Carleton Ultimate Team

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The Carleton Ultimate Team (CUT) is the division I men's ultimate team at Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota. A perennial national contender, the team won national championships in 2001, 2009 and 2011.[1]


The Carleton Ultimate Team was founded in 1984 from a team named the Frisbee Union of Carleton Knights. CUT made nationals for the first time in 1990, which was the beginning of a 16-year qualifying streak.[2] At the 2001 nationals in Boston, MA, CUT won its first championship over Colorado 15–11.[3] 2006 marked the end of CUT's 16 year nationals streak when the team lost to Wisconsin 12–15 in the Central Regional Final (the region only had one bid that year). CUT has qualified for nationals every year since then, the lowest finish being 5th in 2007. The team made it to semis in 2008, and then a three-year string of appearances in the finals from 2009–2011: claiming two more national championships in 2009 and 2011.


The 2010-2011 season saw CUT win two major regular season tournaments on its way to the second national championship in three years.[4] In mid February the team traveled to Tampa, FL and won the Florida Warmup over a field where 8 of the 9 teams had competed at Nationals the previous year.[5] A few weeks later in early March, CUT competed in the Stanford Invite, a high-level tourney where 13 of the 18 teams qualified for 2011 Nationals. CUT went undefeated on the weekend, winning the tournament with a +46 goal differential.[6] Over Carleton's spring break, the team drove from Minnesota to Wilmington, North Carolina to play in Easterns which also featured a strong field, 10 of the 16 teams in attendance earning a spot at the big dance later in the year. This was CUT's first tourney loss of the season, losing in a close battle with 2010 champs Florida in the semifinals.[7]

CUT entered the USA Ultimate Championship series as the first ranked team in the country. The Northwoods Conference Championships were held on Carleton's campus, and CUT put on a show for the hometown crowd, winning the tournament. North Central regionals were moved at the last minute from Appleton to Madison, WI due to storms in the area. CUT was looking to defend its regional title, but after qualifying for nationals on Saturday with a 15-8 win over Iowa, could not pull out a late game comeback versus Wisconsin in the finals, falling 11–14 in a windy game. Immediately after the finals, the team packed up and drove across town to the other field site to face Iowa in the 2/3 game. Iowa, fresh off of earning their spot in the national's field, came out fired up and got revenge for their loss to CUT 24-hours earlier. CUT took third in the region, which set them up to be the 9th seed at Nationals.

Despite being the 9th seed out of a field of 20 teams, CUT took first place in their pool, beating Harvard, British Columbia, Cornell, and Whitman. CUT then moved on to the quarterfinals, where they beat Stanford. They moved on to the semifinals, where they played Iowa. Despite losing to Iowa at Regionals, CUT won 15–10 and advanced to the finals for the third year in a row. CUT would face Wisconsin in the finals, their perennial rival in the Central Region. As the finals were about to begin, the wind started to pick up, eventually gusting to 40+ mph.[citation needed] However, CUT managed to score upwind 3 times, something that Wisconsin would not do the entire game. CUT went on to win 11–5 and captured their 3rd national title.

2014 team tragedy[edit]

On 28 February 2014, three members of the 9th-ranked Carleton Ultimate Team died in a traffic accident while en route to the Stanford Invite tournament at Stanford University.[8] Two other team members were injured in the crash, which happened near the Carleton campus. The players were transporting themselves in a sport-utility vehicle which lost control on a snow-covered road and was turned sideways into the path of a semitrailer truck.[8]

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