This upcoming week, the 9th Annual Paideia Cup will take place at Python Park in Atlanta, GA. The Paideia Cup, one of the most competitive high school ultimate tournaments, attracts many of the strongest teams from all over the country. Parents of players on Paideia organize the tournament, and Paideia families host visiting players in their houses. The original goal of the tournament was to help spread the sport of ultimate in Atlanta and the southeast, and since the start of the tournament the popularity of ultimate in Atlanta has grown tremendously.
Eight boys teams and eight girls teams will compete in this year’s tournament, with one team coming from the Middle East. Ultimate Peace, an organization which teaches kids ultimate in the Middle East and helps bring together kids from Jewish, Arab, and Palestinian backgrounds. Last year’s boys’ champion, Amherst, will not travel to Atlanta this year, but the defending girls’ champion, Saga, will look to repeat. Strong teams from both the girls’ and boys’ divisions will make this tournament one of the best yet, and the best high school ultimate players in the country will be on display.
Boys’ Division: (In order of seeding by division)
Holy Family Catholic (Cincinnati, OH)
Despite losing star player John-Paul Bort from last season, Holy Family has had a great season so far. Holy Family came in 2nd place last year and Dominic Schuster hopes to lead them to a 1st place finish this year.
Paideia School (Atlanta, GA)
Paideia is led by seniors Nathan Haskell and Anders Olsen, who both recently made the U-19 World’s team. Along with junior Daniel Sperling, they helped Paideia to a few key wins at Deep Freeze. They look to improve from last years’ surprising 8th place finish, after finished 2nd fours years in a row before that.
Chapel Hill High School (NC)
Chapel Hill has a tough first round game against last year’s runner-up, Holy Family Catholic. Chapel Hill competed in Deep Freeze as well as a few other tournaments this year, and Kevin Mateer will look to lead them to a strong finish.
Yorktown High School (Arlington, VA)
This is Yorktown’s first year in the Paideia Cup, and they are hoping to surprise some teams
Carolina Friends School (Durham, NC)
The Carolina Friends School has had a decent start to their season and they come into Paideia cup after a key win over Paideia at Deep Freeze. The will look to revenge their loss to Holy Family Catholic earlier in the year. The Carolina Friends School is led by Sol Yanuck.
Hopkins High School (Minnetonka, MN)
After losing to Holy Family Catholic earlier in the season, Hopkins beat Nequa Valley 10-9 at the Chicago Invite. They won the Paideia Cup in 2012, beating Paideia in the final.
Neuqua Valley High School (Naperville, IL)
Nequa Valley finished 4th in last year’s Paideia Cup and should have another strong showing this year. They lost to Paideia earlier this year and are led by Jack Shanahan.
De Smet Jesuit HS (St. Louis, MO)
De Smet finished 3rd in last years Paideia Cup, and they were a big surprise at the tournament. They finished 7th at the tournament in 2010.
Girls’ Division: (In order of seeding by division)
Saga (Chapel Hill-Durham-NC)
Last year’s champions, Saga looks to defend their championship this year. They have a strong group of players and will be a tough challenge for many teams.
Neuqua Valley High School (Naperville, IL)
The Neuqua Valley Girls, for the first time, will be joining the boy’s team in Atlanta.
University School of Nashville (TN)
Much improved from two years ago when they finished winless at the Paideia Cup, USN looks to have a strong showing this year. They fared well at the Deep Freeze earlier this year.
Paideia School B (Atlanta, GA)
Paideia’s B team will show great spirit and may surprise a few teams along the way.
Holy Family Catholic (Cincinnatti, OH)
Led by Kjiersti Fry, Holy Family Catholic has a strong squad this year. They always make a strong showing in this tournament, placing 3rd, 2nd, 7th and 8th at Annual Paideia Cups, respectively. They beat Paideia at Deep Freeze earlier this year.
Paideia School A (Atlanta, GA)
The host team’s A squad, led by seniors Carly Berlin, Anna Glass, and Nia Smith, and up and coming freshmen, will look to continue their tradition of strong showings in the Paideia Cup. They placed 2nd last year and won the tournament two years ago.
Ultimate Peace (Middle East)
This team is a combination of Jewish and Arab high schoolers from Israel and the Palestinian territories, as well as American players that trained them the past few summers. This is their first year competing in the Paideia Cup, and they come playing a unique style of ultimate.
Blackman High School (Murfreesboro, TN)
This is the first year the Blackman girls will be competing in the Paideia Cup. They participated in the Deep Freeze Tournament earlier this year and lost to Paideia, Holy Family Catholic, and the University School of Nashville.