2012 D-III College Championships -- Open Div Preview

Posted: May 18, 2012 10:03 AM
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For the third straight year, 16 of the top D-III teams in the nation will come together for USA Ultimate’s Open D-III National Championships – this year in Appleton, Wisconsin.  After the success of last year’s championships, every team attending has its eye solely on the prize. 

This year, the forecast calls for warm, sunny days in Appleton. But the weather always finds a way to make itself known in Wisconsin, and the wind should still play a factor for teams this weekend – perhaps even equalizing a few games. With that, let’s get right to the teams competing.

2012 D-III College Championships: Team Info


St Johns
  The champions of the North Central region come into Appleton with home-field advantage – going to school only 6 hours away from the site of this weekend’s tournament – and with the #1 seed at the tournament. Coming in as the top ranked D-III team in USA Ultimate’s rankings at this tournament, St. John’s is looking to hold onto the top spot in the nation after the weekend with a tournament win. They know what the elements could throw at them, and this young team looks ready.

Kenyon College SERF
  In the past, Kenyon has chosen the D-I route come the series. This year, they went D-III and quickly rose to the top of the rankings. Coming in as the 2nd highest ranked D-III team in USA Ultimate’s rankings and champion of the Ohio Valley region, Kenyon is looking to make their first year in D-III a championship year. They have the 2nd seed in the tournament, and are looking to take down their opponents through their strong play on both sides of the disc. Can Kenyon show that going the D-III route instead of D-I this year was the right choice?

Puget Sound Postmen 
  After tying for 3rd in the 2010 UPA D-III Championships, last year the Postmen went the D-I route. While choosing to go D-I ended early for Puget Sound, this year they’ve gone out competing in strong D-I tournaments while eyeing the D-III championship. Finishing the year at 10th in the USA Ultimate D-III rankings, they come in as the 6th seed with room to improve. This season has put the Postmen with an excellent shot upsetting the rankings and gliding through unsuspecting teams to the championship. 

Claremont Braineaters

Last year, they came into D-III Nationals back with a vengeance and finished as champions. On their way to a tournament victory, their infectious sideline cheers on top of stellar play from stars Tommy Li and Markham Shofner brought them the victory. This year Claremont enters as the 5th seed, in Pool D, with perhaps still more to prove. As the defending champion, they’re looking to repeat their success of last year, but every other team at the tournament knows that – with a target on their back can the Braineaters win it all, again?




The winner of the New England region, and the 3rd seed at the tournament, comes in with some impressive wins over fellow teams in the area including last year’s surprise from the Metro East, Connecticut College. Last year, they finished in Buffalo tied for 11th. They’re in a hard pool, with favorite Puget Sound breathing down their necks, can they push through and challenge for the championship? Captain Peter Login and the other upper classmen look to continue their recent winning ways.


Stoned Clown
  They finished second place in the New England region, and are the 4th seed this weekend. Going into the final rankings, Bowdoin was 14-0 and 6th in USAU Rankings but during the College Series, they faltered a bit after a close loss to Bentley. Going into this weekend, they need to prove one loss isn’t going to define their season but instead prove that they are still deserving of the championship. Look for their offense to define their play, led by handler Dylan Kane.

Carleton College
  The other team to come from Carleton College has made themselves known in D-III this season, after going D-I last season. Ranked 9th in the D-III USA Ultimate Rankings, GoP has had an up and down season while competing all over the board in terms of competition. But at Regionals, the right GoP team showed up to get them this far – will that strong play carry over to this weekend?

Cloud 9

Rice enters as the surprise team from the Southwest Region after taking down last year’s 7th place team, Harding for the region’s only bid. As of right now, that win has defined their season. That could all change this weekend, especially if they’re able to upset #1 seed St. John’s in pool play. Anything is possible when playing, especially if Rice can keep up with their high energy play. 


Players to Watch

  • Tommy Li – Claremont College: If you haven’t seen his Callahan video, go out and watch it. This guy is may be one of the best players in D-III right now. At last year’s Nationals, he was able to control the game around him. If he can do the same, Claremont will be very dangerous.
  • Nihal Bhakta – St. John’s: Nihal holds down the defensive unit for BAM, and he’s able to match-up against anyone else they face. On the #1 seeded team, look for Nihal to make the plays that set up breaks and help lead St. John’s towards the finals on Sunday.
  • Rhys Lindmark – Carleton College GoP: Rhys is a player that other teams plan against, and as one of the leaders of GoP he will be looked at for making the big plays in the big games all weekend. He is also important in helping GoP keep with their famously high-spirits, which will be a big factor if Carleton is to go far this weekend.


This preview was developed in conjunction with Skyd Magazine's coverage of the 2012 Division III College Championships.