Over the past couple of weeks, many of Carleton’s ultimate frisbee teams traveled to warmer climates to compete in tournaments. They experienced a smattering of success across the board. Syzygy clinched first place in Santa Barbara, as did Eclipse at Stanford; the Carleton Ultimate Team (CUT) placed fourth in Tampa.
Syzygy kicked off their tournament with a 13-4 win against Northwestern and continued to cruise until their final match against Stanford. After a couple bruising dives and catches, Carleton came out on top, scoring 11-9 in the final. Winning that final game was a big accomplishment for Syzygy. Naomi Fina ‘26 spoke to what the win meant for the team: “It felt great. It was a good tournament and the team played pretty cohesively, given that we hadn’t faced a competitive opponent in a while,” said Fina. “I’m just really looking forward to the rest of the season.”
Syzygy is the most competitive of the women’s Ultimate teams at Carleton, which is reflected in the team member’s lifelong experience with frisbee. Fina herself has been playing for more than eleven years, not uncommon on such a high-level team.
The team appeared to enjoy their time in sunny California, even if it ended too soon. “The only negative part was coming back to negative weather,” said Fina.
CUT, the foremost men’s team, reflected on their showing in Florida. Adam Rothman ‘25 described the highlight of the trip: “Singing ‘Like a Prayer’ after winning our quarterfinal against Michigan Saturday night, bonding with the boys in our AirBnBs and hanging out on the beach all come to mind.”.
But competition was no cakewalk: half of all the games CUT played came within two points or less. While there were a handful of losses, including a stinging 10-13 defeat to the University of Georgia, Rothman spoke highly of his team’s performance. “The biggest highlight from the weekend? We maintained a constant, positive energy throughout all of our games, regardless of the score,” said Rothman.
Even if they didn’t win this time, they’ll have more opportunities for a comeback. The national tournament is held during Spring Term, and CUT has attended every year since 1990.
Eclipse, the D-III women’s ultimate team, played an impressive eight games in the two days of their Stanford tournament. Their closest game was a 6-4 win against Santa Clara, and, in their best game, they shut out Cal Rolli High in a 12-0 landslide.
Ultimate has long been both a revered sport and institution at Carleton. During New Student Week, incoming freshmen receive a frisbee to toss into the middle of the Bald Spot. This welcoming gift can often be found adorning the shelves (or closets) of many students.
The sport has many unique aspects, one of which is the “spirit of the game,” which I asked Rothman about. ‘Spirit of the game’ is one of those indescribables that can only be fully understood through experience. It’s seen when players collide and they help each other up. It’s felt when competitors argue rules and conclude, on their own, an outcome acceptable to both. It’s understood as the safety in playing a sometimes dangerous, sometimes spiteful, self-regulated sport near its highest competitive level”, he explained.
Since writing this article, Syzygy placed fourth in a Charlotte tournament, and Karls, one of the men’s teams, will be competing in the Midwest Throwdown in March. Ultimate season doesn’t appear to be stopping anytime soon.
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