College Update: The Streak is Broken

Titans fall

UBC's Madison Ong steps out for a backhand against Carleton in the final of the ultimate frisbee tournament, the 2024 Northwest Challenge. Photo: Emma Ottosen - UltiPhotos.com
UBC’s Madison Ong steps out for a backhand against Carleton in the final of the 2024 Northwest Challenge. Photo: Emma Ottosen – UltiPhotos.com

Ultiworld’s coverage of the 2024 college season is 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.

Throughout the spring season, we’ll publishing a bite-sized weekly recap of the action across the college division. This will serve as a supplement to our standard tournament reporting and offer a high-level look at the latest happenings and the biggest stories of the week.

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D-I Women’s Division

This past weekend was highlighted by two D-I tournaments in Northwest Challenge in Seattle, Washington and Women’s Centex in Austin, Texas. Northwest Challenge saw 12 of the top teams in D-I duke it out in a Nationals preview while Women’s Centex featured strong regional teams and Nationals hopefuls attempting to improve their standing going into April. Elsewhere, we saw several D-I teams duke it out in the south at Tally Classic in Florida and Southerns in Georgia.

UBC Wins at Northwest Challenge and Carleton Spoils UNC’s Win Streak

It finally happened. #1 North Carolina Pleiades finally lost a game. In true ultimate fashion, their win streak of over four years was brought to an end by the same team that dealt them their last loss, #4 Carleton Syzygy. Prior to this fateful semifinal, #3 British Columbia Thunderbirds, UNC, #8 Colorado Quandary, and #5 Oregon Fugue swept their pools on Saturday to advance straight to quarterfinals. Three of the four quarterfinals were uneventful, with the pool winners advancing easily. However, Carleton won big against Oregon to advance to the semifinal, where they overcame UNC in a universe point battle, 13-12. Following a convincing 13-6 win over Colorado, UBC advanced to the final and knocked Carleton off without much fanfare to claim first at the Northwest Challenge.

Get all the details in our Northwest Challenge Day One and Day Two recaps.

Watch our video recaps on our Youtube channel.

Colorado State Dominates at Centex, Aims for a Strength Bid

While Centex didn’t feature the same caliber of teams this year as it has in the past, it still brought excitement and a shakeup to the rankings. Again split into two tiers, on Saturday T1 was dominated by #15 Colorado State Hell’s Belles and Ohio State Fever, while T2 had Central Florida Sirens and D-III’s Trinity on top. The T1 Championship Bracket saw Brown Shiver take a 11-10 win over Ohio State and face Colorado State in the championship, a rematch from Saturday. Colorado State proved their first meeting wasn’t a fluke with a 15-10 win. In the Ninals bracket, Central Florida rolled on Sunday with a point margin of +32 in the bracket.

Subscribers can relive all the action in our Women’s Centex Day One and Day Two recaps.

Around the Division

  • At Southerns in Statesboro, Georgia, East Carolina Black Pearl challenged D-III’s Carleton College Eclipse for the championship, falling 15-4. Wisconsin-Eau Claire and Charleston got knocked off in the semifinals but finished third and fourth, respectively.
  • Tally Classic saw a relatively unchallenged #23 Notre Dame Echo claim an undefeated weekend. Their closest game was a 9-5 win over Florida FUEL in pool play. Georgia Tech Wreck went undefeated in to claim Pool B and narrowly missed out on finals with a 12-11 loss to Florida in the semifinals.

Looking Ahead

Following a huge weekend at the top of the division, this upcoming weekend is pretty quiet when looking at the D-I Women’s Top 25.

The headliner tournament is Needle in a Ho Stack, featuring strong regional teams in Georgetown, Virginia Tech, Case Western Reserve, and Tennessee. Purdue, Missouri, Grand Valley, and Michigan State hope to iron out some kinks prior to the Series at Meltdown. Rodeo features D-I and D-III talent, with Duke and Liberty representing D-I. Boston College hope to be crowned King of New York against a field of D-III teams, while over east the New England Open features Connecticut, Massachusetts, and several other NE D-I and D-III schools. Finally, Moxie Madness will pull some northern SE and southern GL schools to Chattanooga, Tennessee.

D-I Men’s Division

Texas and Illinois Excel at Centex

Men’s Centex featured intrigue and major connectivity between D-I and D-III. The big event over the weekend featured 16 D-I and D-III schools, headlined by #15 Texas TUFF, #18 Northeastern Huskies, #22 Brigham Young CHI, and strong D-III teams including #1 Oklahoma Christian Eagles, #4 Middlebury Pranksters, and #12 Colorado College Wasabi, among others.

The big winners in pool play were Texas, Illinois, Oklahoma Christian, and Texas A&M. Alongside these results were a BYU team that finished 6-1, with wins over Northeastern, Florida, and Colorado State. Their only loss was an incredibly close 13-12 defeat under the lights against eventual semifinalists1 Texas.

With bad weather in the forecast, the tournament organizers opted to slot teams into just two games on Sunday because of expected rain, with teams playing brackets based on their finish in Pool Play. In the first place bracket, Illinois and Texas continued their success from Saturday with wins over Oklahoma Christian and Texas A&M, respectively. Over in the fifth-place bracket, Middlebury and Florida came out on top against Michigan State and Missouri. But no champions were crowned, as the final round of games was canceled on Sunday.

Subscribers can relive all the action in our Men’s Centex Day One and Day Two recaps.

Around the Division

  • Auburn shined in pool play at Tally Classic as the only team to go undefeated while Central Florida, Notre Dame, and Mississippi State all looked solid on Saturday. But the bracket saw Auburn stumble against D-III Ave Maria in semis, setting up a final against Central Florida, who’d won over Notre Dame in semis. The final saw a tight game between Central Florida and Ave Maria, with Central Florida coming out on top 15-14.
  • Tally Classic D-III – which only featured one D-III team, Florida Tech F-IT, alongside D-I Florida Gulf Coast Eagles and a host of B teams – saw D-III come out on top. Top seeded Florida Gulf Coast fell to second in pool play and then third overall in the bracket, taking losses to F-IT and Notre Dame B.
  • Southerns featured strong SE teams alongside visiting Carleton College CHOP and Wisconsin Eau-Claire. CHOP, Georgia College, and Wisconsin Eau-Claire were the clear strongest teams on Saturday. Come the bracket, CHOP dominated before meeting an equally dominant Wisconsin Eau-Claire in the final. In a tight game, CHOP came out with the 13-11 victory. Top seeded Florida B stuttered to a tenth place finish.
  • In its first year ever, Davenport hosted the Grand Rapids College Invite, featuring strong Great Lakes teams headlined by Michigan MagnUM. Some lower seeded teams made their case in pool play, with Grand Valley Lakers and Southern Illinois-Edwardsville Geese rising from third in their pools to clinch the top spot. The bracket brought tight games, with four games being decided by two points or less. Three of those wins came from Michigan, including the 10-8 tournament victory over D-III’s Davenport.
  • The Free Tournament saw D-III’s Army and Penn State (B) LoveTap face off in the final, with Penn State (B) getting a 15-6 win on Sunday to avenge their 11-9 pool play loss to Army on Saturday.

Looking Ahead

Following the excitement at Women’s Northwest Challenge last weekend, the men’s division will take the field in Seattle at Northwest Challenge. Highlighted by Nationals contenders #2 Cal Poly-SLO SLOcore, #6 Colorado Mamabird, #9 Carleton CUT, and #10 Oregon Ego, this is the biggest event on the west coast before the Series.

Outside of Northwest Challenge, this upcoming weekend is a huge one for the men’s division, with 16 total tournaments. In no particular order:

  • Minneapolis Makeup sees Minnesota-Duluth Northern Lights face off against D-III and D-I (B) teams.
  • Butler Spring Fling features many Regionals hopeful teams from the GL and NC, including Western Michigan and Loyola-Chicago.
  • Huckfest brings together strong D-III teams alongside Tarleton State, Texas-Dallas, and North Texas.
  • Carousel City Classic has many upstate New York teams, including Syracuse and SUNY-Binghamton alongside top seeded Ottawa.
  • It’s a B team bonanza at Fishbowl with Virginia, James Madison, George Washington, Virginia Tech, and William & Mary.
  • Garden State is highlighted by Delaware Sideshow and West Chester.
  • Alabama-Birmingham leads the D-I contingent at Magic City Invite.
  • New Jersey Tech Highlanders will hope to fend off D-III and B teams as the only D-I team in attendance at King of New York.
  • Meltdown has a large cast of 21 teams, including several D-I, D-III, and D-I B teams. The top D-I teams in attendance include Cincinnati, Grand Valley, and Marquette.
  • The New England Open will see 16 teams converge on Rehoboth, Massachusetts.
  • Georgia State, Liberty and Kennesaw State are the top-seeded D-I teams at Needle in a Ho-Stack, which also features strong D-III talent.
  • A five-round pool play pits top seeds Boston College and Rhode Island against each other at Ocean State Invite.
  • The Free State Classic features healthy cross-division competition as 17 teams meet in Lawrence, Kansas.
  • Finally, the Southwest Showdown in LA will see eight teams from the SW.

D-III Women’s Division

Middlebury Stumbles at Centex, South Central Looks Strong in T2

Our biggest story from this past weekend was the #1 Middlebury Pranksters, favorites to win the championship for the fourth consecutive year, struggling massively at a weaker than usual Women’s Centex. In T1, Middlebury went 0-4 on Saturday with big losses to D-I’s #15 Colorado State, Texas, and Brown, and couldn’t seal the deal against Chicago, losing 10-9. In the Ninals bracket, Middlebury pulled out one of their two wins of the tournament against Texas State before being demolished 15-2 by Central Florida in semininals.2 The Pranksters’ one saving grace was a 8-7 win over #7 Colorado College in the final round of the tournament.

Speaking of Colorado College, the South Central showed up strong in T2 of Centex, with #14 Trinity going 5-0 in pool play while #12 Rice and Colorado College both went 4-1. Colorado College’s only loss of the day was a 11-9 loss to Central Florida3. Colorado College and Trinity faced off in quarters, with Colorado College coming out on top with a 11-7 win before losing to Southern California. Rice also fell to Central Florida in quarterfinals, setting up a rematch of their 12-8 Saturday loss to Trinity in the 13th place bracket. But Rice were unable to improve and fell again, losing 12-4.

When it all settled, Middlebury finished 11th with a 2-5 record, Colorado College finished 12th with a 5-3 record, Trinity finished 13th with a 6-1 record4, and Rice finished 15 with a 4-3 record5.

Catch up on all the details in our Women’s Centex Day One and Day Two recaps.

Around the Division

  • #2 Whitman Sweets took on the cream of the crop in D-I at Northwest Challenge but were unable to come out with a win. While their closest games were a 13-7 loss to Victoria and a 13-6 loss to Wisconsin, our reporting staff indicated Whitman looked better than the results indicated, with many possessions ending just outside of the end zone. Additionally, they played open lines, which is always encouraging for D-III teams in March.
  • Florida Tech Flux held seed at Tally Classic, beating Notre Dame B in pool play only to lose on universe in a rematch in consolation play.
  • #6 Carleton College Eclipse dominated at Southerns, with their closest games being against Charleston, a 15-6 win in semifinals and a 13-5 win in pool play. Eclipse had a point differential of +79 in their 7-0 weekend.

Looking Ahead

This weekend is a big one for D-III, with a majority of the northern teams getting reps. #15 Lehigh and Ithaca get action at King of New York, which will give Ithaca more connectivity to the rest of the division.

Meltdown will feature #10 Michigan Tech Superior Ma’s for the first time, along with upset machine #24 Truman State TSUnami. North Park and Wheaton, two Great Lakes teams, will look to challenge Davenport and Knox’s position at the top of the region by getting midseason reps.

New England Open features a #1 Middlebury team looking for revenge after a disappointing Centex weekend. #25 Brandeis, Bentley, and Clark will also be in attendance. Rodeo sees two NE teams squaring off in a five-team tournament, #4 Williams and Dartmouth. #5 St. Olaf, #22 Cedarville, and Davidson take on East Coast talent at Needle in a Ho-Stack. Finally, Moxie Madness will pull some northern SE and southern GL schools to Chattanooga, Tennessee.

D-III Men’s Division

Two big events featured D-III schools over the weekend, Men’s Centex Tier 1 and Grand Rapids College Invite. Centex featured 16 D-I and D-III schools, headlined by strong D-III teams including #1 Oklahoma Christian Eagles, #4 Middlebury Pranksters, and #12 Colorado College Wasabi, among others. Grand Rapids College Invite showcased Davenport’s first home tournament, with #15 Oberlin Flying Horsecows, Grace Lancer, and Davenport Panthers in attendance.

Oklahoma Christian Lead a Strong D-III Field at Centex

The big winners in pool play were Oklahoma Christian, who went 3-0 with upsets over Colorado State and Tulane, while Middlebury had a solid showing to hold pool seed. Reigning-champs Colorado College continued their season struggles, finishing 1-2 in pool play. Clipped bracket play due to weather saw Oklahoma Christian lose a close game against Illinois in the semifinal, while Middlebury rose above Michigan State in a 10-7 win in the fifth place semifinal. Colorado College came out strong against Iowa State, winning 12-7 before falling 13-7 to Northeastern in the ninth place final.

Check out our Men’s Centex Day One and Day Two recaps for a deeper dive, and keep an eye out for our tournament recap, coming soon.

Davenport Challenges Strongest D-I In-State Rival, Michigan, in Grand Rapids

At Grand Rapids College Invite, Davenport had a great tournament, finishing 3-0 going into the bracket, while Oberlin and Grace both finished Saturday at 2-1. Entering the bracket, all three teams had chances against Michigan. Oberlin fell first in quarterfinals with a 11-9 loss, then Grace in semifinals with a 12-10 loss, and finally Davenport in the finals with a 10-8 loss. Davenport looked great outside of this, with a 11-6 win over Grand Valley to get to the final game.

In consolation play, Grace struggled against Grand Valley, losing 13-2 while Oberlin knocked off Western Michigan before losing 10-9 against Southern Illinois-Edwardsville.

Around the Division

  • Army had a strong weekend at the Free Tournament, winning their first six games before losing 15-6 in a rematch against Penn State (B) in the final.
  • #9 Carleton College CHOP excelled at Southerns, with their closest game being a 13-11 win over Wisconsin Eau-Claire in the final. Georgia College Disconnected also had a good weekend, finishing 4-2 on the weekend.
  • Tally Classic featured #18 Ave Maria Gyrenes making it to the final, only to lose on double game point to Central Florida. Ave Maria went 5-2 overall, with both losses coming by one. Florida Tech dominated the D-III section of the tournament, winning 15-2 in the final over Notre Dame (B).

Looking Ahead

This upcoming weekend is a huge one for the men’s division, with 16 total tournaments. In no particular order:

  • Minneapolis Makeup features #22 Macalaster, St. Thomas, and Bethel.
  • Butler Spring Fling features many Regionals hopefuls from the GL and NC, including Hillsdale, Grace, and Butler.
  • Huckfest features strong D-III teams including #18 Ave Maria Gyrenes, who are potentially the breakout team of D-III men’s after a dominant Florida Warm Up Weekend 2 and strong Tally Classic showing.
  • Carousel City Classic pulls together Northeast teams, including #3 Williams WUFO and Rochester Piggies.
  • Christopher Newport Skymaul are the lone non-B team at Fishbowl over in Harrisonburg, Virginia.
  • Garden State is highlighted in D-III by Messiah and Haverford.
  • King of New York features more D-III teams than D-I, with the top two seeds belonging to Ithaca and Marist.
  • #11 Berry Bucks lead the D-III contingent at Magic City Invite.
  • Meltdown has a large cast of 21 teams, including several D-I, D-III, and D-I B teams. The top D-III teams in attendance include Davenport, Carthage, Wheaton, St. Thomas, and North Park.
  • #14 Davidson and #17 Cedarville lead a 16 team Needle in a Ho-Stack, which also features quality D-I talent.
  • Bates, Bentley, and Brandeis battle at Ocean State Invite.
  • The New England Open will see 16 teams converge on Rehoboth, Massachusetts.
  • The Free State Classic has 17 teams meeting in Lawrence, Kansas, with the number one seed going to #2 St. Olaf Berzerkers.
  • Finally, the Southwest Showdown in LA will see eight teams from the Southwest.

  1. Co-champs? 

  2. Semifinals of the ninals bracket. That’s a thing, right? 

  3. Who would go on to win the Ninals bracket 

  4. Trinity did not play Denver for the 13th place game; it appears Denver forfeited that game 

  5. Like Trinity, Rice did not play Texas State in the final game. It is unclear who forfeited 

  1. Anna Browne
    Anna Browne

    Anna Browne is a writer for the D-III Women's Division. She has been playing competitive ultimate since 2019, spending her college years at Michigan Tech. Anna is based in Detroit, Michigan where she plays in the Women's Club Division and coaches the Michigan Tech Superior Ma's.

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