D-III College Championships 2024: Pool Previews (Men’s Div.)

Get to know the 16 teams competing for a D-III college title!

Middlebury's JohnSavage throws past the St. Olaf mark in the semifinals of the 2023 D-III men's ultimate frisbee College Championships. Photo: Kevin Wayner - UltiPhotos.com
Middlebury’s John Savage throws past the St. Olaf mark in the semifinals of the 2023 D-III College Championships. Photo: Kevin Wayner – UltiPhotos.com

Ultiworld’s coverage of the 2024 college ultimate 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.

The D-III College Championships are almost here, and that means it’s pool preview time! After an up-and-down season that saw last year’s champions unable to return to the big dance, 16 worthy teams arrive at the campaign’s final weekend ready to crown a national champion. Middlebury is gunning for their first title in the 2020s after coming up short, Oklahoma Christian wants to prove last season was a fluke, Will Brandt hopes to finally land St. Olaf a title in his senior year, and a bevy of other challengers are gearing up to make a push in the bracket.

We’ve got you covered for all the exciting action this weekend, but before the first pull goes up, let’s get to know the teams who will be competing in Milwaukee. Then follow along on the D-III College Championships event page for updates and a record number of livestreams throughout the weekend!

Pool A

Teams: No.1 Middlebury, No.8 Lewis & Clark, No.12 Davenport, No.13 Oberlin
Overall Strength: 💪💪💪💪
Star Power: ⭐⭐⭐
Upset Alert: 🚨🚨🚨🚨🚨

Middlebury Pranksters

The Middlebury Pranksters return to Nationals boasting one of the most impressive five-year stretches in division history. They have made semifinals at each of the past five Nationals, with three finals appearances. Yet they only have one title to show for it, back in 2019. Our preseason #1 ranked team, the Pranksters have backed up that prediction by winning the New England regional final over a fierce Williams side that beat them in early March. As a result of that victory and a very strong (albeit weather-affected) regular season, they claimed the #1 overall seed at the tournament and will look to justify their seeding and continue their dominance over the division with a deep bracket run capped off by a victory in Monday’s final.

The Middlebury roster boasts perhaps the deepest cadre of players who will make an impact in Milwaukee. Their O-line features center handler Colman Bashore, one of the team’s captains and their Donovan nominee, and often runs initiating plays through reigning Defensive Player of the Year and senior captain Malachi Raymond and Peter Mans, one of the most underrated players in the division. Supporting these stars are Geir Hartl, last year’s Rookie of the Year runner-up, and the ever-steady Nadav Melamede, who had a stellar layout D in the regional final against Williams. On defense, Ethan Lavallee, John Savage, and Max Rogers lead one of the most potent counterattacks in the division. To top it off, as if their roster wasn’t already stacked enough, Louis Douville Beaudoin, the U20 world champion who plays club with Boston DiG, is healthy enough where he should be back to playing heavy D-line minutes after breaking his collarbone back in early March.

It’s no coincidence that Middlebury have been so consistently successful in years past, and there’s no reason to think this year will be any different. Their season’s results suggest they’re a step above the rest of their pool, although at D-III Nationals nothing is a given. If they are to lose a game, it would be their first Nationals pool play loss in their current Nationals streak,1 and would mark a huge upset that would turn the bracket on its head. More likely, Middlebury will earn a bye straight through to quarterfinals. Expect to see a lot more written about this Pranksters team over the course of the weekend.

Lewis & Clark Bacchus

For the second year in a row, Lewis & Clark Bacchus enter Nationals as the second seed in a pool headlined by Middlebury. Exclusively playing D-III competition throughout the regular season,2 Bacchus are one of the most experienced teams when it comes to knowing what it takes to succeed in The People’s Division™. Their 17-3 record so far this season and 3-2 record against teams in the Nationals field prove they’re here to make some noise.

On offense Bacchus are led by Max Zwerin, an imposing downfield option who opposing defenders will struggle to contain. The handler duo of Benjamin Travers and freshman Tyler Shelton do an admirable job of consistently moving the disc and remaining patient. Orlando Impas and Donovan nominee Sebastian Williamson also provide impact playmaking, diversifying the Oregonian attack. The D-line is helmed by junior Leo Farley, one of the most athletic and determined players in the division who may be poised for a breakout Nationals after posting an impressive 8G/7A/9D stat line in 2023.3 Farley often punches in breaks on the receiving end of booming hucks launched by Levi Stahl, a key aspect of a potent counterattack which Bacchus’ poolmates will have to figure out how to stop.

Lewis & Clark’s regular season results leave no doubt a repeat of last year’s prequarters appearance is well within reach, and in fact it would not be a surprise at all for them to improve upon last year’s finish this weekend, despite coming in as a lower overall seed compared to a year ago. With the team’s top four goal scorers from a year ago are all back (Zwerin, James Fishman-Morren, Farley, and Williamson), they have a level of continuity and Nationals experience to fall back upon in tense moments that will give them a clear leg up on the two lower-seeded teams in their pool. That  said, the unknown and inconsistent nature of Davenport and Oberlin respectively mean Bacchus cannot spend Saturday resting on their laurels drinking wine as their team name might imply. Beneath Middlebury, Pool A will be very competitive for the two spots into prequarters, but Bacchus are clearly a favorite to move on.

Davenport Panthers

One of the most exciting stories in the division entering the season due to their scholarship program for teams in both the men’s and women’s division, the Davenport Panthers took care of business and will make their Nationals debut in their first season as a team. Given they played a regular season which did not pit them against any other teams in the Nationals field, the lack of available film on them, and the relative ease with which they cruised through a weak Great Lakes region, it’s hard to know what to expect from Davenport. In a competitive pool, Davenport will look to establish themselves as a force in the division in their first appearance on the big stage.

Davenport is led by Jacob Felton, an athletic cutter with an impressive throwing repertoire. He often pulls for the team, and spends most offensive possessions either picking up the disc or initiating movement from the stack. He will be a handful for other teams’ top defenders. In addition, freshman Rowan Jamieson, a Canadian import, keeps opposing teams honest with his all-around play; veteran and former Whitman Sweets Donovan nominee Tyler Shanahan does a good job limiting turnovers; and Team Jamaica player Darren Dyer leads the D-line and forces opponents to change how they attack the field. Without a doubt, one of the most exciting parts of Pool A will be seeing who on Davenport can make a name for themselves on the national stage as they fight to earn a spot in bracket play.

Throughout the season, Davenport have had some high highs4 and some low lows.5 If they are able to put together complete games and not let the novelty of Nationals overwhelm them, viewers are in for a treat as the bottom three teams in pool A duke it out. If not, then Davenport may face an early end to what has been an incredibly successful and exciting debut season as they strive to reimagine what college ultimate can be.

Oberlin Flying Horsecows

After a year hiatus and a confusingly inconsistent but ultimately decisive postseason performance, the Oberlin Flying Horsecows are back at Nationals and seem to have caught momentum at just the right time. A strong showing at 2022 Nationals led straight into a strong and exciting 2023 regular season… which crumbled to pieces following a shocking loss to Scranton in the regional semifinal. This year, the regular season proved to be a little bit shakier, losing three universe point games at D-III FCS Tune Up and finishing 3-4 at the tournament where the year prior they had gone 6-1. A winless appearance at Conferences seemed to sound the bell that Oberlin was on its way out as a national presence in the division. And then, they managed to completely flip the script and went undefeated at Regionals. It’s hard to know exactly how to look at the season Oberlin has put together; which results can be trusted? Should they get credit for their many close losses, or is it a red flag that they couldn’t pull out more games? What can we expect from a team with such variability in their results?

Leading the charge to silence the doubters and answer these questions will be Ben Fuguet, the team’s center O-line handler who excels at hitting break windows and commanding the field when he has the disc and getting open for easy resets when he doesn’t. Fuguet may emerge from this weekend with a reputation as one of the most dominant handlers in the division. Surrounding him on offense is captain Braque Pike, a talented hybrid, Ryan Ward, another key offensive asset, and the freshman Alex Hunkins who provides a reliable deep threat. On defense, Griffin O’Neal-Freeman, who was crucial in getting key breaks at Regionals, leads the charge with his high defensive IQ and can be trusted to lead the counter attack and convert breaks after a turn, often to cutters Bix Weissberg and Adam Wright.

Oberlin struggled early in games this year, and more than half their team has never been to Nationals, two things that can be difficult to deal with on the big stage. If they are able to take down a team seeded higher than them to make the bracket, they will have to prove they can play more like the team that lost to Richmond on universe than the one that couldn’t win a game at Conferences. If anyone can prepare a team for that type of challenge though, it’s coaches Meghan Drews and Zac Byrnes, who have done a remarkable job of creating full buy-in and implementing a system that’s led to their team’s success. Stay tuned, because these Horsecows are looking to neigh and moo their way into the bracket and turn some heads.

Pool B

Teams: No.2 Oklahoma Christian, No.7 Richmond, No.11 Berry, No.14 Rochester
Overall Strength: 💪💪💪💪💪
Star Power: ⭐⭐
Upset Alert: 🚨🚨🚨🚨

Oklahoma Christian Eagles

This time around, the Eagles emerged from the ever-daunting SC Regionals unscathed. Are we witnessing OC’s long-awaited return to the throne in real-time? The answer will certainly depend on how Oklahoma Christian fares in pool play.

Fortunately for OC, the pressure to sweep the pool is distributed evenly across the entire roster. OC boasts a unique team, as balanced as it is effective. So while they lack the aid of professional players they’ve had at previous championships, this might be the deepest OC squad to date. The plethora of contributors will help lighten the load off the backs of Sammy Roberts, Emmanuel Kameri and Ryan Loui-Ying.

And let none forget the efficacy of 2022 COTY Garrett Taylor’s outstanding coaching. He’s been a factor in OC’s former successes and his impact shan’t be understated. The Eagles’ head coach knows how to rally his players like few other coaching staff can, and demonstrated an ability to keep OC from falling apart during the many close games they’ve encountered deep in the Nationals bracket.

Where OC’s weaknesses lie is far from obvious. Perhaps the answer will reveal itself on Saturday.

Richmond Spidermonkeys

OC looked infallible on more than one occasion this season, but Richmond isn’t far behind. Last year the Spidermonkeys followed up a rocky regular season with a run to semis, demonstrating they’re capable of performing on the national stage when push comes to shove. It seems there is serious potential for such history to repeat itself. But let’s take it one step at a time, starting with their pool.

In which area does Richmond have the upper edge within the pool? Perhaps their greatest advantage is their abundance of veterans, which (among the pool) is rivaled only by OC. Over half of the Spidermonkeys’ roster are upperclassmen with experience in one or more National semifinals. This contingent of seasoned players will sport an extra level of confidence on the division’s biggest stage compared to less-experienced competitors.

On offense, Richmond has been particularly huck-heavy this season. They have no shortage of powerful cutters who can threaten deep space, all the while maintaining their organized ho-stack system. It’s hard to say if this approach will help or hurt them against OC or Berry, who certainly have the wherewithal to anticipate the inevitable deep shot and react accordingly. Fortunately for Richmond, their O-line handler corps is led by Max Caputo, who is perfectly capable of playing small ball with resident hybrid Matt Timoney.

Richmond’s defense struggled to convert breaks all season, but there’s no time like the present, eh? The tools are all there. Henry Groves is one of them. Jeffy Joshy is one of them. And as much as he’d hate to admit it, Calvin Ciorba is not one of them. Kidding. The Calvin Ciorba versus Collin Hill duel will be one for the ages.

Richmond is looking to secure their third semis appearance in four years, and perhaps reach beyond. To do so they’ll need to come out swinging against the strong pool they find themselves in.

Berry Bucks

A typical Nationals pool consists of clear separation between the individual seeds, with the higher seeds being favorites. Hence, one might be inclined to favor the higher-seeded Richmond and OC over Berry. But the Bucks are not your typical third seed. Despite what a close loss to Richmond at FCS Tune Up might suggest (the only previous game between pool B competitors this entire season), the Bucks have enough firepower to upset higher seeds.

At this point even the most casual reader of our division coverage knows the name Collin Hill. The team’s Donovan nominee has been Berry’s anchor the past two seasons and proven time and again that he can keep Berry’s offense afloat in times of distress. This year he’s accompanied by a number of emerging talents. Who else on Berry could take the spotlight this weekend?

One thing’s for sure: Ian VanOrder is going to make waves this time around. The hybrid took a big step forward this season, evolving from a role player to one of the most well-rounded threats on Berry. Prepare to see him streak deep from the handler set on more than one occasion. When Hill’s full-field bombs land in VanOrder’s hands, don’t be surprised if a bit of deja vu sets in from days of the Caleb Grant-Collin Hill connection

Eli Hoshide’s calculated play complements the dynamic of VanOrder and Hill quite nicely, providing steady resets and keeping Berry at an even pace. The trio of Hoshide, Hill and VanOrder did an impressive job of breaking Richmond’s zone at FCS Tune Up. Micheal Johnson is another weapon in Berry’s growing arsenal. Johnson’s impact was relatively minimal at Nationals last year, and it’s hard to say why.  He’s as agile as he is tall, with the ability to work in small spaces and hit the occasional deep huck. Not to mention, he just made a little known squad named Atlanta Hustle? Those reps certainly won’t hurt.

Berry has been revamped this year and Colin Hill is, arguably for the first time since 2022, surrounded by a band of elite playmakers .

Rochester Piggies

Experience at last year’s Nationals clearly did this team wonders. The ME is a perennial toss-up, and Rochester has begun to establish themselves at the top of the mountain. If our ME All-Region forum was clear on one thing, it’s this: the Piggies are deep. Deeper than the Genesee River on which their campus lies. Deeper than the pit of fear they strike in the heart of any who dare stand in their way.

This is a wonderful advantage! Consistency is the key to success at Nationals. But when times get tough, it will be David Leder going the extra mile in the handler set. The man won’t hesitate to go every other with his partner-in-crime Jacob Trokel. But don’t forget about Timothy Loftus, for a shutdown defender he is. Perhaps he’ll take Collin Hill on. Good luck in that endeavor.

The Piggies took over in the ME like it was Animal Farm. Now they’ve got a chance to reach new heights.

Pool C

Teams: No.3 St. Olaf, No.6 Franciscan, No.10 Bates, No.15 Missouri S&T
Overall Strength: 💪💪
Star Power: ⭐⭐⭐
Upset Alert: 🚨🚨

St. Olaf Berzerkers

You might have heard of them over these last three years, but if you haven’t, the St Olaf Berzerkers are the top seed in their pool for the fourth year in a row. Olaf looked unstoppable in 2024 in a way they haven’t in the past couple of years, easily taking down the North Central Region and any team that’s come their way. Their only losses so far have come to the D-I Nationals-qualifying Washington University and a warmup tournament game to Carleton CHOP. Otherwise, the Berzerkers cleaned up with two regular season tournament wins and 31 victories.

At this point, even your parents probably know who Will Brandt is. The WUC-tryout invitee, U24 snub, two time OPOTY, three-time All-American, and Donovan nominee is the undisputed favorite to (finally) win Player of the Year. In his final year of D-III ultimate, Brandt will try everything he can to bring home St. Olaf’s first-ever championship. Adding on to Brandt’s immense talent is his role player counterpart, Gordon Larson. The sixth year immediately made a tremendous impact on Olaf’s D-line, bringing firepower the Zerks missed last year after Luke Bleers’ ACL injury. This Northfield roster is even deeper in years past, making them more dangerous than ever. You probably already know Eric Crosby Lehmann and Matt Kompelien, but they are even more loaded than those two. There is Cade Ashland, Jonas Geere, and Hayden Fahnhorst. To put the nail in the coffin, Olaf boasts two standout rookies in Max Sponseller and Jake Magner. A former Madison West handler, Sponseller plays super solid offense, making all the right decisions with lots of athleticism. Magner is a speedy defender coming fully into form at the right time. Clearly, depth no longer appears to be an issue for Olaf, which has been their demise the last couple of years.

With former Zerks star Luke Bleers now at the coaching helm, expect St. Olaf to make another deep postseason run. Expect them to care of business easily in Pool C, and have their sights set much higher. Olaf as the third overall seed almost seems unfair, and demonstrates just how stacked this division is this year. In the final year of Brandt and Larson, get ready for exciting rematches of the last couple of years and to see Olaf in the semifinals or above again this year.

Franciscan Fatal

After a couple years hiatus, Franciscan Fatal dominated the regular season, going 14-0 and earning a bid for the Ohio Valley, which they took by placing second at Regionals. After not doing much at all last year, their sudden success in 2024 was somewhat surprising, with wins over strong teams like Richmond and Berry. However, once it came postseason time, things started to look shaky. A five-point loss to Cedarville at Conferences was followed by an early universe point loss to a much weaker Messiah. Fatal squeaked it out though, winning three games in a row and avenging their earlier loss to Messiah, even if only by three.

Fatal have chemistry and love to play through handler weaves and quick throws. This quick movement is lead by the lengthy Joe Salitsky who will break any mark. He’ll lull teams to sleep with his basic play, and then rip a huck as soon as they aren’t ready. Additionally, Jude Schmiesing matches Salitsky very well, and the duo were some of the best of the entire Ohio Valley this season. Franciscan is fairly deep and will have to use that to their advantage against a more top-heavy Missouri S&T and Bates. If they can limit the mistakes and play within their game, they have a great shot of keeping the two seed in their pool. But if they lose focus and match other teams’ style of play, they may fare much worse. We’ll see if Fatal can continue the path they started during the regular season or continue to find troubles similar to the postseason.

Bates Orange Whip

The team almost no one predicted would play in Milwaukee at the beginning of the season is none other than Bates Orange Whip. The Maine-based team dominated in the regular season, losing only twice and sneaking in for the NE’s third bid. They took care of business at Regionals, beating Bowdoin twice en route to their first-ever Nationals berth in program history.

Not much is known about Orange Whip’s personnel or style of play besides the fact that Daniel Snider is the truth. Their biggest star, Snider does most of the heavy lifting for Bates; expect to see his name a lot more by the end of this weekend. The team is otherwise more top heavy, composed of Aidan Stark-Chessa and Eric Treyz. Orange Whip will run through their top five mostly, meaning conserving energy will be the name of the game.

Bates played a very New England/Metro East heavy schedule this season, meaning it’s hard to put their results into a broader context. However, you can’t deny wins are wins and Bates has 24 of them. Their best results are a two-point win over a strong D-I Dartmouth and only a two-point loss to the tournament favorites, Middlebury, at Conferences. Bates could be good enough to make quarters, but could also easily not even make it out of pool play. We will see soon enough.

Missouri S&T Miner Threat

Perhaps the biggest surprise of the both D-I and D-III men’s divisions was the appearance of Missouri S&T Miner Threat. Earlier this year at FCS D-III Tune Up, Miner Threat went 1-6, losing to multiple unranked teams. It appeared that the loss of their two best players due to graduation was insurmountable. However, with an extra SC bid helped by a bubble and a weaker region than in years past, Missouri S&T upset the former D-III champs Colorado College twice en route to their second Nationals berth in a row.

S&T is a small team, but they play classic D-III ultimate, relying on a few stars. Sam Papin will kill teams with an inside break and then burn his defender deep from the handler space. Sure, Wes Fransen is one of the tallest players in the division, but his smartness, ability to get open on unders, and throws make him so deadly. Don’t forget Ian Byrne and Zach Sanders to round out the top end talent of Miner Threat.

Only one victory is needed to move onto bracket play, meaning load management will be on the top of leadership’s mind. Their first game is against a backsliding Franciscan squad, meaning Miner Threat could go all out and sneak a win when Fatal aren’t expecting it to start the day. On the other hand, they could rest legs and hope an unknown Bates runs out of gas after their first two games. Both are winnable bouts, but deciding which game is more important will be imperative to S&T’s chances of making it out of pool play.

Pool D

Teams: No.4 Whitman, No.5 Williams, No.9 Carleton, No.16 Claremont
Overall Strength: 💪💪💪💪
Star Power: ⭐⭐⭐
Upset Alert: 🚨🚨

In the top half of Pool D, you’ll find a pair of teams that have recently, and quickly, joined the upper echelon of the People’s Division. In the bottom half of the pool, you’ll find a pair of former D-III national champions, both of whom are returning to Nationals after a short stint away. It all sets up for a captivating day of pool play, with plenty of upset potential and a chance to see some of the division’s best.

Whitman Sweets

Leading off Pool D are #4 Whitman Sweets, the two-time Northwest ConfRegional champions. Whitman is in a similar position to last year, when they also came into Nationals as the overall no.4 seed. This time around, they’ll look to improve on last year’s results, where they were unable to make it out of pool play and went just 1-4 overall in Ohio.

Whitman was eager to challenge themselves in the regular season against the best the division had to offer, attending both FCS Tune Up and the inaugural DIII Grand Prix, and put up near sterling results. Their lone blemish on the season is a 12-8 loss to #7 Lewis and Clark at DIII Grand Prix, which they rectified two months later in the final of Northwest ConfRegionals, taking the region and the first bid to Nationals by a 15-10 score line. And, perhaps most impressively, they did this all without their top player.

Kai Kirsch, who led the Sweets with 12 goals at Nationals last year, has returned from his time studying abroad to compete this weekend. While working a new teammate into a system they’ve been practicing all season will present its own challenges, Whitman is definitely happy to have Kirsch’s talents at their disposal. He’ll be flanked by Leo Dungan-Seaver and Nico Darringer to complete a dynamic and formidable offensive trio. Jasper Brown, Ben Canty, and Colin Pfister are another trio of returners who we can expect to feature heavily in Milwaukee, while rookies Cooper Anderson and Henry Currie will try to make an early impression on the division.

After their disappointing performance at Nationals last year, Whitman used the offseason to re-evaluate their schemes and strategies. They’ve come back in 2024 with a new offensive system, relying less on their athleticism in the deep space and more on their handler movement and small-area quickness. The result is a team hungry to put last year behind them and prove they belong atop the division. While topping the pool can never be taken for granted, especially in the always tricky Pool D, Whitman should be considered the favorites in Pool D, and among the favorites to win Nationals.

Williams WUFO

Following an 11-year gap between appearances at Nationals, #5 Williams WUFO have now made it to the big stage three consecutive years, each time as the second place team in the New England region. A 17-1 regular season, the best in recent Williams history, saw them lose only to D-I Nationals qualifier Ottawa Gee-Gees while also picking up a 12-10 win over regional rivals #3 Middlebury Pranksters. Williams then ran through the Series with ease, winning every meaningful game by at least four goals, before dropping the regional final to Middlebury after having already secured their bid to Nationals.

Williams found success this year by striking a perfect balance between their experience and youth. The offense is led by a trio of seniors: captains Danny Klein and Reed Kendall, along with Reece Overholt. Those three will attempt to improve on an admittedly already outstanding performance at Nationals last year, where Klein was fourth in the division in assists (28), and Kendall and Overholt were among the top 15 in goals (with 15 and 12, respectively). The rest of the O-line is filled with young, athletic talent ready and waiting to break out in Milwaukee, including sophomores Wade Buchheit (2023 ROTY second runner-up) and Nicholas Bollman, along with first year Adam Kohn. On defense, Charlie Tantum, one of the most athletic players in the division, is often tasked with shutting down the opposition’s biggest playmakers. He’ll be attempting to earn a spot on an awards podium for the third year in a row, following recognition as the second runner-up for DPOTY in 2023 and as the second runner-up for ROTY in 2022.

Williams improved on their 12th place finish in 2022 by finishing tied for fifth last year, and will look to continue that year-over-year improvement in the second and final season under the leadership of coach Will Savage, last year’s second runner-up on the COTY podium. They’ll have their eyes set on taking down Whitman and winning the pool, but even if they’re unable to do so, WUFO have all the qualities of a team ready to make a deep run through the bracket.

Carleton CHOPCarleton CHOP D-III men's college logo

Seeded third in Pool D, and the No.9 seed overall, #9 Carleton CHOP are back at Nationals and ready to return to their previous heights. The three-time national champions spent the offseason refocusing after a disappointing season in 2023, one that saw CHOP fail to even make the game-to-go at Regionals. Out of the cold Minnesota winter came a new full time coach, Matt Forster, to work alongside longtime coach Michael Massad, and a new team mantra to “play with joy.” The result is a team fully bought in to their systems on the field and their culture off the field, a dedication that has already paid dividends as evidenced by their 19-6 regular season record and an “all-time high cheer count.” That record was good enough to earn a strength bid for the North Central, which they retained without too much difficulty in the Series, ultimately qualifying with a 15-11 win over #19 Macalester in the game-to-go.

Carleton is led on the field by captains Elk Thomas-Toth, Gabe Driscoll, and Chris O’Mara. Driscoll takes charge of the D-line as a lockdown defender and high energy cutter on the turn – expect for him to take on the most challenging matchups the division has to offer in Milwaukee. Danny Shope is another defender to keep an eye out for, especially when testing the deep space. O’Mara, the leader of the O-line, is armed with a variety of throws he uses to unlock defenses. He, along with Jonah Tannen and Nathan Wang, make up the core of a potent offense. Wang, another crafty handler, will be O’Mara’s partner in crime in the backfield, while Tannen, a speedy cutter, will be CHOP’s main downfield presence on the O-line.

Carleton’s stated goal this year was just to get back to Nationals. Consider that mission accomplished. Now, they’ll attempt to get into the bracket and maybe even play deep into it. Winning the pool outright may be a tall ask for Carleton, but they should be able to get into the bracket. And once play on Sunday starts, it’s hard not to look at some of CHOP’s top results this year6 and think they could play spoiler to one or more of the top contenders in Milwaukee.

Claremont Braineaters

Rounding out Pool D, and the Nationals field at large, is the no.16 seed, #25 Claremont Braineaters. After conceding the lone bid for the Southwest region to Occidental last year, Claremont returned the favor at Southwest ConfRegionals this time around, winning the round robin-style tournament with a 3-0 record and defeating Occidental in the de-facto final by a score of 11-5. Claremont went 11-10 in an up-and-down regular season which saw them take on a variety of D-I and B teams in the region. They were also able to make the trip north to DIII Grand Prix for some interdivision competition where they went 3-4, notably dropping games to fellow Nationals qualifiers Lewis & Clark and Whitman by score lines of 12-7 and 13-3, respectively.

Leading the way for Claremont is rookie Isamu Sims, a do-it-all hybrid who impacts the game in a variety of ways. Whether it be with his hucks, his cutting, or his defense (and very likely a combination of all three), Sims will assuredly have a large impact on Claremont’s outcome this weekend. Expect him to play frequently on both the O- and D-lines. Other players to be on the lookout for at Nationals are Elijah Axt, a tall and athletic cutter with strong vertical skills and enough throwing prowess to be a weapon in the backfield as well, and Arenaria Cramer, the Braineaters’ primary handler whose best attributes are their poise in the handler space and consistent pinpoint throws.

Claremont will arrive in Milwaukee knowing their primary goals for the year – beating Occidental and making Nationals7 – have already been met. As a program still trying to rebuild some of their traditions and momentum in the post-pandemic years, the Braineaters know it’ll be an uphill task to make the bracket. Still, just playing in high stakes games can be valuable, especially for an incredibly young team like Claremont who are bringing just three players with previous Nationals experience (and just four upperclassmen overall) to Milwaukee. Look for them to get valuable reps in for all 24 players on their roster, and use that experience to fuel deeper runs in the near future.

  1. Which began in 2018 

  2. Shoutout to the Lewis & Clark frisbee community again for putting together the inaugural D-III Grand Prix, a true highlight of the regular season 

  3. Admittedly he also had 12 turnovers, but it’s no fun to mention those 

  4. A two-point loss to D-I Nationals attendees Michigan, and only allowing 15 goals in their three-game run through bracket play at Regionals stand out 

  5. Losses to Pittsburgh-B and Messiah 

  6. Such as a 13-10 win over no.3 seed St. Olaf Berzerkers or a 15-14 win over D-I’s Duke Brimstone 

  7. Claremont also wanted us to note that they qualified for Nationals this year despite former coach (and World Games standout) Dylan Freechild leaving the staff after last season, a year in which they did not qualify for Nationals. 

  1. 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.

  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]

  3. 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."

  4. Josh Katz
    Josh Katz

    Josh Katz first experienced playing ultimate at summer camp in 2012. He graduated with a degree in mathematics from Kenyon College in 2022, where he played for 4 years with Kenyon SERF and developed a love for the People’s Division. You can find him on Twitter at @josh_katz22



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