Ultimate teams set sights on nationals

Both the St. Olaf men’s and women’s ultimate frisbee teams will be competing in the upcoming Division III National Championships on May 16-17 after both teams gained qualifying spots in conference and regional play as well as top finishes during the regular season. This marks the first time in school history that both the men’s and women’s teams will be competing at the national tournament at the same time.

The Berzerkers St. Olaf men’s team have found success throughout the year, finishing the regular season with a record of 17-6 up through the Division III Regionals. The Berzerkers went 5-1 in this year’s Northwoods Division III Conference Championships, losing only to a strong and experienced team from Carleton College across the river. After their success in conference play, the Berzerkers swept through the Division III Regionals with ease, losing once again to Carleton College yet still claiming second place along with a bid in the Division III National Championships. The men’s team will face off against SUNY-Genesco, Lewis & Clark College and Bryant College in the first round of the national competition.

Durga Ultimate St. Olaf women’s team has also been succesful this year, finishing 14-6 up through regionals. Durga had a strong run in the Northwoods Division III Conference Championships in Ames, Iowa, finishing third behind Grinnell College and St. Benedict. Durga lost to the eventual champions from Grinnell College and was forced to face off with St. Benedict and claim a third place seed. This third place finish automatically qualified Durga for the Division III Nationals in Rockford, Ill. where the team will square up against Luther College, Wake Forest University and Rice University in the opening round of play.

Both Durga Ultimate and the Berzerkers have a shot at finishing in the top five at nationals, assuming that the Carleton team does not complicate things for them. Both teams have shown that they can play with the explosiveness and tenacity to face off with some of the best ultimate teams in the nation. Both the men’s and women’s team compete in a tough and competitive conference, and experience playing against top teams will be necessary if the Berzerkers and Durga hope to progress into the late rounds in the national tournament. Either way, this participation in a top tier tournament is a great way to put St. Olaf on the radar and will hopefully help both the Berzerker and Durga teams keep improving.