Women’s Hootenanny Review

Thanks to FOTB Randall Bugg for sending us his thoughts on the weekend. Sorry it took so long to get them posted.

In the fourth year of Hootenanny Showdown, I gravitated away from playing with the Auburn Alumni team as much and watching the guys play and found myself spending more time on the women’s fields this year due to the fact that my youngest daughter is a rookie on the Auburn Ares Team.  Although the women had a smaller field than the guys and no split squads, the drama and entertainment was no less dramatic and entertaining.  Some random observations…

The day started out with Auburn losing to Kennesaw State, who came into the tourney with a strong roster of tall, talented experienced players.  The wind gave Ares difficulties very early on and the lady Owls used this advantage to run away to a 10-2 victory.

Auburn may struggled a bit early on Saturday, but will be a force to be reckoned with come spring.  Kristen Fedorenko, Ares top returning player, was sidelined due to a recent shoulder surgery, so as soon as she steps back on the field, the team will get a boost.  That being said, there is no lack of returning talent.  Andrea Rocchi demonstrated her worth in the very next game against Vanderbilt VUDU with clutch grabs, especially on universe point to keep the team alive.  Unfortunately, Ares lost to Vandy 6-5 during the windiest part of the day.  The final point, according to VUDU’s Twitter feed, was 37 minutes long.  It featured no less than 40 turns and could not be described as fundamentally sound Ultimate.

VUDU would make a habit of winning close games all tournament.     After starting the day with a 7-5 win over Tulane and the universe point win against Auburn, they defeated UAB 9-6.  Unfortunately, their Saturday ended with a 11-1 loss to the Auburn Alumni team before closing out pool play on Sunday with a 6-5 win over Kennesaw State.  Vandy lost a solid senior class last year but has seen a large rookie class join the team this fall, including Caroline Hubbard, a solid handler from Paideia and Emily Layton, a speedy cutter out of Edina, Minnesota.   Other key players for VUDU included Charlotte Duran, their senior captain, who was a nightmare for handlers with her marks.  She recorded several handblocks throughout the tourney.  She and Ashely Yao provided long hucks into the wind as Vandy used a huck and play defense during the windy conditions on Saturday.  Two sophomores stepped up their game this year.  Sofia Lima was solid as a handler, both offensively and as a handler defender and Lizzie Carsello has developed as a smart and talented cutter after spending the summer playing club with Hairy Otter.

Auburn turned the day around in the third round, defeating Tulane 10-2, who was coming off a shutout loss to the Alumni team.  The Muses struggled all tournament long on offense and defense, only recording 5 points in a pool play game twice and only holding an opponent to less than 9 once.  Their roster was not huge and they looked to be developing chemistry and skills, but never could quite pull it together enough in a game to record a victory.  They would end Saturday losing to Kennesaw State by a score of 11-2 and then start off Sunday with a 9-5 loss to UAB Ember and then losing the 5th place game to Ember by a similar score.  They did not have the large roster at Auburn that you have come to expect.  I would think the results of the tournament might have been an anomaly and Tulane will make a rebound come spring.

Speaking of Ember, after going winless on Saturday, they rebounded nicely with the pair of wins on Sunday.  The second year team has not experienced one of the banes of new programs, which is a lack of players.  According to Coach Clair Burns, they consistently have 25 players at practice.  They also benefit from the experience of Claire and Lizz Mastrandonas as coaches, a luxury for a burgeoning program.  The team’s leader on and off the field has to be second year captain Mary Hulcher.  The disc always flows through her.  Her height, backhand hucks, and smarts make her a player to watch in the women’s division.  The other two captains, Lana Hajazen and Darby Franklin are also keys to Ember’s quick Growth.  Darby played with the men’s team before there was an Ember and as a lefty handler provides matchup issues for opponents on offense and defense.  Lena, although not as tall as her co-captains, will beat much taller players in the air consistently.  Two rookies were also key in the wins on Sunday.  Cheyenne Shaughnessy aggressiveness, height and endurance allowed her to make numerous D’s and come out of the tournament as the team MVP.  Jordan Stewart is another first year player that has worked hard to get her throws down over the fall.  Also, if there is a disc in the air, she is going for it.  Ember might not have recorded as many wins as they would have liked, but the results of players stepping up and contributing was encouraging for their coaches.

In Round 4, UAB lost to Auburn by a score of 10-2.  Auburn continued their upward trend in this game, using their experience and big roster to wear down the opponent.  With rookies and returners almost even in numbers. Auburn showed a vast improvement after struggling with the wind the first two rounds.  Returners Keri Atchison and Dani Mangieri were strong contributors all day.  Dani’s ability to get open against taller players by using her speed and then her vertical to make the catch is unmatched.  Keri is a steady performer who can be counted on to make the tough catch and the right decision once she gets it.  Second year handler Maddie Boyd was also a key to the success of the team over the weekend.  Her throws have developed after a year of Club with Steel, as well as her confidence.  Katie Good, Trish Feeney and Rachel Dawson all recorded significant playing time and contributions during the tournament and will be key in the success of the team going forward.  Auburn closed out pool play with a loss to the Alumni team and prepared for a rematch with Kennesaw.

One thing that impressed me about the rookie class for Ares was the improvement in individual skills from the beginning of the semester until now.  Players that were not confident in their flicks at the beginning of fall were now preferring them over their backhands.  The continued development of these players, who scored at least twice on pure rookie points, will be key in the spring season.

Sunday’s bracket play was chalk, as Auburn Alumni beat Kennesaw and VUDU again bested Ares in a close semifinal game.  The Alumni won the tournament against VUDU in the final and Auburn avenged their tournament opening loss to Kennesaw in the third place bracket.

Last thoughts on the weekend…

With K Fed back, Ares should be improved in the future, but VUDU will be strong as well.  It will be interesting to see if these two build on their early success.  With most teams experiencing significant losses, the picture will be muddled until we can determine what teams like Ole Miss and Alabama bring to the table.  Tulane will improve and UAB may be a team to keep an eye on as they continue to grow.

Until CCC…

 

2016 GC All-Section Results presented by Spin Ultimate

Sorry for the delay, life gets in the way sometimes. Congrats to everyone who won. We may be in contact for some sweet spin swag for first teamers, FOTY, and POTY.

Men

First Team
Ben Lamport (Tulane)
Blake Galloway (Auburn)
Danny On (Vandy)
Eric Sjostrom (Auburn)
Nathan Oaks (Bama)
Ryan Landry (Auburn)
Tom Echols (LSU)

Second Team
Chance Cochran (Tulane)
Ethan Downs (UAB)
Evan Boecking (Auburn)
Evan Walter (Tulane)
Michael Burke (UAB)
Tanner Robinson (MSU)
Travis Vermaelen (LSU)

FOTY
Johnny Sims (LSU)

POTY
Ryan Landry (Auburn)

Women

First Team
Charlotte Doran (Vandy)
Emelia Marshall (LSU)
Hayley Djuric (Bama)
Jin-Mi Matsunaga (Vandy)
Kristine Fedorenko (Auburn)
Marypat Henry (Tulane)
Tara Massouleh (Bama)

Second Team
Alex Jones (Bama)
Brooke Holloway (Ole Miss)
Courtney Foster (Tulane)
Dana Bramlitt (MSU)
Gina Guillory (LSU)
Inah Hong (LSU)
Kellie Ellis (MSU)
Meredith Johnson (Auburn)
**Tie for last spot**

FOTY
Julia Becker (Bama)
Sofia Lima (Vandy)
**Tie for FOTY**

POTY
Charlotte Doran (Vandy)

 

All-Section/FOTY/POTY Nominations Thread

So it begins!

Today we’ll be starting the nomination process for All-Section, Freshman of the Year, and Player of the Year. STAND UP BAMA SECS NATION!!!

We here at Bama Secs already have an idea of who we’ll be placing on the ballot, but today is your chance to tell us who you think belongs on this year’s ballot. In the comments below we want to hear everyone’s nominations. If possible include all nominations you believe are worthy in both the men’s AND women’s division! The more the better, the cockier the better, the weirder the better, the more Vandy talk the weirder, and don’t forget Myron Hardy!

We’ll be taking nominations through Wednesday so you can expect ballots soon after that. Let’s get to smack talking! Because I’m sure no one in this section can guard anyone at the same time as they shut down everyone… If you need to see some of the nominations from years past, click 20152014, 2013, and the best of all time.

Arm yourself with the most bias of opinions and prepare to enter the black hole that is.. the Bama Secs nominations thread.

 

GC Fan Predictions (Results)

Time for fun with charts! A few notes first:

  1. I deleted some obvious troll ballots, or any that were actually impossible. That left about 70 valid submissions.
  2. Ole Miss received more first place votes (4) than 2/3/4/5 votes combined (3). Homers.
  3. I didn’t generate charts for the women because there ended up being 6 good submissions. Everyone is confident that Auburn, Alabama, and Tulane will advance. 4th place was all over the place.

To the charts!

pool a

Overwhelming support for Auburn to win the pool. UAB/MSU is a tossup in everyone’s eyes. Ole Miss/USM hold seed.

pool b

Tulane is the favorite to win the pool over LSU, but not by an overwhelming margin. Alabama and Vandy are expected to battle it out for 3/4.

bid winners

Auburn is the favorite to win the title with 65% of the first place votes. Tulane has at least 20% of the vote for first, second, and third. LSU is all over the place with their most common being 56% of the third place votes. Every team got at least 1 fourth place vote with UAB leading the pack at 39% and MSU behind them with 29%. Fifth place had a fairly large distribution of picks with MSU leading at 35%, and both UAB and Alabama with 22%.

advance

Everyone is pretty positive that Auburn, Tulane, and LSU are all going to advance. After that, things get a bit murky. It’s a bit of a surprise to see the 5 seed MSU have a slight 2% lead over the 4 seed UAB, an it also surprises me ow much of a separation their is between UAB/MSU and Bama/Vandy. Those 4 teams are going to be in a dog fight on Sunday.

Sectionals Week Thoughts

As someone recently pointed out to me, does anyone really care about winning the section anymore? Ever since USAU expanded the number of regions from 8 to 10, split D3/Dev from D1, and created new conferences, sectionals/conferences has been boring. Sure, it was cool that Bama continued their winning streak, and then it was cool that Auburn broke that streak to win their first title since Rob White’s heyday with the Hare Jordans. But did it actually matter?

Making regionals used to mean something significant because it really was the best of the best. The last year of the 8 region setup, 462 men’s teams competed for 128 spots at regionals. The South region alone had 54 teams, meaning 29.7% advanced. Compare that to this year’s SE region- 32 teams fighting for the same 16 spots, so 50% of teams advance. Considering 7 of those teams are fighting for 1 spot, we have 25 teams fighting over 15 spots, or a 60% advancement rate. The top teams no longer have to worry about making regionals anymore and this is a great thing for competition.

Non-elite teams used to have to peak at sectionals just in order to have a chance at advancing. What they did after sectionals was never given much thought because no one was really sure they were going to make it. Since the expansion from 8->10 regions, a team from the GC has at least made a game to go to a game to go every year except one. The last time that happened prior to 2011 was probably LSU sometime around 2000 (didn’t look it up because time), but we have now done it 4 out of 5 years and that streak will likely continue in 2016.

Teams now view regular season events with more importance than sectionals. A coach told me he doesn’t care if his star players win POTY or the section title, he only cares if they dominate games that determine nationals’ bids during the season and Sunday games at regionals. When USAU got rid of size/region strength bids and went to auto/team strength bids only, it became obvious that elite teams should put more energy into the regular season since it could make their postseason paths much easier. Teams quit playing lots of local tournaments and started to figure out how to maximize the return on their game-play.

Gone are the days where Ttown Throwdown was essentially Sectionals Part 1, Mardi Gras Part 2, and Music City Tuneup Part 3. Instead of playing essentially everyone in your section at least once (and sometimes 2-3 times) before the end of the regular season, teams are going to California, Florida, Missouri, North Carolina, Texas, and everywhere in between to find the best path for themselves. That means you may see 2 or 3 teams from your conference in the regular season total.

Sectionals used to matter not only because it was so much harder to qualify for regionals, but because we all played each other so often in the regular season. Teams knew everyone’s strengths and weaknesses, and they knew how to exploit them. Games were so intense because you were playing the known enemy, the ones you had shared the field with so often. People cared because you knew you could beat each other, and there were real consequences to losing games. A 3rd backdoor safety net didn’t exist.

The same issues exist with All-Section voting these days. Because teams hardly see each other anymore, they really don’t know who the best players are. A guy like Stephen Rhea at Samford got tons of respect from his fellow players back his era because every team from the section that played them knew how good he was as an individual even if Samford wasn’t that great as a whole. It is almost impossible to separate the skill of the individual from the skill of the team unless you’ve had to mark someone for 30 points across the season.

Of course, if someone other than Auburn/Tulane (and I suppose LSU) wins this year, then it WILL matter. It would not only be a huge upset to see UAB/MSU win their first title or Bama/Vandy reclaim their former glory, but it would also throw a wrench in the regionals seeding. That is what makes sectionals matter in the end.

End rambling thoughts. Predictions to come when weather forecast is clearer. Feel free to use this post as the sectionals hype/trash talk thread.

Men’s SE Bid Picture With 2 Weeks To Go

D1 bid picture

As it stands now, both both #9 Florida and #15 Georgia have bids to nationals for the SE. Florida’s spot is all but secure, and UGA is sitting pretty after a good Eastern’s performance. Based on who has games left where, I just don’t see 3 teams overtaking UGA. Rumor on the street is LSU and Tulane have both decided not to attend the smaller Centex this year in favor of Huck Finn. If that is the case, #3 Minnesota will be there along with 13 teams ranked between 18-41. Considering the average power ranking of the top 15 teams attending is around 1775, gaining a third bid is not out of the question. While a fourth bid could also happen, it is unlikely due to the increased chance of intra-SE games at Huck Finn. It is unclear at this time if FSU will play Centex or any other events before the season ends.

For bids to regionals we currently stand at 4 for Florida, 6 for SAPP, 5 for Gulf Coast, and 1 for SE Dev. The only 2 moving parts left are UGA-B and Vandy. UGA-B is sitting at 12-0 against mostly other B teams, and if you look at their results, only 5 of those 12 games are actually being used to calculate their ranking. They have 7 blowout wins that actually hurt their ranking. The question is this- how far will they fall when teams’ results get dropped at the end of the year? This happens every year with B teams since a bunch of them only play 1 sanctioned tournament. Someone will be elevated because they crushed a bunch of B teams, and then will drop like a rock once teams without 10 games are dropped.

Vandy is the only team that I know of outside the teams at the top that has games left. Vandy’s current ranking is based on only 7 games, so it should be easy for them to rise with a decent performance in their only other tournament. I was told they were playing an event in Kentucky, and since Cardinal Classic is the only one that fits that description, that is the assumption I am going with.

One note before my predictions- UTC is only listed as having played 14 games even though you will find 21 on their team page. They had a player rostered at Ttown that was ineligible (unbeknownst to them), so that entire event was thrown out.

Predictions- 3 bids to nationals, GC gets 6 to regionals, FL gets 4, and SAPP gets 6. Dev gets left out.

D3 bid picture

Currently, SE D3M have 1 bid to nationals with Georgia College sitting at #15 (although the actual cutoff is between 13 and 14 because OV and ME also don’t have teams in the top 16. Union is really the only team within striking distance of a second bid at #23. They have a chance to improve their ranking a ton at D3 Easterns, and considering how wildly D3 Rankings can swing week to week, I have no clue what to expect.

As for bids to regionals, it will probably just end up an even 4/4 split because not enough teams will have 10 games to allocate them all via strength bids. This may be the first year that Georgia College is really challenged for the spot to nationals with Union, UNG, and UAH all looking like solid D3 teams. Should be a fun way to start a real D3 regionals.

Bama Secs Select- A Retrospective

I’ve been thinking about the event as a whole since Saturday and talking with lots of people, and it is time to put pen to paper. First, I want to thank everyone who contributed in making the event a success- the college players who spent their free time to come to Atlanta, the Hustle people for wanting to do this kind of thing, the tech guys for being willing to do a live stream, Spin for getting us some good swag, and countless others that I have forgotten.  To the fans, thank you for coming to the game and being rowdy. Thank you for watching us online and giving us great feedback via twitter. You’ve shown us that there is a market for this kind of event, and we hope to be able to deliver more in the future.

On Commentating
Both Hardman and I were excited to try out commentating for the first time, and we both felt a little nervous going into the game. I went back and watched the game, and the first quarter was a little rough from our end. It is tough to find a balance of giving the viewer enough and too much information. I think we sounded the best in the 2nd/3rd/4th quarters after we had run out of pre-thought out jokes, and just talked about the game when we had something decent to say. It was interesting to see how we developed our commentary handoffs from one to the other over the course of the game- we talked over each other a lot at the beginning, and then seemed more smooth towards the end.

I’ve always been critical of professional commentators on the major sports networks who can’t keep players’ names straight during the games, but I think I have a new appreciation for how tough it is. I will give both us some slack since we were working with a Hustle squad with mismatched uniforms and a BSS squad that had multiple of the same numbers. We were offered some binoculars in the press box before the game started, and I didn’t think we would need them since we knew almost all the guys playing. I was wrong. When everyone has similar builds and wears hats, it is really hard to differentiate from 30 rows up.

Given how everything went, I would definitely like to try my hand at commentary again. There are lots of things I would fix- have better notes ready for the game, have rosters and stat sheets printed out instead of on a laptop, binoculars, limit usage of the adjectives “little” and “nice” when describing throws, and have a monitor so we can see what the stream looks like. We didn’t know the public couldn’t see the time until someone told us in the second quarter.

The Stream
Streaming ultimate is hard even when you have a good internet setup. With all the different pieces of equipment involved, you never know what is going to go wrong. Before the game, we tried to fix the issue of the commentary only coming through one speaker, but we couldn’t based on how the audio was being routed. When the stream went down, our internet connection via ethernet was still working just fine. For some reason, though, we could no longer connect to the youtube server hosting the stream. We suspect it had something to do with the internet being on a school network, and pushing large amounts of data across it for multiple hours. We got everything back up on some public wifi, but the connection was so up and down we have no clue what people were actually seeing at home.

If you are looking to get into the streaming game, OBS is a must (https://obsproject.com/). It allowed us to fairly easily overlay a scoreboard and sponsor graphic. There are other products out there that can do this, but OBS is free!

Next Year
We asked our players for feedback on the event, and the guys that aren’t graduating unanimously said they would come back next year if asked. There was some discussion by the players about how we could expand the event to include other SE teams, but I’m honestly not sure it makes sense. Of the 3 teams in our footprint (Nashville, Jacksonville, ATL), Atlanta is pretty much a perfect storm of factors that led to success-

  1. Large youth scene that will attend a college all star game
  2. Large local ultimate scene
  3. Good stadium setup/location
  4. Short-Mid Range drive for most of the region

I would be interested in seeing how this could possibly work in Nashville or Jacksonville, but I can’t get the thought out of my head that maybe Atlanta just has the best setup for this. If we tried to play a game in each city across multiple weekends, the college players would have to commit a lot more time/energy/money to travel, and potentially miss a college tournament. We hit a sweet spot of schools on spring break, and between the Stanford/Tally and Easterns weekends. There are very few weekends in the spring that all the best players are going to be available. If we had only been able to draw in 50% of the perceived best SE talent and the game wasn’t nearly as competitive or interesting, I think we would have a very different outlook for next year.

I’ve had a few people ask about a women’s version of this event, and we touched on it a bit when we interviewed Hannah during the game. I would love to be able to partner with a group to put together a SE women’s college all star team, but we are going to have to find that partner first. The Hustle were the ones who approached us with the idea, and without them, we probably wouldn’t have tried something like it. We just don’t have the manpower or contacts to run events on this scale without partners.

Leave us a comment and let us know what you thought of the event, and what we should change in the future.

(Video links- first half, second half, highlights)

Announcing the Hustle Futures Game- Bama Secs Select vs Atlanta Hustle

Futures-Facebook-Cover

This year we are partnering with the Atlanta Hustle to put on a college all star game. Here are the quick facts:

  • March 12th at 6PM in Atlanta, GA at Grady Stadium.
  • Team is a combination of invites and applications (which can be found here).
  • Players will come from programs all across the SE region.
  • Spin will be providing jerseys for Bama Secs Select.

See http://www.atlantahustle.com/futures/ for all the details and ticket information.

Here is the facebook event link to stay up to date on everything.

Ttown Throwdown Predictions

Below are the results of the fan voting. Pool A is expected to go to seed (minus Vandy no longer attending). Pool B is a runaway by Auburn with UTC, Indiana, and UAB all receiving some 2/3/4 votes. Pool C had the closest 1/2 vote with Georgia Tech and LSU, and the biggest upset consensus with 4 seed UAH dropping to 5th. Pool D has some weird things going on at 3/4 with Clemson being the leading vote getter in both spots.

ttown pool a

ttown pool b

ttown pool c

ttown pool d

As for who would win the entire tournament, #2 Auburn and #1 Florida dominated the picks at a combined 86%.

ttown champ

We did poll 4 “experts,” and these were their opinions. The biggest differences were GS jumping IW for 4th in A, UAB jumping Indiana for 3rd in B, Emory jumping both Purdue and UAH for 3rd in C, and no one having confidence in UK to break or even hold their seed.

ttown A ex

ttown b ex

ttown C ex

ttown D ex

Auburn, Florida, and Georgia Tech made everyone’s semis with 2 picking Notre Dame, 1 picking Arkansas, and 1 picking Indiana to take the other spot. Considering 53% of the public voted Auburn as champ, 3/4 “experts” picked Florida to win with 1 picking Auburn.

Spring 2016 Tournament Calendar

Tournament dates are scattered out across twitter, r/ultimate, USAU’s tournament page, ultimate central, and our inboxes, and can sometimes be hard to keep up to date. Don’t worry, we’ve put everything together in one place.

spring 2016 2

We pulled all the tournaments that we know teams from the SE usually attend, and added most of the major “national” tournaments. If we missed something obvious, let us know!

Fall SAPP CON Women’s Power Rankings

Tis the season for end-of-fall power rankings!

After some quality fall competition it’s now time for us to unveil what our women’s writer, Keith Raynor, believes to be the hierarchy of Southern Appalachian women’s ultimate. To the rankings!

 

10. Berry
9. Georgia Southern
8. UTC
7. Georgia College
6. Georgia State

This five is a bit of a mixed back and it is tough to predict much of anything come spring. UTC is the most likely to make a big move to the top of the heap, but right now, GSU is the most talented team on paper. They need some depth and some legs, but their top end is comparable to the teams above them in the power rankings.

 

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5. Emory

Not unlike Georgia, Emory also seems to be still figuring things out. Itchfest was a mixed bag, losing to teams you’d expect and beating teams you’d expect, save a double game point loss to Tennessee. Getting blown out by Tulane again is not a great sign, but Luna is clearly asking a lot of young players to step into big roles. They’ll need to find a new identity, maybe as a scrappy team, something they haven’t had to do in a while, usually relying on skill. There will be a lot of pressure on this team to perform come spring.

 

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4. Tennessee

With the storylines of the top 3 teams, it would be easy to overlook that BOS made a key move up the ladder with their fall. Itchfest victories over both Kennesaw and Emory are proof that this team could find their way to regionals. Tennessee also added a 3rd place showing at Hootenany to their resume. Emily Rosson is a big versatile matchup problem and Sierra Rimmer is dangerous as a handler. Speedy Sarah Myers and Machen Picard attack downfield. May want to buy your Big Orange Screw stock now.

 

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3. Kennesaw State

KSU has been working hard to make a believer out of you. A 9th place showing at CCC was followed up with an identical placement at Itchfest. But the inconsistency Strix displayed in Nashville shows they haven’t quite asserted themselves yet; KSU is going through growing pains. A loss to Tennessee to kick off Sunday of Itchfest was not good, but Kennesaw clearly has a longer term plan to make it to regionals for the first time.

 

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2. Georgia

It’s just the fall, so don’t hit the panic button on Dawgma yet. But it is clear that UGA is going through a transitional period. At CCC, they were taken down by UNC and Virginia Tech and struggled to dispatch Emory. They rebounded Sunday, but there’s clearly work to be done. A double-digit rookie class means it’ll be a process for Dawgma, but the veteran contributions of Michelle Yang and Caroline Marsh should give them some athletes to model themselves after. Don’t be surprised if the Dawgs find their bite this spring.

 

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1. Georgia Tech

A strong fall start for Georgia Tech has put them in the position to potentially generate national buzz. 3rd place at CCC and 2nd at Itchfest reveals some of the potential Wreck has and is why they’ve taken the top spot in the Conference. Megan Yang is clearly a star in the making, while Dana Rose also emerged with her fall performance. The questions for this team are about how they handle being a top team and if they’ll be seeking out more elite tournaments in the spring.

 

 

 

 

 

Southeast Power Rankings

 

So here we are… The trees are dead, practice attendance dwindling, finals approaching, and talks of inconceivably uplifting Christmas break workout plans abounding! This time of year is tough, not only for the ultimate teams themselves but for us as fans of the sport too. WHAT THE HELL DO WE DO FOR TWO MONTHS???

We write unnecessary articles that cause unrivaled debate (sometimes).

After a good 3 month hiatus that has allowed us to observe, note, criticize, make fun of, and admire all of the teams in the Southeast, we arrive at our first ever post-fall/early spring/here’s where people stand SOUTHEAST POWER RANKINGS. Below you’ll find our thoughts as a squad (mostly mine) on where each team stands after their fall performance, AS WELL AS where I believe they’ll actually finish in April. These numbers may be very different. They might be the same. But let’s be real if they were the same we wouldn’t be adding this to the article because that would be boring af.

Where does your team stand? Are they even on here? Check it out.

 

 

16. USF, Kennesaw State, Ole Miss, UAB

Why four teams? Well it will depend on how the bids are allocated. But here are your 16th best Southeast teams so far. USF hasn’t made much noise outside of small Florida tourneys so far, but usually end up gaining a 4th bid for the Florida region quite often and will likely get another one this year. They showed promise at the end of the year last year, and have a ton of young players. Has KSU won a game this fall? I’m serious… because they have gone to some good quality tournaments and played a ton of quality teams. You have to respect them for that. But with how much talent they lost from last season, you can’t be surprised with early season struggles. JP continues to carry the team on his back, which must be pretty sore after the fall. Christmas break KSU goal: buy that dude a massage chair. Ole Miss seems to have a new positive mindset and had a decent fall. They didn’t have any great showings at quality tourneys, but it seems like their program is looking to turn itself around this year. With that being said, it’s going to take a lot of work. Maybe the GC will get that 7th bid? If so, you can expect UAB to be in the hunt for regionals this year as well. This team has more talent than most realize and a couple players in Ethan and Burke that are very underrated players in the Southeast.

Spring finish: 16

 

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15. Mississippi State

State showed promise this fall with a good amount of recruiting, going split squad multiple times and being in tons of close games. Now, they lost a lot of those games… but it says something about a team that should be pretty good once combined. Normally this is where you say depth would be the biggest issue, but honestly their star players need to step up first. Once those top 3-4 guys play consistently, the depth I’m sure will fill its role.

Spring finish: 13

 

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14. Georgia State

GS U KNOW!!! Geez did they have a solid Hootenanny Showdown… It’s obviously the coaching of Sun Choi. (maybe) But in all seriousness, GSU was not expected to bounce back like they did this fall after losing Sam Kim and Trenton Spinks. Credit to them for coming out of the gate hot. I still think other teams will continue to get better and GSU won’t have the luxury of playing split squads at tourneys this spring.

Spring finish: 15

 

 

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13. Alabama

Nat Oaks and friends had a tough CCC, but showed that they can at least compete against some of the best teams in the nation. With a lot of close game loses, Bama didn’t look awful. If there’s one team who does a good job of peaking at the right time, it’s the Alabama ultimate team. This is not the team of years past, but they are extremely young and are playing with low expectations. Look for them to inconsistently make some noise in the spring and play in some tough games at regionals.

Spring finish: 14

 

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12. Tennessee

Tennessee had one of the better falls when it comes to expectations. No one expected this team to be a threat after the loss of a ton of vets, including Paul Lally. But low and behold, Agent Orange reloaded with some young talent and new breakout players. Phil and Mac have continued to carry the offense for this team, and with a new energy Tennessee is looking to continue to make the semis of their section and place top or so at regionals. Fall however did show that there depth wasn’t up to par with some of the best teams in the region. Rocky ain’t on top, but don’t be surprised if they slip into the top 8 come spring (especially since I’m picking them to finish out of it).

Spring finish: 11

 

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11. LSU

The young guns from Baton Rouge played at quality tournaments this fall but never really showed us the full squad we’ll be seeing in the spring. With tons of new recruits and spreading time like crazy between CCC and going split squad at other tourneys, LSU is a mystery. They have the guys to place top 8, but haven’t had it come together quite yet.
Travis, Lutz, Monk, and Tom Echols (returning this spring) will look to gel early in the spring to make up for Tom’s absence in the fall.

Spring finish: 12

 

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10. Vanderbilt

MLC wasn’t the prettiest of results… yet you have to give them credit for going out to Missouri and playing quality teams. You add MLC to a decent showing at Hootenanny Showdown and you get a decent fall from a team who, with a big off season pickup in Josh Feng, will look to show more consistency in the spring. Vandy has some studs in Danny, Martin, Victor and company… yet lacked the d-line depth to punch it in. This team will continue to get better though and assuming they don’t show up to their first round regionals game asleep like last year, should have a better showing late in the year.

Spring finish: 9

 

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9. Emory

Emory had a very average showing through its first two tourney appearances but made some noise with big wins at CCC over Brown and Michigan. This insanely young team has the top players to compete with anyone in the region, and when their depth is playing well maybe even win some quality games… but you can only expect so much from such young talent. There will be hiccups, but no one will want to play this team later in the year. The future is bright. Can they make noise THIS year though?

Spring finish: 8

 

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8. UTC

The boys from Chatt had a pretty impressive fall for a team who lost its two biggest contributors from last season in Blake Waldron and Chris Newsom. UTC didn’t win many games at Fall Easterns… Good news? They lost a lot of close games vs national level opponents while having a few major players sitting out and a lot of younger guys getting reps. This could easily end up being what propels them to being a top 8 contender at regionals, but I can’t see them being able to keep up with the big boys come late spring. With some big potential in years to come, there will be a good amount of growing pains this year for UTC, but will ultimately lead to success in the future.

Spring finish: 10

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7. FSU

The definition of a rebuilding year is upon DUF. We all know the guys who left were important, but when Connor Holcombe is having to handle a ton it’s a damn shame. Connor is maybe the biggest cutting threat in the region, but so far has had to control the disc due to the lack of experienced handlers on DUF. Even during a year where FSU will be focused on development for the future, you can’t count them out. A very solid program in general, FSU will still be flying all over the place on D and could easily shock some regionals favorites with their well-known defensive energy. What wins games? Defense. What loses games? A bad offense. Will the DUF cult be good enough on offense come spring to find their way to nationals once again?

Spring finish: 7

 

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6. Georgia

Not the best fall from a team with such incredibly young talent, but Jojah will Jojah… and you can expect to see this team playing for a nationals spot come April. When you have Sam Little and Nathan Haskell on your team you have a chance. Add the depth of Parker Bray, little Erickson and a few key rookie pickups and you have yourself a nationals level talent pool. Plus you’ve gotta love having maybe the best puller in the region in George Summers. DUDE CAN PULL. Recent reports have told us that Sebi may be out though with an ACL injury. Let’s hope for speedy recovery. You can still expect to see Jojah bounce back and have a very good spring.

Spring finish: 5

 

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5. Auburn

As expected, Auburn had a very solid fall. They might not have finished as high as they wanted at CCC, but were in close games all weekend. They’re still looking for that missing piece to replace Ryan Landry, but from what we can tell are on their way to peaking late spring. With basically the rest of their roster returning this year, you’d expect this team to be a favorite by then.

Spring finish: 4

 

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4. Georgia Tech

Tech didn’t play many fall tournaments, but sure showed some quality play at CCC. Even with the loss of Revolver start Nathan White, Tech’s roster showed up big in the fall. Tech has some great depth, one of the best freshman classes in the Southeast, and a big time handler in Stephen Burkot. Burkot ran the offense and showed maybe the most consistency from any Southeast handler at CCC. This team’s success will rely on the defense being able to convert without Burkot on the field though, and it’s going to be tough in a very deep Southeast.

Spring finish: 6

 

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3. Florida

This fall, Florida continued to show why they have been one of the best programs in the nation year after year. When a down year is losing in the “game-to-go”, you’re doing something right. Another quality CCC performance showed that Florida, even with the loss of Dahl, will be a favorite in the Southeast. With revenge on their mind, I can’t imagine these guys falling short of nationals again this year. Don’t expect them to just LEY down… I’ll see myself out.

Spring finish: 2

 

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2. Tulane

Holy moly what a CCC for Tulane. No one except maybe Tulane saw them beating UCF and looking as good as they did. This team might have the best O-line in the Southeast right now. With a top 5 of Walter, Lamp, Mooney, Chance, and Baba who have been playing together for a couple years now, it will be hard to break this team all year. Tulane has some swag, and you can’t deny that. Some called them “try hards” at CCC… ummm…. yeah that’s what you SHOULD do when you play competitive ultimate. There way ahead of the chemistry curve while everyone tries to catch up. You do not want to see them at regionals. Am I right Georgia?

Spring finish: 3

 

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1. UCF

Deep. Again. UCF has turned itself into a quality program that does an incredible job of recruiting athletes and developing them into ultimate players. They don’t need your high school YCC stars to be good (even though one of their best players played YCC Michael Fairley). They have height, speed, great motion offense, and guys willing to throw their bodies around on D. They showed their depth and dominance at CCC, and even though they didn’t win the tourney they did a great job of getting their bench quality playing time. With Langdon coming back, look for these dogs to be a favorite once again. Plus Roca is our BFOTB. What a guy!

Spring finish: 1

 

SPRING PREDICTIONS
16. USF, KSU, Ole Miss, UAB
15. GSU
14. Alabama
13. Miss St
12. LSU
11. Tennessee
10. UTC
9. Vandy
8. Emory
7. FSU
6. Georgia Tech
5. Georgia
4. Auburn
3. Tulane
2. Florida
1. UCF

I can’t wait to look back at this list in April and see how wrong it was.

Itchfest Preview

 

Written by the man, the myth, the Emory Luna coach… Keith Raynor!

Nashville will play host to one of the final events of the fall in the Southeast, Itchfest. If everyone’s lucky, the teams will dodge the rain and only be faced with damp grounds and maybe 10 mph winds. But with a wide range of competitors – from Regional Champions to brand new squads – it should be an interesting weekend.

 

Seedings & Format

The seedings are definitely weird, mostly at the top where teams have given a bit more to go off of. FSU went to Nationals last year and probably should be #1. Georgia Tech should probably be #2 or #3. Vanderbilt makes sense at #4 and then probably Auburn, KSU, and Tulane in order. Tulane is a big standout as #10 seed because they crushed #7 Emory and gave KSU a good game at CCC. After that, things are probably mostly toss ups; I’d probably give Emory the benefit of the doubt on paper, but it wouldn’t mean much.

The other unusual wrinkle is the format, featuring reseeded crossover games to seed the bracket. After pool play concludes, we get cross 1/2 and 3/4 matchups between A & D and B & C. Those results and potentially point differential will seed teams into the bracket, or send them to the consolation round robin. The bracket is the losers of the 1/2 vs the winners of the 3/4 for the chance to play one of the four teams that get the bye into quarters. The format should give teams mostly unique looks at one another from pool play to top bracket.

 

SAPP Con Outlook

Kennesaw State is a rather curious three seed. It isn’t clear why a team admittedly on the rise is seeded ahead of Georgia Tech, Vandy, and Auburn; GT is coming off a great performance at CCC and Vandy and Auburn made the Hootenany final. But Sam Stovall’s team must be pumped and eager to try and defend the lofty expectations. Auburn will be a very challenging opponent for them, with the athleticism to give KSU’s top players trouble. MSU is no pushover either, but Univesity of Southern Indiana is not likely to pose a big threat.

Down at the 5th seed – probably should be 3rd seed – is Georgia Tech. They made a big splash at CCC and could continue that run. Ole Miss has been driving to improve, but Tech is probably just going to overpower the lower seeded teams in their pool. Vandy should provide a much better litmus test – is Tech going to be in the hunt for a top spot at Regionals? This could hint at that.

Fall hasn’t been kind to Emory, who has struggled to get traction. They are saddled with the toughest pool, having to face superpowered FSU and a Tulane team that rolled them at CCC. It’s only been a couple weeks, but Luna will have to be better at maintaining possession and defending deep to get improved results. Tulane’s attack is aggressive and could give Emory trouble, but they’d love to prove they are one of the competitive teams in this field and this game could do that.

The other three teams are looking for what wins they can get. Tennessee gets the best pool, with matchups against Harding (a D-III team from Arkansas) and Georgia State looking like potential Ws. Expect to Vandy Alums, VuDID, to be pretty good, but you never know who will or won’t show for those sorts of things. Georgia State, if they are playing well and have a decent roster, is good enough to steal some wins in Pool A. UT-Chattanooga is a wild card, but will have a tough time against three well coached teams that aren’t likely to play down in Pool D.

 

Predictions
I think the clear favorites are Florida State, Georgia Tech, and the Vandy alums. I do think the fall version of FSU could get upset by either of those teams in the bracket; Georgia Tech doesn’t hold much back and the Vandy alums won’t have any rookies to throw on the line if they wanted to. But this tournament will start giving us a picture of how the various middle teams in the Southeast rank with one another.

Deez Hucks 2015

Check out this new tourney that East Tennessee State is hosting. Info below.

Deez Hucks 2015
East Tennessee State University (ETSU)
Nov 21 – 22

What you can expect at this tournament:
High quality regulation ultimate fields (grass & turf)
no short fields, potholes, or crabgrass
6-7 games guaranteed
Water coolers at every field
Tourney Central Tent
with FREE food and Spin gear for sale
Full-time certified trainer on hand for your safety
Themed Trophy for 1st place
$150 in Spin credit (to be used on team uniform orders only) for the winning team in each division. The credit will be good for 3 months from the event.
Tourney party on Saturday night (details provided at the tournament)

Our biggest selling points are our very nice playing surfaces (see attached), and our dedication to a well executed event. Unfortunately, we don’t have the pedigree to fall on that people tend to trust, but we do know what makes a good tournament: quality fields, well communicated tournament information, clear field locations, constantly full water coolers, and a free keg at the tourney party!

 

 

Preseason Women’s POTY Watch (SAPP CON)

Written by Emory Women’s coach, Keith Raynor.

The SAPP Con has a blank slate in the women’s division. Most of its stars graduated last year. All four of its All-Region selections have moved on. But a new crop is ready to become the cream. This season is the season of breakouts.

 

Caroline Marsh

Caroline Marsh (Georgia)
The only player in the SAPP Con to have been selected to an All-Region team, Marsh’s appearance on the Dawgma roster made waves. She’s also the only player in the Conference to have played regularly at Club Nationals. The Alabama transfer is in her 5th year, and as a former runner-up FOTY (back when that was a Regional Award), and she brings a wealth of experience to compliment her fearsome athleticism. However Dawgma uses her, if she’s a presence, she’s a frontrunner.

 

Taylor Hartman

Taylor Hartman (Georgia Tech)
Bringing the table her own dose of athleticism and intelligence, expect Hartman to be the heartbeat of Wreck this year. She has exceptional top end speed, and is aggressive and physical on both sides of the disc despite a slight frame. Her throws have grown and grown, and if she’s hitting this year, she could be the best player in the SAPP Conference.

 

Erin Chun

Erin Chun (Georgia)
As a first year captain, there’s a lot of responsibility on Chun’s strong shoulders. The junior is a former All-Freshmen and has made her name as a shut down defender, with quick feet and intimidating strength. She’s developed greatly as a handler and practicing with Ozone this offseason with have bolstered her disc skills. If she brings higher offensive production, Chun could be the top dog.

 

[Send us a cool pic if you have one!]

Sammy Daugherty (Kennesaw)
Expectations are for Daugherty to a be a huge breakout this year. She’s a spectacular player to watch, especially once she starts rolling downfield. Daugherty can devastate in the air, if she isn’t so wide open that she can just pancake it. Great wheels and a growing field sense, rumor is that she had an excellent showing at Ozone tryouts and is going to be a star.

 

Julia Ting

Julia Ting (Georgia Tech)
As the SAPP Con’s best pure handler, Ting has to make the watchlist. The lefty is deft with the disc, able to launch bombs, drop dimes, and crush breaks. She’s poised but opportunistic. The only question is if she’s healthy. Ting’s body may be her own worst enemy, because her game is for real.

 

Rachel Thurston

Rachel Thurston (Emory)
People in SAPP Con know what to expect from Arty, who has grown from an athletic cutter to a voracious deep thrower who is good in the air and solid in the lanes. The power is there, but it’ll be a battle with turnovers and discipline that Arty will have to win in order to take home the honor. If she can power Emory to unexpected heights, she’ll have to be considered.

 

Mikey provost

Mikey Provost (Georgia State)
As one of the key cogs for GSU, their success is tied in part to how well she can handle the context. Provost is dynamic as a thrower and defender, but is going to be asked to bare a heavy responsibility for Vixen. She’s also consistently struggled to stay healthy, a limiting factor for such a scrappy player.

 

Honorable Mentions
Michelle Yang (Georgia) is the new player who feels like she’s been in the region since the big bang. But she’s got Club Nationals experience and is capable of huge plays.

Ashley Brown (Georgia Tech) has one of SAPP Con’s best around backhands and is capable of huge throws and is also an awesome puller.

Kalli Monroe (Georgia State) has become a veteran leader for Vixen and is capable bailing her teammates out with well timed cuts and break throws.

Talia Gilbert (Emory) has been one of the most consistent cutters in the Conference and has added a wider range of throws to her game.

Gracie White (Georgia) is potentially a break out. She was on fire at Ozone tryots and played well for Outbreak, and can do a bit of everything.

Rachel Mez (Kennesaw) brings some of the best wheels in the region to KSU, but it’ll be interesting to see how much of a presence she is.

Machen Picard (Tennessee) is a huge pickup for BOS, bringing her height, speed, and experience from Alabama, making her a tough matchup all over.

Women’s Gulf Coast Warmup Roundup

Ole Miss Coach Brian Sherry sent over his observations from this past weekend’s women’s edition of GCW. 

Ole Miss                3-1 (Bama X 4-9, State 10-6, Bama Y 10-5, Tennessee 8-7)

Miss State             3-1 (Alabama Y 10-7, Ole Miss 5-9, Tennessee 10-5, Bama X 9-7)

Alabama X            2-1 (Tennessee 8-7, Ole Miss 9-4, State 7-9)

Tennessee              1-3 (Bama X 7-8, Bama Y (win), State 5-10, Ole Miss 7-8)

Alabama Y            0-3 (State 7-10, Tennessee (loss), Ole Miss 5-10)

Disclaimer: I coach the Ole Miss Women’s team.

Here’s a quick review of the Gulf Coast Warmup Round Robin that Alabama hosted on Saturday. The weather was beautiful, but there was a pretty consistent 9-12 mph wind that was giving teams some trouble. The way fields were lined up worked out for true upwind/downwind games. Each team had a number of rookies: Alabama had 16 show up, split between two squads. Mississippi State had around 8, Tennessee had maybe 7, and Ole Miss had 7 “first years,” plus a grad student transfer with college ultimate experience.

Mississippi State:  “We played our best games against the Alabama split squads,” said Caroline Barrett, which was encouraging for State because of not many successes in recent years against Alabama. Dana Bramlitt and Keri Camp led the team in touches. I’ve always liked the way both of those players carry themselves through games, and Camp talked afterward about how they were trying to make sure everyone stayed involved on the field as much as possible.

Rookies Jessica Comer and Ashley Prather helped tremendously in zone defense packages and their performance stood out throughout the day. Amy Hoover and Lilly Montalvo were the most active/effective cutters and goal scorers. Everyone at the tournament is eligible for the spring series. Mississippi State played aggressively (not in physical way, but the mental “I want the frisbee” way that you want your team to be exhibiting). I encouraged my own team to adopt that kind of intensity moving forward in the afternoon.

Alabama: On X, captain Tara Massouleh (#17), grad student /5th year player Hayley Djuric (#99), and senior Sarah Williams (#4) had a majority of the maintenance of possession (I’d say almost 85-90% of the Ole Miss game), but in a positive way that afforded looks to the first years under from the stack or on downfield cuts. Bama X’s field stack (vertical mostly) looked good, and rookies generally caught the disc when it was thrown to them. Not many threw downfield after catching it- they were either in goal or dumped it.

It was easy to see how merging the split squads back to the regular team will create a nice core of 5 extremely dangerous, athletic handler/cutters (including captain Alex Jones, who led Bama Y team in touches) with an athletic and fast receiver corps. I know one of the players on Y isn’t playing in the spring, and I couldn’t tell much about the Y squad across the board. Alabama has 20 plus rookies this year. Julia Becker from Bama X played on a school mixed team in St. Louis, but no one else has any organized experience. Both Alabama teams caught a lot of good offensive clean goals from good cuts and throws into space. Very athletic, fast bunch that will be even more difficult to defend as they gain needed experience on fundamentals, timing, and game situations.

Tennessee: Led by Machen Picard (grad student from Alabama), Sierra Rimmer, and Melanie Lindsey, Tennessee had a gang of new recruits that looked like their leaders, and they were easily the tallest team across the board. The future looks encouraging as they have no seniors and a talented cast of rookies that is buying in to coaching and team leadership. Sierra Rimmer was in particular one of a couple players I was hoping our rookies watched closely and might emulate in the future (the other one would be the aforementioned #17 Tara Massouleh from Alabama). Rimmer was always throwing and going, purposefully reorienting herself to where she needed to be to help her team out on each possession, on offense and defense.

Ole Miss: The Landsharks were without their captain Brooke Holloway and a few spring series players, so Rachel Shaw, Amanda Baker, and Maggie Spear helped hold the system down as 15 total players made the trip, with 8 of them being new. The 3 previously named are either graduated, out of eligibility, or not around in the spring, but are dues paying Fall members of the club.

That being said, returners were in some newer roles and rookies were getting their first true experience of tourney ultimate. It was a solid day of play across the board. I don’t feel it’s too appropriate to say much else, but our goal was to get the rookies hooked on ultimate and the club, and the team dinner seemed to be a reflection on the joy of sport.

Notes

Generally, across the fields, teams’ players were using down times to get reps in throwing in the wind in all directions. All of the teams were athletic, competitive, sporting, and inspiring for our rookie cast (which is sometimes how I try and view the first tourneys—what are the first years looking at and talking about?).

As a certified observer, there was only one instance of a rules interpretation mishap. And much to everyone’s credit, after it was discovered, both captains talked about it so the teams’ members would learn from it. Excellent diplomacy to eavesdrop on. It involved an old interpretation of a foul in the endzone on the defender against a receiver the disc was thrown to.

The 4 person Cup: Alabama X ran it, as did Y a few times, and so did Tennessee occasionally. When enough offensive players can react quicker to the spacing opportunities and movement needed to free up the spacing, I’d love for teams to run it against us. We didn’t do so well first thing in the morning versus X, but anytime we saw it afterward, players started to understand the experienced club thrower thoughts on zones (or, let’s be honest—a masters player’s thoughts on zone): Yes, please.

I love the way veterans talk to rookies, both about ultimate, and life. The hints of flabbergastation, the creeping of disappointment or incredulity, but with enough tone of encouragement for future excellence building. For example: A clump of rookies huddled together waiting for the one pen that they are all using to sign the field waivers. Veteran approaches, “What are you all doing? Did anyone not think to ask the one person anywhere near you that might have a bunch of pens? (silence) Your coach that is standing 15 yards away!”

We brought a spike ball kit this tourney. Last year we had a soccer ball to defuse from over-ultimating ultimate. I thought that spike ball kept us loose and allowed the focus to come back on when it was needed.

My All-Tourney from the Opposition Team

Massouleh

Djuric

Williams

Rimmer

Picard

Lindsey

Bramlitt

 

 

Preseason Player of The Year Watch (Gulf Coast)

Players come and go. Stars are born one year and gone the next (That’s science). Five of last year’s all-conference line are now gone: Ryan Landry, Draco, PDo, Cousins, and D3’s Tom Radcliffe have all moved on from college ultimate. With the departure of some comes the arrival of many. This year, we have a new batch of vets looking to compete for POTY. After looking at who will be returning this year, this honestly might be the most open POTY race in history. If you made me pick RIGHT NOW who I think will win it?… geez… give me a few days….

But while we’re at it….

Here is a list of guys that I believe contains this year’s Myron Hardy POTY!

Noaks

Nate Oaks (Bama) – The most intimidating player in the section physically, Noaks is known for being a monster in the air while also having the quickness and speed of shorter/smaller players. With huge throws, Noaks opens up the field for Bama by being able to put the disc anywhere he wants. He’s going to be called upon to carry Bama at times and will need to make huge plays all season for them to compete for the section title. Look for him to get touches galore this season.

Techols

Tom Echols (LSU) – One of the craziest athletes I’ve witnessed in ultimate. When Tom is healthy, he is an incredible player. But “Is he healthy?” has been a question his whole college career so far. Let’s hope as fans of the sport that he does stay healthy. He is so fun to watch. Tom has one of the more intelligent ultimate minds in the section… but also the speed, quickness, and willingness to give up his body unlike any other. With a solid supporting cast around him, he may not be as much of a focal point as Noaks will be for Bama, but you can expect Echols to be making plays all over the field this season for LSU.

Ebo

Evan Boecking (Auburn) – Maybe the best true handler in the section, Boecking was Auburn’s O-line go-to reset last year and had big throws to open up the field whenever they needed it. He’s one of the hardest players to guard as the dump in the section and has an absolute nasty around backhand. Evan will need to continue to be the solid rock he was last year again for Auburn this year. With plenty of cutter depth, the only thing Auburn may be lacking is elite handler depth… well Evan brings that to the table and more. Look for him to make a name for himself nationally now that his counterpart Ryan Landry isn’t with Auburn anymore.

Evan Walter

Evan Walter (Tulane) – Evan Walter once “tied” for FOTY with Garrett Yetman… and look where they are now. Evan has been Tulane’s most consistent player over the last few years in my opinion and looks to continue that this year. Evan has some of the best throws in the section, but also has the physical attributes to be a major cutter downfield. It’ll be interesting to see how Tulane uses him this year. With his U-19 background, he without a doubt knows the game as well as anyone else in the section, but can he fill the shoes of Cousins and PDo from last year? I think he will, and it’ll be fun to watch him do it.

Blake Galloway

Blake Galloway (Auburn) – Blake made his mark on the nation’s ultimate scene last year with some of the most athletic defensive plays this section has seen. Not only is he one of the section’s best defenders, but he was able to be a very good offensive player for Auburn’s O-line last year when they switched him over part way through the season. With throws that continue to get better each year, straight line speed as fast as anyone in the section, and the ability to make big plays in the air, look for Blake to be one of Auburn’s go-to guys.

Ben Lamport

Ben Lamport (Tulane) – Along with Evan Walter, Tulane has one of the most skilled and fiery players in the section in Ben Lamport. With all-around skills and athletic ability that make him able to cut and/or handle at any time, Lamp has been known to dominate points with his quick movement, nasty inside flick, and huge layouts. Lamp will be even more of a go-to guy for Tulane this year, as they’ll need him to bring some consistency to the team as well. We already know he can make big plays, but it’ll be interesting to see how Lamp handles becoming one of the main stars for his team. I think he’ll absolute dominate this season.

Ethan Downs

Ethan Downs (UAB) – The darkhorse for POTY and maybe the most underrated player in the section, Ethan Downs will be leading a young and revitalized UAB program into what they expect to be their best year to date. Ethan recently gained some quality club experience to go along with his innate ability to play the game. It’s going to be fun to watch UAB this year after their development over the last couple seasons, and with Ethan behind the disc, they’ll be one of the most interesting teams to follow. Not known for being flashy, Ethan continues to play the right way and is one of the section’s best at keeping possession. Can he make an impact on defense as well this year? I wouldn’t be surprised to see him play both sides of the disc this year for Inferno.

Eric Sjostrom

Eric Sjostrom (Auburn) – The opposite of a darkhorse for POTY, Eric Sjostrom (FOTY) goes into his sophomore year looking to make even more of an impact on the field for Auburn. By the end of the season last year, Eric was a solid rock for Auburn with his natural cutting ability and always seemed to be open. Once he started taking care of the disc offensively, there may not have been a better cutter in the section. Eric’s playmaking ability has spoken for itself over the past few years, including his younger years in HS. Being a college vet now, look for Eric to be around the disc in important points all year.

Honorable Mentions

JT Williams (MSU) – Will he still be his old self after traveling this summer? I hope so. I hope he got even better.

Michael Volz (Auburn) – Crafty lefty, and honestly one of the more underrated and consistent players in the section. Newly appointed Captain for Auburn.

Chance Cochran (Tulane) – An absolute workhorse as a cutter. Will he make a bigger impact this year on a thinner Tulane roster?

Josh Feng (Vandy) – Emory transfer who played along side Christian Olsen for a few years. With his experience, he’ll lead this Vandy team all year.

Garris Bugg (Auburn) – Returning captain for Auburn with big time play-making ability. Will we see his relentless effort from his freshman campaign combine with his experience for the game?

David Mondschein (Tulane) – One of the more versatile throwers in the section, along with a signature swim-move layout D. Can Moonie take the next step and be a go-to guy for Tulane?

Tanner Robinson (MSU) – Possibly the best 1v1 defender in the section. Huge bids with creative lefty throwing. If he stays under control while on the field, he’ll be a huge threat to the top 4 teams.

Danny On (Vandy) – Maybe the quickest player in the section, Danny impressed last year and I’m sure will continue to keep getting better this year.

Martin Newman (Auburn) – Great defender with a lefty backhand bomb. Newly appointed captain of Auburn looking to lead the team by his actions now.

Preseason Player of The Year Watch (SAPP CON)

At the end of each year we’ll be naming an all-section line, POTY, and Freshman of The Year. With these awards only being months and months away…why not start talking about them now!? (because we have nothing else to do. we play frisbee)

Last year in the SAPP CON we had a ton of studs from different teams, all worthy of POTY. Elliott (UGA), Nathan White (GaTech), Sun Choi (KSU), Christian Olsen (Emory) and so on. This year the conference has a ton of new faces that we should get know, because they’ll be tearing up the college scene this year and we’re going to let you know about it. Here’s our Preseason POTY Watch!

Sam Little

Sam Little (UGA) – Last year, Sam was one of UGA’s more consistent players with AND without the disc. He did a great job of leading their D-line at times, helping walk them down the field after turns. He often would get matched up with the best offensive player on other teams, showing his versatility between playing great D and controlling the disc on O. This year look for Sam to take over during important points, and for his supporting cast to play a role while Sam goes off. He’s easily one of the front-runners for POTY.

 

Nathan Haskell

Nathan Haskell (UGA) – Only a returning sophomore, the younger Haskell will need to step up again this year in place of losing a few very experienced seniors (including his brother Tyler). If there was one player last year who was the most valuable to his own team, it may have been young Haskell. In big games down the stretch of the series, including the “game-to-go” against Auburn, Haskell made clutch play after clutch play. It should be interesting to see what he can do after a summer away from club. I know for some guys taking time away from the game helps, but he might come back a little rusty. I don’t think he will though. He’s too naturally talented and will be a front-runner for POTY even as a sophomore.

 

Burkot

Stephen Burkot (GaTech) – After an outstanding performance at U-23’s playing for the Australian Mixed team, Burkot might be the exact piece that Tech needs this year to compete. Losing Nathan White will be tough, but with the return of Burkot, Tech could easily be a clear top-2, regional competitor again. Burkot has some of the best throws in the section and the athleticism to go downfield if need-be. Look for Burkot to be the go-to guy for Tech and get a TON of touches this year.

 

Paul Lally

Paul Lally (UTC) – Former Tennessee stud Paul Lally will be (from what we hear) playing with UTC this year and will look to continue to be one of the section’s biggest playmakers. Lally over the last few years was always one of, if not THE go-to guys on Tennessee. Being great in the air AND having big throws, Lally looks to help UTC take the next step and challenge for the section title. The question is, what will his commitment level look like? If Lally is able to plug himself right in without any trouble, look for him to easily be in the conversation for POTY.

 

JP Burns

JP Burns (KSU) – Chain rookie JP Burns will look to fill some big shoes as KSU loses a huge part of its core from last year. Burns gained some great experience this past club season playing with Atlanta’s Chain Lightning. He’ll look to bring his knowledge and experience to his young team this year, as well as be an even bigger factor for KSU himself. One of the most athletic players in the section, look for Burns to be making big plays all year.

 

Anders Olsen

Anders Olsen (Emory) – After a fantastic freshman campaign, this year is going to look a little different for Anders Olsen. With the departure of long time Emory star Christian Olsen (Anders’ brother), Anders will likely be the focal point of an extremely young Emory squad. With the addition of a few YCC freshman, Anders should have a decent enough cast around him for them to compete. Anders, being maybe the fastest player in the section in a straight line, has always had the ability to make huge plays… but can he stay consistent through the year and be the rock that his brother was for years.

 

Mac McClellan

Mac McClellan (Tenn) – Mac McClellan is my darkhorse for POTY. He already showed at Dave Baldwin that he will be able to carry Tennessee at times, shredding opponents’ defenses with break throws and almost always getting open for resets. I would look for McClellan to have a breakout year. Will he win POTY? maybe not, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see him in the conversation.

 

Honorable Mentions

Parker Bray (UGA) – Very important cutter for UGA, and one of the fastest/hardest working players in the section.

Phillip Dougherty (Tenn) – A solid rock for the Tennessee handling core. Great inside flick break.

Devin Rogers (GaTech) – Tall and useful. Devin has sharpened his fundamentals the last few years and will be a threat all over the field.

Tim Barczak (UTC) – Experienced and overlooked, Tim does a great job of moving the disc and being consistent for UTC.

Sam Kim (GSU) – If he ends up playing, Sam is one of the best throwers in the section. Quick and natural, Sam is an extremely tough guard.

Ishaan Dave (Emory) – After a season of club Ishaan is now a huge threat with the disc. Break throws and hucks galore, his most valuable asset may be taking care of the disc. Also super quick.

George Summers (UGA) – There’s something to be said about how important a really good puller is in the game of ultimate. UGA has the section’s best in Summers.

 

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