Thursday, December 28, 2006

Going off to College

In the fall of 1995 when I was athletic director at The Northwest School, I was looking to add a spring sport that would serve our student population. I ended up choosing ultimate over rugby and lacrosse. One of the main reasons I chose ultimate was that it was a sport that our student athletes could play in college. The goal of playing in college was not so our graduates could go win college championships (some have), but that during their first few days on a new campus they could meet a big new group of friends and mentors instead of only knowing the people in their dorm. This is of course one of the great things about being on a college team in any sport.

So here it is more than a decade later and this is still one of the main reasons that ultimate is a sport at our school. We are a prep school after all. It is great to hear from former students who are playing ultimate in college and who appreciate the fact that they walked onto campus and met a bunch of people through ultimate. Some of those students (and current HS seniors who already know where they are attending next year) are also very involved in building the programs at their colleges and universities. A couple have asked me how they could get the word out that their school is building a competitive ultimate program. I gave the obvious answer that Tiina is maintaining an excellent service doing just this on her NUTC site:

Beyond the NUTC site this post and thread will allow PlayUltimate readers who are going off to college to say: "This is X from Y HS and I am going to attend (or I already attend) Z College/University. This is what the program is about and why I chose to attend as a young former HS player."
I am asking that people keep comments positive and that there is no bad mouthing of people or schools. I also think that if someone has something to say they should be willing to put their name on it.

Good luck to everyone going off to college.

-Mike Mullen, Boys Ultimate Coach, The Northwest School


tiinabooth said...

Thanks for the plug for our NUTC College Directory, Mike! From what I hear, high school players do use this service to check out the ultimate programs at various schools.
For those of you in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic, please think about attending the College Fair at the upcoming Ultimate Coaches and Players Conference in Boston next month. (I have noticed that people from Needham, Andover, CHS and Amherst have already registered . . .) So far we have the following schools signed up:
Tufts, Carleton, UWashington, Green Mountain College, Harvard, Dartmouth, Texas, and Boston College. We expect many more to take advantage of this opportunity to "sell" their program to the next generation. And you don't have to attend the entire conference (although we think you would get lots out of it!) to visit the College Recruiting Fair. Admission to the Ultimate Expo (which includes the Fair plus ultimate vendors) is free from 11:30 - 1p.m. More info is available at
Hope to see many of you there!

Anonymous said...

"This is X from Y HS and I am going to attend (or I already attend) Z College/University. This is what the program is about and why I chose to attend as a young former HS player."

Come on! Let's hear it.

Ryan said...

So, I based my college search on ultimate. Not entirely, but it was a huge part of it. I disregarded schools that hadn't been to nationals recently and narrowed my list down to 3: Stanford, Carleton, and Wisconsin (a safety). I applied to Wisconsin and Stanford early, and I would have applied to Carleton if I hadn't gotten in to Stanford.

Stanford was a perfect fit for me - the academics, California atmosphere, California weather - everything was right. And the ultimate team was a perennial contender and a team of players just like me - aggressive man defense with strong in and deep cutting from a bunch of average-sized fast players.

I made the A team in the fall, along with another juniors player (the only two freshmen, but next year there will a lot more spots), and I love it! There's a great conditioning program that happens outside of practice, and practices are informative, exciting, and fun.

Come to Stanford!

lindsey said...

many of the 2007 incoming freshmen probably havent heard from colleges(or at least I havent) unless they applied early. the reason you havent gotten a bunch of responses is probably because the highschool students havent decided yet.

"This is lindsey from International Community HS and I am going to attend either Scripps or U of Washington. UW for frisbee. Scripps for the education. I didnt apply to any schools without a good frisbee program."

your question was a little premature.

Mike Mullen said...


Actually my post is not premature. If you read the initial post you will see that I was asked to make this post by people who are already at college or who heard back on early decision and want to try to recruit the undecided players. You apparently think I was the anonymous poster as well. That is not the case. I don't post anonymously. To tell you the truth I'm more concerned about who is coming into my program than I am about where the people are going that are leaving. All the ones leaving (14 on the boys side) know I'll support them wherever they go.

This thread won't grow much until people start getting back from vacations.


Fantusta said...

This is Chris Vanni from Lower Merion High School and I attend Queen's University.
We're proof that there's good Ultimate outside the US borders, so if you're sick of American everything, check out Canada... school's a lot cheaper, too!

Jeremy Norden said...

This is Jeremy Norden, I am currently a senior at The Northwest School. Academics and Ultimate played a large factor in my college selection process. I stayed and practiced with a dozen Ultimate teams across the country. After these visits I decided to apply early decision to Whitman College where I will be attending next fall. Almost half of my teammates from the 2006 Junior National Teams (men’s and women’s) who are applying to colleges have indicated that they will apply to Whitman.

The Walla Walla Sweets have been steadily climbing up the ranks of one of the best regions in nation, and are planning to attend D3 College Nationals this spring. The Ultimate Frisbee Team is the largest club sport on campus, gathering nearly 200 names on the e-mail list, 60 men and women to play consistently, and fielding 2 men's teams and 1 women's team. Because of this high level of participation, the Ultimate team is at the top of the list in funding from Whitman College's Club Sports budget. The funding that the Frisbee team receives goes toward tournament expenses including airfare and other tournament costs. There are sometimes no out of pocket expenses for the team despite frequent traveling. Not only does the team receive major funding from the college but the Sweets are well respected on campus. The annual springtime Onionfest Tournament is very popular with mixed teams from around the region.

If you have any questions about Whitman College or about the ultimate program here, please send me an email at

Happy New Year!
-Jeremy Norden

miranda roth said...

Lindsey (and all other young women) - come to UW! The academics are actually very strong at the UW and there are fantastic research opportunities here that you won't be able to find at a smaller college (why I'm here for grad school). I love coaching players who have some knowledge coming in and we already have a strong tradition of taking juniors players to the next level (Lisa Niemann, Claire Suver, Nora Carr, Shannon O'Malley, Christina Torres...). If you have any questions, please let me know.

Anonymous said...

would some of the college players mind listing what they believe are some of the top programs and why? Because it's hard for high school players to gain insite into some college programs, and UPA rankings can be deciving. The more schools the better.

McCabe said...

ill bite, and by no means is this list exclusive or complete, but its a few of the standout programs in my mind.

texas - the team coming from the furthest away to set up a table at UCPC. this shows that the team is serious about recruiting and the future of their team. additionally they have a solid B, C, and if im not mistaken D team. high school players this is a GREAT indicator of how strong the PROGRAM is at a school. if they have a solid A team that does well at nationals that is great, however, it is entirely possible that it will be a flash in the pan. if they have a B or C team that is consistently making good at regionals, then you know the team will be strong for years to come.

pittsburgh - i am biased, naturally, but let me back it up. PHUL scholarship. heavily favors the players in PHUL who intend to stay in the pittsburgh area for school. now i believe has raised over $25,000. Pitt is an inexpensive state school with great academics and city life therefore has the capabilities to attract students who are interested in things in addition to ultimate. with Penn state out of commission for the past few years Pitt has been the destination for high school ultimate players in Pennsylvania, this boosted by a spectacular state championship tournament which hosts teams from at least three different PA leagues makes the future of Pitt look great.

wisconsin - great team, will more than likely be top 5 again this year, another team which puts time and effort into developing its b-team and therefore its future.

carleton - perennially one of the top teams in ultimate, they have become virtually a pipeline for many of the top high school players from the northwest, seattle in particular.

colorado - without a doubt one of the top teams every single year in recent memory, recruiting from a developing colorado high school scene, but perhaps more importantly their JEM ultimate camp where they invite high school ultimate stars from around the country to come and play and train with them during the summer. this allows them to interact with high school players from around the country and attempt to convince them one on one to attend CU. colorado will continue to be one of the top programs for years to come because of their ability to recruit athletes in this manner.

georgia - their ability to retain players from paideia and surrounding teams will dictate a portion of their success in the coming years. another team with B, C, and D aspects which points to an attention to the program as a whole.

while im sure there are many others, you can count on hearing these names mentioned in the tops of college ultimate programs for at least the next 4-5 years.

Anonymous said...

Stanford, Oregon, UCSD, NC State are four more strong programs with history and a bright future.

miranda roth said...

Mccabe is talking about men's programs for sure. For the ladies reading here, definitely check out for more info but think about:
Stanford, UCLA, Carleton, Wisconsin, Washington, Florida, Emory, Oregon, Colorado for sure.

B-randen said...

This is Branden Steinberg from Needham HS and I am going to attend UMASS Amherst. I know a few people on the team already and UMASS seems to have a strong future ahead of them.

Anonymous said...

What about some of the smaller programs? Who knows about some solid programs without all the publicity and hype that teams like Colorado, Wisconsin and Carleton have?

Anonymous said...

Only one university has won two college championships in the open division since 2000 - surprising that they haven't been mentioned yet on this list. They have also produced more men's callahan winners (3) than any program, have made nationals for 8 of the past 9 years, have a strong sophomore class, have a proven and commited coach, a well organized Alumni association raising money for the team and have a number of US Junior team boys applying for admission.

Their academics are decent as well.

Brown University