Northwest Challenge 2024: How to Watch, Tournament Preview (Men’s Div.)

A much stronger field than usual and a few notable out-of-region challengers put all eyes on Seattle.

Cal Poly-SLO’s Calvin Brown celebrates a score in their quarterfinal against Oregon at the 2023 D-I College Championships. Photo: Kevin Leclaire – 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.

Welcome to Extreme Makeover: Tournament Edition. This isn’t your granddad’s Northwest Challenge! What was once a regional afterthought has become, at least in 2024, one of the major events on the calendar. With nine ranked teams – including four top-10 heavy hitters – in the field and better National diversity than usual, there is the potential for a few big pre-Nationals statements. We could be in for a semis-of-Nationals-level preview, even. Further down the board, strength bids could change hands depending on the results of a few key games.

Tournament Profile

  • Date: March 22-24
  • Location: Seattle, WA
  • Weather: High temperatures in the 50s with mostly cloudy skies and some rain on Saturday
  • Top 25 teams: Nine
  • Schedules & Results
  • Event Page

Streaming Schedule

All Ultiworld Standard and All-Access subscribers will have access to watch the live broadcasts from this year’s Northwest Challenge (Men’s Div.), where we will have one game in each broadcasting round.

On Sunday, the hosts of the Pod Practice podcast will be doing watch-along commentary on their YouTube channel.

The broadcast schedule can be found below:

All times are PT.

Friday, March 15

5:00 PM: BYU vs. Oregon State [M]
7:00 PM: BYU vs. Washington [M]

Saturday, March 16

12:30 PM: Oregon vs. California [M]
2:30 PM: Carleton vs. Washington [M]
4:30 PM: Crossover 1B vs. 1A [M]
6:30 PM: Prequarter 2B vs. 3E [M]

Sunday, March 17

10:00 AM: Quarterfinal TBD [M]
12:00 PM: Semifinal TBD [M]
2:00 PM: Final TBD [M]

Tournament Preview

Cal Poly’s Clean Set of Heels

After Darkside went down in the semis of Smoky Mountain Invite a few weeks ago, #2 Cal Poly SLOCORE were thrust into new and unfamiliar territory. They stand alone: the sole lossless team in the top 20. They’ve shown moments of vulnerability along the way, including universe point wins against #24 Utah State Scotsmen and #10 Oregon Ego, but in the biggest games the powerhouse from the central coast has looked untouchable. This weekend will present a number of the same challengers from Santa Barbara and Presidents’ Day, with the notable addition of #9 Carleton CUT. Will the offensive dynamism of Calvin Brown, Alex Nelson, Anton Orme, James Whealan, Seamus Robinson, Keaton Orser, and Kyle Lew once again prove too much for college level defenses, or will this team finally come back to earth, ending the dream of an undefeated regular season?

Familiar Foes Battle for Bids

This year’s iteration of Northwest Challenge men’s boasts both the deepest field and strongest top end in recent memory. #6 Colorado Mamabird, Carleton, Oregon, #14 California Ursa Major, #15 Washington Sundodgers, #16 Oregon State Beavers, #19 BYU CHI, and #22 UCLA Smaug will all be looking to get statement wins, both for momentum going into the postseason and, perhaps more crucially, more bids for their respective regions. Excluding Colorado, Carleton and Oregon, all of whom sit comfortably inside the bid range, every other team listed above sits within about ~80 points of the bid cutoff, the kind of swing that a couple good wins or one bad loss could easily make happen. With this in mind, almost every game will, in essence, carry season-on-the-line type implications. Colorado, Carleton, and Oregon, for their part, will be looking to consolidate their status as top ten teams, with realistic aspirations of quarterfinals and beyond come Memorial Day.

Quick Hits

  • Sitting one spot outside the bid picture1, Cal Ursa Major will be without star big man Gavin May after a knee injury at SMI sidelined him for the remainder of the season. Dexter Clyburn will have his work cut out for him to will this team into a second southwest bid.
  • UBC Thunderbirds, Utah Zion Curtain, UC Santa Cruz Slugs, and Victoria Vikes will all be looking to right the ship after underwhelming early season results. None are in position to shake up the bid picture, but they could certainly submarine another team’s chances with an upset win.
  • This will likely be our last look at BYU this season. After a solid showing at Centex they find themselves just inside the bid cutoff in the provisional rankings. It may not matter, as the word is that they do not plan to attend conferences.

  1. provided BYU do not attend conferences 

  1. Emmet Holton
    Emmet Holton

    Emmet grew up playing ultimate in the Bay Area and played 5 years on Cal Poly SLOCORE from 2019 to 2023. He currently lives in Berkeley, CA and works as an architectural designer in San Francisco.

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