By: Chenxi Sun
The U-20 boys’ division started off with a bang as two of the top teams in the division, Boston BUDA and Triangle Triforce, went head to head in the opening round. Calm conditions and spread out isolation offenses led to a flurry of hucks from both teams. Jordan Perry and Liam Searles-Bohs were standout throwers for Triforce, while Chris Padilla and Harry Wolf Landau were the primary shooters for BUDA. Triforce pulled away late, but since the game was ultimately non-consequential for bracket placement, it’s hard to believe that either team was playing at full capacity.
DEVYL and Seattle separated themselves from the rest of the pack in Pool B, running clean isolation offenses and applying suffocating pressure with their defenses. Both teams looked incredibly sharp, and like legitimate title contenders. Connor Russell and James Kennedy were standout players for DEVYL, while John Randolph and Ivan Lee ran the show for Seattle.
Outside of power pools, some new teams provided a look at how much youth ultimate has grown. Austin Amigos – which formed out of the joint Austin-Houston program Helix – showed their spirited play all day. Not only did they display outstanding talent for a first-year team, but they also played with exceptional spirit and attitude. Aided by Elliott Moore and Kyle Henke, the Amigos pulled away from the rest of Pool H, going undefeated on the day.
By: Jacob Cohen
The first day of the Youth Club Championships featured 20 teams in the U-17 boys’ division, 16 of which are playing for a spot in the championship bracket which is set to start Sunday afternoon. Day one was a wonderful showcase of the rising talent in the youth ultimate scene.
Round one hosted a litany of great games, easily seen in the division’s two power pools (Pool A and Pool B). In Pool A, top-seeded Seattle Oblivion took on Minnesota Superior in a high-intensity match up. The first few points looked fairly balanced until Oblivion got a layout block on the reset to set up the first break of the game. One point later, Seattle broke again after a block in the deep space. Their efficiency after the turn proved unstoppable as they took half 8-3. Superior did not give up, though, keeping the second half tight and losing 15-10 in one of the best games of the day. One field over, DEVYL effectively dismantled Chicago Windy City with a convincing 15-2 win. Chicago’s smaller roster proved no match up for DEVYL’s size and skill.
Meanwhile, in Pool B, Bay Area Aftershock took a tight game over Triangle Ultimate’s NC Hammer, and Atlanta ATLas easily handled Indiana INtensity. The energy coming from all four teams was incredible as the players fought hard and with great spirit.
Each team in the power pools is guaranteed a spot in the championship bracket, while only the top two teams in pools C and D have a shot at the podium. Although Pool E sends no teams to the bracket, it held one of the most exciting finishes of round one. Texas Swing and Club Deportivo Revolution, who travelled from Colombia for the YCC tournament, played in an emotional and exhausting match. With Revolution leading 9-6, the soft cap sounded, sending a feeling of urgency to the Texas team trying to fight back in the game to 11. A hold and two breaks later, the game was all tied up at 9s. What followed was a nearly 15-minute point featuring several turns, many great plays and – most importantly – the hard cap whistle. In the end, Colombia walked away with the double-game point win.
As round two began, Seattle showed why they deserve the top seed. As they took care of Chicago’s team with ease, they played with a flair and style not seen in other teams at this level. Otis Williams stood out, throwing massive assists and securing layout blocks, all the while sporting a huge smile. Jasper Dean played exceptionally as well. DEVYL also showed their strength, crushing Superior 15-3. As is often the case, the score did not tell the whole story. A spectator walking past during the final point expressed surprise when he saw the final score, remarking that Superior did not look like a team down 11 points. They fought hard throughout the entire game, but couldn’t put a complete performance together.
Pool B also saw the top two teams dominate, as Aftershock and ATLas made quick work of their second-round match ups. ATLas had an impassioned attitude throughout the day that kept them fueled to compete, but Aftershock’s defensive intensity was most striking. The Bay Area team never gave up on a disc and played tight man defense all day long, which earned them more than a few blocks both under and deep.
Pool play continues Sunday with one round before bracket play begins. The top four seeds have already clinched byes to the quarterfinals, and it is almost clear which teams will play in pre-quarters. The only remaining unknowns come from Pool C, where BUDA soundly beat Neuqua Valley Deja Vu in the division’s only potentially bracket-altering upset. Pool C’s third round will decide which teams have a chance to pursue a championship. The other pools’ match ups will determine seeding and should give us an idea of which top teams have what it takes to win it all. Keep updated to see which teams advance through the bracket on Sunday!