Thursday, December 24, 2009

Happy Holidays!


Happy Holiday to all of you! Thanks for the support over the past year.

I will be in Vancouver over the break, putting together end of year surveys and some new articles to start the new year right!



TULA Invite Tournament 2010


Torontula will once again be hosting an indoor ultimate tournament on January 15th from 9:30 - 11:30 PM. We will be playing at U of T's Varsity Stadium under the heated dome. As was the case last year wewill be playing with hat teams to encourage players from the different universities to get to know each other.

In the mix will be some ofToronto's finest GOAT players, so consider this your preseason chanceto show the club players what you've got. There will be prizes forTeam and Tournament MVPs, as well as a post-game party nearby. Costwill be $20 per player.

If you are interested playing please email me at the e-mail address below with the following information:

1) Name
2) University
3) Experience (last college or club team you played on)

Once again, please forward this invitation to your teammates.Registration is open starting now and will likely fill up.

Taylor Martin

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Torneo Eterna Primavera 2009- Medellín, Columbia


Recently, Furious George and Traffic, both from Vancouver, participated with Seattle's Sockeye and Riot at the Torneo Eterna Primavera tournament in Medellín, Columbia.

Alex Davis, member of Furious George, provided the following description of the tournament and the experience.

The TEP television commercial:

A promotional video for supporters:

A Spanish news report (June):

An interview with Oscar Pottinger:

Owen's blog:

Tournament Website:

Between November 17 and November 28, Medellin hosted a uniquely ambitious ultimate event. In conjunction with an astonishing array of public, non-profit and private partners, ACUM and an army of volunteers brought four North American teams (Furious, Traffic, Sockeye and Riot) to Colombia to promote their sport. They facilitated a series of clinics respectively aimed at schoolchildren, at-risk youth, college students and competitive clubs. They convinced the public that ultimate is a sport worth investing in, teaching, watching and playing. They hosted an international forum on spirit of the game and development. And of course, they capped it off with an exciting, superbly run tournament, with televised finals and showcase games.

There's so much I could write about, but it would be an ordeal to read. I'll try to limit myself to a few reflections. For those just interested in the raw results, I'll spare you the agony: Sockeye over Furious (15-13) in the men's final and Riot over Revolution (15-11?) in the women's. The altitude killed the wind in my sails, the turf ate holes through my clothes and into my skin, and naturally, the heat was so stifling that the tournament paused for siesta -- and it was all great fun.

First and foremost, South American ultimate is on the rise. At every stage of the event, I was impressed with the state of the game, the cultivation of the sport, and its marketing. In their current states, almost every club in attendance could have held its own at the UPA Regional level. I say that not with patronizing intent, but to set a frame of reference; at least half a dozen teams appeared able to play on a par with Voodoo or Streetgang. Among these teams, the parity in skill is tight and competition is fierce.

Strategically, like most young teams, a lot of these clubs still lack team depth in throwing skill, for which they compensate in athleticism and feats of reception. Their cutting game usually emphasizes vertical cuts with very little crossing of lanes. Conventionally, this style of cutting would limit their options, but they have compensated with sheer agility and a willingness to rely on tight throws in spite of defensive pressure. The Colombians shine in their refusal to drop anything; as a defender, I was personally frustrated by this very consistent grace under fire. Indeed, this offense only faltered in one of two cases: either the defense effected savvy switches or the receivers eventually tired. The strict employment of vertical cutting is exhausting, of course (as someone who knows from personal overuse) and without a deep bench of replacements, the offense weakens in the second halves of most games. As evidence to that effect, Furious George won most games by a margin between 3:2 and 4:3, but typically only took half by one break.

As for development, I am humbled and alarmed by the calibre of the Colombian juniors, whom we had the privilege to coach for a week leading up to the tournament. There are not many teenaged players yet, but the next generation of Colombian athletes have learned the game much younger than our own; it was alarming to discover what players as young as twelve already had achieved in core throwing and catching skills.

This appears to be because the proponents of the game in Colombia (and notably, TD Mauricio Moore) have succeeded in gaining tremendous traction within the popular community. The governments encourage sports as a countermeasure to violence and perceive Spirit of the Game as a vehicle to teach conflict resolution to local youth. INDER Medellin (a massively staffed department of parks and recreation) has heavily invested in ultimate clinics and tournaments like the Torneo Eterna Primavera, advertising the events by broadly visible television and billboard campaigns. As one of the handsomely uniformed instructors explained, the sponsorship of TEP and visiting teams (like Furious) was literally an investment in combatting youth crime.

This community emphasis on spirit was also the motivation for a series of forums and speeches, inviting an international congress of players to discuss varied topics related to Spirit of the Game and international development. I won't recount everything that was said, as it would appear stale here. As for my experience, I have always reserved spirit (or sportsmanship, if you prefer) as a very personal matter; I rarely discuss my definition (I find it a tedious exercise), and have never felt a desire to proselytize. So perhaps when I say that this tournament was the most spirited, warmest, and most respectful competition I have ever played, I mean it without exaggeration. The rituals we followed were quintessentially Colombian: simple, easy and unforced; a shaking of hands, a post-game gathering and a few words in English and Spanish usually sufficed. No songs; no silly games. It carried a sincerity of respect I hadn't noticed elsewhere before – it felt genuinely Olympic. They had brought us to Medellin at great trouble and expense to teach sport and sportsmanship . . . and I just wanted to earn their respect.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

"Being Classy is Free"...


Every year, teams and players go through the unfortunate following:
  • They say no to players trying to make their teams
  • They cut current players and leaders that they longer wish to "retain"
  • They get passed over by players who leave them to join other teams
Now, we can agree that these decisions are not easy. We can only handle/train so many players, so many voices, and so many egos on a team. We have no way to retain players in this amateur sport, and players have the right to leave when they want to. We can only assume that when these tough situations happen, teams and leaders need to do it with class.

As a friend said recently, "Being Classy is Free". And yet, in ultimate we are rife every year with stories about poorly handled situations where that unlimited and free resource of Classiness is not applied in ultimate.

Non-Football Example- Bobby Bowden Gets Axed at Florida State

This week, the president and athletic director of Florida State University unceremoniously gave football coach Bobby Bowden, head coach for 33 years at the school, no choice but to "resign" at the end of this season.

Bowden, 80 years old, was clearly nearing the end. In fairness, being 80 and running a national football program is a daunting task. His ability to recruit and field a powerhouse had waned, and a conference full of coaches who are younger, more tech savvy (Does Bobby Bowden tweet?), and more effective was clearly hurting the FSU program. The school was getting all the ego and swagger of a college football coach, and none of the results. I'm sure Bowden was a jerk, but that doesn't excuse one from their actions.

On the other hand, Bowden was an icon at the school. He made that school. The football field is named after him. His teams were top 5 in the country from 1987-2000. Won two national titles. And let's be serious- He brought more money to that school that anyone ever has.

What will the FSU Football girls (pictured) do without Bowden?

The major problem with the firing.. errr resignation was the way it was done.

The President, who made the firing, and the athletic director were responsible for the decision. In order to announce it, they used two current players to face the media. They refused to address the media and answer for their actions. Not only did they fire a legend, they didn't want to explain why.

Bringing it back to ultimate, I think these kinds of awkward situations are caused by poor leaders, or simply people who focused more on their own pursuits than the feelings and dignity of others. I think people forget that we play a volunteer amateur sport that the real world doesn't really respect a whole he&& of a lot.

There is no real hard and fast rules about being classy, but I would simply advocate the 'golden rule' of doing onto others as you would would have do onto you. That's a simple start.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

One Play Does Not a Game Make


Last Sunday night was the Canadian Football League's championship game. One of very own ultimate players works for the CFL head office (Let's call him "Loic") so it is great to see the league doing so well and being so popular in Canada. 6.1 million viewers watch the final game of three down football in 2009.

The Montreal Alouettes won the game with a 28-27 win over the Saskatchewan Roughriders. This was Montreal's 7th appearance in the cup final this decade, and had only won once before in six tries. If they didn't win, I was going to write an article asking you readers if great players whose teams don't win are still great. (Jim Kelly and Dan Marino anyone?)

After a somewhat quiet first three quarters, the game picked up and saw Montreal come back froma 27-11 deficit to win the game on the final play of the game.

Pretty normal stuff right? But for those of you who didn't watch the game.. here's where it gets tricky.
  • On the final play Montreal's kicker (Damon Duval, who set a league record for points in a season this year) misses a 43 yard kick.
  • Saskatchewan celebrates their win
  • Flags are down amid celebration
  • Saskatchewan has too many players on the field for the final play. 10 yard penalty and another chance for Montreal.
  • Montreal boots the 33 yard field goal and wins the Grey Cup
So, this is probably the only time in professional sports both teams thought they won the championship. Replays clearly show the Roughriders had too many men on the field. There was no arguing the call.

The news headlines and TV coverage were pretty consistent: 'One big mistake costs Grey Cup'. But was that really the case? Was it just one penalty that decided the game?

We are guilty of this same type of analysis in ultimate. We often point to a single play as the "TSN Turning Point". That big d block "turned the tide" or "made the difference". It's simply not true.

Blaming a loss on one player making one play/mistake is very unfair. When you blow a 27-11 lead in a football game or a 14-10 lead in ultimate, there were many wrong things that lead to the loss. The defence failed to stop the opponent. The offence stopped scoring. Players allowed one play to get into their game and distract them.

Conversely, I also get disappointed from the overused word "clutch". Somebody can miss 70% of their shots in a basketball game, but if they hit a game winning shot at the buzzer they are clutch. Would the game have needed that shot had the player made more of their shots earlier?

Why should we try to avoid judging a game by one play?

The consequences can be heavy. It's a heavy burden to bear for the person that is at fault. It can also lead to overvaluing someone who makes a key positive play.

Look no further than Bill Buckner. Buckner had a stellar Major League Baseball career and made it to an All Star game. However, he and his name is now synonymous with one error in the 1986 world series. It doesn't matter that the team had another game to make up for that play and lost game 7, he is still the goat.

Right now the Saskatchewan team refuses to identify who was at fault for the play. They don't want someone to be labeled and I salute them for that. I hope ultimate teams behave in such a manner when the unfortunate happens.

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Potential WFDF Under 23 Tournament- Name the Roster


As you may know, there have been rumblings about WFDF holding an under 23 world championship. The original rumor was that it would be held in 2010, but this seems unlikely. Hosting a tournament that would run in the same summer as world clubs (Prague) and world juniors (Germany) does not make sense. It is rather late for planning purposes (picking a site and running the event in less than 12 months) and it would use players who are possibly involved in both of the other two events.

2011 looks like a more realistic possibility for an under 23 tournament. Currently, we await to see if it will happen.

In the meantime, we can speculate as to WHO would be on the team Canada roster for an under 23 world championship team.

So, my challenge this week to you readers
-Post me your top male and female under 23 (as of 2010) players, top 7, top 10, top 14, etc
-Describe their roles on the team and why you picked each player

Upon collecting a list of players, we will either put the player list to vote or just general discussion.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Spirit of The Game: A New Low for Soccer/Football


A classic story. France commits three violations (off side, two deliberate handballs) and directly scores a goal to tie Ireland. The goal is allowed to stand, and France unfairly beats Ireland on aggregate (that means they played two games and emerged victorious by goal differential/tie break). The referees seem to be absent on the play, missing all these infractions.

Why the uproar you ask? Why should Ireland care about losing a British game (Seriously, there are beautiful Irish stadiums throughout the country that forbid any sort of British based games to be played in them.. stemming from the famine and occupation atrocities of past centuries.. i digress.) to the French?

The key is what was at stake.

Despite the fact that gaelic football is more important than football/soccer, the Irish wanted to be part of the World Cup. Every country does. It's a global status symbol, and there is significant money involved.

FIFA likes to call their sport "the beautiful game" but sometimes it can be quite ugly. We have a world full of countries that raise players to dive and over exaggerate infractions to draw fouls. We have an outdated extra time system that makes no sense to the outside world. We have no replay or challenge mechanism in this day and age where these tools can easily be used to right the wrongs of normal human referee mistakes. I could go on with more stories of corruption and cheating throughout the world in this sport. It's not beautiful... it's downright ugly.

Ultimate... In the Same Position?

I can't be blind and say that ultimate and ultimate players are above making the wrong calls in games of importance. Put a worlds bid on the line and take out observers and cameras and we would have a much different game than we would otherwise.

However, I can say that ultimate has the following going for it

-Spirit of the Game, I think, has curtailed a lot of the incentive to cheat in most ultimate games. I rely on my opponent to make the right calls, and if order to do so I must in turn make the right calls as well. We can't rely on a 'parent' (observer) to step in.
-We're certainly open to using instant replay.. as was seen at CUC 2009.
-Our observer program seems to be growing and we are growing the pool of observers available for tournaments.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Using Stats to Make a Roster Decision: An NFL Example


A group of local ultimate "think tank" members (as we're dubbed) have been geeking out over a very cool site called Pro Football Focus.

Looking at the best and worst players at each position this year, one of the thinkers asked where Cleveland Browns QB Brady Quinn would fall in the ratings of quarterbacks.

It's very true that Quarterbacks rely on many teammates for success. Receivers much catch, people must block, and people need to run the plays as directed in order to get success. However, QBs remain the most important people on the field and have greater control over the outcome of the game than any other player.

Sounds like a main offensive Handler's role in ultimate, no?

I went to the pro football focus site and looked for methodology... and didn't get much in order to answer the Quinn question. Looking for the Wages of Wins QB ratings, I ended up on a new site that builds on the wages of wins football measure (unlike the basketball wages of wins, the NFL model has been criticized).

I took their formula (the model looks legit) and came up with the following 2009 wins produced of Quinn, Derek Anderson and Peyton Manning

Advanced NFL Stats= Brady Quinn versus Derek Anderson

QB Wins Added
Brady Quinn -1.542092593
Derek Anderson -3.963324675
Peyton Manning +3.300733894

Formula: QB Wins Added = (Comp% * 0.18) - (Int/Att * 50.5) - (Sack Yds/Att * 1.57) - 8

-Brady Quinn will lose 1.5 games more than the average quarterback based on his current performance
-Derek Anderson will lose 3.96 games more than the average
-Brady should continue to start, as he is the best of two below average options
-Peyton Manning is over 3 wins better than the average quarterback.

How it Applies to Ultimate?

I wish it did apply more. Right now, the best we have for stats is a clipboard or iphone used during the game, trying to capture everything under time pressure. It's easy to miss stuff and accurately measure what's really happening.

If you are doing stats already, and have data on your teams, please send it my way!

I will re-ask people to consider the following
-video tape their teams games
-break their games down play by play and stat by stat
-Work together with other teams to build a data set of a particular division to determine the average performance of players in a particular division/level

If that was done, we could move forward with a formula to determine whether players were average or below average on defense and offense.

Coordinating teams might be a problem, and one team breaking down video for all other teams is too much of a workload. However, teams like DoG have been using data for years to make better decisions about who's contributing.

It's time for teams to build on this. Don't wait for other teams to do it first and gain the advantage.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Ultimate Canada Conference 2009- Weekend of Progress


This weekend I attended and presented at the annual CUPA conference. Dubbed the Ultimate Canada Conference, it was held in Montreal.

The location and venues were appropriate. The conference was held on site at the University of Quebec in Montreal (UQAM) campus in downtown Montreal. The academic setting was perfect for the informative sessions, and it represented ultimate well- Good central location that was economical and practical. Ultimate doesn't need to pay to host their conference in the main ballroom of the Hilton.

Here were the highlights for the 50+ delegates that represented the NSO/PSOs and member city leagues..

-CUPA has voted to change their name to Ultimate Canada.
-Amazing delegate package featuring shorts and hoodies from 5 Ultimate, Jersey from VC Ultimate and disc from Daredevil
-Great presentations on topics such as youth development, innovative ultimate programs like the carbon flip and wheelchair ultimate
-Group brainstorming session regarding national plans and priorities
-A pickup wheelchair ultimate session participated in by all delegates

In the coming weeks, I will try to ensure that the conference presentations are available via the web, and I'll dedicated some posts specifically to discuss and highlight some key parts of the weekend.

Overall, outside of the fun/antics, this was the results of the weekend
  • We had a record number of delegates
  • We had an amazing chance for stakeholders of the game to meet and get to understand what is going on outside our region
  • Our leagues throughout the country got many opportunities to learn and provide feedback on what they see and what they want to see from the NSO moving forward
Thanks to Montreal Ultimate for once again being a great host.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

You haven't left the GOAT Herd yet... Have You?


If you have had the pleasure of playing or watching GOAT or Furious George, you'd be hard pressed to dispute that:
  • Both teams are good at 'frisbee'
  • Both teams are very good elite teams at the UPA level
  • Both teams had disappointing UPA runs this fall
Usually when a team I support or am involved with does well, I think I must come across as a cynic devil's advocate. I don't mean to be, I just simply don't like it when people make too much of a win and make incorrect inferences from them. It's the complete opposite when said team doesn't do well. I get to be honestly positive when people are going over the top negative.

The wheels fell off for GOAT at nationals. Furious lost the last spot to finals at regionals versus a team they beat at the same tournament the day before. Hence, we have been subjected to "what's wrong with GOAT/Monkey" questions ever since.

These teams are elite teams. They played elite teams and won and lost. Heading into each game, there were certain probabilities that GOAT/Furious would win or lose. I think people would be shocked at how evenly likely teams at this level can win or lose and how arbitrary the outcomes can be.

A good example: Dave Berri of Wages explains Randomness and how people are fooled. (original concept from Nassim Taleb's book):

"At the start of each football game a coin is tossed to determine who will receive the opening kick-off. Let’s imagine if instead of just one team calling heads or tails the fans in attendance were also asked to make a call. And let’s further imagine that if you make the correct call, you get to stay. But if you are wrong, you have to leave.

Okay, now let’s do a bit more imagining. Let’s say 80,000 fans are in attendance – and since fans know it is a fair coin (equally likely to be heads or tails) — about 40,000 make the wrong call. So these fans exit the building. After they are gone, let’s imagine we play the same game again. This time, about 20,000 fans are incorrect and they depart. And then we play it again, and again, and again… After three tosses we are left with about 10,000 fans. After seven tosses there are about 625 fans. After twelve tosses we should still have about 40 people left in the stands.

Now what have these 40 people learned? These people have just called a coin flip correctly twelve consecutive times. Clearly these people are incredible at this game.

If we play the game one more time, though, we should expect about 20 more to depart. What will these departing fans have learned? Well, clearly they just didn’t match-up with the 20 who got the 13th call correctly. And they better go home and figure out why that particular match-up didn’t work if they ever wish to see another football game.

The Point?

Makes you realize how good Fury and Riot are in the women's division compared to the rest of the field.

People often have problems understanding randomness. And what it says is relevant to how people see the results of a team at UPA finals or tournament finishes in general.

As for our Canadian teams
  • Furious proved they are able to win out of their ultra tough region, but they simply didn't win the game that counted.
  • GOAT shouldn't over-react to their recent slip.. unless there is a clear team in their team/opposition that leads them to conclude their chances to win have decreased.
So don't throw out the Furious or GOAT foam finger yet. You could replay Finals again this weekend and have completely different results on the open side.

This shouldn't stop teams from doing things in the off season to improve their probabilities and odds for next year. Training, studying video, strategy, recruitment, and all the fun stuff!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Goosebowl 2009 Review


Last weekend, Goosebowl 2009 quietly went down.

Once a very big coed tournament, the number of teams were down this year (12 from previous years of 30-42 teams) but I'm sure everyone in attendance had a good time.

Toronto club MONSTER emerged as this year's champs.

4 on 4 Ultimate- Skill Developer or Bad Habit Generator?


After a long hiatus from indoor ultimate, I signed up with some of my oldest and best ultimate friends for a 4 on 4 indoor ultimate team. I was really unsure about signing up for this, because I've never been a fan of variants of ultimate. Practice makes permanent, and surrounding yourself with indoor people who make bad choices is not good for your game. However, Goaltimate proved me wrong earlier this year, and worst case scenario I was playing with good people.

After my first experience on Sunday, I was pleasantly surprised with the 4 on 4 concept.

4 on 4 is very popular in Quebec (They just had a tournament last weekend), and it allows people to play on smaller surfaces and provides a serious workout. With four players per team on the field, You can't be a lazy handler in this game.

Major Things Quebec has taught us about indoor
  • No breaks between points (sub of the fly, or simply no pulls)
  • Handler movement

In the first half of our game, we looked like a bunch of comp ultimate players trying to figure out the new rules of this game. Personally, I found that the small field was going to change my mindset (outside of hucks, I like to play 100% low risk offence) and forced me to throw more breaks and challenging throws because.. the defence was giving me no option. We were also having a fun time trying to figure out how to game plan defensively (Do we force middle to take away the sneaky blade throws that some teams use indoors? Do we try some sort of junk zone? Please feel free to comment viewers)

In the second half, we started to roll. Maybe we started to adapt, maybe the other team got tired from a very fast paced first half (probably a little from column a, a little from column b). I can tell you it was major fun to make break throws that you wouldn't otherwise think and your cutters wouldn't expect in regular play.

In the end, I think this format of indoor can be a skill developer or a bad habit generator just like any other variant. If you want to practice throws that will work outside and can be used in ultimate, than you're going to improve your skills as a thrower and a cutter. If you want to throw off hand and make throws that the wind will not tolerate, than you're getting into bad habit mode.

I'll probably have to look into a Quebec tournament this winter. We'll see how the season goes.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Finally.. The Off Season... A time to Evaluate


It's been a long season. A good season mind you, but a long season for Canadian Ultimate. We had a lot of hot topics this summer:
  • Canadian Nationals
  • The annual UPA excitement (Club and College)
  • One of the best University Nationals ever
  • The summer tournament schedule was packed north and south of the border
  • World Club Bids
  • The unusual crappy summer weather
As we hit the off season, I have no interest in slowing down my posts. It seems like there is a lot to talk about:
  • Discussion of Canadian Nationals and its future
  • Canada's position on the world stage
  • Discussion of current Strategy trends and when the game of ultimate is headed (speaking in terms of x's and o's)
  • Online voting of best players and teams in 2009
  • Off season training
  • Off Season Team Planning and Review processes
  • Junior Worlds in 2010
  • WFDF Under 23 tournament.. and the Top players under 23.
If you've got any ideas about topics this blog should discuss, please feel to post.

Monday, November 2, 2009

UPA Finals 2009 Review- Chain Lightning Strikes.. with Fury


A lot of teams (and their respective cities) entered the 2009 Finals with high hopes. Regionals showed us that defending champions in various divisions were vulnerable and could be beaten. With so many viable teams, team leaders (especially those in open) had a lot of different teams to game plan for. I can imagine it would be daunting. Underestimating any team could lead to an upset.


I was happy to see the parity in this division in 2009. There was only two blowout games in pool play (both 15-5 losses) and it seemed that this was the closest all 16 teams have ever been in terms of talent. All number one seeds held their seeds on day one (Revolver, Chain Lightning, Ironside and Sockeye) and teams pulling 'upsets' included Truck Stop and Ring of Fire.

In the end, Chain Lightning from Atlanta and Revolver from the SF Bay Area both took undefeated paths to the finals. Both teams have been working for years to make the finals. Chain had already had breakthroughs at UPA finals 2008, while Revolver had added some high profile pieces to explode as an elite power this year. Chain Lightning took the final 15-11 over Revolver and wins it's first national championship.

As for Canadian hopeful GOAT, I can only speculate that it was a disappointing weekend. They were upset by Truck Stop and lost to Revolver on day one. On day two, they were upset on universe (16-15) by San Diego's StreetGang but still had a quarters play in shot versus Johnny Bravo. Heartbreak ensued, as GOAT lost this match 16-14 . The spiral continued as the team lost to Madison Club and finally Bodhi (13-9) to finish 12th.


Heading into the finals, a lot of people worried this would be a two team show once again (Fury and Riot). Thankfully, it was not, and we can thank two eastern teams (Capitals and Brute Squad) for that.

7 of the top 8 teams held seed on day one, save for Vancouver's Traffic (going 1-2 and being upset by Lady Condors of Santa Barbara). Day 2 saw a huge victory for Ontario's Capitals, as they defeated Riot of Seattle 16-14. With the win, the Capitals had set themselves up for their best possible chance of making semis and finals. Traffic took care of business on day two and got a quarters play in game versus Zeitgeist. Unfortunately, Zeitgeist got the win and Traffic was left to fight for 9th (they did indeed win out and get 9th spot).

The Capitals won their quarter final and headed into semi finals with hope- Their day two upset over Riot forced Riot and Fury to play semis versus each other, and all the Capitals had to do was beat Boston rival Brute Squad. You may recall that half of the Capitals sqaud (Lotus) won the Boston Invite this year and lost to Brute Squad at the No Borders final by one point. Combining Stella and Lotus could only help tip the scales against Brute.

Unfortunately, the Capitals fell just short of finals, losing to Brute on universe point (16-15). I looked forward to the readers giving the first hand perspective of this game. I have to salute the Capitals for progress made this year and at this tournament. (Simply beating Riot is a step forward.)

In the final, Fury won easily over Brute Squad by a final score of 15-3. It's the 4th straight title for the San Francisco club. Despite looking vulnerable during the summer season, this team won when it counted most.


GLUM of Ottawa had huge hopes heading into this tournament and with good reason. Their play against DoG at regionals indicated that this could be THE YEAR. It was not to be.

Starting off day one with a serious leg injury to talented newcomer Derek Hodgson, GLUM never seemed to get on track. They had the misfortune of having 3 of the top 4 final finishers in their pool -who seeded these teams? :) , and faced the talented Beyondors (Think Ex Condors players like Husak, Steets, etc). However, GLUM won out after their quarters exit and finished in 5th place.

In the final, Troubled Past from California defeated Surly of Minnesota 15-11 to take the UPA title. It is the first championship for Troubled Past, after finishing 3rd last year.


The final saw two teams looking for their first upa finals championship. Virgina's Axis of C'Ville, lead by former Sockeye player Chase Sparling-Beckley, faced off against Iowa team Chad Larson Experience. Both teams went undefeated through pool play and breezed to finals. In the end, the Axis of C'Ville won 15-11.

On the Canadian end, Edmonton's Psychoplastique held seed on day one, going 1-2 and playing top seed Mental Toss Flycoons hard head to head. On day two, Psychoplastique suffered losses to both Jukebox Hero and One Trick Pony. Playing for 13th, Psychoplastique beating Bashing Pinatas before losing to Brown Chicken Brown Cow and finishing 14th in their first UPA finals.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

UPA Finals 2009- Open Preview- Pool D


Results will be posted here

Pool D
  • Sockeye
  • Johnny Bravo
  • Madison Club
  • Machine
Sockeye (24-4) was UPA champions as recently as 2007 and represented Team USA at Worlds in 2008. In 2007 I wondered if Sockeye would dominate for 5-10 years based on the quality of their roster and the stars who were hitting their prime. Now we wonder if they can return to their almost invincible status.

As always, Sockeye is very open to provide information and captain Ben Wiggins provides the following review of his squad.

This is the youngest Sockeye team, maybe ever. We retired 5 players, we have 6 rookies, and a large part of our team is built around very young players, so it is going to be fun to see what we can do. We lost Nord and Fleming to season ending injuries, and we lost CK to med school (he's been to one practice this year, but he is a star and we hope he'll be able to gel quickly in Sarasota).

Our expectation is to play our best when it matters most, to bring energy on every point from the sideline, and to play together. Everything else is beyond our control.

We did a lot of intra-team scrimmaging at Sectionals, and none of our games were very tight. Even in our good games against Voodoo and Furious, they didn't have a lot of motivation to expend energy or use strategies that they wanted to keep hidden for Regionals. Regionals was all about making it to the show. Anyone could fall out, even a great team like Furious, so we were focused on getting to the final as our #1 priority. I'm sure Revolver was thinking the same thing; keep the season going and get to Florida. We were a little extra worried because the flu ran through the team in the week leading up to the tournament, but some of our younger and newer players rose up to really excel, especially in the Regional final.

Who do we want to face? Same opponent, every game. Guys in shirts, trying to keep us from outdoing our previous best game. The level of play is so deep, there are legitimately 10-12 teams that could win the whole thing without surprising me, that it is just about getting hot at the right time and overcoming another hot team. Psyched to play Bravo in pool play, we always have great games at Nationals, and then everything else is just gravy.

Key Players to watch on our team?-It's a team mentality, so you'll infrequently see someone on Sockeye throw 4 hucks in one game or score 6+ goals...but watch for guys on our D-team to blow up and have the kind of multi-block games that Skip, Blaine, Nord, etc have had in the past that have pushed us over the top in bracket play. Our new D-guys this year are Tyler Kinley, Spencer Wallis, and Eddie Feeley, all of whom have good Nationals experience with other teams.

Johnny Bravo of Boulder (28-9) has been on the doorstep of a championship for some time. Despite losing several great players to other teams in the off season, Bravo is still an elite team that has beaten some of the very best this season. They will be an interesting team to watch, and difficult to predict how they will finish.

Madison Club is a entry from the great state of Wisconsin. Players from this team used to help feed Minnesota's Sub Zero depth chart, but under the leadership of Hector Valdiva, they are their own club and beat some very good teams to qualify out of the region. (e.g. Sub Zero and Machine of Chicago). In a busy touring season of 46 games, the team went 36-11. Unfortunetly, the team lost the majority of its matches with teams that qualified for Sarasota, and they will face an uphill battle to reverse that trend.

Machine of Chicago is a perpertual UPA finals participant but has not been able to make the jump past quarter final contender. The team compiled a 20-12 record during the season. However, the state of their opponents in this pool (All new or in roster transition) opens the door for Machine to make some noise on day one.

UPA Finals 2009- Open Preview- Pool C


Results will be posted here

Pool C
  • Ironside
  • Doublewide
  • Bodhi
  • Streetgang
Ironside (38-3) from Boston finished 2nd last year and seems poised to improve on that result this year. Boston ultimate had a bit of a let down after DoG bowed out from out after 2006 finals. A tough 2007 lead people to think Boston ultimate was lost. 2008 saw a new name and a return to dominant play. Lead by well known players Jeff Graham and Danny Clark, the team is

Doublewide of Austin Texas (28-4) is described by team captain Max Cook:

The team has trained and prepared for the UPA series with one singular goal, and that is to be playing frisbee on Sunday at Nationals. We have made the final of every tournament we competed in this year. While we have only won one of those tournaments (Sectionals), there is a learning process that teams go through when they lose. Losses either drive you to work harder, of suck you into complacency, and players on this team have been pushing each other to continually train harder with that goal in mind.

Sectionals is/was a mental challenge. When you are beating teams 10-0, its hard to practice doing the right things and being focused. I think DW did a good job of coming out hard in each game, and closing out our opponents quickly. Regionals was a good experience for the team as well in a couple ways. We got challenged in our quarters game against an athletic Florida team that we may have looked past, we were able to pull ourselves together and play a very clean semi's game, we were humbled by our loss to chain in the finals, and finally we came out with fire in the backdoor finals. Some things we took away from the weekend: never underestimate an opponent, you have to win the game, it won't be given to you; coming out with fire and getting up early on opponents can be a backbreaker for them; and hope that if we see Chain in Sarasota, there will be at least some wind to slow down their hucks.

Doublewide is excited about facing both Ironside and Bodhi in Pool C. Both teams are unknowns to DW, so it will be interesting to see how conditions and dynamic in-game strategy play into those games. We would also like to get a shot at Chain one more time. It's always a good game between the two teams, and they are probably the best team in the country right now, so if you want to be the best you have to go through the best.

Key Players to watch on our team? Doublewide prides itself on not having superstars, but rather being able to challenge other teams with our depth.

That doesn't mean we don't have any studs though. Keep your eye out for a few of players: #16 Kiran Thomas, a great downfield cutter that is hard to match-up with; #8 Chase Hudson, a solid handler/cutter that has smooth throws and likes to get up; #17 Jake Anderson, a tall defender that enjoys aerial battles, and usually wins them; and #19 Daniel Poindexter, a defender that has hops and loves to lay out to get D blocks.

Bodhi (34-11) of Amherst has been the most improved team in the Northeast in 2009. Making it to UPA finals in 2008, Bodhi has built on that experience with a strong summer, closing the gap on elite teams like GOAT and Ironside and distancing themselves from pretenders.

Team Captain Micah Flynn summarizes the team as follows:

We've never really set expectations heading into tournaments, at least not as a group. Obviously, we'd like to finish as high as possible and I'd say that we'll be shooting for a birth in the quarters.

To be honest, I think our biggest goal is to do our part in getting the Northeast a strength bid again.

At Regionals we had two pretty decent lapses of focus that caused us to have to come from behind- the first on Sunday morning against Mephisto who took half on us and I think may have been up 11-10, game to 13. Against GOAT in the Semi-Finals we came out pretty flat again, starting down 4-0. After that point, we did a much better job and basically played to our potential for the rest of the weekend. Our second half against GOAT and play in the game to go against PoNY was much more up to our expectations for the team.

So, we had a bit of an up and down time but always played our best when it mattered most, so I think we consider it a success. And, we're headed back to the Club Championships so we've had a good fall so far by any metric.

The only lingering issue is we've had a number of injuries to O-Line players and most (or maybe all) of them won't be back in Sarasota.

We don't have any specific teams we're looking forward to, so the only thing that will be nice is seeing teams we've never played before like Streetgang on day 1.

The team features a number of returners from last year who figure to be impact players. On offense, look for Andrew Hollingworth (#3) and Alex Kapinos (#10), with the defense lead by Brendan Nichols (#7) and Miles Montgomery-Butler (#4).

We also added a number of new young players-

Jonah Herscu (#12), a current senior at Amherst Regional High School who will be playing a lot for the offense.

Sam Kanner (#32), played for Sub Zero last season and will be playing for the defense. He's currently one of the captains for defending national college champion Carleton CUT.

Jon Hirschberger (#43) will play a decent amount of offense and defense and is coming off a monster performance at regionals and is a senior at Cornell.

All three of those new players have been a part of a junior worlds team at one point, bringing our number of Team USA alumni to 10.

Streetgang of San Diego is a product of cooperation. The team (taking it's name from the legendary teams of the merging of Last Call and PBR Streetgang and it has propelled San Diego Ultimate into the Championships for the first time since 2005. Sporting a modest 20-14 record this season, the 2009 finals might be a necessary learning experience for the team the city's ultimate program for future success.

UPA Finals 2009- Open Preview- Pool B


Results will be posted here

Pool B
  • Chain Lightning (GA)
  • JAM (CA)
  • Ring of Fire (NC)
  • MadCow (OH)
This is going to be a tough pool.

Chain Lightning of the A-T-L (Atlanta folks) features Josh Zipperstein (who, until he comes to No Borders in Ottawa, will be referred to Dory Zipperstein's brother) Rob Barrett and a plethora of speed and talent. They are 27-4 this season, and were tied for third at UPAs last year.

Chain should have high expectations this year. Seeing this team in the finals is a very real possibility.

Jam is the defending champion. Their handlers are world class and provide the speed and throws that make it almost impossible to game plan for.

However, it's been a real up and down year for the year and they narrowly qualified for finals out of the Northwest. With a season record of 25-16, they have not looked invincible. Still, opponents often sense that Jam still has the talent, and they have been playing possum this year. They will be exciting to watch.

Ring of Fire (24-8) from Raleigh North Carolina is celebrating its 20th year of elite ultimate. Captain Kris Bass gives the following preview of the team (and he gives a special plug to sponsors at 5 ultimate, who have provided our awesome anniversary Fire Jerseys).

As always, Ring is planning to bring it strong at all times at the tournament. We have had an exciting post-season so far, losing in a classic finals match against Truck Stop on double game point. We followed that by another one point game against a strong NC team, LOS. We are absolutely looking forward to playing any and all the teams at nationals, and interested in taking on whomever we face.

We have had lots of close games this year, and hope to avenge a few earlier losses if we can! It is always a challenge and great experience to test yourself against the best everyone has to offer.

If you are coming down, you will want to catch some of our exciting style of play if you can! Larry 'Dirty' Durgin sets the tone for our D line. Brian Lowther conducts sunday morning service in the endzone. and Thomas 'T-unit' Ward and Ken 'Kapow" Porter patrol the skies for the Ring Air Force.

Madcow (39-10) of Columbus Ohio enters their first UPA finals in their tenth year of existence. It's such an inspiring story it needs an article to itself. Rodger Oakes, team captain... provides this rundown:

is a team built around spirit, depth, and comraderie. We play Ultimate as an outlet to enjoy time with each other. Our expectations for every tournament are to play the best we can...and play our best game during our last game.

This is the first time we've made the Club
Championships...and it has been a long road. The team has been around for 10 years now...and a good amount of players have been there for nearly that entire stretch. Over the last 2 years, we've really added depth from other areas (Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Indiana).

We're hoping to win a game, maybe 2 on Thursday. But, our main goal is to get into the play-in game Friday afternoon. We're a team built for long runs...we've got a few high end players that could play on any time, but our strength is the consistent, strong play from 5-27 on our roster.

Sectionals was a good tournament for us...we were clicking on almost all cylinders, and were able to stay focused through most of the tournament.

We knew Regionals would be our real test. We had the #1 seed going to regionals, but ran into a bad matchup against Chicago's Machine. For one reason or another, we just had a little trouble against there Defense. In Semi-finals, we lost a 1 point thriller. Our main goal for the weekend was to qualify for the we were able to get over the loss in okay fashion. Sunday morning of regionals was cold and windy...but we persevered. It was a nice setup for us, because we were able to get past Louisville and had to play a Prairie Fire team that had just come off of an upset victory over Sub-Zero. Prairie Fire virtually eliminated us the previous year in Regionals, so we had a little taste of revenge to help motivate us. We got that victory and hit a buzzsaw against Machine again. But, we were able to pull through...knowing that we had beaten Sub-Zero at CHC, we were confident in our ability to play with them...and got through.

The Central Region has 5 teams all at the same level, and we were pretty happy to get the timely victories to qualify.
We're excited to play a lot of the teams down in Florida. We have seen a few over the past few years...had plenty of run-ins with GOAT over the last 3-4. I think we realize they're all quality teams, and we'd like to see as many different styles of play as possible.

I don't think there is any one team that we're looking forward to...they'll all be great competition for us.

Our top players on offense are: David Vuckovich (Tlake), Kevin Ryan (Willis) at the cutter position, and Jimmy Hughes and Jeff Kula at the handler spots. Tlake and Willis are open all the time, and just never stop running. Jimmy has great throws, and Kula is the glue for the squad...just does all the dirty work to keep the disc alive and moving. Willis is our highlight reel on O.

Defensively, I'd put Craig Poeppelman (BMW) with any player in the world. He covers any position...handler, 1st cutter, or deep cutter. I don't think I've seen him go through a game without getting a D on his man...or he just keeps his man from touching the disc altogether. He is that good...which is tough for me to say since that was my role until a pulled hamstring put me out for most of this season. Timmy Meyers is also on Defense, and is the heart of the team. He has great passion for the game, and usually covers the largest, tallest cutter on the other team. Ryan Sitler is our main puller, and he has changed our defensive dynamic with his ability. He's been disc golfing for awhile, and does things with the pull that are tough to understand. Scott O'Brien and Josh Botti (OB and JB, respectively) are 2 way speedsters that are a constant annoyance to anyone they cover. They also double on the O line as 2nd cutters to keep things moving for us.

UPA Finals 2009- Open Preview- Pool A


Results will be posted here

Pool A
  • Revolver (Bay Area CA)
  • GOAT (Toronto/Ottawa ON)
  • Truck Stop (Washington DC)
  • Pike (Princeton NJ)
Revolver enters the tournament as the #1 seed and enjoys a new status this year as an elite team. This team has been around since 2006 and is based on players from the Stanford University program, but took a big step this year with the addition of Colorado Mammbird legend Beau Kittredge and Mac Taylor. In 41 tournament games, they are an impressive 36-5. By no means is this team a runaway favorite (dropping semi final matchups in tourneys this year against Sockeye and Ring of Fire) but they do serve as strong contender deserving of the hype they have received all season.

GOAT of Toronto comes into the tourney on the heels of a Regionals final loss to rival Ironside. It was less a loss and more of a (slap the taste out of your mouth) defeat. In a very good season where they have won the Boston Invite and have a 39-8 season record, a wake up call so close to finals might be a necessary evil.

There is lots to like about this team outside of their passports. My yankee viewers will recognize John Hassell (yes he's great) but there is many more players to like on this team. Joel Hogberg (Sverige Klub Skogs) and Derek Alexander (Team Canada/Furious/Phoenix) have been added to give the team handler weapons with big game experience. GOAT boasts a glut of home grown talent like Taylor Martin, Adrian Yearwood, Lowell Heppner who are just entering their prime. Mark Lloyd serves the role of Kid wonder who'll steal the show if given the opportunity. Inian Moorthy has been noted by 'insiders' as playing particularly hot this fall.

Here's the paradox for GOAT- They have to talent to try and win now, but they also have the vast majority of the roster on the right side of 30, even 26. There will be no talk of the future this week though.. it's time to hunt.

Truck Stop won their regional tourney with a big one point win over Ring of Fire. Trying to build on that, DC's finest (The area has 3-4 touring open clubs) will be looking to show teams that their disappointing 2008 finals showing was a fluke. 25-11 in 36 games this year, they defeated GOAT 13-9 at Chesapeake in their latest head to head.

Pike of New Jersey played Mid Atlantic regionals (I thought they were a North East team) and were 29-14 during the season. Their team is described by captain Duty Rhodes as follows.

Our team expectations are the same as they are for every tournament:
  • Put the team first
  • Trust the play of your teammates and earn their trust through your play.
  • Work and fight for everything because no one will give it us.
Pike is looking forward to facing every team. Especially since we have not had the opportunity to play any of them in well over a year. They each provide unique challenges for our personnel, strategies and mental/intestinal fortitude. The differentiation of the challenges is one of the best aspects of team sports-- Ultimate is no exception. That a high-level challenge exists every round rather than which challenge exists every round is the glory of The Show.
I mean, wait... this is a Canadian site? We're particularly excited to play GOAT!

On Offense, Nick Malinowski, CJ Kozarski and Art Shull anchor our downfield play while Ian McClellan is a handler with every throw in the book as well as a number that aren't.
Defensively, J Dono (attending his 10th Open Nationals), Jon Fink and Jake "The Jake" Rainwater lead the charge. All three are extraordinarily versatile defenders and devastating offensive players on the turn.

Monday, October 26, 2009

UPA Finals 2009- Masters and Mixed Preview


Due to time constraints, the Masters and Mixed previews will be brief.

Results here.

Canada is represented by GLUM. GLUM is fresh off one of their biggest victories ever- A regional championship with not one but two victories over legendary Death or Glory. Mentally, this might be a huge barrier removed for Ottawa.

In their regionals victory and their National championship, the team has been very quick to attribute their success to their defence and their new cutters, who have provided the speed needed to get open and provide easy looks.

A UPA championship is possible, but GLUM will have many tough games throughout the tournament. A team to watch will be Double Black of Colorado, who was one of the few squads to play in open tournaments through the summer and defeating strong club team Blackfish during the Colorado Cup.


Results here.

As stated, Canadian finally has a UPA finals participant in this division and the team is looking forward to the challenge.

Psychoplastique finds themselves third in their four team pool. They will face the defending champions (Mental Toss Flycoons) on day one and will look to build on the previous head to head matchups with them.

More importantly, they must beat both Barrio (AZ) and BCBC (CA) in order to stay in the power pools and remain alive for quarter finals.

UPA Finals 2009 Preview- Women's


Two teams have dominated this division for this decade- Riot and Fury. Is this the year someone else makes the final? Can Canada get a break through in this division?

Two Canadian Teams enter this week with strong teams and stronger hopes of a UPA championship.

Schedule is here and will also be updated here.

Pool A
  • Riot (Seattle)
  • Showdown (TX)
  • Ozone (ATL)
  • Wildcard (PA)
Riot (Seattle) enters the finals with a season record of 27-4. They have only lost to Fury (twice) Uno (Japan) and Traffic this season and are on a particular hot streak. They have given us reason to think that, despite losing to Fury for several seasons, this is their year. They beat Fury at regionals and at the Emerald City Classic. Can they do it a third time?

Showdown is out of Austin and they represent the growing talent from that city and that state. After a solid season of touring, it appears that while this team is not quite ready for prime time, they will provide finals opponents with a tough match. In 30 games this year, they are 19-11 with big wins over Ozone at regionals and a very good Nemesis team at Chicago Heavyweights.

Ozone of Atlanta has had an intersting season. In compiling an impressive 26-4 record, they have beaten some VERY good teams (Zeitgeist), play Fury and Riot hard, and then lose to Showdown at regionals. Despite the mess up at regionals, they get a chance to face showdown again and get into day two power pools.

Wildcard is the third seed from the Mid Atlantic region. They've had a busy summer and fall, with 39 tournament games and posted a 25-14 record. They had a rough ride at the Chesapeake Open earlier this summer.

Pool B
  • Capitals (Toronto/Ottawa)
  • Zeitgeist (Berkley CA)
  • Nemesis (Chicago IL)
  • Safari (San Diego CA)
Capitals have had a very strong fall season since merging Stella (Ottawa) and Lotus (Toronto) as per fall tradition. The team is 16-0 this year, winning Chesapeake against some tough teams and their sectional/regionals with relative ease. As I look at their pool, I think they will have a tough day one because the teams below them are all very good. However, the Capitals are as good as they have ever been, and they need to beat teams like these to make it to semis and finals.

Here's the makeup of this team. Lotus (roughly 21-1) won the national Canadian championship this year, and won the Boston Invite in addition to losing on universe to Brute Squad at the No Borders final. Stella (roughly 12-7) finished second at CUC 2009, and both teams were able to compete against the best of the east on their own. Combined, they should be a huge threat when deployed properly.

And if they don't make semis, at the very least, I suggest they change their merger system or personnel. I really like how these ladies have stuck to their program and system for several years (others could learn from this), but they must take the next step.

Zeitgeist has always been a team of interest, because they are capable of beating the very best and being surprised by less stellar teams. In their summer season, they played 36 games and had a 23-13 record.

Nemesis of Chicago appears to be a program on the upside. They are led by a fantastic handler in Jessi Witt, and they owe a lot of their success this year to the addition of new athletic players. In 37 tournament games, they sport a 30-7. Yeah.. that's pretty damn impressive for the third seed in a day one pool!

Safari of San Diego is a tough California team that will give all three of their pool B opponents a tough match. 15-10 during the season in tournament play.. and will look to play spoiler during the tournament.

Pool C

Fury is the three time defending champions of this division and aim for the elusive four peat this year. With a 37-3 tournament record this year, they seem to have the same mystic of past years over all opponents except for Riot, who was been responsible for all three losses.

Traffic of Vancouver has been away from CUC since 2007, and as such Canadian teams and cities do not get to see them very much. Focusing on tourneys and opponents from the ultra tough north west US region, Traffic has an 18-12 record this year, and it's been a bumpy ride. They have shown to play Riot and Fury tough, but have also lost to Seattle's B team (Underground).

Lady Condors of Santa Barbara have not won a national championship since their fourth straight title in 1987. They have had a strong touring season, going 15-5 and played well at Chesapeake.

Pop of Minneapolis has had a long touring season and have collected a lot of travel points playing many of the teams that are in this finals tournament. In 35 tournament games this year, Pop sports a respective 22-13

Pool D

Brute Squad of Boston pose as one of the strongest Boston teams to come to UPA Finals in some time. After getting the chance to see them at No Borders, it seems like the team has an advantage of many strong leaders, as well as good coaching. They are also very skilled with throws and will be able to handle the winds of Sarasota. If you want to see a young player who uses angles and savvy to handle, look no further than Dory Zipperstein. In 45 games, they had a strong 34-11 record.

Backhoe from North Carolina is a squad that has long been on my list of teams to see. Lindsey Hack is highly regarded as a leader and a very fit "big" (5'10) with skill. That package causes matchup problems. In 32 games, they sit at 26-6. They appear to be a strong candidate for quarters if not semi final action depending on how things shake down.

Rare Air is Boulder's Best coming out of the Southwest region. After getting some humbling elite team spankings at their home tournament (Colorado Cup), they have gotten stronger during the season and enter finals with a 18-12 record in 30 tourney games this year.

Scandal from DC is an interesting team when you look closely at their season win/loss stats. They went winless at the Boston Invite but played every single team hard, including eventual champ Lotus. They had similar tough losses at Chespeake. Since then, they have pounded some lesser knowns and enter Florida on a high note. In 39 games, they went a respectable 25-14.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Talking with Trainor: Who is PsychoPlastique?


Every year, Canadian Ultimate wonders when the city of Edmonton's ultimate program will have a breakthrough. We thought it might happen in 2005 with the play of Open team EMU at nationals. We thought Team Alberta's strong play at CUC 2007 was a strong indicator that the women's team would lead the way. These were all false starts for an Edmonton breakthrough (a larger Canadian city that should be a more prominent at the national level). We were disappointed when CUPA gave Edmonton CUUC 2008 and did not see any of their teams make it to CUUC 2009.

It's official- we finally have a breakthrough in Edmonton. Mixed team Psychoplastique.

Psychoplastique is not new. They finished 3rd at CUC 2007, and were a team to watch at CUC 2008. However, the team has accomplished a very tough feat recently, beating out many Northwest region opponents to capture a bid to UPA 2009 Finals in Florida. Not only is this rare for a team out of Alberta, it has not been done by a Canadian mixed squad this decade.

I interviewed team captains Jenn Nichols, Seb Toth and
Patrick MacQuarrie to find out more about the team and their expecatations as they embark for their first UPA championship.

Best of luck in Sarasota!!
How did the team take shape? What have been the keys to success in developing?

Although th
e name Psychoplastique has been around for a while, it was only last year that we started to adhere in an organized fashion and travel to competitive tournaments to gain experience and increased exposure to higher level Ultimate. Edmonton struggles with maintaining numbers in the competitive touring scene, so a mixed team formed as we could not support a competitive separate open and women's team.
Last year, the team had a very similar core to this year, but our systems and values were not as developed. We had a good nationals, apart from our semifinal loss to TFP, and then sent a skeleton squad (almost entirely younger players) to UPAs, and finished middle of the pack at regionals.

This year, Jenn Nicholls (Flycoons and TFP last year, making her a defending UPA and world champion) moved into a captain's role (along with Seb Toth - Furious last year) and really began to push to make this team competitive . We went to Philadelphia to play the Philly invite, and played well enough to beat a couple teams that made UPA nats last year. We had losses to AMP and Slow White, but gained a lot of experience getting to play these top teams. At Potlatch, we lost games to both Mischief and DropCop, but our top powerpool finish helped players to believe that this team had the talent to compete at a high level.

Canadian Nats was a huge let-down for us. For a variety of reasons, we just didn't bring our A game. Perhaps we got a little to comfortable with our Potlatch and Philly experience, but we didn't come into Canadian Nationals with the right attitude, and we paid the price. It was a great wake-up call for UPAs , however, as we addressed a number of issues . Practice and training intensity increased, focused roles developed a little more, and talent was brought in to fill roles that were needed.

How was the sectionals and regionals experience?

Sectionals had a couple tough losses for us. We were up a break on both Flycoons and Spike early, and then collapsed after half. We decided, before regionals, that it was important to keep the energy in games, especially on D, and that started with sideline support. One comment that stuck with me was "our sideline should pump up our D line, not the other way around."

At Regionals, the cards fell into place for us. The weather was bad, but not awful. There was rain, snow and wind, but nothing compared to playing in the swamps at Canadian Nats. The elevation was an issue on the first day, but we adjusted quickly. Although, upsets in the other side of the bracket worked in our favour, we ran hard when we needed to and got our job done.

The Saturday went as expected, as we went 3-1 with a loss to Flycoons. We played Spike on the Saturday morning, and were down 3-2, with no breaks yet, when there was a long delay due to lightning. We came out focused and cohesive, and our D line rose up to take that game 8-4.

In our first chance at a "game to go", against D'oh, we came out flat and never figured out their poaching D systems. Our next game was against Night Train, who had just beaten Mischief in a nail-biter, and seemed to have burned all their energy . We led throughout that game to a 13-3 win. The next chance in a game to go was against CTR. We targeted our D on stopping their break force throws, and took half 7-3. Each team broke early in the 2nd half, and then we traded out before breaking again to win 13-9.

I can honestly say that no one on the team expected us to make it this far, but we feel like we deserve the opportunity, and we hope to be playing meaningful games on Saturday in Sarasota. The northwest is a strong region, and we feel like we can compete near the top.

How is the team preparing for UPA Finals?

We are preparing for the tournament by pushing fitness training and player connections over the next two weeks. We just had our first snowfall, and, combined with limited day-light hours, and limited numbers to practice against, our scrimmages will likely be few and short.

How would you describe your team style of play? Who are the key players on offence and defence?

If you ask almost anyone we have played, they will tell you that we like to huck to both our men and women, and that we are very physical on defense. It is difficult for me to pick out 'key' players, but, if I had to try, on offense it would be Brendan Wong and Jenn Nicholls, while defensively, Seb Toth and Terri Whitehead usually draw the tough matchups.

What's the current state of Edmonton ultimate? Growth?

Edmonton ultimate is still struggling to achieve a high number of competitive players. While there is a healthy city league (, we struggle to maintain numbers throughout a full season and at Psycho practice. We hope that this exposure in Sarasota will help with growth in the competitive scene, as well as coaching and mentoring skills that can be brought back to our university and city teams.

UPA 2009 Finals Website + 10 Things I Think I think


The big dance is but mere days away.

The 2009 UPA Finals website is up, and the teams and schedules are listed. I will be posted previews of the divisions shortly.

Canada has five squads in the championship this year:
  • Traffic (BC) and Capitals (ON) in Women's
  • GOAT (ON) in Open
  • GLUM (ON) in Masters
  • Pyschoplastique (AB) in Co-ed
In the meantime, here are 10 thoughts to be discussed.
  1. I think VC Ultimate is on fire right now, and their sublimation series is H-O-T.
  2. I think the Carleton-Western game, from all witnesses, was a great game play wise and spirit wise.
  3. I think University of Toronto's (Torontula) run from 2006-2008 qualifies as a dynasty.
  4. I think I wish the national championship at the club level was as valued as the University one is now.
  5. I think Mark Lloyd will be a captain for Team Canada at some point in his career
  6. I think the Capitals need to make semis in Sarasota
  7. I think GLUM is as good as they have ever been, and their time to win Masters is now
  8. I think GOAT getting their a$$ handed to them in the regional final was a blessing
  9. I think WFDF under 23 worlds is a great idea for 2011, but too late for 2010
  10. I think Ottawa's first national title in open since 1998 should not be underestimated
UWO Sharks 2009 CUUC- VC Ultimate Sublimation Jerseys

Monday, October 19, 2009

Ravens Soar, Gee Gees Gallop to CUUC 2009 Championship


Ottawa is the proud home to both the mens and women's 2009 Canadian University Ultimate Champions.

Open Results
Finals- The University of Western Ontario Sharks vs the Carleton Ravens.

The Sharks dominated their pool and power pool matchups. The Sharks gave up no more than 7 points in 7 pool games, including a 14-7 win versus Carleton on Saturday. Their wins of Torontula and UBC (14-12) brought their 2009 win streak to 17 heading into the final.

Carleton made it finals after winning a nail biting 13-12 semi versus Queens. They had won 9 of their first 10 games in this tournament, losing only to the Sharks on day 2.

In what is being described by both sides as a great final, Carleton had an outstanding game and took the national championship with a decisive 15-11 victory over Western.

Congratulations to everyone who helped develop this program in Ottawa and helped bring this championship to Ottawa. Team roster is below:

Tobiah Abramson
Reynaldo Arteaga
Ryan Bauer
Joel Bellavance
Neal Dawson
Gerrit De Vynck
Shaw Dungate
Brad Fackoury
Brent Gerhart
Mat Goodkey
Jan Gorski
Jason Lobb
Karl Loiseau
Christian Mahaffy
Eric Mazzei
Devin McCabe
Tim Nardi
Colin Purdy
Bryce Ring
robert schmidt
Joshua Tai
Rene Toupin-Piper
danny vanwilligen
Kielan Way
Tyler Zandbelt

Womens Results

Womens Finals- Ottawa Gee Gees versus McGill Martletts

From the outset of the tournament, this bracket seemed to be (at best) a five team race for the national championship.
  • Ottawa
  • UBC (depending on who/how many players came out "east")
  • Montreal (Upstart rookie team)
  • McGill (Constant contender)
  • Guelph
Ottawa entered CUUC 2009 with a 36-4 record this season, having not lost to a single Canadian team all year. Outside of a close 11-8 win over UdeM Diva in pool play, Ottawa moved quickly and easily to finals.

McGill entered the finals off of a big win over city rival UdeM in the semi finals. In winning 8 straight games at this tournament, McGill showed they were a worthy finalist and the strongest challenger to the Ottawa machine.

In the end, Ottawa won the title with a 14-9 victory over the host Marletts squads. Ottawa finishes 2009 with an astounding 44-4 record for the calender year, and sets their sights now on the UPA college series in the spring of 2010.

Team roster below...

Chanelle Pratt-Johnson
Jenna Atchison
Viviane Bartlett
Shannon Becker
Anita Benoit
Eloise Clement
Laura Evgin
Danielle Fortin
Stephanie Gobin
Louise Guolla
Angelia Hughes
Marie-Andrée Imbeault
Brianna Jaffray
Meghan Kane
Sonia Komenda
Julia Laforge
Kylee Letourneau
Stephanie Mandal
Chantal Mayotte
Anne Mercier
Ariane Morissette
Samantha Morris
Lauren Murphy
Aline Pfefferle
Kathryn Pohran
Gabrielle Robineau-Charette
Vanessa Scharf
Tayla Sedgwick
Kaylee Sparks
Michelle Warren