bottom – most teams were either in our power rankings or just outside heading into the weekend – but the tippy-top of the heap belonged to #2 Cal Poly SLO SLOcore, #7 Colorado Mamabird, and #9 Oregon Ego. One day in, they have more than lived up to their billing: across nine undefeated games, they averaged a +5.5 goal differential.

Yes, Mamabird’s scores (including two 15-5 wins) are doing a lot of the heavy lifting in that average. Even so, the fact that the top trio only had a single close game speaks volumes. In their first sanctioned play since a too-early prequarters Nationals loss last year, Colorado seemed focused and ready to return to a form more like their 2022 heights. They have a young roster, so we’ll see if it holds up with a much tougher slate tomorrow. Still, the early signs are extremely favorable.

Ego, with a somewhat tougher row to hoe, handled their business with aplomb. They downed both #15 UCLA Smaug and a feisty Victoria Vikes side by several breaks. Rookie Raekown Adkins continued to prove himself against top talent and they were surely glad to have phenom Mica Glass back in the fold after playing without him at last month’s Santa Barbara Invite. The lone trouble spot for the upper crust belonged to Cal Poly: they hung on for a universe point win against #22 Utah State Scotsmen after Tony Mounga and the Scotsmen D-line launched a determined second half comeback. It’s likely just a blip for a few points and nothing much to worry about, although we’ll want to keep an eye on SLOCORE’s full-game consistency tomorrow against more tough D-lines.

A Heartbreaking Day for the Southwest

First of all, don’t let the headline make you worry about #14 Cal Ursa Major. Cal did everything asked of them as the top seed in Pool D, knocking out three tricky opponents to finish pool play undefeated. And Cal Poly are completely fine. As we’ve seen in the past, however, the Southwest has long been a region with more Nationals-quality teams than bids to Nationals. Thanks to today’s play, 2024 is shaping up to be more of the same.

UCLA not only gave up more rankings points than they would have liked by not playing closer with Oregon (a 14-10 Ego win), but they also fell by the same margin (13-9) to a much less highly rated Victoria side. From a #ferda regional perspective, their 13-10 win over UC Santa Barbara Black Tide is essentially a wash, so overall they gave up valuable ground to the Northwest on the day. The larger problem is that they didn’t just give up points from today’s poor results – they played their way out of power pools, forfeiting their shot at playing against higher rated teams for the rest of the weekend. They’ll be joined in the bottom half by UCSB, UC San Diego Air Squids, and UC Santa Cruz Slugs (who showed some promise but are a bit overmatched without their injured players). That may not spell catastrophe for the three-bid Southwest dream, but it at least spells pessimism.

Quick Hits:

  • The universe was unkind to the UBC Thunderbirds today – specifically, universe points. Filip Kragl, Angus Chan, and Justin Podnar and their teammates were almost good enough to score wins on both Cal and Oregon State Beavers, but they fell just short. They had the disc in the red zone against Oregon State on UP as well. They’ll likely get chances like that again at Northwest Regionals, and conversions then will be essential.
  • The flipside of a bad day for the Southwest? A great day for the Northwest, who captured the spoils of valuable rankings points. Oregon, Oregon State, Victoria, #16 Washington Sundodgers, and Utah Zion Curtain make up five of the eight valuable power pool spots. Even the teams that missed out on the Sunday fun – UBC and Utah State – kept their losses to the bare minimum against the top teams in their pools. The region could be in for a major haul.

Re-Ranking the Power Pool Combatants:

  1. Colorado
  2. Cal Poly SLO
  3. Oregon
  4. Washington
  5. Cal
  6. Oregon State
  7. Victoria
  8. Utah
  1. Edward Stephens
    Edward Stephens

    Edward Stephens has an MFA in Creative Writing from Goddard College. He writes and plays ultimate in Athens, Georgia.

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