The Donovan Award: The 2024 Finalists

The top five candidates in each division!

Ultiworld is excited to present the finalists for the eighth annual Donovan Award. The Donovan Award is a peer-voted award for the Division III player that best demonstrates an exceptional level of skill and athleticism on the field; upholds the principles of Spirit of the Game, equity, and fairness in their own actions, as well as holding teammates accountable to do the same; and is a leader off the field, both on their team and in the greater ultimate community.

Here are the five finalists in each division, listed alphabetically, with their bios from their nominations attached (some have been edited for clarity).

The 2024 Donovan Award winners will be announced Wednesday, July 3rd, in live presentations on Ultiworld’s YouTube channel, beginning at 8:30 PM Eastern (men’s) and 9:00 PM (women’s).

Men’s Division

Will Brandt (St. Olaf College)

Will Brandt has been making noise in the ultimate community since he first touched a frisbee. For over a decade now, he has brought a winning culture to every team he’s been on. Starting at Edina High School, the team saw great success over his four years, including a state championship, 5th and second-place finishes at High School National Invite, and knocking on the door of a national title before COVID took away Will’s senior season. It can’t be a coincidence that once Brandt joined the St. Olaf squad, they qualified four times in a row for Nationals, finishing 3rd, 2nd, and 3rd in respective series, and winning the title in 2024.

Will has been a captain of the Zerks for the past two years and has brought immense game knowledge to a squad that has been eager to learn everything he has to teach. At the elite club and professional level, he has been instrumental in the development and success of both Minneapolis Sub Zero and Minnesota Wind Chill, starting his pro career the day they legally allowed him to play, and later leading the O-line to the best Wind Chill finish in franchise history.

While Will excels with the disc in his hands, any D-line would put him on the field in a heartbeat, with his excellent deep help, small-field agility, and absurd disregard for his body through chest-high bids. Will Brandt eats, sleeps, and breathes ultimate. His on-field demeanor matches perfectly with his character – a seamless blend of intensity, charisma, fun, and competitiveness. As someone who’s been his teammate for 8 years, I could not be more proud to help the Zerks nominate Will Brandt for Donovan.

Collin Hill (Berry College)

Before Collin was even a freshman at Berry, he came to see the Bucks, traveled with them to tournaments, and impacted a team he wasn’t even a part of yet. As someone who had a very successful high school career in winning a U-20 championship with the ATLiens, it was no surprise that Collin was quickly established as one of the premier players for the Bucks. Collin brought a talented, levelheaded, and confident style of ultimate that the Bucks would rely on for the next four years.

During his debut season with the Bucks, he played a key role in the team reaching nationals and placing 6th and 3rd, achieving Ultiworld’s 2nd runner-up for rookie of the year in 2021. After our very successful season in 2022, it was evident that Collin was going to be captain for the years to come. For the Bucks were losing a lot of talent, and it looked like a year of rebuilding, development, and tough times. There were questions if Collin could keep the teams’s nationals streak alive. However, Collin was not going to let the Bucks’ season end at Regionals, as he proceeded to lead Berry through two universe point games in the Semifinal and Championship games at Southeast Regionals, blowing up the stat sheet while doing so.

From there, the Bucks participated at Nationals, placing 9th. Collin had 32 assists and achieved 2nd team All-American status. In his final swan song, Berry was once again faced with adversity in the regional final, down 8-4 at the half. But Collin didn’t bat an eye, he trusted his team and went into that second half with a fire that rallied the Bucks to a 13-12 victory, laying out to catch the game-winner on universe, leading his team to Nationals one final time and finishing an era as a four-time Southeastern champion. He is a hybrid who can do it all, and a defender that will make your best player want to pull his hair out — a “Face of the Franchise” type player.

But even after having crazy stat lines and being the best player on the field for most of the games of his career, he never has had an ego, he stays “chilly” and keeps a supportive, hardworking, and goofy nature. He has a humility that all his teammates look up to and a presence that causes you to smile and laugh. Collin Hill is a special player and is the most deserving of the 2024 Donovan Award. If you get the chance to meet him one day, oh how great a day that will be for you. On behalf of the whole Berry Bucks team, and his friends and family, we could not be more proud of our very own Collin Hill.

Danny Klein (Williams College)

Danny “Donk” Klein is the heart and soul of Williams Ultimate. He’s one of the few people we get as a small school who has played extensively beforehand, which means that he had a pretty much unlimited green light as a freshman and became our center handler as a sophomore. That year, Donk led Williams to its first Nationals appearance since 2009 (+/- doesn’t matter anyways). The year after, Darryl Clyde led our team (to the tune of 28 assists and an All-American second team appearance) to the highest we’ve ever placed, at T-5.

Dargle is an absolutely game-changing thrower. He’s one of those players around which the gravity of the entire field changes. He turns zones into box-and-ones, walls into shredded cheese, and losses into wins. Daveed is also the first player to cross over when we need him to, launching monstrous pulls and playing lock-down handler defense. He squats 300 pounds (verified), benches 450 (grams), and carries the weight of 27 other players on his back consistently. Most importantly, however, Dongle is the leader of our team on and off the field. He plans our tournaments and practices, organizes frivolous gatherings at his beautiful home, leads our cheers, and inspires us all. He’s the first one to text when someone’s feeling sick or had a rough day, and the last one to leave the fields when the lights turn off. Damp Towel is there for art shows, musical performances, late night shenanigans, and organizational meetings, through elation and disappointment alike. He is constant and dependable off the field, and inevitable on it. He regularly unleashes scoobers that make Mike Ball want to “jump up and down a few times,” hammers that make other teams say, “how did he do that?” and deep shots that make you say nothing at all because your jaw is on the floor.

Drizzy Krizzy is an incredibly fierce competitor (do NOT play him in bananagrams), an unbelievably hard worker, and a joy to be around. As a FOOL (logistics officer), a fool (buffoon; lunkhead; clod; oaf; pillgarlic), two-year captain, and president, Draco Kalfoy has changed this program immeasurably. We’re not sure what we’ll do without him, but we’re excited to see what he does with his immense talent and even larger heart. We love you, Obediah Krunk.

Matthew Timoney (University of Richmond)

Matthew Timoney started playing for the Spidermonkeys his freshman year of college in 2020, joining in one of the largest classes in team history. He immediately made an impact with his height and speed, being one of the few underclassmen invited to Fall 2021 Nationals. Having never played ultimate before, Timoney made impressive improvements over the years, making the Helots club team from New Jersey last summer.

This year, he has taken a massive step forward, winning our team’s captain spot. He is one of our main intiating cutter, but can make any throw he wants. Voted best hands this year, he’ll catch anything whether its roofing you, a layout, or catching a behind inside throw from Ertel. His leadership, work ethic, and playing ability inspires the team to be their best every day. We will miss his dhall chops, knowledge of ball, and friendship deeply next year!

Sebastian Williamson (Lewis & Clark College)

Sebastian Williamson grew up in Saint Paul, Minnesota. The Minnesota scene is known for its talented ultimate players: Seb is no exception. He was a 3x captain at Saint Paul Central High School where he began his ultimate career. Seb also played varsity hockey throughout high school and brings a multi-sport perspective that we love. Starting at Lewis & Clark College in the Fall of 2020, Seb did not play a single sanctioned point until his Junior year in the Spring of 2023. His journey to the field began with competition halting during the Covid-19 pandemic and was extended due to an ACL & meniscus tear his Sophomore year.

Despite this extended break from competition, Seb stepped straight into the high-usage, high-impact role he plays in today. A 2-time Bacchus captain and 2-time national qualifier, Seb’s dedicated leadership directly led to the competitive and cultural boons Bacchus has enjoyed these past two years. Simply explaining Sebastian’s long and successful journey to play the college series is almost a cheap way to exemplify his ability to see the bigger picture, put in work, and believe in the process (Although, attaching a photo of his quads would probably do the job). That kind of reference wouldn’t do justice to all the small recovery setbacks he faced with determination & resolve. It doesn’t show the dedication to the program he displayed off the field as a captain while unable to participate on the field during the Fall of his Junior year. Most of all it doesn’t show the daily leadership he displayed in public and private as he led Bacchus to grow and thrive during his tenure.

Many people recover from injuries and become personally better for it. Very few people recover from injuries and make the people around them better too. I could blab endlessly about my favorite hard working qualities that Seb has but the most impressive part is that through it all he is friendly, genuine, and humble. I’m not joking when I say he is your parent’s favorite son, your best friend’s best friend, and your favorite player’s favorite player. He is the cultural heart of our program and has led to so many positive changes that have made Bacchus stronger. His continuous careful consideration of not only what we do, but how we do it, is eye opening. I love that he can be all that for his teammates while being a fair, kind, and level headed competitor who wins points and games with his skill and athleticism.

I feel lucky to be Seb’s coach and to learn from him as he leads a group of people he cares so deeply about. My experience as a Bacchus Captain (‘15 & ‘16) was successful in many ways but I didn’t, and perhaps still don’t, have the many qualities that enable Seb to be both fierce and caring. He’s who I wish I was when I was captain and I am forever grateful that Bacchus has been blessed with his leadership.

Women’s Division

Jamie Bell (Bates College)

Jamie “Midas” Bell is the face and backbone of Bates Ultimate. Not introduced to the wonders of frisbee until her first year of college, she quickly picked up the game and became a consistent, strong, and reliable cutter (and occasional handler) for the team. Midas embodies everything the ultimate community strives for and is renowned across the region for her friendliness, humor, incredible speed, and unmatched vertical. Midas’ teammates count on her as a player who will do whatever it takes to get the disc—frequently full-extension bidding and somersaulting out of a defensive play with grace and swagger. She took on the role of captain for her Junior and Senior years, leading Cold Front to their two best seasons since 2019.

Midas is a top-notch player, but her presence extends far beyond her wisdom of the game. She also acts as Cold Front’s very own choreographer and can often be spotted leading multi-team dance parties to Nicki Minaj and Elvis Presley. In all of her roles, Midas’ teammates know that she will always do what is best for the team and her teammates. She has transformed Bates Ultimate and her legacy on the team will linger for years to come. Her love for Cold Front and ultimate frisbee is truly infectious and has pushed the program to where it is today through inspiring younger players and building team spirit. She is the epitome of friendship and sports and I can say for certain that Midas makes all of her teammates better people and players—through her role as captain and by simply being her friend. Midas has proven at every stage of her college ultimate career that she really does have that golden touch.

Gemma Munck (Whitman College)

Gemma started playing Frisbee her junior year of high school, but college is when she started to take things more seriously. A victim of the pandemic, her freshman year was cut short, and she took some time off prior to sophomore year. Some of this time was spent playing and being on leadership committees for her home club mixed team, Igneous. Her junior year (2023) at Whitman, she was unanimously nominated captain and led The Sweets to their first Nationals appearance since 2018. She also received 2nd Team All American honors and led the tournament in goals.

Gemma is your exact definition of a Sweet. On the field, she plays an elite game. With insanely fast closing speed and an ability to set up cuts that make her a handlers dream to throw to. She also excels at laying out. “Just put it! Gemma will get it.” is one of The Sweet’s favorite “set” plays. On defense, she’s a force, generating an outrageous amount of turns through run through Ds. Check her video for evidence.

Off the field, she’s also your go-to person. Need a hug or support? Ask Gemma. Have a question about the game? Ask Gemma. Just want a good laugh? Ask Gemma. She is constantly checking in with teammates and truly a rock on our team. The Sweets couldn’t be more honored to have Gemma in our program and excited to nominate her for this award.

Coco Rhum (Williams College)

Williams Nova is so excited to nominate our president and two-year captain Coco Rhum #31 for the Donovan Award. It is impossible to fit our love and appreciation for Coco into one short paragraph. She has been a steady guiding force for our team for the last five years both on and off the field. Anyone who has watched a Nova game in the last few years will sing Coco’s praises: from her creative throws, to her ability to break anyone’s ankles, to her fully-horizontal bids — she is a force to be reckoned with on both offense and defense. She takes charge of every point that she plays with her decisive handling and skilled throws, which she has cultivated over nine years of high school, college, and club ultimate. She impressed in her club debut with Starling in 2022, which earned her a U-24 USA National Team tryout.

More important than her abilities on the field, however, are her outstanding leadership abilities. Our whole team looks to Coco at every turn for her level-headed decision making, kind guidance, and endless dedication to Nova. She has taught each successive year of Nova a tremendous amount from the basics of how to throw a backhand to the intricacies of our zones. As our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion coordinator, Coco helped write our team constitution and establish a supportive and inclusive team culture. In our most recent trip to Nationals last year, Coco led us with grace and love despite her injury preventing her from fully playing. Her dedication to this team and love for this sport is unmatched, and we are so, so lucky to have had her leadership and hard work for the last five years.

Amy Tse (Bryn Mawr College)

The Sneetches are excited to nominate our captain, Amy Tse, for the Donovan Award. Amy did not play ultimate before college, but quickly picked up the sport her freshman year, even though she began during Covid, when the team could only practice once a week. Over the past four years, Amy has grown into an incredible player, leading our team to Nationals three years in a row. With her lightning fast cuts, superhuman reflexes, and intense determination, Amy instills confidence in all of her teammates no matter where she is on the field. She always works hard to go the extra mile to get the D or beat her defender for an upline score. Amy is one of the main handlers on the Sneetches, and uses the extensive frisbee knowledge she’s learned in the last four years to guide her team to greatness. Don’t underestimate her because of her height: she can out-read and out-jump any defender.

Amy has a somehow endless supply of energy— you can often find her sprinting around as the mark in the cup, getting a D, and immediately going deep for a score. Amy is reliable on and off the field. She keeps our team running with her detail-oriented organizational skills, her preparedness for any situation, and her kindness. She is always ready with a band-aid, a piece of advice, a board game, or some Advil. We don’t know what we would do without her Google Forms, chilly handling, or the joy and intensity she brings to the field. Amy embodies the Donovan Award through her love of ultimate, her extremely high skill level, and her dedication to making our team a welcoming and competitive space. Haverford/Bryn Mawr Sneetch Ultimate is honored to nominate Amy Tse for the 2024 Donovan Award.

Keziah Wilde (Middlebury College)

Nothing would be possible without Keziah Wilde. Her consistency, commitment, and tenacity on the field has landed her titles of 2023 Player of the Year, Offensive Player Second Runner-up 2021, and three straight seasons of All American First Team. Wilde started playing ultimate frisbee in middle school. She continued playing at Arlington High School and BUDA YCC U20 during the summers. In 2020, Wilde joined the Middlebury Pranksters where she would help bring them to Nationals for four consecutive years. Throughout college, Wilde played for Boston Wild Card in 2021 and Burlington Squall in the 2022 season.

Wilde’s skill shows up not just on the field as an experienced player and athlete, but also as a steadfast resource of wisdom, compassionate captain, and inspirational teammate. Anyone and everyone would be lucky to play with, for, or against her.

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