WUFO performs strongly at Dartmouth regionals

The Williams Ultimate Frisbee Organization capped an overwhelmingly positive spring season at this weekend’s Northeast Regional tournament, held at Dartmouth College. Deciding the teams that would continue on to Nationals, this year’s Regionals was one of the most competitive in recent memory, as 16 teams battled for only two spots. As expected, Brown University (ranked first in the country most of the season) garnered the first bid, but the incredible parity between the next six teams made for some very exciting Ultimate.

Jumping into the fray, Williams lined up first against their old rivals, the hosting Dartmouth “Big Green.” Having defeated them only a few weeks earlier, WUFO mixed a sweet cocktail of confidence and awareness of its opponents’ abilities. Demonstrating that it would not fold easily, Dartmouth took the first point and pulled out to a 3-1 lead, but this only served to stoke the fire in the locomotive that was WUFO. Craig Tamamoto ’02 found Britton Mann ’00 for an early score, after careful zone offense moved the disc upfield. By the time Pat Foyle ’01 threw a score to Jeremy Redburn ’03, and Duncan Meiklejohn ’01 made an amazing snatch of a Pete Jones ’01 long throw, Williams had evened things up at 5-5. The relentless attack continued with great zone defense as Josh Frankel ’02, Mike Chiorazzi ’02 and Tamamoto combined their efforts at point to pressure the Dartmouth handlers into turning the disc over and giving Matt Wessler ’01 the opportunity to lace a score in for Tamamoto.

Like exam week students that haven’t slept for several days, Dartmouth showed signs of cracking when they dropped the next pull. Quickly converting, Mann threw to Alan Baldivieso ’01, who caught Foyle’s cross-field hammer two points later to take the game to half. Coming out as hot as they went in, Mann threw a laser to Meiklejohn, who promptly hooked up with Baldivieso in the endzone. Just to keep things exciting, Williams decided to let Dartmouth close the lead and tie the score at 11-11, but at that point juniors and freshmen combined to finish the game out. Ian Warrington ’03 caught a score from Meiklejohn, Mann laid out like an Aztec sacrifice, and Rob Gonzalez ’03 asserted his presence by grabbing a scoring throw from Redburn. The final 15-12 score reflected the extraordinary intensity of both teams’ efforts while still verifying Williams’ magnificence.

Williams’ spunkiness and high spirits showed in the next game, losing to Brown by the same margin as the second place team in the tournament, 15-5. Highlights included Redburn’s burning Justin Saftee, the best deep threat in the country, several points of perfectly coordinated zone offense, and a floating Wessler hammer grabbed by Chris Durlacher ’03 for a score. To stay in the tournament for Sunday’s games, WUFO needed to beat Boston College in the day’s last match-up. William’s dominated this game, overcoming some late mental lapses to defeat the scrappy BC squad. After quick scores by Meiklejohn, Frankel and Durlacher, Baldivieso and Wessler took control to combine for five consecutive scores. Bailey “Prudential” McCallum ’01 continued to provide rock-like leadership and some awfully pretty scoring throws to match. Baldivieso, Wessler, Meiklejohn and Mann’s scoring orgy apparently grated on some BC players, but their disgruntled commentary could not alter Williams’ victory trajectory.

On Sunday morning, WUFO leveled its sights on the somewhat brash Yale squad. Like avenging angels of death, WUFO swept in to address the previous year’s Regional defeat, and avenge it did. Setting the tone early, the big four of McCallum, Mann, Meiklejohn and Jones flowed downfield like a clear cool mountain stream. Somewhat unfortunately, no physicists were on hand to record Mann defying gravity with his horizontal airborne defense. The hammers were flying, with Baldivieso catching one from Jones, McCallum’s full field hammer setting up a Mann to Foyle connection, and Meiklejohn lobbing a score like a mortar. Warrington played excellent deep defense, and Mann covered his opponents tighter than leather pants, knocking Yale throws out of the air as if they were clay pigeons. Several more scores brought the count to 12-4 in favor of WUFO, but Yale collected itself and put Williams on the nasty side of a 6-1 run. Fortunately, WUFO regained its focus when Mann’s enormous scoring lob to Jones showed the team the way home to a final tally of 15-11.

A season certainly qualifies as a success when the team plays better in each successive game. Having suffered a 13-8 defeat two weeks earlier at Wesleyan’s hands, WUFO’s final game against the

Little III rival displayed unmatched intensity and pointed unequivocally to the potential of next year’s team.

Onlookers were impressed when Williams established a 5-2 lead after Baldivieso ripped a hammer score from Mann, Warrington connected with Wessler after a long throw from McCallum, and Tamamoto took a give and go from McCallum into the endzone.

Knowing the strength of its defense, the score was little surprise to WUFO. McCallum, Gonzalez and Wessler all forced turnovers with lay-outs, while Redburn and Meiklejohn patrolled downfield, controlling the deep skies.

Wesleyan’s grit and determination showed as it battled back to a 6-6 tie, but Williams’ calm and confident zone offense regained an 8-6 lead. Despite Gonzalez and Wessler scores, Wesleyan’s zone defense and some unlucky throws made it 11-all.

Getting three quick scores with good zone defense, Wesleyan was poised to win, but Williams hung tough through two very long points that had the crowd standing to see the score reach 14-13. Although Williams’ zone defense kept Wesleyan contained for quite some time, eventually a hail-maryesque throw broke through to give them the final point.

After both teams congratulated each other on the hard-fought game, Williams gathered to reflect on the strong finish to a learning filled season and to thank the fabulous members of the class of 2000 who had graced the team with their presence. Seniors Mann and Ted Satterthwaite will be missed, but WUFO looks forward to next year with tremendous excitement.