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Friday, Jan 21, 2022

Middlebury Pranksters sweep regional event, book tickets to nationals

The men’s ultimate frisbee team poses after their victory at New England Regionals. (Courtesy of Austin Dahl)
The men’s ultimate frisbee team poses after their victory at New England Regionals. (Courtesy of Austin Dahl)

The men’s and women’s ultimate frisbee teams, known as the Pranksters, are nationals bound following comfortable wins at the New England regional tournament on Nov. 13 and14. 

Both teams won the regional tournament, securing top bids to nationals. The men’s team is the reigning national champion — winning the last time nationals were held in the spring of 2019 — while the women’s side will look to improve upon their fifth-place finish from two years ago.

The men’s team began the weekend with a 13–6 thrashing against Roger Williams. The Pranksters then triumphed 13–8 over Bates and 13–2 over Brandeis to finish first in its group in pool play. They then defeated Williams 13–4 in a crossover match, setting up a rematch against Brandeis in the New England Regional final.

“We ended up playing the same team in the finals that we played on day one,” Colman Bashore ’24 said, referring to Brandeis. “We beat them 13–2 the first time, but we had to maintain energy and aggression and stay focused on our goals.”

Middlebury repeated the feat with another 13–2 win, booking their ticket to Northern California for nationals.

“Throughout the year we’ve always talked about trajectory and improving each game, and this tournament we really executed,” Ethan DeMaio ’24 said.

“We knew we were in it together when we rolled up blaring Midd Kid on the bus speakers,” William Fenimore ’24 said.

The women’s side also enjoyed a comfortable path to victory, going undefeated through pool play with 9–5 and 10–7 wins over Brandeis and Williams, respectively. Despite being seeded as the No. 2 team behind Amherst, the Pranksters stormed to a decisive 11–3 victory over the Mammoths in the final to earn their seat at the national tournament.

“The Pranksters showed up and we played better than we have yet this season,” Sarah Rifkin ’24 said. “We really came together and used the time to learn how to trust each other and play as a cohesive team.”

The results reflected that cohesion as the women’s team outscored its opponents by an aggregate score of 30–15. 

The Prankster teams will fight for national championships in Norco, Calif., at the Division III National Championships. The tournament is slated to begin on Dec. 17.


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