ConfRegionals Mega Preview (Men’s Div. Weekend 2)

Action on each coast as multiple teams fight over one bid in both the Atlantic Coast and Southwest

Occidental’s Theodore McGowan 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.

D-III is unique as some regions simply don’t have enough teams to fill a regional tournament, meaning their Regionals are during Conferences, or ConfRegionals as dubbed by the former 7500 Club podcast. Out of the ten regions, four necessitate a ConfRegionals, with two taking place last weekend and the final two happening this weekend. With four weekends in a row of Nationals qualifications, it will surely make an exciting time for the division. Without further ado, here are your previews for this weekend’s ConfRegionals.

Atlantic Coast

With ten Atlantic Coast teams converging at the infamous Smith River Sports Complex in Axton, Virginia, it will be one of the most exciting Regionals occurring in the Series. Five teams who have all been ranked at one point or another this season are fighting for a lonesome bid in a notoriously windy environment, making it anyone’s game. Surprisingly, no top Atlantic Coast teams have faced off against another yet this season, further increasing the excitement of what could come.

The clear favorites have to be the #7 Richmond Spidermonkeys, the stalwart of the region, reaching Nationals all but twice since 2014, and making a semifinals berth in 2023. The Spidermonkeys have big wins over #8 Lewis & Clark, #10 Berry, and #15 Oberlin, and have only lost close games to teams ranked above them. More than ever before, this iteration of Richmond is battle-tested – fifteen of their twenty games this season were decided by only two goals. Second halves have plagued the team, where they let Whitman and Franciscan come back and win after being up by two at halftime, and let Lewis & Clark and Oberlin bring them to universe after leading in the same fashion. The Spidermonkeys will need to lean on their sizable depth, stellar coaching, and close-game experience if they want to take this region down. If they keep their foot on the gas, they will easily win the title, but if they let up at all, any of these hungry teams will take advantage and send Richmond home. Expect Max Caputo and Calvin Ciorba to lead the Spidermonkey offense, looking to target Jeffy Joshy, Matt Fliegel, and Matt Timoney in the end zone. If senior Ethan Greeley’s pulls continue to be some of the best in the game, Richmond’s D-line can apply dangerous pressure on offenses from the onset. Look for seniors Miles Goldman and Henry Groves to convert goals after a turn.

A team many predicted to earn a bid in the preseason, #14 Elon Big Fat Bomb could still pose a serious threat to the Spidermonkeys’ bid. Elon has a roster loaded with talent, including Tri-Force alums Reed Burkert and Kalen Morrison and the 6’7” freshman from Paideia Jake Lairson. Along with athletes like Ben Bronstein and Justin Brader-Araje, it’s still a wonder how a second bid didn’t land in the AC. The answer lies most likely in the fact Elon is a very young team, and they lack coaches. This leads to a propensity to disregard valuing possession, resulting in many odd turnovers and close wins to teams much below their caliber, like a 13-11 win over Kenyon and a 13-10 win against Xavier. Their athleticism and talent are unquestionable, however, proven in their wins over #13 Cedarville and Oberlin. If Elon is to take down the Atlantic Coast and make their first Nationals since 2014, they will need to depend on their star talent and value the disc much more than they’re used to.

#16 Davidson DUFF have made strong improvements to their team in the last two years. DUFF started with an attempt to test themselves by playing in the primarily D-I team Carolina Kickoff. Although the results weren’t pretty, they played much closer to D-III talent, beating Cedarville and #17 Michigan Tech at subsequent tournaments, and were the third AC team to beat Oberlin on universe point. But in a last-ditch effort to earn a bid at Needle In a Ho Stack, Davidson laid an egg, playing close to worse teams and getting blown out by Cedarville. It’s murky looking towards Regionals with their mixed results this season, but DUFF can’t be counted out. They’re a well-coached team led by Kevin Escott, Deven Riley, and Ken Porter that plays a faceless army style of ultimate, getting the disc up the field with the whole team. Attaching names to the faceless army, Jerry Wang and John Ready play off each other well in the cutting space, along with Seth Pace and Wes Smail in the backfield. If Davidson can use their depth and play multiple clean games, they can take down this region.

Fighting behind these fierce competitors are #23 UNC Asheville Mudpuppy, and last year’s Nationals quarterfinalists, #25 Navy Poseidon. Both teams most likely won’t make Nationals, but they can certainly knock off one of the top teams in the bracket, creating further chaos. Mudpuppy have risen from the ashes– from not even making Regionals in 2022 to going 5-2 at and beating a ranked Union team at FCS Tune Up 2024. Asheville is a young team headlined by senior Spencer Chandler and junior Jackson Stanley. In a couple years, with the resurgence and development of this program, Asheville could make it back to Nationals, but it won’t likely be this year. Navy took a step back after losing Max Benedetti this year, going 6-8 on the season. However, no Atlantic Coast looks forward to this matchup because Poseidon are an annoying team to play, not in their spirit, but they will run teams into the ground and create so many strange scoring opportunities it feels unfathomable. Reigning BOTY Jack Bassett will have to throw everything he’s got if Poseidon want to win their fourth straight game-to-go.1

Southwest

The American Southwest, a land of duality. Close your eyes, and you can see it. From the great Mojave plains, soulless and placid, to the brilliant lights of West Hollywood, shining brightly upon young stars. The Southwest is forever entwined in an eternal dance, a tango between the desert and the humans who inhabit it.

No relationship exhibits this duality quite like the rivalry between the Claremont Braineaters and Occidental Detox. ‘Tis a conflict as old as time itself—nay, older than time. The two adversaries have traded blows at ConfRegionals since 2011, the most recent Nationals at which both teams were in attendance (coincidentally, Claremont won Nationals that year).
Sunday will feature the return of this annual showdown, the historical significance of which cannot be overstated. The round-robin format allots the sole bid to whichever team emerges 3-0. Should both Claremont and Occidental go 2-0, which is quite likely, they will once again be pitted against each other in a duel of the fates.

Neither Claremont nor Occidental have any marquee wins this season. Claremont has, interestingly, attended four tournaments thus far, with Conferences scheduled to be their fifth. Perhaps the volume of play they’ve had this spring will give them the upper hand. Last year, it was Occidental who snatched the bid, and in quite a convincing 15-9 victory. Can Occidental maintain their detox? We’ll find out soon enough.

Perhaps one of the other two members of the conference, San Diego or CalTech, will notch an upset and find themselves in a game-to-go. Such a twist would shift the very tectonic foundation of the region, which lies upon the already fragile San Andreas fault.

Sure, the Southwest hasn’t given much of a showing at Nationals in quite a while. They are far removed from the title conversation as a result. But their conference is fueled by a healthy rivalry, and matches on Sunday will swiftly decide the fortunes of California’s finest.


  1. Navy made Nationals in 2021, but couldn’t go due to a military requirement 

  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."

  2. Bix Weissberg
    Bix Weissberg

    Bix Weissberg plays D-line on the Oberlin Flying Horsecows. He has a love for disc and enjoys writing about DIII college frisbee. In his free time he can be found eating something tasty and smiling. You can reach him at [email protected]

TAGGED: ,

EVENTS:

TEAMS: , , , , , ,

More from Ultiworld
Comments on "ConfRegionals Mega Preview (Men’s Div. Weekend 2)"

Find us on Twitter

Recent Comments

Find us on Facebook

Subscriber Exclusives

  • D-I College Championships 2024: Heartbreak Hotel – Six Teams Who Deserved to Make the Bracket
    Subscriber article
  • Out the Back: College Nationals Pool Play Rapid Reax
    Subscriber podcast
  • Field Pass: Pool Play Round 7
    Video for standard subscribers
  • Showcase: Massachusetts vs. Minnesota (Men’s Pool Play)
    Video for standard subscribers