Top College Ultimate Teams Compete in Raleigh for National Championship
Published:Raleigh, NC: March Madness might be over, but this month UNC sports fans will get one more chance to cheer for their school as they compete for a national championship. This time it is not in basketball, but in the rapidly growing sport of ultimate.
College ultimate teams from around the country will be traveling to the WRAL Soccer Center in Raleigh to compete in USA Ultimate's College National Championship tournament Friday through Monday, May 27th-30th. The event will include two local teams in the men's division; both UNC-Chapel Hill and UNC-Wilmington are among the 20 teams who qualified for nationals, and both teams are considered strong contenders for the title. Other contenders include the Universities of Massachusetts, Wisconsin, Oregon and Pittsburgh. The women's division also includes 20 teams, with the University of Virginia representing the Atlantic Coast region.
For UNC-Chapel Hill, the trip represents a chance to defend their title as the 2015 national champions. The team's head coach, Mike Denardis, says, "Getting to represent the Triangle as the defending champs is something the team is very excited about." The UNC squad, which goes by the name Darkside, won the 2015 title in Milwaukee, WI, where UNC-Wilmington tied for ninth.
The tournament is open to the public with games starting at 8:30am Friday through Sunday with finals starting Monday at 12:30pm. Tickets are $10/day or $25 for over 40 games across the full weekend. Local organizer Triangle Ultimate will be on site all four days with information about the sport for new spectators and players. Online event information can be found using triangleultimate.org/collegenationals and tickets can be purchased online using triangleultimate.org/collegetickets.
The Sports and Fitness Industry Association reports that ultimate is one of the fastest growing team sports in the United States. This year, more than 700 teams and over 14,000 athletes competed in the college regular season. Ultimate is played by passing a Frisbee (generically referred to as a "disc") among teammates until a player scores by catching it in the end zone. The sport is unique in that it is largely self-officiated by the players on the field.
Triangle Ultimate has also seen explosive growth in the past 5 years; youth participation numbers have been increasing by an average of nearly 20% each year and adult participation is growing annually as well. Triangle Ultimate currently serves over 2500 annual participants in our programs.
Tristan Green, Executive Director