D-III Men’s 2024 Breakout Player of the Year

Highlighting players who took a leap toward stardom in the division this spring.

Each year, Ultiworld presents our annual College Awards. Our staff evaluates the individual performances of players from throughout the season, talking to folks around college ultimate, watching film, and look at statistics, voting upon the awards to decide those to be honored. The regular season and the college Series are both considered, with extra emphasis for performances in the competitive and high-stakes environment at Nationals.

The Breakout Player of the Year recognizes rising juniors and seniors who made themselves known in a new light this season. While our nebulous definition of “breakout” reflects an evolving set of criteria, rather than celebrating the improvement of those from whom big things were already expected, we aim to use this award to celebrate the emergence of those who previously have not been on the national radar. Whether it be through growth in ability, role, or both, the Breakout Player of the Year and runners-up honor those who rose to the occasion with improved and high-impact performance on a new level this season — putting them squarely in the spotlight moving forward.

D-III Men’s 2024 Breakout Player Of The Year

Daniel Snider (Bates)

Bates’ Daniel Snider with the disc against Lewis & Clark at the 2024 D-III College Championships. Photo: Rudy DeSort – UltiPhotos.com

After their undefeated regular season and a decisive win against Bowdoin at Regionals, heads were beginning to turn in O-Whip’s direction. Rumor had it they were harboring a talented top-end, but without any publicly available film to speak of, their potential was ambiguous and their ability to succeed at their first-ever Nationals was still in question.

Enter: Daniel Snider. From the moment Nationals began, Snider was raising eyebrows and making the top seeds sweat. In his first game, he led his O-Whip comrades to a universe point finish against eventual champions St. Olaf. It was the first of numerous outstanding performances across Snider’s weekend.

The level of Snider’s lethality was on full display against Richmond in their for-the-ages prequarterfinal. Rewatch the first half and you’ll notice how rarely Bates turned the disc despite Richmond’s best efforts. Snider is largely to thank for this trend. Time and time again, he demonstrated an uncanny penchant for providing an open reset whenever, wherever his receivers needed one. Once he had the disc, Snider was aggressive and calculating, maintaining the offensive pace and racking up assists like nobody’s business.

His ability to pace the Bates offense was remarkable. He demonstrated the tenacity of a bonafide veteran handler. And his frisbee name, Future, is quite fitting; there was no way to know what he had in store.

– Bix Weissberg

First Runner-Up

Max Zwerin (Lewis & Clark)

Lewis & Clark’s Max Zwerin looks to throw past the Davenport mark at the 2024 D-III College Championships. Photo: Rudy DeSort – UltiPhotos.com

Zwerin wasn’t exactly an unknown commodity heading into this season; his more-than-respectable 15G/5A/7D/9T line at Nationals in 2023 garnered plenty of attention. That being said, his improvement this year was far greater than the year of physical growth and maturity we often see in the college ranks. Rather, Zwerin made a gargantuan leap from role player to superstar this season, becoming one of the division’s most feared all-around menaces. No longer content to merely terrorize defenses in the deep space, Zwerin found himself cutting under just as often as he was cutting deep, with defenses largely powerless to stop him from getting where he wanted, when he wanted. His improvement showed not only on the field, but in his stats as well; Zwerin improved in each statistical category at Nationals this spring, posting a very impressive 22G/6A/10D/8T line that befits a player of his many talents.

– Josh Katz

Second Runner-Up

Jude Schmiesing (Franciscan)

Franciscan’s Jude Schmiesing lifts a backhand at the 2024 D-III College Championships. Photo: Rudy DeSort – UltiPhotos.com

Take a look at Franciscan’s first streamed game of the year and you’ll notice something remarkable: on the very first point of the game, sophomore Jude Schmiesing goes every other in the handler set, reaches half field and proceeds to book it to the end zone where he graciously leaps for the hold. He was playing like the one do-it-all guy every high school team has, except he was against the division’s elite competition.

This point was our first taste of Schmeising’s strength, but certainly not our last. The prodigal hybrid led Fransican to an undefeated regular season and didn’t stop there. After a (nearly) flawless Regionals, Schmiesing continued to run rampant at Nationals, steering Fatal to their first quarterfinal berth in nearly a decade (their last quarterfinal was in 2016 v. Lewis and Clark).

Unlike the majority of ultimate wunderkind, those who emerge as divisional stars in their underclassman years, Schmeising has no paper trail to speak of. He isn’t a YCC product, he didn’t make headlines at HSNI,  and he’s never played a lick of club. In typical breakout player fashion, Schmiesing has left us dumbfounded, asking ourselves “Where did this guy come from?”

– Bix Weissberg

  1. 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

  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]

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