Monthly Archives: May 2009

Morning Pull: UPA College Nationals Experimental Rules

That’s right ladies and gentlemen (well, more the gentlemen than the ladies) there’s a new sheriff in town. The 20 teams competing at college Nationals voted to approve some new rules for this season’s National tournament. Here’s what they look like:

Open –

Travel Calls will go to immediate referral. There will be no debate. The calls will be made then, if they are contested, go straight to the observer.

Up/Down Calls will be made actively by the observers. Players cannot call or contest Up/Down calls.

Women –

Both Travel and Up/Down calls will be immediate referral.

Stay tuned as we have many things on our plate. Neeley will be weighing in on the new rules to give us a Nationals player’s perspective on the upcoming rule changes. Also, we’ve been contacted by Team USA coach Greg Connelly, we’ll have his take on how Team USA has gelled so far and what tasks they have ahead of them.


Team USA Scrimmage Recap

In Kaohsiung, Chinese Taipei today the weather was pleasant, slightly cloudy with temperatures in the low eighties. The weather in Atlanta, Ga., on the other hand, was verging on miserable. Rain dripped from the sky in the slow, steady style that forces you to assume that it will never stop again while wind gusted occasionally reaching up to 12 MPH and temperatures dropping to an uncharacteristically cold 60 degrees.

So, the question that comes to mind is: How on earth could a scrimmage in Atlanta help prepare Team USA for anything that stands ahead of it in Kaohsiung in merely 58 days? Well, it may have helped Team USA prepare for any kind of adversity, weather or otherwise, that stands ahead of it in Kaohsiung.

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Nationals Open Previews: Luther LUFDA

Luther poses at Central Regionals where the team finished third. Photo courtesy of Greg Shirbroun.

Luther poses at Central Regionals where the team finished third. Photo courtesy of Greg Shirbroun.

If one could see a list of all the teams that have ever qualified for Nationals it would be apparent that there are such things as dynasties, powerhouses and traditional powers in Ultimate. It would also be apparent after looking at that list that many of those powerhouses and dynasties have qualified this year, among them are Wisconsin, UC Santa Barabara, Georgia and Cornell.

One name that you will not see on any lists is Luther College. No lists other than the list of qualifiers for this season’s National tournament, of course. LUFDA is appearing in its first Nationals tournament and won the West Plains College Open Sectionals for the first time this season. LUFDA is primed and ready to compete in UPA Nationals in Columbus, Ohio over May 22-25 although the team is merely six years old as a program.

While this season has been a season of firsts for Luther, it also has been a season of goals. Shirbroun recalls a specific meeting over Luther’s winter break when the idea of Nationals came up during a discussion of goals. It was at that point that Shirbroun began to think about his team making the trip of a lifetime when May rolled around.

“Prior to our winter break we had a team meeting to discuss goals, and one we discussed was Nationals,” Shirbroun wrote us in an e-mail. “Having seen the elite level of ultimate this summer, and knowing the athleticism and spirit of this team, I had complete faith that we could accomplish this goal.  Of course, you never know until you start playing in the spring.”

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Team USA: Scrimmage Preview

Team USA member Deb Cussen throws a forehand against Canada at Worlds 2005. Photo courtesy of Deb Cussen, shot by Mel Deaver.

Team USA member Deb Cussen throws a forehand against Canada at Worlds 2005. Photo courtesy of Deb Cussen, shot by Mel Deaver.

Every four years athletes of all shapes and sizes congregate for the International Word Gaming Association’s World Games. Among the many competitions that take place at The World Games is an international Ultimate competition. One of the most historically successful teams among the international competition is Team USA. This year’s Team USA is making an effort to raise funds and connect with local Ultimate communities by participating in scrimmages around the nation prior to leaving the States for Kaohsiung, Chinese Taipei from July 7-16.

Team USA member and Atlanta resident Deb Cussen is helping organize a scrimmage for Team USA against club Ultimate players from Atlanta elite-level teams, Chain and Ozone this weekend in Atlanta. Cussen sees a benefit to the scrimmage for both Team USA and the Altanta community.

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Morning Pull: Team USA Scrimmages in Atlanta

That’s right ladies and gentlemen, your national Ultimate heroes are coming to the Dirty South this Sunday for a scrimmage against local club players at 12:30 PM. This has happened, we believe, once prior to this scrimmage. Team USA traveled to Boulder, CO to face off against local players and, in fact, lost to the local team. We suppose that home-field advantage is real and it is heavy when it comes to Ultimate.

Not only will Team USA be coming for a scrimmage but the team is also offering a clinic for youth players in the area starting at 10:00 AM and going to 12:00 PM. Which is great news because we all know that Atlanta youth simply don’t have enough opportunities to learn to be awesome at Ultimate.  A great high school age Ultimate player hasn’t come out of Atlanta since… about four or five seconds ago.

All joking aside, we are excited about this idea. There’s no doubt in our mind that the UPA simply does not have the funds to completely support Team USA’s travels and for that reason a lot of the team’s expenses end up coming out of pocket. The team is using this event to showcase their skills and benefit the local community along with raising funds (a donation of $10 is asked if you are attending the clinic and the scrimmage or just the scrimmage) to support its travels later this summer.

We spoke with Team USA member and current Atlanta resident Deb Cussen about the event and will have an interview with her up later today. Also, we will be covering the action live on Sunday. We’ll be sure to Twitter scores as they happen and have a full game recap up later in the day. We’re trying to work out photos as well and we’ll update you as events unfold there. Don’t worry though, we will not be neglecting our responsibilities with regards to College Nationals as a result of this.

Nationals Open Previews: NC State Wolfpack

NC State poses for a team picture after defeating Florida in the game-to-go at UPA Atlantic Coast Regionals. Photo courtesy of Evan Bowles.

NC State poses for a team picture after defeating Florida in the game-to-go at UPA Atlantic Coast Regionals. Photo courtesy of Evan Bowles.

At UPA College Regionals this season the NC State Wolfpack forever burned itself into the memories of Ultimate players by beating the No. 1 team in the Nation, Florida, in the game-to-go, securing a spot for NCSU at UPA Nationals in Columbus, Ohio on May 22-25 and sending the Gators home for the summer. The Wolfpack had fought from the No. 5 seed to take the third bid to Nationals. Now NC State is attempting to do the impossible once again by defeating all odds and winning a National Championship.

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Morning Pull: UPA All-Region

In our opinion there is always something just a little bit silly when it comes to awards and things of that nature. There is rarely an agreed upon definition of how one is to receive an award.

Look no further than Arizona State University, the school that is refusing Barack Obama an honorary doctoral degree after he delivers the school’s commencement address this year because he hasn’t proved himself yet. This, of course, is the same school that gave a Canadian prime minister an honorary degree when she had served less time in office than Obama has already. She was also subsequently voted out of office.

We digress, point being, the UPA released its All-Region first and second teams for this season along with the Freshman of the Year awards. Since we’re based in the Atlantic Coast we’ll stick to discussing that. Here’s the team:

Courtesy of

Courtesy of

While the first team seems fairly accurate we were surprised to see some names not make the list. That being said, all of these players are more than deserving of the team in the AC, we just believe it’s a testament to the talent in the Region that there are more players than just these 16.

Caleb Edwards – Jojah – Of course, Hickson was injured at Regionals and we didn’t get a chance to watch the younger Sayre-McCord that much but, it’s hard to believe that either of these two freshmen have a noticeably larger impact on their team than Edwards. We know Hickson is talented and Sayre-McCord is doubtlessly deserving as well but Edwards plays a major role in the offense of the 2nd best team in the Region.

Chris Kibson and Cole Sullivan – Florida – It’s hard to say who these two should have made the team in front of but, once again depending on your criteria, these two should have at least gotten a second glance.

Eric Olivier – Charleston – EO is a great player and, although he’s not surrounded by the talent that many of these other players are, he’s deserving of some recognition. The man is great in the air and of you can introduce us to someone in the Region who has a larger and more accurate flick huck we’ll eat our shorts.

All that being said, UPA did a good job and these are, of course, based on votes from captains and organizers. So, what do we know?