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2016 Spring Season Previews

Youth Discussion - There hasn’t been a whole lot of talk so far on high school teams this year. The season is just getting started, some tournaments have already taken place, and most teams are already practicing regularly.

Feel free to add your input here, just wanted to get the discussion started! There is so many talented teams out there and so little coverage that input from the community is the best way to share whats going on across the country.

Topics to comment about could be:
Preseason Top 10 Teams Predictions

Regionals and/or State Championship Winner Predictions

Top Players In the Country & Teams They Are On

Underrated / Overrated Teams


I think Lone Peak has to be considered for discussion here. They have some big wins over some great teams already.

I think that Roosevelt is the favorite for the Westerns title again, though I don’t know how they have been performing against teams in the Seattle area. When we played a few of the teams up there they definitely had better defensive pressure and athleticism than the other teams we played. That’ll be a fun tournament this year.

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Lone Peak was good when we saw them last year at Neuqua Knockout. Too bad they won’t be there again. It’s similar to the BYU discussions going on now with not seeing them in Sunday competition, but they have been strong for a good stretch now.
We also don’t get to see many of the Western teams, but Paideia Cup will definitely answer some questions of top teams. Carolina Friends & Holy Family get a lot of attention and have won tournaments already this Fall. Paideia & Amherst & Hopkins are 3 of the most storied programs in the country so they will be strong. Neuqua is such a large program with consistent coaching they’ll be competitive and Grady has shown some early strong results this Spring so far.
If a team really performs well against this type of competition then they should have a strong case of being recognized as an elite team in the country.

Diverse completion at Neuqua Knockout will also allow teams to make some statements against other programs from around the country. It seems as though Neuqua Knockout and Paideia Cup draw teams from a wider range of regions than almost any other tournaments out there. Travel is a burden on some programs, but having more western teams involved would make these events even more exciting.

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Midwest State Predictions:

IL: Neuqua will be very strong again. Jacobs is the defending Illinois state champ, but with a coaching change and a strong senior class leaving, I’m not sure that they’ll defend the title.

WI: Not sure on Madison West this year, but they have the pedigree to defend their title. Madison Memorial has always been strong as well, but Dan Raabe leaving the program after a looong time to work for USA Ultimate could be a hurdle. That’ said it’s still one of the longest running programs in the region, so counting them out is a mistake.

MN: Edina has to be the frontrunner. They’ve come out over Hopkins in early season tournaments, and return a ridiculously talented junior core. They’re my pick this year and probably next as well.

Hopkins will always be right there and have not lost by many in the aforementioned tournaments, but I don’t this as their year. Mounds View is an outside contender as well - they return everyone and closed out Edina’s season last year at the state tournament. What they lack in overall depth they make up in spades with team chemistry. If they can shore up their man defense, state semifinals could be a real treat.


As far as westerns go, Roosevelt is a team to be on the lookout for. They lost in the semi’s of DiscNW states to the champs, Lakeside, who will not be attending westerns. Roosevelt also placed second in Seattle invite, losing to Franklin, who got second in DiscNW states, in the finals. Finally Roosevelt placed second in USAU states, somewhat of a lesser tournament, losing to Nathan Hale.

Roosevelt, Franklin, and Hale are all good teams to look out for. As far as outside Seattle goes, Berkeley and Crescent Valley should be good, but they haven’t had their season yet, so I only have last years results and my knowledge of their rosters to go off of.

Just a suggestion: make sure to mention which division you’re talking about!

Spaghetti Westerns comes to town in a few weeks in Modesto, CA.
A sold out draw of 20 U19 teams will be there and it will be a great opportunity to see what the early season form will be for these high school and club teams. California State High School Championships will occur the first weekend in May with the eventual buildup to Westerns in June.
Berkeley High School played in DUI in Davis, CA last weekend against college and club teams. They lost a tough quarter final match to UC Davis A’s 10-12 but then beat Las Positas JC and UC Santa Cruz to finished 5th and make being seeded dead last more palatable.

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Always a good sign when high school teams play well against college teams the way Berkeley showed. Amherst did well in a college tournament earlier this Spring as well.

Carolina Friends losing in Semi-finals this past weekend to HB Woodlawn has to be considered the biggest upset of the season so far. HB Woodlawn then lost to Apex in finals. Was this just a game for CFS that they didnt play well? Are they not as talented overall beyond their top 2 Liam & Dillon? Did weather play a part? Or are HB Woodlawn and Apex both really strong teams this year overall?

Having two Jr Worlds tryout players for Mounds View makes them dangerous. They are also going to Neuqua Knockout so they will get a chance to prove themselves. Minnesota always produces some sleeper teams so maybe Mounds View can knock off Hopkins & Edina when it counts. They could have the top of the roster talent to do that. If you say their chemistry is strong, that makes a big difference in the High School level.

Their top 10 is great, but the dropoff is sharp. They need to close out games with defensive depth that has been lacking in the past - teams beat them last year when they got behind on breaks. Still. their offensive consistency can be as good as anyone in the region.

Berkeley High will have a dozen seniors on their team this year. They also have two U20 players headed to Poland this August. If they want to make it happen this will have to be the year. Spaghetti Westerns will have teams from Washington and Oregon making the trip down this year and a couple of teams from SoCal as well.

Out of curiosity, who is coming to Spaghetti Westerns this year?

South Eugene Axemen, Summit Storm from Bend, Crescent Valley Raiders, Powerline out of San Diego, South Pasadena and the usual suspects from the Bay Area…Dark Meat from Alameda, Gunn, Foothill, Mirramonte, Palo Alto, El Cerrito, Kirby from Santa Cruz.

I initially heard that Black Square was sending a team but don’t see them on the current list.


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In a traditional tournament format like the Seattle Invite or Westerns, Franklin has to be considered the clear favorite from the Northwest. They are significantly deeper than the other contenders and also have star power with 2 WJUC players, Trey Miller and Ivan Lee. Lakeside should be rated next. They beat Roosevelt at both the Seattle Invite (in pool play) and the DiscNW Championships (real states). They looked tired when Franklin beat them pretty handily in the semis at the Seattle Invite, but were able to ride a small core to victory over Franklin in the DiscNW championship which has a game-a-day format (great video of final at https://vimeo.com/144249574). Lakeside, which has very serious academics, often skips Westerns as it is scheduled in the middle of finals, particularly when they have lots of juniors, as this year. The USAU WA State tournament should be ignored. Most teams attend just to qualify for Westerns and send some form of Varsity/JV combo.

Northwest High School Girls

There is lots of parity in the Seattle Girls HS scene this year, but Nathan Hale has to be considered the favorite. They are bringing back almost all of their top players from the team that tied for 3rd at Westerns and the DiscNW championships and added some talented freshmen. They have had some close games (see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oBJPErAXhXs&index=3&list=PL3OdcvsLgRPsAuCVWfUdPBMpiS7SLTRug) but are so far undefeated against other Seattle teams. Hale is led by two WJUC players sophomore Ally Constantino and senior Ruby Cassidy, but have a deep supporting cast.

After Hale, there are several other contenders. Franklin also tied for 3rd at Westerns and as usual is a deep speedy team. They defeated Northwest this week. Northwest lost some stars from the team that made DiscNW and Westerns finals, but like Franklin has impressive depth of skill, giving Hale a tough game. Lakeside was a juggernaut last year, sweeping the Seattle Invite, USAU States, DiscNW and Westerns, often without some of their top players. They graduated two Ultiworld college freshman of the year candidates (Verzuh and Dunham) but still return 3 players that made the 2016 WJUC roster: Claire Trop, Kate Daugherty and Nariah Sims. They have struggled so far this year with Trop out of action with a concussion, but certainly have to be considered a top contender, particularly at the prestigious DiscNW championships, where they can ride their top end due to the game-a-day format. Roosevelt also graduated two Ultiworld FOTY candidates (Gellert and Wysen) and have also been hit with some injuries, but they beat Lakeside in an early match-up and should be contenders if they get healthy. Finally, as the top non-Seattle team at Westerns (tied with Roosevelt for 5th) Corvallis is likely to be right there in the mix among the top teams. They bring back many of their top players, including primary handler Beth Llewellyn and WJUC returner Clea Poklemba.

One additional team to mention in the (broadly) Northwest is Lone Peak from Utah. To get some better competition, Lone Peak came to Seattle in early March and went undefeated playing most of the top teams. There is a bit of an asterisk as Seattle teams are not allowed to start practicing before March, so they were still sorting out varsity/JV and putting their schemes in place, but Lone Peak showed impressive skills and athleticism and will have to be in the discussion for top HS girls team as the season progresses, complicated by their not playing on Sundays.


2016 Spaghetti Westerns is in the books.

Berkeley High went 7-0 over the weekend. They defeated Gunn Control from Palo Alto, South Eugene Axemen and Mud Pit from Atascadero on Saturday and then met Foothill in the Quarters, South Eugene again in the semi’s and then beat Dark Meat from Alameda in the Finals. Would have to give credit to the depth of the BHS team as rotating in fresh lines on a regular basis was a huge advantage over the smaller squads. Crescent Valley brought a small squad of 15-16 (maybe less) players and was the only Northwest team BHS did not face. California State Championships are the first weekend in May and then preparation begins for the final rendition of the Western States Championships before they go to the Club Format in 2017.

California State High School Championships were held at UC Santa Cruz this past weekend.
Berkeley High went 6-0 and defeated Alameda Dark Meat in the finals 11-10. It was a close game with Alameda jumping out to a 5-3 lead. BHS surged back and took half 7-6. Alameda took the first four points after half but BHS stormed back to take the next three. It was hard cap at 10-10 and BHS used their downwind advantage to win the game.

It’s another month before the final rendition of the Western States High School Championships and it will be a time for more focused practices and a time for BHS injuries to heal. Time for junkies to soak in some MLU and AUDL games for the next few weeks!

The Michigan State High School Tournament is this upcoming weekend the three teams that stand out from the rest looking to come back with hardware being

  • Kalamazoo Chill
  • Grand Rapids White Lighting
  • Ann Arbor Air Raid