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.”
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.
Photo courtesy of Dan Curme.
As the college Ultimate has seemingly been falling apart there has been one constant over the course of the season. That constant has been Carleton College and CUT is being rewarded for its consistency as it received the No. 1 seed for the upcoming UPA College Nationals in Columbus, Ohio on May 22-25. CUT began its season with a one-loss performance at Cultimate’s Trouble in Vegas and continued on a path to success throughout the entire preseason.
The question that must be floating through the minds of many Ultimate fans is: How does CUT stay on top of the Ultimate world? As Oregon falls for on-the-field issues that are kind of off-the-field issues and Florida falls to the strength of the rest of its Region, CUT stayed strong, winning its Region and defeating Wisconsin at Regionals for the first time in four years.
The Horrorzontals pose at College Centex in Austin, Texas. Photo courtesy of Kevin Kelley.
The season began with quite a let down for the Kansas Ultimate team this season. KU is now sitting pretty with a 23-11 record, is ranked No. 20 in the UPA Top 25 and earned the No. 11 seed at UPA College Nationals in Columbus, Ohio on May 22-25. However, when the Horrorzontals travled to Cultimate’s Trouble in Vegas for their first tournament of the season everything did not go as planned. While future Nationals qualifiers like Colorado and Carleton had field days, finishing in the semifinals and finals, respectively.
The Horrorzontals struggled to a 3-6 record at TiV and were in definite danger of seeing their season not only start off on the wrong foot but take a bad second step when they finished their trip to Centex in Austin, Texas with a tournament record of 3-4 and had a overall record of 6-10. Team captain, senior Kevin Kelly chalks the poor record up to a little bit more than a lack of talent though, as by the time UK arrived in Las Vegas, they had only been able to work on the track and had yet to get an actual practice in.