By Kevin White
This past weekend, the University of Puget Sound Ultimate Frisbee teams dominated at the Northwest Challenge. The teams went a combined 11-1, with Clearcut winning the women’s tournament and the Postmen finishing second in the men’s tournament.
Clearcut, who has placed third at the past two national tournaments, has continued its run of dominance. Senior Neeyati Johnson (Denver, Colorado) felt good about the results, saying “Clearcut has decisive wins over most teams but was challenged by our division rival PLU.” Clearcut defeated the crosstown rivals 11-7 in the finals. Clearcut is currently ranked third in Division III by Ultiworld.com. The next-closest team in the conference is Pacific Lutheran, ranked 15th.
The tournament results have the team feeling confident, rightfully so based off of historical precedent. First-year Emma Piorier (Saint Paul, Minnesota) says “We are optimistic that we can carry this momentum through regional conferences in April and prove that we can consistently perform as the top Division III team in the region.” The ability of Clearcut to sustain this success is incredibly impressive, and Piorier chalks it up to the depth the team enjoys: “All players on Clearcut were used on the field throughout the weekend and in our championship game which proved that every single member of our team is a threat to the competition.” You can’t spell powerhouse without “UPS”!
The Postmen also enjoyed a great tournament. They finished second, losing a hard-fought battle to the University of Portland in the finals, 10-7. The team felt good with the result, beating two Division I teams (Montana and Montana State), as well as conference rival Lewis and Clark 10-8. Junior captain Ramsey Rossmann (Birmingham, Alabama) felt good about the tournament, saying, “We had the best team chemistry I’ve seen as a Postman which gives me high expectations for the remainder of the season.”
The regional competition for spots in nationals will be fierce. Both Lewis and Clark and Portland are competitive, and Pacific Lutheran pulled an upset and won their own tournament four weeks ago. The toughest team in the conference is Whitman, ranked second by Ultiworld. The Postmen haven’t seen Whitman at any recent tournaments, because Whitman is apparently afraid of scheduling games against its competition. Expect the Postmen to make a run, because you can’t spell “scrappy underdog” without “UPS”!
The teams will have three weeks before their next tournament, the all-important regionals held down in Puyallup. Both Clearcut and Postmen will be competing against their regional opponents in the hope of achieving a bid to nationals. Both teams have a good shot, if the Northwest Challenge results are any indication. One advantage both teams should enjoy is the proximity to the University, both as a cut-down on travel time and the possibility of fans supporting their teams. Go watch your classmates throw some plastic around and kick some butt!