D-III Men’s Mega Weekend Preview [March 2-3, 2024]

A viewer’s guide on how to track the biggest weekend in the division

Berry’s Ian VanOrder goes for the clap catch while guarded closely by Missouri S&T’s Zach Sanders at the 2023 D-III College Championships. Photo: Rudy Desort – 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.

As the first weekend of March rolls in, we can finally say with confidence that we are deep within the throws1 of the college season. In the D-I divisions, some big early season events like Florida Warm Up and Prez Day have come and gone, and this weekend will bring even more tasty matchups and high-level play.2 Alas, in The People’s Division™ it’s been much quieter. The D-III Grand Prix gave us a taste of what intra-division play looks like in 2024, but outside of that there has, for the most part, only been sporadic action on the back of occasional regional play.3 While the past couple of weeks of Power Rankings updates have been bereft of major changes, this weekend, the biggest of the regular season for the D-III men’s division promises chaos, the one true constant in the division’s ever changing landscape.

For all its glory, D-III does not share the same luxury as college’s larger division of having multiple weekends each spring when top teams all convene to play each other. This makes it more difficult to track results, hypothesize about how teams will fare come Nationals, and generally comprehend what’s going on. However, it becomes all the more rewarding when, on a weekend like this one, a flurry of action gives us enough to draw some (often incorrect) conclusions about the state of D-III men’s ultimate.

So buckle up, because of the 25 teams ranked in the most recent edition of the power rankings, 21 will be active this weekend across five different tournaments. For at least seven of these teams it will be their first sanctioned play since last spring. How could one possibly track all of this action? What storylines should you be following? Lucky for you I’m here to lend a helping hand and prepare you to make sense of the fruits of the collective decision by the frisbee-crazed attendees of small liberal arts colleges across North America to spend their weekend running around a random field complex in some small town while consuming far too many fruit snacks.

Midwest Throwdown:

Philly Special:

  • #7 Bowdoin
  • Bentley (Unranked)
  • Brandeis (Unranked)
  • College of New Jersey (Unranked)
  • Siena (Unranked)
  • Stevens Tech (Unranked)

No Sleep Till Brooklyn:

Snow Melt:

FCS D-III Tune Up:

  • #3 Richmond
  • #9 Berry
  • #11 Lewis & Clark
  • #12 Whitman
  • #13 Oberlin
  • #15 Elon
  • #17 Missouri S&T
  • #18 Navy
  • #19 Kenyon
  • #22 Xavier
  • #23 Davidson
  • Air Force (Unranked)
  • Butler (Unranked)
  • Christopher Newport (Unranked)
  • Embry-Riddle (Unranked)
  • Franciscan (Unranked)
  • Messiah (Unranked)
  • Michigan Tech (Unranked)
  • North Carolina-Asheville
  • Union (Unranked)

FCS: The Holy Grail of The People’s Division

Thanks to D-III guru and reporting legend Mike Ball and his tournament directing, FCS D-III Tune Up has emerged over the past couple of years as the marquee event in the D-III men’s division. The 2024 edition of the tournament will host 20 teams from seven different regions facing off in a round robin format in which no team will play another from their region and all but one will play at least two teams who were at Nationals last year. The tournament will provide the division with much needed connectivity and context. Check out our how to watch article for an in-depth preview. As in years past, games will be streamed, so stay tuned to our event page throughout the weekend.

East Coast Tournaments: New England Emerges from Their Slumber

At No Sleep ‘Til Brooklyn, both #1 Middlebury Pranksters and #5 Williams WUFO will take the field looking to live up to high expectations. For Middlebury, their first sanctioned action of the spring will kick off a revenge tour, with eyes set on getting back to the national final and reversing the outcome from last year’s loss. The team boasts potentially the deepest stockpile of high-level contributors, and come in as the first overall seed in the tournament. Williams, on the other hand, will look to back up a strong showing at UMass Invite back in early February. After achieving a program-best finish at Nationals last year by reaching quarterfinals, the Danny Klein-led squad is pushing for more. If things go to seed, the teams could be destined for a showdown on Sunday morning in the quarterfinals.

A little further south, #7 Bowdoin Stoned Clown will debut at Philly Special. After their bid was stolen by the aforementioned Williams at Regionals last year, Stoned Clown are hoping to prove themselves and secure a third bid for the region and make their path back to Nationals that much easier. They are slated to play a weaker field meaning it will be slightly hard to judge the team on the backs of their performance this weekend. However, a dominant performance would bode well for Clown’s outlook.

Midwest Throwdown: A Second Look at the North Central Hierarchy

A couple of weeks ago, #6 St. Olaf Berzerkers, #8 Carleton CHOP, #25 Macalester Flat Earth and a number of other teams competed at Ugly Dome, an indoor tournament. The results were as shocking as could be, given the potential qualifying conditions. CHOP came out on top, defeating a St. Olaf team that entered the season as favorites to at least return to semifinals. Macalester also put up a strong fight against the Berzerkers, losing on universe point and putting themselves on the national radar in the process. The teams’ results at Midwest Throwdown should shed light on whether or not those games were an aberration. St. Olaf has potentially the best two players in the division in Sub Zero’s Will Brandt and a returning Gordon Larson, who are surrounded by an underrated strong cast of role players. A good weekend for CHOP could secure a second bid for the North Central and create expectations for a run into the bracket at Nationals, especially considering their victory over Duke at Carolina Kickoff. For Macalester, more data points will tell us whether or not they belong in the national conversation or if they just caught St. Olaf on a bad day.

In addition to these teams, both #14 Truman State JujiTSU and #16 Grinnell Grinnellephants will look to earn further respect in Missouri. Truman State played very well at Dust Bowl in February, including a commanding 15-5 defeat of #17 Missouri S&T, and are positioned for another telling D-III face off in their pool play game against CHOP. Grinnell has not yet taken the field, and will hope to prove they maintain staying power among the division’s elite after an offseason characterized by a lot of roster turnover. Unfortunately, aside from Carleton Hot Karls (the school’s second D-III team), they are unlikely to face any play within the division until late in the bracket or consolation play on Sunday.

Snow Melt: Defending Champs Take the Field Once Again

Out in Colorado Springs, #2 Colorado College Wasabi will begin their title defense against a field that, if they are to come close to last year’s glory, they should handle with relative ease. Alongside them, #10 Colorado School of Mines Entropy will look to continue their strong start to their season against many of the same opponents they defeated at New Year Fest in late January. Unfortunately, the teams at Snow Melt form a connectivity bubble, meaning none of them have played any teams outside of this tournament, which will make it hard to judge the teams’ relative strengths. Regardless, we’ll know more in a few days’ time than we do now, and will surely be able to glean some insight as to these teams’ outlooks moving forward.

  1. Get it 

  2. Check out our previews for Smoky Mountain Invite and Stanford Invite if you haven’t done so already 

  3. With the exception of Xavier who made the trip west for the Grand Prix 

  1. Jacob Cowan
    Jacob Cowan

    Jacob Cowan began playing ultimate in New York City in high school. After a couple of club seasons with Brooklyn Blueprint and following a college career playing with and captaining the Grinnell Grinnellephants, he is now searching for the best cheap meal in Madrid.

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