(listed by tournament seed with Skyd ranking in parenthesis)
The top College Open teams in the nation are on their way to sunny Florida for an early look at who’s going to make noise this season. After speaking with many of them there is one common theme; all are excited to be playing outside as cold climates has forced many of these squads indoors. This has the makings of the premier early season tournament not just for the eastern half of the country, but thanks to Colorado, CUT and Wisconsin joining, the entire country, less Pittsburgh, Minnesota and those damn West Coast kids who get warmer weather pretty much year round. With College Vegas resting in a watery grave, Florida has stepped up and all eyes are looking east to see the results of this tournament.
There are many questions that this tournament will hopefully answer.
- Now that rankings mean more than ever, will these early season spring tournaments do what they used to, give experience to the young blood on these power house teams, or will they become tight lined battles to get much needed wins for their respective regions?
- What will Florida be able to do with the loss of All-American (if Ultimate had that) stud Brodie Smith?
- Can Colorado capitalize on experience and a strong fall pre-season?
- Will CUT be as strong with the loss of the majority of their handlers?
- Do Cornell and Harvard have legitimate shots to make a run at a title?
- Will the young-blooded Hodags be able to handle the more experienced teams in the field?
- Hey Pitt and Minnesota, whats the deal with the no show?
- What’s in a Name – Big names with big history. Who starts the season off living up to the expectations?
Just about every game at this tournament will be a game to watch. Friday looks to have some exciting matchups, though Saturday has what the fans will want. Saturday features Florida vs Colorado, last year’s Champion and one of this year’s teams to beat at 12pm, the always exciting CUT/Hodag matchup at 2pm and Cornell takes on Harvard in the all Ivy league game Saturday at 4.
Players to Watch
- Adam Fagin (Harvard) – Former CUT player, lost last season to an ACL tear and should be a huge addition to Harvard
- George Stubbs (Harvard) – Callahan nominee. Boston Ironside monster.
- Alex Evangelides (CUT) – Will strep throat slow up his shut down defense?
- Grant Lindsley (CUT) – Can his cutting hold CUT together…cut…cuttery.
- Cole Sullivan (FL) – So long Brodie, hello Cole.
- Matty Zemmel (CO) – Best handler in the country?
- Zander Padget (CO)
- Ben Feldman (WI) – Will this guy graduate already? Hodag captain and Madison club player. Knows the game like the back of his hand.
- Pat Donovan (WI) – He’s tall and more athletic than ever. Expect big things.
Keys to the Weekend
- Wins vs. Experience – Are teams playing to win or giving their lines experience.
- Disc skills – This will be the first outdoor spring experience for many teams.
- Endurance – With many teams stuck indoors they must have more endurance over this grueling weekend if they want to compete.
- Step Up – First tourney of the spring gives new faces their first chance to shine… and see what true Ultimate is.
If there’s a tournament to pay attention to this weekend, it’s Warm Up. This event should prove to be an early indicator of success at the College Championships in May.
Tampa, FL: High of 64, 8-11 mph winds
Madison, WI: High of 25
Northfield, MN: High of 25
Boulder, CO: High of 40
Boston, MA: High of 29