Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Regional Review

Fugue is now in Region 1 or what been named the Northwest. The NW includes Oregon, Washington, British Columbia and a whole bunch of open space were there isn't much college ultimate going on. Structurally, there are some weirdnesses about our new region. From a competition standpoint, it is pretty straight forward.

It's with great sadness (and a small bit of relief) that we say goodbye to Northern California. Stanford has been the standard we all use to measure our programs by and it'll be weird to have them gone. Still, it makes Regionals a little easier to lose them and Cal. The true NW (OR, WA, BC) always felt a bit separated from the California teams and I think our new region will be good. Tighter and more family.

Our region is very large geographically (it's bigger than western Europe), but there aren't very many teams to scatter across it. The ten to twelve teams in existence are mostly strung down the coast valleys in Oregon (the Willamette), Washington (the Puget Sound) and BC (the Fraser.) For the existing teams, it means a more manageable-size region and one where we can drive to everything. It increasing (greatly) the likelihood of a Regionals held on Canadian soil, since UBC has the facilities and logistical know-how to run a good tourney. For developing or new teams in the Big Sky (Idaho, Montana, Alberta and Utah) the geography makes an insurmountable barrier. If you think I'm exaggerating, you should read this about crossing the western passes.

The Conference to Regionals shift will be weird as well. If the DIII schools opt out of DI Regionals (which I expect them to - see why below) our Conference is our Region. Not only that, we might not even get eight teams who want to go to Regionals?! From a competition standpoint, it will be very weird to play the Conference tournament (just for Regional seeding!) and then turn around and play all the same teams again at Regionals.

There are three schools in the Northwest who will challenge for spots at Nationals and then, once there, will challenge for the title. Those three are Oregon, Washington and UBC. I'm going to write more about these teams when I do national analysis, because they are all contenders. The next two teams, Western and PLU are a step down from those teams. Alyssa is done and with her, the hopes of Chaos. They still have some good players, but depth has always been an issue for them and without someone to carry the gigantic load Alyssa's did, they are unlikely to contend. PLU is the defending DIII champions and I expect that they will make defending their crown a priority. Reed looked good in the fall, so PLU will have a challenge at the Regional level.

What the redraw does for us is to shift our focus from April and May to February and March. In the past, it was Regionals that mattered. You worked and worked and worked for that one tournament. For many regions, it'll still be that way. But for us, where we have a big divide between the haves and have-nots, the question will be whether the big three teams can play well enough early in the season to earn three bids to Nationals.


  1. You promised to tell us why refs are a bad idea! I'm really excited for that so maybe someone can shut up Toad and Gerics on RSD.

  2. It's coming. The start of the college season and the roll out of the Without Limits blog project has stolen my writing time.

  3. RE: the Big Sky teams. Yep, the travel is definitely an issue--as a former U. of Montana open player, I can surely attest to it. Any regionally relevant Big Sky team is likely to need greater institutional support than the average college ultimate team, and probably a couple of superstars to boot, to make up for a lack of depth. Not easy; for a while at Montana we had both Nevin Root and Ken Billington, who won Mixed Nationals with the Flycoons, and we still couldn't get our shit together. We weren't deep enough to use them where they could do the most damage.