After making it to Division III Nationals for the past two years, the Claremont Braineaters started their season strong and look poised to make it three years in a row. The Brains, the 5C ultimate frisbee club team, have played in two tournaments this fall and compiled an 8-5 overall record.
The Brains’s first tournament of the new season was the Sean Ryan Memorial Tournament hosted by University of California, Santa Cruz. Sean Ryan typically brings out many of the elite teams on the West Coast, and this year was no exception. The annual fall tournament featured teams from Stanford University, UC Santa Cruz, University of California, Davis and others. Claremont was able to hold its own against many of these teams and even beat very strong teams from Colorado State University and UC Davis. The Brains captured a fifth place finish with their victory over UC Davis and ended the tournament with a 3-3 record.
The Brains followed up their strong outing at Sean Ryan with another solid performance at the SoCal Warmup in San Diego. The team breezed through pool play, going 3-0 with comfortable margins. Claremont then won a very exciting and close victory over San Diego State University 10-9 in a crossover match. In the first round of the playoffs, however, the Brains lost to California State University, Long Beach. They quickly responded and defeated Cal Poly San Luis Obispo to make it to the fifth-place game against University of California, San Diego. With a loss to UC San Diego in their last game of the tournament, Claremont finished in sixth place with a 6-2 record.
With these two encouraging outings already in the books, the Brains hope to build off their fall performances as they prepare for the heart of their season in the spring. The fall season is a sort of preseason for college ultimate, and many teams use it to build unity and work on techniques and strategies for the spring season. Many teams, including Claremont, use the fall as a time to play looser lines to let everybody get some game experience.
Captain Zack Purdy HM ’13 is pleased with the team’s performance so far and believes the team will only continue to improve.
“I think we showed the incredible amount of potential our team has,” he said.
These two fall tournaments not only allowed the team to see how they stacked up against some of the best teams in the region, but also gave younger players a chance to get their first experience playing ultimate at the college level. Many of these newcomers will play key roles in the Brains’ success this season and will fill gaps left by graduated seniors, especially former captains Tommy Li PO ’12 and Sam Trachtman PO ’12. First-years Owen Bell PO ’16, Jimmy Bright-Dumm PZ ’16, Gabe Currier PO ’16 and Will Marks PO ’16 have already shown how valuable they will be to the team as the season progresses.
Captains Devin Drewry PO ’13, Daniel Geller PO ’13 and Purdy are excited and optimistic about the upcoming season.
“Our goal this year, as it has been the last three, is to win DIII Nationals,” Purdy said. “Overall, this team is willing to work harder than any previous Braineaters team, and the talent of our rookie class is more than enough to make up for the loss of Tommy and Sam. The Brains look poised to do big things come spring.”
The Brains hope to show that they are the best team in Southern California across all divisions, which is no slight feat considering the number of elite teams in the area. However, if they work hard the rest of the fall semester and throughout the spring, the Brains will certainly be in contention for that title, and a trip to Nationals will be well in reach. After a somewhat disappointing 15th-place finish at last year’s national tournament, the Brains hope to improve their standing and win their second national championship in the last three years.