College Update: The Nationals Field is Set!

Chalky results abounded in the final weekend of Nationals qualification - except in the D-III women's division, where the perennially strong New England was a battle to the finish

Utah Spiral Jetty celebrate at the D-I women's ultimate frisbee tournament, Santa Barbara Invite 2024. Photo: William "Brody" Brotman -
Utah Spiral Jetty secured their first-ever trip to Nationals. Photo: William “Brody” Brotman –

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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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Ring the bell! A bevy of D-I and D-III teams punched their tickets to Wisconsin this weekend as regionals concluded across the country. There were bright spots aplenty – although most of the brightness in D-I came from the white of the chalk – as the postseason flames burned hotter and hotter.

Check out our College Championships 2024 Qualifying Thread for a complete list of qualifiers and scores. Here are some of the highlights and headlines.

D-I Women’s Division

Top Seeds: Regional Champs

#1 Vermont Ruckus, #2 UBC Thunderbirds, and #4 UNC Pleiades all took home their respective regional crowns as they geared up for deep runs at Nationals. While there was very little drama involved in their Sunday bracket, UBC stumbled on Saturday, dropping their first pool play game to #19 Western Washington Chaos.

Behold: Beehive Not Behind

The de facto disqualification of #9 BYU CHI from further postseason advancement left little in the way of drama for which six teams out of the Northwest would advance to Nationals. That list included BYU’s neighbors, Utah Spiral Jetty, who dismantled Montana Pillowfight and Oregon State Dinos to become the first women’s division program from the state Utah ever to make it to the College Championships.

Late Surges Cap Great Seasons

We would be remiss not to acknowledge a pair of programs who fell short of the Nationals bar but ended their seasons on high notes. American University Dirty Ladies have been on the upswing all year, capped off with a trip to the Atlantic Coast final. Meanwhile, #24 Brown Shiver knocked off the heavily-favored #14 Northeastern Valkyries to reach the New England game-to-go before falling to #10 Tufts EWO.

Looking Ahead

Seeding for the College Championships on Memorial Day weekend will be the next newsworthy event. Check out our seeding predictions article for our best guess on how the pools will shake out.

D-I Men’s Division

Beaver State Sweep

As expected, #5 Oregon Ego took the Northwest crown with an undefeated weekend. The fight for the second bid was much less certain, with five more teams1 ranked in the algorithm’s top-30 and therefore in the mix. UBC Thunderbirds battled through the backdoor bracket all the way to the game-to-go, knocking off Utah Zion Curtain and #15 Washington Sundodgers in the process. That was where the run ended, though, as #16 Oregon State Beavers closed the door with a 13-9 victory. The Beavers extended a fine season and will take their talents to Nationals for the second time in program history.

Topsy-Turvy New England Weekend

The three bid-earning teams – #2 UMass Zoodisc, #8 Vermont Chill, and #10 Brown Brownian Motion – all qualified for Nationals out of a typically deep New England. The path, however, was anything but straightforward. B-Mo overmatched Zoodisc in the final to win a sixth consecutive New England title. Vermont absorbed losses against both Northeastern Huskies and McGill MUT to fall into the nether-reaches of the backdoor bracket, where they eventually rebounded to beat both teams in revenge matches en route to the third slot at Nationals.

Spank, Alpha Soar to Madison

There was some doubt heading into the weekend about whether #17 NC State Alpha and #18 Penn State Spank would be able to capitalize on the bids they earned for their respective regions. All of that doubt burned away like morning fog as they cruised in their games-to-go. NC State roared past UNC Charlotte Skyrise 15-5 in the Atlantic Coast for a fifth-straight berth to Nationals; Penn State downed Ohio State Leadbelly by the same gargantuan margin to make their first trip to the Big Dance since 2003.

Looking Ahead

We’ll see how a post-Regionals algorithm run affects Nationals seeding soon. In the meantime, our seeding predictions article presents our best guess on what the pools will look like.

D-III Women’s Division

Upsets Rock New England

Welcome to Nationals, #18 Wellesley Whiptails and Mount Holyoke Daisy Chain! The pair of underdogs bounced back from pool play losses with impressive runs through the New England bracket. The party started with earth-shattering upsets over (respectively) #10 Middlebury Pranksters and #12 Williams Nova and ended with a regional final in which both teams had already qualified for the D-III Championships in Milwaukee. Wellesley took the regional crown with a 7-5 win, while reigning-champs Middlebury claimed the third and final bid. All three are returning to Nationals, but none of their spots seemed assured at any point during the season.

Threepeaters Back to Nationals… Barely

All of last season’s threepeat champions remain in contention for a fourth-straight national title – but only just. Middlebury had to dig deep to keep their run alive after coming up short against Wellesley in New England quarters. They took care of business in the backdoor bracket – coming out ahead of similarly ranked Williams and #11 Bates Cold Front – to keep pace with D-I’s UNC schools.

Looking Ahead

D-III Nationals in Milwaukee is only two weeks away!

D-III Men’s Division

Pranksters Take New England Grudge Match

#3 Williams WUFO and #4 Middlebury Pranksters, as expected, advanced to the New England final without much difficulty, both qualifying for Nationals in the process. It was the teams’ first meeting since Williams beat Middlebury 12-10 at No Sleep till Brooklyn. Middlebury returned the favor to take the regional crown with a 15-9 win. #13 Bates Orange Whip took the third ticket to Milwaukee in the backdoor bracket, beating #22 Bowdoin Clown in the game-to-go.

Looking Ahead

Get ready for D-III Nationals! Be on the lookout for our tournament preview pieces, coming soon.

  1. Not counting BYU 

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