Braineaters Among Nation’s Best at Ultimate’s DIII Warmup

With a busy weekend of Ultimate Frisbee on the books, the Claremont
Braineaters finished fifth at the second annual Division III Warm Up. The
tournament was hosted by the Brains and featured many of the top DIII teams in
the nation, including teams from across the Midwest and the East Coast. After
losing to the Carleton Gods of Plastic (GoP) in the quarterfinals, the Claremont
Colleges Ultimate Frisbee club team finished the tournament with a 7-1 record

The Brains started the weekend off early on Saturday morning
with a matchup against the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Trudge, who had
just flown in from New York the night before. Claremont came out strong and
breezed to an easy 13-2 win. The Brains then played Brandeis University, who gave much more of a test, but Claremont was more than up to the task and cruised to
a 13-10 victory.

The Brains’ toughest matchup of the day came when they squared
off against St. Johns University of Collegeville, Minn., in the third game
of the day for both teams. These two teams have been two of the top teams in
the nation the past few years, and the last time they played, a national
championship was on the line. In that 2011 meeting, Claremont came out on top
to win their first DIII title. This time, the Bad Ass Monks came in as the
favorites, but Claremont came out with tremendous energy and opened up an early
3-0 lead. The Brains never looked back, at one point compiling a 10-2 lead, and
came out on top with a 13-7 statement win.

The Brains finished off the first day of the tournament with
a 13-9 victory over Westmont College, a team Claremont will face again in Regionals. A
lot of younger players got more playtime in this matchup, and captain Dylan
Horowitz PZ ’14 thought the rookies on the team played especially well all weekend.

“I want to highlight our freshmen class as a whole, who
personally blew me away at how much they stepped up. In particular, Bruce
Service CM ’17 and Jordon Lim PZ ’17 continually made huge plays all weekend and
established themselves as regulars on the defensive line,” Horowitz said.

In the final game of pool play on Sunday morning, Claremont
faced off against the only other undefeated team in their group, Lewis & Clark College, in what proved to be the most exciting game of the whole weekend. The
Brains were able to gain an early lead, but Lewis & Clark fought their way
back the entire game and eventually tied the game up at 12 seconds. This set up
universe point, in which the next point wins.

After a few turnovers by both teams, Alex Gruver HM ’15 threw
a deep pass to Chris Brown HM ’15 in the end zone, who came down with the disc
over the outreached arms of the Lewis & Clark defender to win the game for
the Brains in an exciting fashion.

The win secured a first place finish in Pool B for the
Brains, setting up a matchup with a strong Carleton GoP team in the
quarterfinals of the tournament. The GoP is a perennial power in DIII Ultimate, but
early on, the Brains looked like the better team. The Brains fought their way to
a 10-8 lead, but then momentum began to shift in favor of the GoP
as they quickly took a 12-10 lead. Claremont tried to get back into it, but
Carleton had too much momentum and held on for the 15-13 victory, eliminating
the Brains from title contention. 

Ian Brown PO ’14, while disappointed with the
result, thought the Brains could take away helpful lessons from the

“Both teams played extremely well for the majority of the
game and we came away stronger for the experience,” Brown said.

After the disappointing loss, the Brains had to pick
themselves up quickly to play two more games in the
consolation bracket. The Braineaters first had a rematch with Brandeis, and
once again Claremont was too much for their opponents and won 11-8. In the
fifth-place game, Claremont faced an Amherst College team that had bounced the Brains in
the quarterfinals at last year’s national championships. This time, the Brains
got the best of the Army of Darkness, exacting revenge with a 15-9 win.

With the strong showing at DIII Warmup, the Braineaters have
high hopes for the rest of their season. Their first goal is to reach the DIII
National Championships for the fourth consecutive year. After finishing seventh at last
year’s Nationals, the Braineaters hope to improve on that finish
and are ultimately shooting for the top spot. 

Horowitz thinks that if the
Brains continue to improve, they will have a good shot at a national title.

“We know we have the potential to play with any team in the
nation and it will be up to us to establish a level of consistency necessary to
complete our goal of winning nationals,” he said.

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