The first fall tournament in the powerful Northwest region began under the usual conditions: early coffee stops at Starbucks, wet fields and many teams with excited new players. Sundodger 2010 (Burlington, WA) was ready to begin. Run by the newly founded Northwest Ultimate, many players were somewhat anxious to see what Sundodger’s management had in store for them. Uneasy expectations were met with tons of field food, body warming hot chocolate, plenty of water, sweet 5 Ultimate swag, and a rainless Saturday.
As usual, 5 Ultimate made an effort to supply apparel for those rookies that don’t own any Ultimate clothing. On Saturday, Five’s new Electro fabric was unveiled (oh yeah, it’s super comfortable), along with tons of new colored shorts. 5 Ultimate also provided comedy with their “wheel of fortune” game, which allowed each player to spin a prize wheel once. Prizes included skirts, shorts, pants and “ass blades” delivered by Skip (TD) and Tranholt (5 Ultimate). Unfortunately, they missed on every rare opportunity.
Play was spotty, in what was the first college tournament for many young players. However, a couple of teams played above the rest. Finishing in 9th and 11th place, in a tournament with many alumni and club talent stacked teams, the University of Washington Sundodgers, (while split X and Y) looked locked and loaded with multiple pickups this year. Noticeable additions were a player from the University of Georgia (Jojah) and Reed College’s ex-captain/Rhino player Bryson Uhrig-Fox. Coupled with a large returning crew from last years team and Captain Phillip Murray’s experience on Seattle Sockeye, and you have a seriously dangerous squad. The Sundodgers could be the Northwest’s team to beat in 2011, with Oregon Ego graduating many players last year.
The University of British Columbia Thunderbirds also looked especially athletic at Sundodger. While not a split-squad, the team played extremely physical defense, and looked to make big throw whenever they could. They were very effective at making use of their many tall, athletic cutters. While they too graduated many key players last year, UBC has attracted a lot of new talent from Canada’s Junior Championships team and snagged probably the biggest pickup of the year for the Northwest in John Norris (University of Victoria ex-Captain/Furious George). Norris is attending graduate school at UBC and will be anchoring the handling position along with fellow Furious handler Aaron Liu. The Thunderbirds are definitely thinking big, especially after their loss in the game-to-go at Northwest Regionals last year against U.C. Berkeley.
Sundodger 2010 was well attended, including teams as far as Montana. After this well-run tournament, excitement is mounting for Northwest Ultimate’s next event, the Oregon Mid-Fall Games (OMG) in Eugene, OR this weekend. Hopes are high that the weather will cooperate for OMG as it did for Sundodger, as teams in the Northwest look to solidify their rosters for the spring.
Photos by Eric Zink of Western Washington’s DIRT. More photos available @ http://www.ericzinkphotography.wordpress.com/