Category Archives: previews

CCC LIII Previews: Notre Dame Papal Rage

Being a team from a powerful region has its benefits. Great experience, great competition and production of an overall better Ultimate program. However, it also has its downsides, like not being able to advance to Nationals despite having great talent.

That was the story last year for Notre Dame Papal Rage. The team finished 13th in the UPA’s highly regarded RRI, with a 39-7 record on the season. However, two of those seven losses came at exactly the wrong time as Rage was downed by Ohio State and Michigan (17-16) at the Great Lakes Regionals.

This sent a talented senior class out in manner that they did not expect.

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CCC LIII Previews: Virginia Night Train

It’s no secret how Virginia ran into such success last season. Night Train was led by a ten-person senior class and that senior class was led by Robert Runner, now a National Champion with Chain Lightning.

Runner, in addition to being Night Train’s Callahan candidate, led the team on the field with a smart mind and an incredible presence in the huddle. We witnessed it first hand at AC Regionals as Virginia ran through the competition and there was no question that Runner was the head of the team. He was given great deference in between games, points and halves throughout the tournament.

So, while that gives us a lot of background and knowledge about where Virginia is coming from, it doesn’t answer a lot questions regarding how Night Train plans on getting back to where it left off last year.

How do you replace a Callahan candidate? How do you replace ten seniors?

Well, you start with Tyler Conger.

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CCC LIII Previews: UNC Darkside

There is often a debate that rages in Ultimate circles. What would happen to the Ultimate world if a true athlete decided to join the ranks of Ultimate players? What if a professional, or even Division I-level athlete, decided that Ultimate was his/her best competitive outlet.

Would the average Ultimate player become obsolete? Admittedly there are plenty of athletes in the game of Ultimate. Let us never forget the legend of Beau Kittredge challenging Colorado’s track athletes to races.

However, none, or few, of those athletes have ever met great success in the world outside of Ultimate. The University of North Carolina believes they may have the first athlete to change that in an unheard of sophomore named Curtis Bowman.

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CCC LIII Previews: Jojah Bulldogs

They say that success is contagious. If that’s the case, then Jojah is certainly in for one of its most successful seasons of all time.

Since 2003 Jojah has only missed Nationals once. It is safe to say that the Bulldogs have made themselves a staple of the competitive Ultimate scene. However, apart from their trip to the semifinals on the back of future World Champion Dylan Tunnell, Jojah has not had much in the way of success once Nationals has rolled around. Last season was no exception as Georgia, the No. 2 team from the Atlantic Coast, won one game in Columbus and finished tied for 19th in the nation.

“For all our players that were on the team last year,” Jojah captains Peter Dempsey and Rob Herrig wrote us in an e-mail. “(That) was an embarrassment.”

However, Jojah has been surrounded by success this offseason, as two of men who play pivotal roles on the team, fifth year captain Dempsey and coach AJ Tiarsmith helped lead Atlanta’s Chain Lightning to its first UPA Club Championship.

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CCC LIII Previews: Wisconsin Hodags

Life is tough when you are one of the best. Expectations run rampant and you have a standard to live up to. Such is life when you are a Wisconsin Hodag.

Over the last ten years, the Hodag name and symbol have become synonymous with elite level college ultimate. It has been ten years since the Hodags missed a trip to UPA Nationals. The Hodags boast a Callahan winner among their alumni, a group who are as renowned for their talent as they are for their dedication to the ideal that is Wisconsin Ultimate.

However, along with all the fame and all the glory comes a great burden as well. The 2009 UPA series was the first time in four years that Wisconsin did not find itself among the semifinalists at College Nationals. In fact, earlier in the season, at Trouble in Vegas, the Hodags went winless for a day of Ultimate. A feat that, according to the Hodags has never been  seen before in Hodag Ultimate history, aside from winless Sundays at college Nationals.

While for most programs, a replica of Wisconsin’s 2009 season would be the season to end all seasons, the Hodags were certainly not overwhelmingly pleased with their results. This left many folks asking the question, “What is wrong with Wisconsin ultimate?” and “What does this mean for next year?” As a large group of the Hodags’ core was leaving for the great beyond of post graduation. Including Callahan nominee Jim Foster.

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CCC LIII Previews: Florida FUEL

As a South Carolina football fan, we can safely say that there almost nothing more painful in sports than coming close to success but finding yourself just short once again.

Such was life for Florida FUEL last season. The ladies from Gainesville found themselves either in the Finals or Semifinals of four of the five tournaments that they entered last season yet FUEL failed to advance to Nationals.

However, also having been in that position, we can tell you that few things push you to success more than coming up short. FUEL currently resides in that state of mind, driven by the shortcoming of last season, FUEL is fired up and ready to compete for Nationals this year.

“All our players are one year more experienced,” Senior captain Alisha Stoun wrote us in an e-mail when asked what would help get her team over the hump. “We have added workouts and we’ve got a few especially hungry players who are pushing the others harder.”

Another entity that is pushing FUEL to more and more success this year is the addition of a coach, Carlo Mosca.

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CCC LIII Previews: South Carolina Gamecocks

(Ed. Note – We did go to South Carolina. We do believe that USC has the most charming, best looking and overall awesomest Ultimate program that has ever graced the face of the planet. That being said, we will now carry on with our completely unbiased team preview.)

As interesting as Nationals level teams are, the fact of the matter is, most teams that compete in the UPA Series are not Nationals caliber teams. In fact, just over 20 teams make it to Nationals every year out of the, literally, hundreds that compete in Sectionals. The struggles, challenges and everyday life that goes along with being one of those teams that isn’t basking in the limelight of the sport at the end of May are rarely told. Historically at South Carolina, Ultimate hasn’t necessarily been about winning Nationals. It’s more about the constant improvement of oneself and the goal of competing at the highest level that one can compete at.

However, South Carolina captain, senior Kevin Anderson, is ready to change that tune just a little. The Gamecocks haven’t made it out of their section in three years and Anderson believes this year is the year for USC to make some noise.

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