Every year, the Valparaiso men’s Ultimate Frisbee team (Vult) captains had one goal: make it to the USA Ultimate College National Championships. Through different captains, none of them accomplished the goal. But two made it become reality this year.
For the two captains this year, junior Scott Stonis and senior Adam Albertin, the goal has become achieved. When Albertin was a freshman, Vult was ranked No. 3 in Div. III. But they did not advance to Nationals. After three years of watching other teams advance, Vult broke the curse.
“I cried,” Albertin said. “We remembered how much that hurt and how good it feels to go to Nationals, but also to represent all of the alumni. To represent them and go to Nationals, really means a lot.”
To advance to Nationals, all collegiate Div. I and III play in separate Conference tournaments.There are 24 Div. III tournaments, where only a set number of teams, from each Conference, advance to Regionals. From the eight Regionals, 14 teams advance to Nationals. This is Vult’s first appearance at Nationals.
“It’s a different feeling,” Stonis said. “It’s still rattling around in my head. Like, ‘Woah, we’re going.’ It’s getting more and more real as the tournament approaches. We’re excited and ready to compete.”
In the Great Lake Regionals, Vult went a combined 6-0 in both pool and bracket play. They faced teams like Eastern Illinois, Rose-Hulman and Butler. Among the 10 other Div. I and III Indiana teams, Valparaiso was the only team from the state to advance to these championships.
“That’s pretty cool,” Albertin said. “There’s a lot of great athletes out here that weren’t able to make it. I think it’s special. I think it speaks volumes to our team that we’re able to come through and do it.”
This year, the Nationals are hosted in College Station, Texas, and take place on May 18-19. For these championships, the captains are wanting to continue the underdog narrative they have set this season.
“We were labeled as a team that fizzles in tournaments, according to UltiWorld,” Albertin said. “We did not fizzle, if anything, we finished stronger than we started the Regional tournament, finishing 6-0. We’re going to go out there, make a name for ourselves and show them that we belong.”