This weekend’s weather forecast: A Black Tide is rolling in.
Beginning Saturday morning, the Black Tide, the men’s Ultimate Frisbee club team, will host its first tournament of the year. Twenty teams from across the country will be competing in an effort to knock off UCSB, a perennial national power that looks to have a strong team once again this year, according to senior co-captain Kevin Buchanan.
“Last year we made it to the national semifinals before we lost to the team that won the championship and this year we have 14 returning players, plus a lot of promising newcomers,” Buchanan said. “This is our first tournament of the year and there are going to be a lot of good teams here, so we’re very excited.”
Returning junior Matt Jelmini was also very enthusiastic about the team.
“We’ve come a long way to gel together,” Jelmini said. “It helps that four of our top guys all come from the same hometown: me, Brook Bernstein, Jerry Gibbs and Nick Fiske, one of the top defenders in the college game. We’re all from Fresno. We’ve rebuilt and we’re ready. We think this is going to be our year.”
There will be games nearly all day on Saturday and Sunday. Games begin Saturday morning at Storke Field, with the Black Tide taking on the University of Washington at approximately 10:30. UCSB will also play Chico State and North Carolina State at around 12:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m., though the order of the matches has yet to be announced. The Sunday games start at 8:30 a.m. However, the Black Tide expects to have earned a first-round bye and will begin play at around 10:30 a.m., with the championship game coming at 2:30 p.m. Other notable schools competing include Stanford, Texas, UC Davis and UC Santa Cruz.
“It’s a pretty elite tournament,” Buchanan said.
However, the highlight of the tournament should be the feature game, which occurs Saturday night at 7:30 at Harder Stadium. This contest will be between the top-seeded Black Tide and the second-seeded, highly touted team from Ohio State. Both the Black Tide and the Buckeyes played in the National Championship tournament a season ago, meaning both schools were among the top 16 teams in the nation.
“A lot of people in College Ultimate are saying that this might be Ohio State’s year and we’re good every year, so that game should be a good test for us,” Buchanan said. “It ought to be an exciting game, so everyone should come out to Harder Stadium Saturday night.”
While the team has its own dedicated following, an extra show of support for one of Santa Barbara’s best club teams would be appreciated.
“We usually get a good turnout,” Jelmini said. “But the more people we have under the lights the better.”
UCSB has several promising athletic teams, but few can honestly say they are viable national championship contenders.
At least one can: the Black Tide.