Pre-Series Record: 11-6 Series Record: 15-2 End of Season Standing: 2nd at College Championships, lost to Florida in the Final (12-15)
Coach: Phil Bowen
Tournaments attended: Trouble in Vegas, 3rd at the Stanford Invite, 15th at Centex, 1st at Northwoods Sectionals, 1st at Central Regionals, 2nd at the College Championships
In 2010, Carleton came within three points of winning its second USA Ultimate College Championship title in as many years. CUT’s run at the repeat was fueled by the same elements that have become staples for the program that has qualified for Nationals in 20 of its last 21 attempts (winning in 2001 and 2009): strong juniors recruiting that led to fundamentally sound squad, a conditioning program that had every player on the team ready to run in the late stages of tournaments, and skill players that were among the best in the game.
Roster Turnover and Offseason Club Experience:
Graduated from Carleton’s 2010 team are Sam Kanner, Adam Fagin, Luke Powers, Adrian Chow, and Robert Carlton. Aside from Carlton, all were handlers, and while CUT’s young players have shown exceptional skill at the position, it is hard to understate the loss of four players that with so much experience playing such a crucial position.
Stepping in to fill those shoes are handlers Justin Norden, a Lakeside High School product that logged big minutes and crucial touches as a freshman, and Logan Weiss, a junior that showcased great throws and mobility in Carleton’s Final match-up with Florida. In the cutting lanes, Grant Lindsley (senior, 2010 First Team All-Region) will team with Second Team members Patrick Roberts, Christian Foster, and Second Team Freshman of the Year Julian Childs-Walker to lead a cutting unit that should give opponents fits.
New to CUT are freshman Jonah Herscu, a member of the USA Junior Worlds team in both 2008 and 2009, and coach Phil Bowen, a 1997 Carleton graduate.
Many of Carleton’s players suited up this summer with Sub Zero, a club team that was a regular contender at Club Nationals until 2008 but who finished 4th in the Central Region in 2010. Roberts and Foster played with Bodhi (3rd at Northeast Regionals), Alex Evangelides with Emerald City Ultimate (starting on defense and often guarding the other team’s top deep threat) and a few others were scattered across the country. Club experience will not be lacking for CUT.
Year in and year out, Carleton is one of the most fundamentally sound teams in the game. Virtually all of CUT’s players come in with prior experience at the high levels of juniors ultimate, and those that do not have been around other sports long enough to know how to learn quickly. This allows the team to focus more on cohesion and specific situations, and key opponents earlier than its competitors.
On offense, CUT typically runs a horizontal stack that allows its experienced cutters to move continuously and its handlers to look for short gains, hucks, or break throws. Last year, cutters often pushed deeper than normal, which allowed for two things: first, a wide open underneath lane for Lindsley, and second, the chance for cutters on the break side to come back to the disc in motion rather than be stagnant targets. Also, Carleton’s handler sets frequently featured at least one player who was comfortable becoming a cutter, which led to easy resets when cutters did the opposite and came back to handle. Because of their fluid movement between positions, CUT of the past few years has been a team that attacks more with dumps and swings rather than up line cuts.
Defensively, Carleton plays mostly man, but another byproduct of the team’s overall experience is the ability to poach, switch, and double-team deep cuts when necessary. CUT has done well to earn its reputation as a team that marks handlers quite well, and downfield defenders do a good job with something that many college players struggle to do: bumping receivers early in their cuts while still managing to stay within an arm’s length once he gets out into the lane.
This past fall, Carleton attended the Exit 69 Fall Classic, No Wisconsequences, and Missouri Loves Company, losing only to Ball State (9-12) and Colorado (5-13) along the way. As with many top teams, it is hard to know just how many A team roster players were in attendance at any fall event, but CUT certainly isn’t displeased with pre-season wins over some of its key regional competition.
Carleton will attend Florida Warm-Up, Easterns, and Stanford Invite before the Series.
Listing Carleton as a 2011 title contender is probably a safe bet. At the same time, CUT has some questions that will need answering in 2011, namely how it will deal with the loss of so many seasoned handlers. Also, on top of his throwing and leadership abilities, Sam Kanner was one of the team’s best defenders, taking on the hardest match-ups throughout the year. Carleton will need its younger players to acquire poise and confidence to go with their already plentiful talent and athleticism in order to remain so close to the top.
With the talent that CUT is returning along with a proven winning formula, it is not difficult to picture Carleton back in the Final come May. Moreover, getting out of the North Central Region should not be a problem: while first place is not guaranteed because of the strength of Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Iowa, these same teams ensure that there will be multiple bids to Boulder.