We reached Michael Baccarini at 9 pm, once he returned home from lining the fields in preparation for the upcoming tournament. He wants the fields to look good and “small things like this send the message that we care not only about the fields, but ultimately about the sport”, he says. Dedication like this is what you can always expect at the Paideia Cup. Seven years ago, Dave Clauson, a Paideia parent whose 3 kids have all played ultimate, asked Michael Baccarini, what his dream was for Paideia Ultimate. Michael then said that his dream was to host a marquee tournament that they could be proud of, one in the tradition of the great Amherst Tournament and they did just that. Dave Clauson, along with an army of parents over the years have put their hearts and souls into bringing about one of the best high school tournaments in the country.
The Cup has been trucking along ever since 2006 leading to the upcoming 7th Paideia Cup. The purpose of this tournament was to attract Amherst Tourney caliber teams, help with the growth of the game in Atlanta and the southeast region, showcase the game to family, fans and ultimate community and it also allows Paideia to stay at home, not propelling them to travel for great competition. There is no other event like this in the southeast in regards to its organization and the level of competition.
The Paideia Cup is comprised of 14 teams with 8 guy teams and 6 girl teams. Last year, The Seattle Fryz, a club team put together of the best HS players in Seattle, WA won the Paideia Cup last year. Paideia themselves have come in 2nd place for the past 3 years. In 2009 they lost in finals to Hopkins, in 2010 they lost to Amherst and in 2011 they lost to the Fryz. And sure enough, this year looks to be the most competitive Paideia Cup yet.
The bottom line is, there isn’t a lot of separating the top from the bottom. Prediction is involved in the seedings since there is very little head to head play. The number one seed, Amherst, has a lot of credentials, a great program, mental toughness and are well coached.
Paideia holds the number two seed. The third seed is South Eugene High school out of Oregon. They are the 2010 High school USA Ultimate Western Regional Champions.
The fourth seed is the Hopkins High school out of Minneapolis, Minnesota. The fifth seed is the Holy Family Catholic Home Schooled Cooperative School out of Cincinnati, Ohio. They are a very strong squad and they often compete in split games with Hopkins at a tournament in Chicago.
Columbia High school holds the sixth seed coming out of Maplewood, New Jersey. Neuqua Valley High school is the seventh seed and they are from Naperville, Illinois. Naperville is home to five ultimate teams and made it to the semifinals at the Madison Mudbath in Wisconsin.
Last, but not least the eighth seed is the University School of Nashville team (USN) which has been a main regional rival of Paideia for many years.
The girls’ seedings include YHB-Yorktown-HB out of Woodlawn, D.C. at the number one spot, Paideia at number two, Columbia High school at three, the Holy Family Catholic at number four, a club comprised of the AIS (Atlanta International School) and Grady High called the Scraps at number five and lastly USN at the sixth seed.
The Paideia Cup has a high priority on the Spirit of The Game (SOTG). SOTG is talked about at the Captain’s meeting at the beginning of the tournament and this sets the tone. It reminds the players that we are in this thing together even in the heat of competition. Character is more important that what’s on the scoreboard. To top everything fascinating thing about this tournament is the fact that it is a “zero waster tournament”. Everything is recyclable or compostable. Over the course of the weekend, several hundred people are planned to attend these games that are run at the same time. Will you be one of them?
Nigel Smith is a player for Paideia Ultimate