D-I College Regionals 2024: Weekend 2 Preview (Men’s Div.)

Next up: AC, OV, NE, and NW. Once they're done, the Nationals field will be established.

UNC Darkside’s Matthew McKnight throws a backhand against NC State at Carolina Kickoff 2024. Photo: Brian Whittier

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.

There are few more exciting portions of the ultimate calendar than spring College Regionals. For some, these events will be the culmination of a season — or even college career — while for others it’s just another step on their path toward the College Championships over Memorial Day weekend. Count on plenty of dramatic action and unexpected results along the way as every team fights to ensure they fall into the latter group.

Six regions will take to the fields this weekend across the country to decide their representatives heading to Madison, while the final three will field teams the following weekend. We’ve got you covered on the storylines to watch, the expected contender tiers, and players who could make a difference in ending or extending their team’s seasons!

Atlantic Coast

  • Schedule & Results
  • Location: Axton, VA
  • Number of Bids: 2
  • Excitement Level: fire emojifire emojifire emoji
  • Expected Qualifiers: North Carolina, NC State
  • In the Hunt: UNC Wilmington, UNC Charlotte, South Carolina, Duke, William & Mary

Who’s Number Two?

Let’s get #4 UNC Darkside out of the way first. We’ll have plenty more to write about them as they qualify for Nationals and likely do very well there. Entering the season, that prediction was a sure thing, and the team has worked hard enough to ensure that it came true. Way back then, in like January, we were not so sure, however, that any other Atlantic Coast team would earn a second bid. Then #17 NC State Alpha went out and performed very well, earning wins over #18 Penn State Spank, #9 Minnesota Grey Duck, #20 Tufts E-Men, McGill MUT, and Michigan MagnUM on their way to a second bid. They should be the favorite to take said bid, but #19 UNC Wilmington Seamen put their name in the hat with a 13-11 win over Alpha at Carolina Conferences.

The Seamen have endured an up-and-down season, lingering around .500 save for an undefeated sweep through Easterns Qualifier. When Diego Collazo, Stewart Kelley, and Christian Belus are all firing on the same cylinders, Wilmington’s offense is a buzzsaw of unorthodox looks that work out more times than not. A stingy zone defense, an us-against-the-world attitude, and a deep historical lore of success also contribute to a team that feels like a bigger threat than their record indicates. Throw the regular season out – it’s regionals, and we’re looking at a two-horse race between NC State and UNC Wilmington for a coveted berth to Nationals.

Can Anyone Else Break In?

In UNC Charlotte Skyrise, South Carolina Gamecock Ultimate, Duke Brimstone, William & Mary Merry Men, and James Madison Hellfish, the Atlantic Coast has a whole tier of teams that can all beat each other under the right circumstances. Depending on how the seeding and scheduling shakes out, any one of these teams could be looking at a winnable game-to-go or play-in game to get there. How they structure their lineups and how easily they dispatch lower-ranked competition will certainly be a factor. Each of these teams has at least one star who will be called upon to probably play a lot of points and lead their team as far as they will go. It is not right to say that this is a sub-tournament between players like Ben Simmons, Gavin Russell, Albert Yuan, Ben Greenberg, and Matt LeBar, but it would be wrong not to acknowledge that their play could have an impact on the regional standing.

Players Who Could Make a Difference

Josh Singleton (UNC) – Singleton has taken on a lot more throwing responsibility this season. His range of release points and steady decision making are both good fits in the backfield. After spending a few years slashing out of split stacks and creating space downfield, Singleton has more opportunity to impact the game with his throws and open up different lanes of attack for a Darkside offense that never seems to have problems scoring.

Henri Lessard (NC State) – Alpha’s top lock-down defender, Lessard will need to be at his best when matching up against the likes of Stewart Kelley, Ben Simmons, and Gavin Russell in a deep region. Over the season, he’s developed a solid throwing repertoire too, and is quick to get involved on the counterattack as well.

Christian Belus (UNC Wilmington) – As Wilmington have made their way through an up-and-down season, Belus has been a bright spot. Just a sophomore, he has stepped into a high-volume throwing role and shined.

 

New England

At first glance, the outcome of New England Regionals might seem somewhat predictable. With three bids and three teams in the top ten, surely there won’t be too much drama about who will qualify for Nationals, right? Wrong. Lurking just below the trio of bid-earners lie another three teams who just barely missed out on earning additional bids for the strongest region in the country and who are eager to steal a ticket to the big dance. With these two tiers of competitors, intense regional rivalries, and star power galore, this weekend’s New England Regionals promises to bring the fireworks.

All three of the teams who earned bids will enter the weekend thinking they have a shot at the regional title. The favorites, #2 UMass Zoodisc, will look to continue their dominant season in which they have utilized their depth to great success. Somehow, after making the national championship game last spring, they seem to have increased their division-best stock of far-above-average role players. With the continued development of returners like Isaac Kaplan, Noel Sierra, and Griffin Yas and the additions of rookies Ethan Lieman, Ethan Schiff, and Taylor Hanson, Massachusetts will have their eyes set on their first regional title since 2017.

#8 Vermont Chill, despite losing a couple of major contributors from last year’s semifinals run, have put together a sneaky-strong season which has them within striking distance of the division’s best. Their O-line boasts two of the more underrated players in the division in Zack Watson-Stevens and Casey Thornton, and Declan Kervick seems to be getting healthier at just the right moment. They’ve beaten #10 Brown Brownian Motion in both of their matchups so far this season and were tied with UMass 12-12 before losing 15-12 in their conferences matchup, suggesting they could pull off the upset.

While Brown may seem like the clear third-best team of the trio based on season results, the looming question of Leo Gordon’s health makes predicting their ceiling much more difficult. If he is healthy and can return to his All-American form, Brown will be better than they have been at any point this season. Even without him, Callahan nominee and PotY candidate Jacques Nissen is perhaps the player most capable of leading a team to victory in the country. Regardless of their roster, B-Mo have won five consecutive regional titles, including a universe point win over UMass last year,1 and are known for peaking at the right time.

While each of the aforementioned bid earners has proven that they belong among the division’s elite, they can’t rest easy. Northeastern and Tufts were the first two teams to not earn a bid to nationals, and McGill were not far behind as the 25th-ranked team in USAU’s algorithm. Northeastern Huskies, after a heartbreaking loss in the fourth-place game-to-go at last year’s Regionals, are sure to come out firing. They pushed Brown to universe point at Florida Warm Up, proving that when they are at their best they can compete with anyone, and they have one of the best players in the region in Peter Boerth. Tufts, despite losing a solid chunk of contributors from last year’s graduating class, boast wins over teams (#12 Alabama-Huntsville Nightmares, #13 Cal Ursa Major) that have already qualified for Nationals or stand a good chance to do so (Penn State). Finally, McGill can rely on their experience causing chaos in regionals past2 to confidently say that they will not be going down without a fight.

Ultimately, Massachusetts, Vermont, and Brown may harbor some hard feelings towards the rest of the region for not earning another bid or two, and Northeastern, Tufts, and McGill, are likely thinking back on a couple crucial points or games in their season with some regret. Regardless, the extra drama (and anxiety) that the scarcity of bids will create is sure to make for some high-stakes moments, and whichever teams do successfully emerge from the region will be able to hold their chins slightly higher knowing they made it out on top of the slugfest in Amherst.

Players Who Could Make a Difference

Wyatt Kellman (UMass) – Building on his All-American season last year, Kellman has upped his game in 2024 by uncorking stellar field warping deep throws, displaying a masterful command of offensive timing and by sneakily being his team’s best defender. Unfortunately, Kellman did not play on Sunday at Easterns or at conferences. Was this load management? Or is there a bigger issue? UMass could, and frankly might expect to, win regionals without him, but if Kellman returns to the field it could dramatically alter the level they execute at.

Leo Gordon (Brown) – Another star with injury concerns, Gordon has been limited so far this year due to a hamstring injury. Without him Brown have still looked good, but at moments it looks like Jacques Nissen is asked to do too much and they cough up the disc too easily. With a healthy Gordon, Brown suddenly become a much more dangerous team thanks to his speed, agility, hucks, and, most importantly, chemistry with Nissen.

CJ Kiepert (Vermont) – Compared to last year, Kiepert has spent much more time this year on the O-line, complementing Casey Thornton’s sure-handedness with his fiery brand of big throws and big personality. Known to be a little streaky, if Kiepert catches fire don’t be surprised if he leads his team to a regional championship.

Peter Boerth (Northeastern) – If Northeastern can pull off an upset or two on their way to making Nationals it will be in no small part thanks to Boerth, an O-line starter on Boston DiG and Team USA WUC tryout invitee. A powerful and dynamic cutter, defender, and thrower, he’s one of the toughest matchups not only in the region, but in the country.

 

Northwest

A year removed from a quarterfinals exit at Nationals, #5 Oregon Ego seem to have found a new level. After showing a high floor but questionable ceiling at the Santa Barbara and Presidents’ Day Invites, Ego have kicked into a gear that has them riding three consecutive tournament victories coming into regionals. Mica Glass, Max Massey, and Aaron Kaplan quarterback a flashy O-line, while Adam Wulkan and Ke’ali McCarter have turned into D-line stars in the late season. When healthy, Ben Horrisberger has been equally critical to this team’s success, showing out as one of the premier block getters in the college ranks. If they show up anywhere near the level we saw at Northwest Challenge, claiming the first bid should be a given.

After Oregon however, the picture is anything but clear. With five additional teams inside the top-30, the fight for the second bid should be one of the most tantalizing in the country. First in line in the rankings are the strength bid earning #16 Oregon State Beavers. Though they have been largely unable to put up strong showings against teams ranked above them, they have been commendably consistent in taking care of business against teams ranked below them, winning every such matchup this year (albeit not by the most confidence-inspiring margins). Felix Moren, Ben Thoennes, and big men Callahan Bosworth, Leo Renzema, and Henry Wayte have all been impressive. They have proven themselves to be the second-best team in the Northwest, if only marginally.

Behind the Beavers sit a pack of hungry teams, each with the kind of star power that can lead to an upset or two. #15 Washington Sundodgers have years of game-to-go experience and the steady hand of Jack Brown at the helm. They’ll be confident about their ability to get the wins they need to book a ticket to Madison. Next up are UBC Thunderbirds, who will be looking to follow in #24 Ottawa Gee-gee’s footsteps and add a little more international flavor to the men’s Nationals field. They are led by Justin Podnar and a bevy of strong throwers and hungry defenders. If one or two things go their way, they could certainly find themselves on the right side of a game-to-go. With #25 BYU CHI absent, the Beehive State will still have a puncher’s chance at a Nationals berth. The Utah State Scotsmen, headlined by Jonny Hoffman and Tony Mounga, have proven they can win the games they need to at regionals over the last three seasons. Likewise, Utah Zion Curtain, piloted by the mercurial rookie3 trio of Will Selfridge, Grayson Rettberg, and Oscar Brown could get hot at just the right time and send home the rest of the Nationals hopefuls.

Players Who Could Make a Difference

Mica Glass (Oregon) – Glass made a name for himself last season as a premier thrower. This season he has expanded his role on Ego, showcasing elite upside in the deep space, making himself even more of a matchup nightmare.

Jack Brown (Washington) – Brown has grown steadily, year-over-year, adding to a skillset which was already impressive in his rookie season. He remains one of the better defenders in open space in the college division, but has been asked to do more than ever with his throws, and has met that demand with aplomb.

Justin Podnar (UBC) – Though less visible than other stars to an American audience, Podnar is every bit the college star of his stateside peers. He uses his size well both as a receiver and thrower and has kept UBC competitive in most every game the past two seasons.

Felix Moren (Oregon State) – Moren has had a little less opportunity to showcase his offensive game this season, as he has shifted to starting on D-line for this OSU team. On the flipside, his elite speed and anticipation have made him into one of the best defenders on the west coast, while remaining a potent offensive threat on the turn.

Tony Mounga (Utah State) – A true defensive workhorse, Mounga is one of the most versatile and effective defensive players west of the Rockies. When he has the disc, his big throws make him a threat to find the endzone from anywhere. He is the straw that stirs the drink for Utah State.

Will Selfridge (Utah) – After redshirting his freshman season at Utah, Selfridge showed out as a rookie last summer for the UFA’s Salt Lake Shred, supercharging what was already a powerful hype-train. Though the youth of this Utah team has been evident, Selfridge has been excellent, showing polish as a thrower and all the athleticism we’ve become familiar with from his semi-pro seasoning.

 

Ohio Valley

Pitt Still On Top

#3 Pittsburgh En Sabah Nur, Ohio Valley champions in 10 of the past 12 seasons, are once again the regional favorites. After earning semifinal appearances at both Smoky Mountain Invite and Easterns, they have proved that their aspirations for major Nationals success will not slow down at any point until the later stages of the bracket in Madison – and nothing that happens in North Huntingdon this weekend is going to knock them off course. The continued development of returning players like Will McGlynn, Reid Duncan, and Roger Zeng along with the addition of Rookie of the Year contender Micah Davis has taken the burden of playmaking off Henry Ing’s and Tristan Yarter’s shoulders. While those two (along with Scott Heyman and Aidan Landis) do a lot of the more difficult disc-moving, Pitt are a well-rounded team in every respect. The regional title is theirs for the taking.

Penn State’s Ascendance

After two years of growing hype and excitement, Penn State Spank are now just a single good weekend of ultimate away from earning a spot at the College Championships for the first time since 20034. A solid recruiting pipeline from the Philadelphia area has brought standout sophomores Ethan Pigeon and Doug Hoyer. Upperclassmen Zander Lutz and Sean Brown are both tough matchups downfield, though Lutz also spends a lot of time behind the disc. In Logan Piercy and Alex Mullen, Spank have the kind of trusted role players good teams need to be able to score consistently without relying on a single star. In short, Penn State are not just a team that will be happy to make Nationals should they be successful this weekend, they should expect to be able to win games there if they qualify. After years of regionals disappointments at the hands of teams with more recent Nationals experience like Ohio State Leadbelly and Case Western Reserve Fighting Gobies, Penn State will be favored to turn the tides this year and book their ticket to Madison.

Spoilers Stepping Up

While Penn State have been building to this moment for two seasons, Ohio State have enjoyed Nationals appearances in three of the last four seasons. They missed out in 2023 and are surely itching to get back. In Max Devine and Jacob Anthuvan, Leadbelly have a proven set of capable hands leading the way. Alex Warrington and Charlie Vukovic do their damage downfield, and are another pair of experienced contributors for a team that will be looking to peak through the series after a season of middling results.

Anil Driehuys leads an always-solid Case Western Reserve team. While the Fighting Gobies won’t be favored to take down any of the top three teams, their solid fundamental play across the board and burst of star power is enough to get the wins they need in order to face a winnable bracket game and push their way into contention.

Players Who Could Make a Difference

Micah Davis (Pitt) – Just a rookie, Davis is already a respected high-impact player on Pitt’s offense. Working in tandem with Henry Ing and Tristan Yarter, Davis hits tough breakside throws like a sixth-year veteran and is both able to play within a structured system and trusted to break the rules when necessary.

Zander Lutz (Penn State) – Lutz does a little bit of everything for Penn State. He’s a plus defender, a steady disc mover, and a respected pace setter for a growing team. When Spank get into a sticky situation, expect Lutz to be called upon to work them out of it: he succeeds more often than not.

Max Devine (Ohio State) – Devine is Ohio State’s hub handler and biggest threat with the disc. With a deep bag of throws, he can threaten more parts of the field than a defense can realistically guard within a stall count. If Ohio State make it back to the big show, Devine is sure to be a big reason for their success.

 


  1. You can watch that game here with the first pull at 2:03:20 and universe point at 3:37:20. 

  2. see their 2022 Regionals win over UMass 

  3. Sophomore Will Selfridge, redshirting the hard way, sat his entire freshman season with an injury. 

  4. before many current players were born! 

  1. Alex Rubin
    Alex Rubin

    Alex Rubin started writing for Ultiworld in 2018. He is a graduate of Northwestern University where he played for four years. After a stint in Los Angeles coaching high school and college teams, they moved to Chicago to experience real seasons and eat deep dish pizza. You can reach Alex through e-mail ([email protected]) or Twitter (@arubes14).

  2. 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.

  3. 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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