Before we get to the big exciting news, we’ll start with a couple of quick notes about Alumni Weekend (aka “The Weekend ™”):
CUF Annual Meeting
For those attending The Weekend ™ please join us for the CUF Annual meeting to be held from 9 – 10 am on Saturday morning May, 12th in the Sayles-Hill Meeting Room on the 2nd floor. As a registered 501(c)(3) organization CUF is required to hold an annual meeting and share our results from the year. The CUF board has a lot to share but is especially excited to unveil our plans for ensuring long-term support for maintaining the excellence of ultimate at Carleton. All who are in Northfield are welcome and those not attending can certainly ask questions by emailing current Chair, Brent ‘Rexy’ Nystrom ’92 at firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Tap for The Weekend ™!
The Weekend ™ schedule will be out very soon but as a small preview, our Friday night gathering (which used to be at the Rueb–which is now closed and under renovation as a new restaurant) will be held at Imminent Brewing, one of Northfield’s new breweries. Our own CUT alum, Josh ‘Kaiser’ Wilhelm ’99 and his Sub Zero Brewing label collaborated with Imminent Brewing to create a beer in honor of CUT’s 2017 National Championship. The blurb about the beer is in their most recent newsletter and is pasted below. We want to thank Imminent by showing up and drinking lots of their beers on Friday night.
Now on to the big stuff…
CUT AND SYZYGY ARE HEADING TO NATIONALS!!!
CUT and Syzygy dominated the competition this past weekend in Ames, IA, with both teams winning the region and securing their bids to the big show. You can relive each and every play from regionals by checking out their Twitter feeds (CUT and Syzygy), but we also asked the teams to give us a run down on how they got there.
CUT (in their own words):
A “brief” summary of the season:
CUT has 7 rookies this season, 4 freshmen and 3 sophomores. The 4 freshmen are Harry Wolff Landau (Amherst, MA), Alex Kucich (Maynard, MA), Tony Ngo (Seattle, WA) and Elias Levey-Swain (West Park, NY). All bring some amount of previous ultimate experience, from AK with 1-2 years of informal experience, to Harry with a thorough Amherst upbringing. Our 3 sophomore rookies are Andrew Roy (Arlington, VA), Justin Washington (Chicago, IL), and Austin Baxter (Newport Beach, CA). ARoy is a transfer from Davidson with an extensive ultimate background, while Austin and Justin are a pair of converted Carleton varsity track runners who dazzled us in the fall with their speed and ability to learn quickly.
With 19 returners and very few rookies without previous experience, we hit the ground running in the fall, teaching and tackling challenging concepts at a fast pace. Buy-in was high and individual player growth was notable for everyone. These things manifested themselves in an undefeated fall season, culminated by a tournament win at MLC despite the absences of Alex Olson, Eric Taylor, Tim Schoch, and Joe White due to U24 worlds training camp.
The 7 weeks of winter before Florida Warm Up consisted largely of track workouts with Henry Fisher and Ethan Bloodworth way ahead of everyone else, and dome practices where scrimmage was always won by the team with Nando (Luke Webb) on it. While the grind of the winter led to some usual injuries, the team seemed substantially less banged up than in years past, largely thanks to the new, lower impact track surface in the rec center.
Warm Up: We rolled up to Warm Up on Friday feeling pretty good, and immediately lost to Brown on universe in a game where we struggled to consistently beat their zone in a moderate cross wind. After a couple of sloppy wins that afternoon, our play went up several notches under the lights against UCF in a highly efficient 13-1 win. Saturday had a similar trajectory, where we struggled to put teams away early in the day, but rose to the occasion under the lights against Florida, cruising into semifinals by a score of 15-8. In the semifinals we put away Minnesota with a strong showing of offensive efficiency from both the O and D lines, and we wrapped up the weekend with a 15-11 rematch win over Brown where the O line showed none of Friday’s struggles against zone.
Stanford: Two weeks later we headed west for the Stanford Invite. Whereas at Warm Up we often allowed teams to hang around, at Stanford we were able to consistently put the opposition in an early hole. We rolled through pool play 3-0 without getting broken multiple times in a game. Sunday morning we beat the Hodags in quarters in a game that was under control from start to finish. We played a talented Washington team in semis, and after a strong start for the D line, the O line carried us to the finals with a strong second half. In the finals we played UNC, the only team to beat CUT at Nationals in 2017. They were coming off a universe point win against Oregon in their semifinal, and we came out as flat as we’ve looked all year. They took half 7-2, and the second half saw no breaks for either team, concluding 13-8 in favor of UNC.
Spring Break: After a little time off for winter term exams, the team loaded into vans and road tripped 22 hours to Atlanta where we spent spring break at the home of family of sophomore Noah Cohen. In addition to our usual spring break practices, we were able to scrimmage a group of players from the Atlanta Hustle. We won 15-13 in a spirited game where Stan Birdsong shined against his summertime teammates. In addition to playing ultimate, the team spent the week swimming in the Cohens’ pool, playing endless rounds of The Resistance (s/o Elliot Mawby) and Magic: The Gathering, and watching March Madness (which may or may not have involved Tim winning $400 from Jared).
Easterns: After a week back at school, we headed back to the southeast for Easterns. We won our pool decisively, going 4-0 with only small hiccups against Pittsburgh and some mid afternoon drowsiness against UCF, as well as a resounding 15-5 win over last year’s national finals opponent, UNC-Wilmington. Sunday morning we earned another decisive victory against Wisconsin in quarters, capped off by this walk off Callahan from junior David O’Dea. We played Auburn in semis, and despite an opening break for them, our D line quickly took over the game, forcing Auburn to consistently work against high pressure defense while running a relatively open rotation. We had an extended break while waiting for the other semifinal to conclude, so we used that time to learn the words to Alan Jackson’s “Chattahoochee”. We faced last year’s national semis opponent, UMass, in the finals. They were coming off back to back universe point wins in quarters and semis, but our fresher legs won out early and often. We jumped out to an early 4-0 lead, and when the O line saw the field, they were measured and efficient, marching through various different defensive looks from UMass. We broke to win after this explosive D from senior captain Eric Taylor , an exclamation point on what was a dominant weekend for both him and the team.
Syzygy (in their own words):
Syz has had a successful and exciting season so far with lots of fun, competitive tournaments. We have been kept on our toes all season long with crazy weather, competing in only one out of five tournaments unaffected by the weather. However, we have taken all these changes in stride and continue to enjoy pre-tournament team potlucks, lots of dance parties, and ballin out on the field.
This year’s team is captained by Naomi Price-Lazarus, Maddie Preiss, and Ellen Jacobus. In the fall Syz welcomed eight rookies to the team: Isabel Arevalo, Claire Dettelbach, Madie Scott, Gracie Little, Nariah Sims, Karen Ehrhardt, Emma Wasend, and Ellery Rourke. They all immediately brought infectious enthusiasm and talent to the team. They have gelled seamlessly and can be found getting layout ds, leading sideline cheers, and unleashing wicked flick hucks.
Winter was cold and snowy as usual, sending us back to the beloved dome and rec. We ran grueling track workouts but were uplifted by the blasts of Martha and cheers of our teammates. We found some relief from the snow by traveling to Queen City Tune Up in North Carolina. We went undefeated the first day and were sad when the second day was canceled due to heavy rains. A few weeks later we traveled to Fremont, California for the Stanford Invite where we held seed. For spring break, we went to Seattle, Washington and enjoyed a week of practices before participating in Northwest Challenge. We played challenging teams, learned lots, and embraced the rain.
The beginning of spring was unusual and a little tumultuous. Minnesota welcomed us back to the first few weeks of “spring” with blizzards and freezing temperatures forcing us to stay inside at the dome. However, a few weeks in, after a particularly large snow drop, we got news that our favorite dome collapsed! Luckily, we were able to continue practices in the Rec and found another dome to practice in. As a wise Syztah once said, “hard climates make harsh warriors.” Despite not having had an outdoor practice since November, Syz traveled to Ames, Iowa last weekend (a week later than initially scheduled due to snow) and claimed first place at Sectionals. We are excited to be traveling back to the same place this weekend (we already know where the Cold Stone is) and are hoping to repeat the same successes again this weekend!
(Editor’s Note: Now that Syz is off to nationals, we can’t wait to see what the team has in store for us there this year! If you need a pre-natties fix, check out this awesome highlight reel from Syzygy at College Nationals 2017. Big shoutout to Fulcrum Media Group for capturing this footage and to Carter Thallon for editing this together. And of course, thanks also to USA Ultimate for hosting the big show!).
One last shoutout: big congratulations to Carleton’s GOP for taking the North Central Region’s bid to D-III nationals this year!