Stanford Invite 2012 Preview: Pool C – Wisconsin, Colorado, California-Santa Barbara & Harvard

by | March 1, 2012, 6:47pm 0

This coverage and the 2012 Skyd College Tour are brought to you by Spin Ultimate.

Wisconsin Hodags

Coming back for Wisco for the Invite is cutter and big man Dave Wiseman, who watched from the sidelines at Warm-Up with a back injury. Adding Wiseman to the offensive line will take pressure off of Colin Camp, Jordan O’Neil and Brian Hart who were doing most of the heavy lifting in Tampa in early February. The center of the offensive line is Alex Simmons, whose conditioning will surely play a factor this weekend as he was able to play a majority of the points on both sides of the disc for all of Wisconsin’s 9 games at Warm-Up. The consistency of Tanner Marshall along with the big throws of Dan Park make the Hodags offensive handling core multi-dimensional and hard to game plan against.

On the defensive side of the disc, Wisconsin always brings a ton of legs and their high level of conditioning that they are famous for. At Warm-Up, Kelsen Alexander and Dayu Liu did a fantastic job at the defensive handler position and had help up field with Zach Alter, Nick Zemen and Jerry McGinnis who did a great job against Nick Stuart in their night showcase against Carleton. For the Hodags, Warm-Up was about winning games while providing lots of play time to their deep roster. Hector Valdivia was able to give time on the field to even his youngest and most inexperienced players while still putting up wins, which should pay dividends for Wisconsin as the season progresses. Since the Hodags were able to remain very competitive throughout the long duration of Warm-Up, I would expect a similar attitude for this weekend. However, don’t expect to see Wisconsin making an early exit.

Colorado Mamabird

2011 definitely seemed like it was the year of the Mamabird, but Wisconsin put an end to the hopes of the fans at Boulder, besting the hometown boys 14-10 in probably the most exciting game of the weekend. Colorado 2012 is a lot younger than its predecessor, missing talents like Jack McShane (Johnny Bravo), Hylke Sneider (Sockeye), Evan Padget (Johnny Bravo), Matty Zemmel (Johnny Bravo, NexGen) and Marty Freeman. However, Mamabird still has plenty of star power in Jimmy Mickle (Johnny Bravo, NexGen), who is a solid all-around player and definitely one of the best pullers in college (or club) ultimate. Bird also has talent in the form of Captain Jackson “Gloves” Kloor (Johnny Bravo), Gabe Stump (Johnny Bravo), Todd Wolma and Stu Barnes.

So far Mamabird has only attended one tournament and faced one team capable of being in the Top 20. The 12-14 loss to Washington was definitely unexpected and has made things pretty unpredictable for this weekend. With lots of games against top tiered opponents, Mamabird can really hurt themselves by trying to rely on Mickle and his huck game too much so early in the season. There is only one thing that is known for sure, the Wisconsin-Colorado rivalry is one of the most exciting in college ultimate, and that game will surely be a treat to watch.

California-Santa Barbara Black Tide

UCSB has started the 2012 season on the right foot, beating the teams that they should and playing the betters ones close. The Black Tide has done well for themselves, beating UCSD, Stanford and Cal Poly-SLO and is sitting comfortably in the #2 spot in the Southwest. Santa Barbara is in a solid position for this weekend, in a Pool C that should be easy to hold or possibly break seed in. Either way, it is doubtful that Harvard will be threatening the Tide’s chances at making Pre-Quarters on Sunday. Luckily for UCSB, it is unlikely that they will face off against California UGMO, who they seem to be allergic to with a 0-3 record.

The Black Tide has 9 players from the Santa Barbara Condors team that made a surprise trip to Club Nationals this past October. With most of those guys playing on the defensive side of the disc for the Santa Barbara club team, it is evident that UCSB is still trying to work out the kinks on offense. Typically employing a horizontal stack that likes to look deep, as well as a very physical style of man defense, the Tide should be able to find themselves in competitive situations all weekend long, no matter the opponent. UCSB can do themselves a favor by beating Colorado and breaking seed, as the 3 seed from Pool C will most likely have to face off against Florida first thing on Sunday morning. Because of this, I expect the UCSB-Colorado game to be the most important game of Pool C.

Harvard Red Line

Harvard Red Line is definitely in a rebuilding year after their strong 2011 5th place finish at Nationals. The losses of guys like Devon Williams, Andrew Vogt and George Stubbs (2011 Callahan Winner, NexGen Captain, Ironside) is not something that is easily recovered from. Adding the departure of Coach Josh McCarthy (Ironside Coach) only makes the holes for Red Line harder to fill.

Stepping in as McCarthy’s replacement is Mike McKenzie, who played for Harvard from 2005-2007. In the wake of Stubbs and Vogt are Misha Herscu (2011 All Region) and Captain Whitt Virgin-Downey, who was instrumental in Red Line’s surprise victory over Carleton at 2010 Nationals in Madison, WI. Though Harvard finds themselves in a difficult position to advance to bracket play, this tournament should be about getting experience for your younger players. With Tufts and Dartmouth already doing the heavy lifting for the New England region, Harvard may be able to use these elite tournaments (Stanford & Centex) to amply prepare themselves for early May, when everything is truly on the line.


  1. Wisconsin
  2. Colorado
  3. California-Santa Barbara
  4. Harvard

Comments Policy: At Skyd, we value all legitimate contributions to the discussion of ultimate. However, please ensure your input is respectful. Hateful, slanderous, or disrespectful comments will be deleted. For grammatical, factual, and typographic errors, instead of leaving a comment, please e-mail our editors directly at editors [at]