Well, we finally did it. Susan and I managed to get to watch Clara play in this year’s USA Ultimate Collegiate Championships. Her Northeastern University team, the Valkyries, have played at nationals 3 of the 5 years she’s been there, and of course, there were no nationals (or much of anything else) in 2020 and 2021. Clara’s team nominated her for a Callahan Award, and the best part of that is that they put together a highlight reel for voters to watch to assist in their evaluation of the candidates. All the videos are amazing, of course, but Clara’s is superb! This year, the tournament took place in Ohio, which seemed like a manageable drive. After we both were done with work on Thursday afternoon, a little before 3:00 p.m. we got in our car and headed west. We drove as far as Rochester, NY, getting off the road at around 10:00 p.m. We awoke the next morning at 5:00 and were back on the road by 5:30. We drove straight thru, with one fuel stop, to Mason, OH, just outside Cincinnati, and arrived minutes before the 1:00 p.m. opening pull in their game against Virginia. Just enough time to get our folding chairs, and a cooler full of Gatorade (and pickles!) for the team, out to the field.
In this first game, Northeastern was seeded higher, and they did win with a final score of 9-8, which tells you it was a hard fought game that ended due to hitting the hard cap, rather than one team reaching 15 points.
In their second game, against Georgia, the Northeastern Valkyries did not fare so well, eventually losing to the lower-seeded team, 9-14. That was a tough loss for the Valks, and they were not feeling great afterwards.
On Saturday, after a night’s rest, they first faced higher seeded Stanford, and played a good game that ended with the Valks on the losing end of an 8–15 score. Not especially close, but the Valks played well, and felt good afterwards. That led up to their final game of pool play, which was against #2 seed Colorado.
It was another well played game, and by half time, the Valks were down 6-8. In the second half, they managed to fight back to a 10-10 tie, then take the lead at 11-10. They pretty much traded points after that, and came away with the W in a nail-biter at Universe Point (15-14 final). That victory earned them a spot in the pre-quarters, and knocked Virginia out of contention (which Georgia somehow felt the need to Tweet about bitterly!).
In their pre-quarter game against Carleton, the Valks started out in a 0-2 hole, but dug themselves out and went into the half ahead 8-6. But the second half ended up being more Carleton than Northeastern, and the Valks finished their season with a 10-15 loss. But they seemed quite pleased, as well they should, with it being their first visit to pre-quarters since 2008. Colorado, by the way, went on to play in the finals against North Carolina. The game is available on Ultiworld if you have a subscription.
We also got to watch some of the later championship games and hang out a bit with Clara
And Susan got to work on her vert:
The weekend involved driving a little over 1,800 miles spread over 4 days. It did not go well for the bugs who insisted on getting in our way.