In a display case on the top floor of the Rec Center sit a collection of wooden Frisbees recounting the various national championships that Carleton Ultimate teams have won over the years: Syzygy in 2001, Eclipse in 2011, GoP in 2009 and 2010, CUT in 2001, 2009 and 2011.
Now, a new piece of hardware will soon be resting there for GoP 2012.
Last weekend, the Gods of Plastic competed at the 2012 USA Ultimate Division III National Championships in Appleton, Wisc. Matching up against 15 of the best D-III teams in the nation, GoP went 6-0 on a windy weekend to capture the Open Division championship.
Seeded 7th in the tournament, GoP found itself in Pool B along with No. 14 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, No. 11 Wake Forest and No. 2 Kenyon.
Knowing that winning the pool on Saturday would allow its players a chance to rest their legs for a grueling Sunday, GoP went to work, beating the three teams by a combined score of 40-21. Furthermore, GoP consistently began the game with a 3-0 or 3-1 lead as a result of its calculated game strategy of getting an early lead and holding it. No team scored double digits against GoP on Saturday.
“We were just rolling,” captain Cory Fauver ’12 said. “We felt like nothing could stop us, and we were just working real hard. Wecame in with a lot of drive and energy and put it all together on Saturday.”
As important as the players lining up on the field were those players on the sidelines. At any given moment, they could be found yelling “I-T-S G-O-P,” grabbing water for the tired players on the field and being loud and supportive for their team. The irreplaceable presences of alumni Eric Manley ’11, Eric Alexander ’10 and Brian Swann ’05 ensured that GoP remained focused and strategically adept.
Sunday morning found GoP pitted against regional rival St. John’s BAM. GoP had gone 0-3 against BAM during the course of the spring, with losses of 6-13, 8-15 and 9-15. This morning, however, proved to be a different story.
With its “baller” line on the field, GoP got two quick breaks to take a 3-0 lead, and they never looked back. Proving that they could play smart, calculated Ultimate, GoP cruised to a 14-8 victory. The energy on the field was electrifying, with GoP storming the field after each successful point. Many players called it the highlight of the season.
In the semifinals, GoP faced North Park, who had just upset St. Olaf, another of GoP’s regional rivals. North Park, though athletic, lacked the patience that was required for a windy game. With gusts upwards of 20 miles per hour, GoP was able to work the disc up and down the field at will, pulling off multiple upwind breaks en route to a 15-6 win and a spot in the championship game.
The quick win also gave GoP a chance to rest and cheer on Eclipse during their narrow semifinal defeat at the hands of Claremont. After Puget Sound defeated Rice University 14-13, the finals match was set: GoP versus UPS.
GoP began the game on defense going upwind. This nearly proved to be a disastrous start as the wind picked up significantly, making upwind throws considerably more difficult. After trading downwind points, however, GoP got its first upwind break of the game.
The players felt the title within their reach when they converted a quick downwind score to make it 5-3. But at 7-6, Puget Sound threw a few upwind hucks that found their players open, and they converted a difficult upwind point to make the score 7-7. After an easy downwind score, Puget Sound took half 8-7.
Not panicking, GoP again relied on its “baller” line, as well as its huge sideline presence, to eke out a victory. Things looked grim when the soft cap went off, making the score 12-12, game to 14, with GoP pulling upwind.
However, after some incredible layout blocks by Scott Graber ’13, GoP was finally able to convert an upwind point, with Rhys Lindmark ’13 throwing a goal to Jon Isaac ’12 in the back corner of the end zone. 13-12, game point.
With the crowd of over 200 people erupting for the last point, GoP pulled downwind. After a few contested foul calls and a few turnovers for each team, GoP found itself five yards outside its own end zone. On the left side of the field, Peter Rogers ‘13 laid out for a well-placed flick from Isaac, scoring the final point to secure the championship.
GoP rushed the field, celebrating in the excitement of the moment and their incredible achievement.
The 24 players who made the trek to Appleton were rewarded with a gold medal and the immense pride of calling themselves national champions. And with only six seniors graduating, GoP looks poised to be a national contender for years to come.