Final Four

Whitney Christensen

As the weather heated up in Boulder, CO, so did the 2008 UPA College Ultimate Championships at Pleasantview Fields. The Championships feature 16 College Open teams and 16 College Women’s teams that have battled through rigorous sectional and regional tournaments in order to qualify for the Collegiate Nationals. After a full round of pool play yesterday the remaining teams looked to weed-out even more of their competitors.

Today the teams were narrowed down even further from eight teams at the beginning of the day to just two teams in each division who will now prepare for tomorrow’s final round of competition. Only the best will survive.

“Teams need to have chemistry, which in most cases for dominant teams is natural,” said Kelley Kneib, Communications Director for the UPA. “They work together all season long and need to be able to understand the team dynamic and know what to expect from their teammates.”

During a day filled with pre-quarter games, quarter games, and semifinals, you could feel the competitiveness in the air.

“Teams have usually played each other before, so they have a lot of respect for each other, but there is definitely a competitive nature between all of them, and that sometimes comes out as a dislike,” said Kneib.

The competition in the women’s division lived up to Kneib’s prediction. Vociferous yelling and pushes were just a few ways these teams took out their competitive energy and love for the game.

“The competition is really really hard,” said Nora Carr, a University of Washington team member. “Everyone looks really good, it’s amazing. You are up against people who want it just as much as you and that makes it really intense.”

The pre-quarter games started off the day at 8:30 a.m. At a time when most residents of Boulder were still in bed, the energy was awake and roaring on the Ultimate fields. Michigan State battled it out against Carleton College in the pre-quarters, but couldn’t maintain their defense, losing 15-3. The victory advanced Carleton to the quarter finals where they faced UCLA. However, Carleton College couldn’t keep up the stamina a dropped a 15-8 decision to UCLA, who then advanced to the semis.

A 15-12 win over Oregon moved Wisconsin into the quarterfinals and pitted them against highly regarded UC Santa Barbara. The Burning Skirts lived up to their reputation, beating Wisconsin 15-9.

North Carolina was pumped for their game against Ottawa but the Lady Gee Gees proved too much for UNC, who lost 15-6. Ottawa then went on to a 15-9 loss over the University of Washington in the quarterfinals.

Michigan won a close game against Wake Forest (15-13) before losing to British Columbia, 15-8, in the quarterfinals. B.C. then found itself in a fiery semifinal match with Washington. The competition was intense as each team knew there was room for only one in Sunday’s championship. Unfortunately, Washington could not keep up the intensity, losing to British Columbia, 15-8, and propelling B.C. into tomorrow’s finals.

The California teams UCLA and UC Santa Barbara battled it out in an extremely close 15-13 semifinal that eventually saw the Burning Skirts moving on to the finals to take on British Columbia.

The Burning Skirts are no doubt hoping the 2008 championship game plays out better than the 2007 one, which saw them defeated by Stanford.

The open competition was even more intense, culminating in a huge upset of hometown favorite Colorado.

Mamabird found itself in a highly anticipated semifinal matchup against defending champs Wisconsin. Both teams were favorites heading into the 2008 championships, but on this Saturday only one could advance to the title game. Wisconsin’s intense training and preparation paid off and the Hodags walked away with a 15-10 win.

The defending champs must now face Florida, the 2006 champs, in tomorrow’s final game. The Hodags are more than prepared, but Florida may hold the much-debated oxygen advantage, having arrived in Boulder about a week before Wisconsin.

The open division final is scheduled for Noon tomorrow and the women’s championship will start approximately 30 minutes after the conclusion of the open final.

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