Austin, Texas: the destination for all things ultimate. With sixteen teams set to compete, this year’s regional tournament promises to be one of excitement, surprises, layouts, hard-nosed defense, and, most of all, intense competitiveness.
Beginning on Saturday at 9am, most teams are making the trek down to Austin the night before and resting at a hotel, to begin prepping themselves for the tournament.
With only two teams advancing to the national level of competition, a loss on Saturday could very well mean the end to a team’s season. With each team working hard in their sectional competition, none of them want to go home early, and will be bringing the best they’ve got to the first games of the day.
The University of North Texas had a scare at their sectional tournament, losing twice before gaining their composure and dominating the subsequent teams. They finished fifth in the total of five spots given the opportunity to advance after being picked to win the tournament outright. They are going to have to shake the cobwebs off before the first game in order to get anywhere at this tournament. Two losses means that your season is done, and, after playing out the day, it’s time to pack up and go home.
UNT plays Missouri to open up the tourney, and it looks to be a challenge. Mizzou has lost only four games this season and finished second in the Ozarks section after defeating OU. UNT beat Texas Tech in the last round of their section after losing to them earlier that same day by a score of 15-14.
Texas State ended up winning the Texas sectionals, pulling off a victory over UT, who won the south region last year. Texas State squares up against St. Louis, who squeaked by with the eighth and final bid out of the Ozarks Section.
UT, who finished second at Texas sectionals, plays Harding, another Ozark-sectioned team thirsty for vengeance. After a disappointing sixth place finish at sectionals, Harding looks to be an underdog, and, if they can defeat a powerhouse like UT early, could become a real force in this tournament.
Texas A&M, the third place bid from the Texas section will play Washington University. Not to be confused with Washington the state, Washington University is actually found in St. Louis, MO. After a fifth place finish in the Ozark section, they will be a force to be reckoned with for the senior-dominated A&M team. Many of the Aggies believe it is their year and will let nothing stand in their way.
Rice is the last of the Texas-sectioned teams to be highlighted in this article, after placing fourth in the section. After pulling off the upset of the tournament and defeating UNT by one on Saturday, they went on to have a very unimpressive Sunday, losing by 9 points to A&M, and then again by 7 to UT, and barely squeaked by UT’s B team, 13-11. Perhaps the shock of beating a powerhouse like UNT was too much for the young team, but they’ll have to get rid of those Sunday jitters if they are going to get anywhere at regionals.
Finally, if you happen to be in the Austin area, come out and watch some intense ultimate frisbee. Yes, I know, many readers will scoff at my correlation of words there, claiming that there is no way ultimate frisbee could be intense. I implore those of you reading to come out and watch, to see just how intense it can be.