College Update: Northwest Challenge Men’s, Looking Toward the Final Weekend of the Regular Season

A packed weekend looms as the 2024 college regular season comes to a close

Richmond Spidermonkeys’ Christopher Elvin the 2023 D-III College Championships. Photo: Kevin Wayner –

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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Before I start this iteration of the College Update, I wanted to take a moment to recognize my teammate and good friend Christopher Elvin, a sophomore on the University of Richmond Spidermonkeys, who passed away in a tragic incident on March 21.

Chris was from Newark, New Jersey and was a Business Administration major and Chinese minor. In his free time he was the President of the West Indian Link, a Caribbean student organization, and he just started playing ultimate in the fall of 2022. Chris was one of the most positive guys I knew, who could make anyone feel as if they belonged while talking to him. While his ultimate career was short, his presence made him an integral member of our team. Whether it was dapping up every single player on the starting line of our Nationals semifinals, leading cheers, or the first to dance in the middle of our halftime song, Chris embodied the spirit of the Spidermonkeys. This year, he began to have a larger impact on the field as a D-Line player. You could always count on him being the first down on the pull, having explosive deep cuts, and putting in all of his effort when on the field. Chris will be a dearly missed member of the Spidermonkey team, and member of the ultimate community. Rest in peace #38.

D-I Women’s Division

Around the Division

  • Duke went undefeated at Rodeo, defeating a highly ranked D-III Williams in the final 8-7. It took some clutch genes, as they played a number of tight games.
  • Connecticut cruised to a title at the New England Open, defeating reigning D-III champs Middlebury 12-1, and handily beat Vermont-B 13-5 in the final. They allowed only 15 goals across seven games.
  • Tennessee-Chattanooga’s home tournament Moxie Madness hosted five teams, and Moxie reached the final before losing to Union. That makes Union the new D-III Southeast favorite, as they beat rival Berry handily in semis and pool play.
  • At Needle in a Ho-Stack, no.7 seeded Alabama-Huntsville reached the final after defeating no. 1 seed Georgetown before falling to D-III’s St. Olaf. It was Vortex’s first tournament win of the year.
  • Boston College took on a D-III filled field at King of New York and made it to the first place game. Their 3-3 weekend only saw losses to Lehigh amid bageling SUNY-Cortland and a clutch universe win over Ithaca.

Looking Ahead

The first-ever East Coast Invite, a tournament trying to find its footing as the number one tournament of the final weekend of the college regular season, headlines upcoming events. Multiple Nationals-level and bubble teams will make the trip to Frederica, Delaware, including #3 North Carolina, #4 Vermont, #9 Tufts, #15 Michigan, #16 Pennsylvania, #20 Northeastern, #24 Brown, Yale, and even UCLA. Saturday’s format will be one big pool, in order to create the best possible matchups. Games will be streamed live on Ultiworld with a subscription!

  • William and Mary hope to take down the Atlantic Coast Open, a tournament with, unsurprisingly, primarily Atlantic Coast regional-level D-I teams and D-III teams.
  • Illinois Invite will host five squads, with Illinois as the no.1 seed.
  • Cal State-Long Beach will try to play foil to the D-III battle for the Southwest at Claremont Classic.
  • A bevy of regionally competitive squads will face off against top D-III teams at Northeast Classic. Boston University, Massachusetts, and McGill come in seeded highest, but with seven pools and 26 teams, it’s anyone’s game.
  • The Old Capitol Open will provide a collection of strong North Central and Great Lakes teams, including Minnesota, Chicago, Purdue, and Northwestern.
  • Big Sky Slumber Party will host a slew of Northwest teams, while Sinvite will do so with Southwest teams.

D-I Men’s Division

Fourth Times a Charm: Oregon Takes Down Cal Poly SLO at NWC

Seattle held the biggest tournament of the weekend, Northwest Challenge, where we saw the no.4 seed Oregon take down the no.1 seed Cal Poly-SLO convincingly 15-12 in the final. This was the teams’ fourth meetup of the season, with SLOCORE winning every other bout. To get to the final, #10 Ego took care of #22 UCLA 13-10 in quarters and #6 Colorado 15-13 in the semifinals. Cal Poly SLO won a close 15-13 game to #16 Oregon State in the quarterfinals and handily beat #9 Carleton in the semifinals 11-7. Notably, Carleton had early flights and would not have been able to play in the final even if they’d beaten Cal Poly SLO. You can watch any of the action you missed on Ultiworld with a subscription, and keep an eye out for the tournament recap, coming soon

Northwest Bids in Shambles, Southwest Gains One Back

In the final weekend of play for many of these Northwest teams, it was clutch time to keep both strength bids. Unfortunately for players in the region, they watched both strength bids slip away. #19 BYU won only one game, with losses to Carleton, Oregon State, #15 Washington, #14 Cal, and Oregon. Oregon State had some strong wins but lost an embarrassing 15-2 game to Colorado and other games to Southwest teams. Washington went 4-3, but lost by four to Carleton and a close one to UCLA. Meanwhile, Cal had a great weekend, only losing to champions Oregon and semifinalists Colorado. They defeated five other Norwest teams, earning the Southwest a bid back.

Around the Division

  • Despite losing to Berry on day one of Magic City Invite, Alabama-Birmingham stormed back and beat the Bucks in a revenge match in the final 13-12. It was a strong rebound from Inferno’s 2-5 Tally Classic showing.
  • Georgia State Underground went undefeated at Needle in a Ho-Stack, taking care of a surging Cedarville team in the final 8-6. They have yet to lose in their Ultiworld logo jerseys, just sayin’.
  • Despite coming in as the no.1 seed, Boston College could not get past Bates at Ocean State Invite, losing first in pool play and then again in the tournament final. Bates Orange Whip is now 11-2 on the season.
  • Minnesota-Duluth did not have an opportunity to prove themselves the best Minnesota team at a weather-shortened Minneapolis Makeup. That honor instead went to Minnesota B who finished with a 2-1 record against the D-III teams in attendance.
  • Before the tournament was canceled to due field conditions, Ottawa looked like the best team at the Carousel City Classic, going 3-0 and beating a strong D-III Williams team.
  • New Jersey Tech Highlanders came out more paupers than kings as the only D-I non-B team at King of New York. Their sole win was against D-III Siena, and cancelled Sunday bracket play squandered any chance at redemption.
  • West Chester defeated D-III Haverford in Garden State, only suffering a one-point loss to Villanova in pool play. The 13-8 win in the final was a strong close, one of West Chester’s best margins of the weekend.
  • No.1 seed Loyola Marymount Lions were the only team to go undefeated at Southwest Showdown. Nobody came closer than six goals.
  • In a mostly Texas tournament, Tarleton State proved to be the best at Huckfest. They defeated the only non-Texas team, Ave Maria, in the final 14-10. Tarleton has lost just once (15-14 to Houston) this season.
  • Home team Kansas played to seed, conceding victory to St. Olaf in pool play and the final of Free State Classic. St. Louis Archangel were the best of the rest of D-I, squeaking out a universe point victory over Oklahoma State Ultimato to claim fifth.
  • Ball State played the best of any D-I team at Butler Spring Fling, going 4-3 in a pool play format.
  • Cincinnati didn’t have the chance to prove themselves as the no.1 seed against other Great Lakes teams at Meltdown after it was canceled due to a snowstorm. Instead, nine teams converged for a mini tournament, with Wisconsin-Platteville and Wheaton claiming top of their pools.  Wisconsin-Oshkosh UFO, the only D-I team in attendance, couldn’t find a win against the D-III quad of North Park, Wheaton, Bradley, and Knox.

Looking Ahead

Arguably the biggest regular season tournament of the year occurs in Bermuda Run this weekend, as some of the best teams across the country head to Easterns, with 14 of 25 ranked teams in attendance. #1 Massachusetts looks to keep itself as the number-one ranked team in the country, while #2 Cal Poly SLO aims to prove themselves as winners not just on the West Coast. #3 North Carolina will try to regain their number one rank, while #4 Georgia will try and win their second marquee tournament of the year. Even the lower seeded teams hold intrigue, as Penn State tries to hang onto a second OV bid while both Ohio State and Northeastern sit less than 80 rating points shy of the last bid-earning position, per You’ll be able to watch many of the games live with commentary with an Ultiworld subscription.

  • Huck Finn will host multiple Nationals-fringe and other strong D-I teams and high-level D-III teams in St. Louis for the second-best tournament of the weekend. #23 Wash University, Colorado State, Stanford, and Central Florida are most notably in attendance. Games will also be streamed live with a subscription on Ultiworld!
  • Although not as strong as the women’s division teams, East Coast Invite includes many strong regional-level teams, and McGill, who will desperately try to hold onto their strength bid for the New England Region.
  • Atlantic Coast teams and a couple of other travelers will play the Atlantic Coast Open this weekend in a large field of 24. Duke will be the favorite, but teams like Tennessee-Chattanooga, Emory, and Temple will have something to say about that.
  • Although Old Capitol Open has more implications for D-III, plenty of D-I teams will in attendance, including Michigan State, Iowa, and a feisty Southern Illinois-Edwardsville.
  • A collection of Great Lakes teams find themselves at Illinois Invite, with Ball State as the number one seed.
  • Maine and New Hampshire find themselves the only D-I teams at New England Open in their first tournaments of the season. They’ll have a match against each other in pool play, but will need to upset some regionally competitive D-III teams for a shot at the final.
  • In New England, many sectional-level D-I teams, D-III teams, and B teams will be at Northeast Classic, with Vermont B as the favorite to take down their second tournament of the season.
  • Sinvite in Henderson, Nevada will pit Southwest teams against each other, including San Jose State, Arizona, Nevada-Reno, and Arizona State.
  • Though no team list has been announced yet, keep an eye on Utah Valley Rally taking place in Orem, Utah, PDX Round Robin in Portland, Oregon, and Mill Town Throw Down in Lowell, Massachusetts.

D-III Women’s Division

Falling to the “Middle” of the Pack

Things are not looking good for #7 Pranksters fans right now. At the New England Open the reigning three-time champions lost to Connecticut 12-1 in pool play, before getting knocked out by Massachusetts in the quarterfinals. These two games put Middlebury outside of bid contention, providing a scare to all teams in the New England Region. Middlebury did take care of regional rivals Brandeis and Bentley, but this is quite a fall from grace for a team we had at #1 up until two weeks ago.

A New Atlantic Coast Challenger?

Who had Davidson being a possible Nationals attendee on their bingo this year? Not me. Davidson has not played at Atlantic Coast Regionals since before 2020 but reformed as a team this year. As the last seed in Needle in a Ho-Stack, the People’s DUFF reached the semifinals, only losing to eventual tournament winners #4 St. Olaf to go 4-1 on the weekend. They whooped #22 Cedarville 9-3 in pol play and defeated a solid D-I Tennessee team twice. For a team coming back for the first time in the 2020s, Davidson is playing much higher than expectations.

Around the Division

  • #4 St. Olaf Vortex won Needle in a Ho-Stack as the no.8 seed, going undefeated on the weekend, defeating Alabama-Huntsville in the final 9-6. #22 Cedarville had an OK weekend, winning two games but losing three to finish in tenth.
  • #3 Williams Nova made the final of Rodeo, losing to Duke on double game point in a much closer reprisal of their pool play loss the day before. Nova also defeated their regional counterparts, Dartmouth, 11-4. Dartmouth beat UNC-B twice in their only wins on the weekend.
  • #11 Union Jillz blew out every team in a decisive victory at Moxie Madness, never letting a team score more than four points. They defeated regional rival Berry Valkyries 13-2 ,demonstrating another Nationals appearance feels pretty easy. Berry defeated D-III opponent Xavier twice, while Xavier’s sole win was against Alabama Birmingham.
  • #16 Lehigh Gravity took down King of New York, going 5-0 on the weekend. They beat D-III opponents SUNY-Geneseo, Ithaca, and SUNY Cortland. Ithaca Kweezy went a disappointing 0-3, and will look to tune some things up before the postseason soon.
  • Michigan Tech, Truman State, Wheaton, and North Park were disappointed with the cancellation of Meltdown. Notably, this creates a tough situation for #10 Michigan Tech, a team that had bid aspirations, who are unlikely to have the time to reach the ten-game minimum to earn a bid. In lieu of the tournament, it seems Michigan Tech and Wheaton instead elected to play two Saturday games against each other, which Michigan Tech won.

Looking Ahead

  • A couple of top Northeast teams will square off at Northeast Classic, including #9 Wellesley, Bates, #8 Haverford/Bryn Mawr, Rochester, and #18 Wesleyan. Many other D-III teams will be in attendance like Bowdoin, Skidmore, Amherst, Connecticut College, RPI, and Colgate.
  • AC and OV collide at the Atlantic Coast Open, where Swarthmore and Dickinson will face off in Pool A and #17 Richmond and Mary Washington in pool B. Richmond Redhots look to prove they are still the favorites after a strong Commonwealth Cup Weekend 2 showing. Mary Washington Mary Massacre starts their season in the last weekend of the college regular season.
  • Loads of midwest D-III women’s teams will converge at the Old Capital Open, including ranked #16 Davenport, #10 Michigan Tech, and #4 St. Olaf. Also in attendance will be Macalester and Grinnell. As said earlier, Michigan Tech will be happy to get any reps in before the postseason after Meltdown was canceled.
  • Knox Alley Cats will play in a field of five at Illinois Invite.
  • Claremont Greenshirts host the Claremont Classic, inviting their only regional opponent Occidental, providing a look at who the possible Nationals qualifier will be.

D-III Men’s Division

St. Olaf Wins Free State Classic, South Central Teams Prove Themselves

The biggest collection of D-III Men’s teams found themselves in Lawrence, Kansas this weekend. The Bezerkers claimed the Free State Classic title, going 7-0 on the weekend and defeating the hosts in a high wind Saturday. Olaf continues to prove they are again title contenders, with the duo of Will Brandt and Gordon Larson looking scarier each day. Missouri S&T had a huge bounce-back weekend after a very poor FCS, going 6-2 and only losing to St. Olaf in the semifinals by two. A 9-8 loss to John Brown to cap the week demonstrates the lack of depth Miner Threat still have, but they prove themselves as darkhorse bid stealers at Regionals. Ozark Section cousins John Brown and Truman State went 3-4 and 1-6 respectively, but can hang their hats on some close losses.

Cedarville Creates Buzz, Davidson Plays Themselves Out of a Bid

#18 Cedarville Swarm and #15 Davidson DUFF both came into Needle In A Ho-Stack knowing if they played well enough, they could find themselves in bid-earning range. Swarm did just that, demolishing teams in pool play and defeating Davidson 10-3 in a big revenge game from Commonwealth Cup Weekend 2 in the semifinals. They lost 8-6 in the final to a strong Georgia State team, but as of Sunday night on, are sitting on a second Ohio Valley bid. Davidson did pretty much the opposite – playing tight against teams not close to them in the algorithm, and had the large loss to Cedarville, pretty much crushing the dream for a two-bid Atlantic Coast. Other D-III squads #20 UNC Asheville and Georgia College also had weekends to forget, with UNCA failing to make bracket play and Georgia College going winless.

Around the Division

  • After a rainy and muddy day, #3 Williams and Rochester only had the chance to play a couple of games at the Carousel City Classic. In their meetup, WUFO edged out the Piggies on double game point, with the Piggies demonstrating their love for the mud.
  • #12 Ave Maria Gyrenes proved again they may lack the clutch factor. They blew out every team at Huckfest through semis but lost 14-10 to Tarleton State in the final, a team much lower than them in the algorithm. This comes just a week after blowing a lead to UCF in the Tally Classic final.
  • Grace and #25 Xavier both went undefeated in a round-robin formatted Butler Spring Fling, playing lower-level D-I, D-III teams, and B Teams, with Grace proving themselves to be a potential challenger to Davenport in the Great Lakes. Butler went 5-2, Hillsdale 4-3, Penn State-Behrend 2-5, and Rose-Hulman 1-6.
  • At the Magic City Classic, #13 Berry Bucks suffered a close double-game point loss to hosts University of Alabama-Birmingham in the tournament final after beating them the day before, failing to climb back into bid-earning range. Samford Dogma also made their first appearance of the season.
  • Occidental demonstrated this may be a rebuilding year after a 1-3 weekend at Southwest Showdown, with Claremont not faring much better, going 2-2.
  • Bates Orange Whip had a surprising win as the no.5 seed at the Ocean State Invite, beating Boston College by two in the final. Regional rivals Brandeis went 5-2, Bentley forfeited Sunday play to go 1-4, and Worcester Polytechnic Institute went 2-5.
  • Haverford Big Donkey made the final of Garden State, losing 13-8 to D-I West Chester in a big rebound from their 2-5 Bring the Huckus. Messiah played a weekend they’d like to just etch out of their minds, only winning one game, in a tournament where they were the no.3 seed. Edinboro, Rowan, and Stevens Tech each had three wins.
  • Christopher Newport Skymaul took down Fishbowl, defeating Virginia Tech B in the final at a tournament filled with primarily B teams.
  • SUNY-Cortland Team Rocket and Dickinson Junkyard Turkeys both went undefeated in pool play at King of New York, before Sunday games were cancelled. Team Rocket blasted off against D-III foes Marist, Ithaca, and Siena.
  • Macalester defeated Minnesota B in their only game of Minneapolis Makeup before it was canceled. St. Thomas and Bethel both went winless.
  • Carthage, Wheaton, Winona State, Knox, Davenport, Wisconsin-Platteville, St. Thomas, North Park, and Bradley were not able to compete as the snow did not actually meltdown at Meltdown, canceling the entire tournament. Instead, nine teams converged for a mini tournament, with Wisconsin-Platteville and Wheaton claiming top of their pools. By seed, Wisconsin-Platteville scored a major upset against fellow North Central team Carthage, while Wheaton proved themselves the best Great Lakes team in attendance with wins over Knox, Bradley and North Park.
  • #21 Puget Sound won Northwest Challenge Tier 2, defeating Washington B by three in the final. They did not go perfect on the weekend, however, suffering a 15-13 loss to Pacific Lutheran. Luckily for the Postmen, Tier 2 was unsanctioned, keeping them in bid reach, but proving themselves not as strong as thought.

Looking Ahead

  • Old Capitol Open in Iowa City has plenty of implications for the D-III Men’s Division. #10 Colorado School of Mines is making the trip, hoping to remain a bid-earning team as they burst their connectivity bubble. #24 Davenport also makes their final regular season appearance, aiming to make strides before their first-ever postseason. Other North Central teams like #22 Macalester, St. Johns, St. Thomas, Luther, Carthage, and Grinnell come to Hawkeye country to make their final regular season adjustments before Conferences.
  • #2 St. Olaf Bezerkers look to continue their successes driving back down to St. Louis for Huck Finn. Reigning D-III champs #11 Colorado College also make the trip, hoping to keep their bid as they pop the South Central connectivity bubble further, and prove themselves after a poor Snow Melt. #17 Michigan Tech arrives with a last-ditch effort to earn a third North Central bid.
  • Atlantic Coast Open will feature a #7 Richmond squad looking to get high-quality reps against Christopher Newport, Dickinson, Mary Washington, and strong D-I teams. The B team division at ACO will feature the first look at Richmond’s B team– the Spiderpigs.
  • The Northeast Classic features many up-and-coming D-III Metro East and New England teams, most notably recently ranked College of New Jersey. Other teams in attendance include SUNY-Cortland, SUNY-Geneseo, Ithaca, Rensselaer Polytech, Skidmore, and a potentially dangerous Wesleyan.
  • More Northeast play, this time in Rehoboth, Massachusetts at New England Open, will give a preview into who, between Bates, Bowdoin, Bryant, Brandeis, Amherst, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, is most likely to emerge as a challenger to steal one of New England’s two bids come Regionals.
  • Layout Pigout will not be as strong of a tournament as in years past but still hosts a couple of D-III teams like Haverford, Swarthmore, and SUNY-Fredonia.
  • Illinois Invite includes Knox and Wheaton, a potential Great Lakes Regionals matchup.
  • Navy Poseidon is hoping to improve on their lackluster FCS results at the East Coast Invite, a tournament filled with all talented D-I teams.
  • The Claremont Braineaters will be the only D-III men’s team at Sinvite, which has a mix of D-I teams and B teams.
  1. Calvin Ciorba
    Calvin Ciorba

    Calvin Ciorba is a D-III Men's writer currently studying Leadership and Economics in his junior year at the University of Richmond. He started his ultimate career in St. Louis, MO playing ultimate at Ladue High School and St. Louis Storm YCC, when he also created the popular frisbee Instagram account Discmemes. Now he has sold the account and plays for the UR Spidermonkeys. You can find him on twitter @calvin_ciorba for passionate takes on the "People's Division."

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