Deep Freeze 2012: Youth Preview

by | February 22, 2012, 6:40pm 0

This year’s Deep Freeze tournament in Chattanooga, Tennessee hosted by the Chattanooga Flying Disc Club (CFDC), February 25th-26th is set and ready to go. With schools of various states, sizes and levels of play, this is slowly becoming one of the better “early season” tournaments to sign up for in the South.



Paideia Gruel holds up the 2001 Deep Freeze trophy

The tournament began in 2001 with six teams competing in a round robin styled tournament at Camp Jordan Park in Chattanooga, TN. Paideia Gruel from Atlanta, Georgia and the Brutal Grassburn of University School of Nashville faced off for the second time in one day for the first ever Deep Freeze Championship. According to former tournament director Steve Cobble, Gruel prevailed in the final game by way of lack of daylight, otherwise USN may have made a historic comeback. The following year marked a huge jump in attendance, from six teams to 12, and ushered in the tournament’s first two-day pool play tourney. Even with the addition of teams, a second day of play, and sloppy field conditions, Paideia showed why they were, and still are, an elite program and was victorious over SpankiN’ Rock, the home crowd team. It is not known when Deep Freeze first held a separate tournament for the women’s youth division, but the number of women’s teams continues to climb each year. As a result of the growing number of youth teams and increasing interest in the sport, Deep Freeze will have 25 different youth open division teams and 5 women’s division teams. Through the years, the tournament was not always played every year, but for now the tournament is here to continue helping youth open and women’s teams prepare for their seasons.

A Tennessee and Georgia Affair

With Camp Jordan Park in Chattanooga being close to the border of Georgia and Interstate 75, it makes travel a breeze for most Georgia schools to travel across the border and into Tennessee territory. As fate had it, last year’s Paideia vs. USN Deep Freeze final matched up the two state’s best in a rematch of the first Deep Freeze final. Paideia prevailed like they did 11 years ago, beating USN 13-6. Nine teams from Tennessee, seven from Georgia, plus one team from Mississippi, Louisiana, Kentucky and Virginia will be there, for a total of six different states involved. In the women’s division, three schools from Georgia and one from Tennessee will compete in their bracket. Many of these teams played in last year’s High School Eastern tourney, including LC Bird, USN, Paideia and Grady. Catholic HS played in the High School Westerns. With a four team round robin for the women’s bracket, these four teams are familiar with each other. With the USN Girls being the only USAU certified team in Tennessee, they usually find themselves playing in tournaments against their Georgia opponents; Atlanta International Girls, Paideia Groove,  and Grady.

USA Ultimate rearranged the landscape of Youth Ultimate and, due to the overwhelming number of Youth participants, they have added two new end-of-the-season High School regional tournaments: Centrals and Southerns. HS Southerns, which will take place at Camp Jordan Park in Chattanooga, will receive bids for many of the teams competing this weekend in Deep Freeze.

Team to Watch

Okay, now into the nitty-gritty of the tournament. These teams are a combination of elite and “on the rise” caliber. I expect these teams, which are all seeded #1 in their respective pools, to make the Championship Bracket on the second day:

  • Paideia – One of the most prestigious high school programs in the whole country comes back to kick off what they hope to be another triumphant season. Gruel is the Deep Freeze reigning Champion, and Head Coach Michael Baccarini looks to keep it that way.
  • University School of Nashville – A strong team that continued their dominance last year and repeated as Tennessee State Champions. USN also appeared at HS Easterns and tied for third after losing to the eventual champion Amherst. As strong as they always are, year in and year out, can they keep up the intensity after losing three key seniors from last year’s team: Ryan Del Casino (Pittsburgh), Will Shaw (Lewis & Clark) and Mikeie Reiland (Davidson)?
  • LC Bird– This top contender in many tournaments from last year returns to Deep Freeze after taking a year of absence and tying for 11th at HS Easterns. As the lone team from Virginia, they look to represent their state and let their presence be known.
  • Catholic HS- This team from Baton Rouge, Louisiana is looking stronger than last year, which is saying a lot considering what they have done: tying for third in both High School Terminus and Westerns. According to their Head Coach Tim LaBauve, Catholic only lost two seniors and returned a lot of talent.
  • Blackman– A school out of Murfreesboro, TN that started in 2009 and has already seen fruits of their labor by coming in 2nd at last year’s Freaknik tournament and finishing in their highest place yet, 3rd, at the Tennessee State Tournament. Blackman graduated key seniors, but the Blaze has tons of depth with 14 senior players. Just the weekend before, they blew a 10-6 lead in a single game against USN and lost 11-15.

These teams will make some noise and spark my interest:

  • Grady – A squad feeling overlooked and under seeded after winning the Georgia State Tournament last year and making an appearance to HS Easterns. This team from Atlanta will have to start all over at Camp Jordan Park to prove they are the top team from Atlanta.
  • Woodward Academy– A solid program from College Park, Georgia who slipped to 5th in last year’s state tourney, but looks to turn it around this year. The War Eagles lost 5 players but 10 of them return.
  • Independence Flight– They are in the 4th year of their program, and they are ready to show that they’ve got some Ultimate game and make a name for themselves.
  • Madison Central– The Slow Bros is a young program, but their team is not so young. They became the Mississippi State Champion last year and look hungry to continue to improve and represent the Ultimate community from MS.

Final Thoughts

With much of the seeding based on last year performances and wins at other tournaments, it is hard to say who will come out on top and who will make the upsets. One team that surely will not disappoint is Paideia Gruel. One thing is for certain, every team competing this weekend will get a chance to see where they stand and see what they need to work on to get where they want to be this season. Many, if not most, teams here will bid for the first ever HS Southerns tournament on May 19-20. This year’s Deep Freeze may very well give us all a glimpse, a pre-quell of sorts, of some teams going to Chattanooga again this coming May.

Deep Freeze 2012 sponsors Spin Ultimate and Spikeball will be there and have merchandise tents set up. This year’s winners will receive a $100 reimbursement of their tournament fee and a free Spikeball kit for their team! A big thanks to the CFDC for sharing information on their history. Check out the Chattanooga Flying Disc Club for more information about their future tournaments both at the Youth and Club level.

For an exclusive recap and final scores of Deep Freeze 2012, be sure to come back to Skyd.

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