I conclude my 5th straight weekend of Ultimate tournaments with a trip to sunny San Diego. This year’s field features a bunch of southwest teams littered with out-of-region competition throughout the pools. This is one of the last “early season” tournaments that will help put the picture together before we go into the big three during March.
Just how good is Colorado?
Colorado starts off every year highly ranked, and for good reason. With the exception of missing out on quarters in 2010, they had a ridiculous run through the last decade of almost always finishing in the top 10. California is a team that’s high in Skyd’s Top 20 Rankings, and we’re anxious to see how that match-up plays out, should both teams make the finals. Jimmy Mickle has taken the clear role of on-field leader and is sure to be an impact player, but I’m looking forward to seeing how much of a threat Jackson Kloor is downfield. Timmy Morissy is supposed to be the distributor behind the disc, but we’ll have to see how they handle the departure of Jack Mcshane and what new players they bring into the equation. Will Mamabird have the depth to separate themselves from the pack and compete at a top 5 level this year? With solid results competing against other college teams at New Years Fest, while playing with more open lines, Pres Day should answer that question.
California, here we come, right back where we started from
This tournament is great because I get to see a lot of the Southwest teams in action, including Cal, who looks like to be the cream of the crop. My focus of interest is how they can deal with the rest of the top teams here, how smooth their vert stack runs and where James Pollard stands in terms of dominant players across the nation? Not to forget Andrew Hagen, who is known for his solid defensive skills and I.O. breaks. How does the depth come together? What is Bart Watson’s impact as a coach on this squad? This is a team I hope to see a lot of, and find out if they are legitimately top 10.
The unknowns, Santa Barbara and British Columbia
From the rumor mill on Skyd, Santa Barbara has returned 7 players from Condors that now have club nationals experience. I unfortunately don’t know much about this squad, and neither does anyone else. They made finals at Santa Barbara Invite, and may have a shot at a strength bid. This will clearly be an investigation into what makes Black Tide tick.
We haven’t seen British Columbia make much of an appearance since Nationals last year, and they haven’t had much to say. Talk is cheap, so I’m excited to see what they have in store for this weekend.
Can Cal Poly SLO stay in our top 20?
SLO Core features possible Callahan candidate in Peter Raines and experienced talent pool that’s looking to make Nationals. Other players to watch out for are Mike Founds at the handler spot, Jake Juszak, and Casey Wu. Matt Nelson and Zach Stargensky are two freshman competing for the rights to be nominated for freshman of the year. They lost on universe to Santa Barbara (#15 on Skyd’s D-1 Open Power Rankings), but big wins over teams like British Columbia and the top squads at this tournament could have SLO breaking out into the top 15.
Dartmouth, playing back to back weekends?
Dartmouth has been quite the bunch of travelers, going to Queen City Tune Up in Charlotte the previous weekend, and now are heading to San Diego to battle more out of region squads. With regional rival Tufts looking strong, a strength bid would take a lot of weight off their shoulders. This squad should be excited to go out and play in nice weather for a change (yes, Charlotte was freezing), but I wonder if they’ll see any adverse effects from playing back to back weekends. They are also still without standout Spencer Diamond, who is studying abroad in Barcelona.
Washington, under seeded?
After they were the only ones to score 10 on California at Santa Barbara, Washington may be a threat at this tournament. Not predicting that they’ll break through against California, but they could once again end up in the semi finals.
The best of the rest
Does UCLA have a shot at sneaking away with a bid come Regionals? They haven’t performed incredibly, but look to be within striking distance. Vermont has been rumored to have a good talent base, and could upset a team or two on Sunday. The Puget Sound Postmen could be one of the best D-III teams in the nation.
Be sure to look for our coverage throughout the tournament, especially play by play of the semis and finals.