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

The second leg of the Southwest Triple Crown kicked off with a slate of intriguing games that included its share of close calls, starpower showcases, and a bounty of big plays.

Colorado Quandary’s Faye Burdick lays out at Northwest Challenge 2023. Photo: Sam Hotaling —

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The second leg of the Southwest Triple Crown kicked off with a slate of intriguing games that included its share of close calls, starpower showcases, and a bounty of big plays. By the end of Day One, all four favorites had maintained their spots atop the pecking order, while Utah Spiral Jetty and hosts UC San Diego Dragon Coalition pulled off the only upsets of the day. 

Competition Results

Top Seeds Hold Rank

Though they all came out unscathed with 3-0 records, each of the top seeds were tested during Saturday pool play. #5 Colorado Quandary came back against #15 Western Washington Chaos, #7 Stanford Superfly held off a spirited Utah Spiral Jetty squad, #6 Oregon Fugue got past UCSD, and even the #10 UC Santa Barbara Burning Skirts, who won all of their games by at least six points, still gave up eight goals against the no.12 seed Cal Poly SLO Motion. That said, between short rounds and stout defenses, none of those top four teams gave up double digit scores, and will be favorites to still be competing for the title come Monday. 

Chaos didn’t just play Quandary close — the Northwest stalwarts led the back-to-back national finalists for much of the first half. It took a block from Emma Williamson followed by an assist from Liana Bradley to Simone Pierotti to earn Colorado a break and an 8-7 halftime lead, and from there Quandary were able to pull away with a strong second half showing. In addition to their promising rookies, it was particularly exciting to see Bradley take the field again after missing last season with an injury. However, Colorado fans need not be concerned with the close result as it seemed that they were playing very open lines. In their first full tournament day of the season, Quandary’s focus was on growth and the development of their young players, just as we’ve seen from them in seasons past. 

Santa Barbara Invite semifinal opponents Stanford and Oregon both continued to build on their strong results from three weeks ago. With Superfly still managing a raft of nagging injuries, rookie Harper Baer has taken on a big offensive load, while Fugue continues to be led by the more than capable sophomore duo of Trout Weybright and Syris Linkfield. Both teams gave up a mere 13 points across three games and will have another showdown on Sunday in power pools. As for UCSB, they looked convincing in taking down Pool D, rolling over Colorado State with ease in the 4-5 matchup. Aliyah Latham showed promise as a D-line handler, while Laura Blume and Devin Quinn continued to dominate downfield. 

The Field Shows Its Strength 

While the top seeds were out of reach down the stretch, lower seeded teams showed a remarkable ability to play up at times. No team demonstrated this better than Western Washington. On the back of an impressive deep game, Chaos gave Quandary all they could handle early, solid stuff from a team who was on the brink of making Nationals last year and is looking to push through in 2024 for the first time in three years. They’ll get a chance to further prove their mettle in power pools on Sunday. 

In another showing of Northwestern resurgence, Utah performed well in pool play after bowing out in the crossover round at SBI. Spiral Jetty, led by veteran handler Carly Atwell and star rookie Lily Terpstra, claimed second in Pool B with a double game win over UCLA BLU and played Stanford within four. Their second place finish today elevates the no.10 squad into power pools, where they’ll face off against South Central competition for the first time this season in Colorado and Colorado State.

Speaking of #12 Colorado State Hell’s Belles, they appear to be on track to make it three straight trips to Nationals. They had a 2-1 Day One, only losing to top seeds UCSB. CSU was able to get turns off of the Burning Skirts with their zone and match up defense but it was the offensive half of the game that gave them issues. Nevertheless, there is plenty of time left in the season, and on the weekend, for them to get things ironed out. With two players named Grace1 (Brown and Goldenberg) in the backfield, and Willow Purvis and company breaking things open deep, Hell’s Belles seem set for further success. 

Rounding out the power pool octet, hometown heroes UC San Diego looked much improved after their disappointing showing at SBI. Most notably, their comprehensive win over regional rival UC Davis Rogue reestablished UCSD as third in the Southwest hierarchy, though they still have work to do to restore their reputation as a legitimate Nationals bid contender. It helps to have Abbi Shilts leading the way, and the multi-talented superstar has taken on more load behind the disc, while freshman Margot Nissen is showing great poise and confidence behind the ball.

Re-Ranking the Power Pool Combatants:

  1. Oregon
  2. Stanford
  3. UCSB
  4. Colorado
  5. WWU
  6. UCSD
  7. CSU
  8. Utah

  1. confirmed the best name to have as a handler 

  1. Jenna Weiner
    Jenna Weiner

    Jenna Weiner is a Senior Staff Writer, a co-host of Ultiworld's Double Overtime podcast, and considers herself a purveyor of all levels of ultimate. She's played mostly on the west coast but you're likely to find her at the nearest ultimate game available.

  2. Grace Conerly
    Grace Conerly

    Grace has played frisbee for 9+ years. She's won some stuff and lost some stuff at various levels. Her most notable accomplishment is winning Triangle Ultimate’s indoor recreational winter league, 2019.

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