May 15, 2018

The Current

In this week's edition:

  • Oh Yes She Did! The D-III Donovan Award Special

The D-III Donovan Award Special

In excitement of this week's upcoming D-III College Nationals, we're releasing our top 10 Donovan Award videos! Unfortunately, there were only 8 made, so we included a write up of the top two videos we wish we could see. This issue is likely due to the current media gap in coverage of D-III teams, of which we've seen some improvement, although not much from past years. Here's our list of top videos and stay tuned for special coverage at Nationals!

10. Katherine Yost, Georgia College

Katherine Yost is one of your classic under the radar players: small in stature, no big-name experience, and always faster and better than anyone gives them credit for. Yost works hard on both sides of the disc, with both the speed and agility to mark up on defense, and big hucks & explosive cuts on offence. Not to mention, Yost is yolked and makes layouts look like peaceful flying. Besides being one of the leading handlers for Georgia College this year, Yost also plays professional ultimate for the first-year team Atlanta Soul, which would have been fun to see some pro ultimate highlights in a college award video.

9. Haley Lescinsky, Williams 

Haley Lescinsky should have an incredible Donovan video. It is likely that she was too busy coaching and leading her team to the top of the rankings and number one seed at nationals to film herself playing and edit the video. So there is no film, almost no name recognition, and no way to show the incredible ascent of Lescinsky. She embodies the dichotomy of D-III ultimate, the division where a player can walk onto the team with only one season of experience, end up on the All-American team by her junior year, and never play in a filmed game. Hopefully Williams LaWufa and Lescinsky will get to play in front of the cameras in Rockford and show their prowess to the world.  

8. Tahlia Quartin, Brandeis

There are few better ways to start a Donovan video than a huck followed by a deadly hammer off the reset with both throws from the same player! Once again, the use of a continuous shot may be forced, but it works to show the roll of Thalia Quartin for the Brandeis Banshees. Footage from more games would likely show a more rounded player but her hucks and handler movement shine in limited clips there are. Quartin’s outside in forehands show great disc control and find her intended receiver without fail. The editing (vertical videos) and music aren’t as crisp as other videos, but the final clip adds a nice emphasis and bit of personality.


7. Emma March, Oberlin

It is impossible to not enjoy Emma March’s Donovan video. The Oberlin Preying Manti captain is easy to identify in each clip, mostly because it seems she was born with the disc in her hands. March throws short backhands with either hand, with very little to distinguish a fake from an actual pass. I’m not sure she knows whether she plans to release the disc, but it leaves with speed and accuracy. March’s height (5’-11”) makes her a bit reliant on high releases, but she shows she can break with a variety of other throws as well. The clips are timed well with the music to accentuate impressive plays, and while there appears to only be footage from a few games, the viewer is left wanting more. Non game cut scenes are a matter of personal preference, but these clearly show March’s love for the disc and the game.


6. Rachel Musante, Bowdoin

From the first clip, it is clear that Rachel Musante has been playing ultimate for years. The starting handler and captain for Bowdoin Chaos Theory looks poised with the disc in her hands and shows her veteran skillset by completing a series of impressive hucks and breaks. The testimonial clips are nicely integrated and don’t take too much away from the game film, and the music choice is fire. It is refreshing to see a highlight of routine defense (0:32) as Musante shuts down her mark by maintaining good position and not over committing. The aggressive strike cut (1:42) shows the she brings more than just great throws to the field, and it is unfortunate that Musante and Chaos Theory won’t be in Rockford this weekend.


5. Sam Paulsen, Rice

This video is astonishing because it clearly only shows footage from two games, and there is still so much tape of Sam Paulsen. She’s the go-to thrower for Rice Torque, frequently picking up the disc trapped on the sidelines and getting her team out of difficult situations. Although the first song seemed a little ironic, the additional soundbites of why the team voted her in and what she means to the team is a nice addition and adds some variety to the classic highlight reel of award videos. With championship experience from 2014 and 2015, teams will have to shut down Paulsen to prevent her from leading Rice to their 3rd title in 5 years. 


4. Grace Castro, Catholic University of America

As with many star players on D-III teams, CUA Nun Betta’s plays run through captain Grace Castro. She uses a variety of throws to lead her teammates into open space, but doesn’t hesitate to air it out. The continuous clip (0:54) of Castro calmly marching through a zone could be used as a teaching aid, if only the camera person hadn’t had so much caffeine. Her deep cut (1:20) is a great example of cutting towards the defender until their hips turn, then busting deep for the goal. The use of longer clips showing multiple throws is likely a symptom of limited footage, but is nicely used to show Castro as more than just a highlight reel player. It is often hard to bring videos to a conclusion, but the photos and fist pump add a sincere and uplifting finish.


3. Helen Eifert, St. Lawrence University

Helen Eifert did not make the top five in votes, although her video is one of the best because it depicts her versatility playing in small spaces with St. Lawrence University Ruckus Bus and her open field dominance playing with the ChCh Chicks out of New Zealand. She is a fast cutter defender with big layouts on both the unders (2:59) and out throws (2:18), reading the throwers intention and intercepting them perfectly. Eifert plays in the open college division, making her talent truly gender-neutral, and although the Ruckus Bus is out of playoff contention, you can catch Eifert this summer with the Chicks at the World Ultimate Club Championships!


2. Tamar Austin, Rensselear Polytechnic Institute

Tamar Austin is the play maker for RPI Strut, and can often be seen making the first cut, the continue cut, and the break cut all at the same time. She makes classic end zone layouts (0:45 & 1:20), and is constantly running away from her defenders on deep cuts. She’ll be a tough person to cover as she matches her talented cuts with her talented throws and patience. Having helped build the team (as her video references) from 7 to 20 players, it’s clear she’ll be ready to take on the responsibility of leading 8th ranked Strut to an exciting D-III Nationals performance!


1. Tulsa Douglas, St. Olaf

It’s pretty unfair that Tulsa Douglas has so much footage available from this past year competing with Boston Brute Squad and the U24s gold medal women’s team in Perth, Australia, and it also speaks to her wealth of experience in the sport. The iconic #14 is one of the Amherst, Massachusetts wonder players, who could put on a clinic with their throwing technique. The video shows off her talent to step through rather than around her mark. You can see this at 1:30 when she does a high release backhand over the mark’s ear, her give-go’s at 1:38, and her big flick huck at 1:56. Douglas is also well known for her work in the community, helping organize the 99 Days of Ultimate Women social media campaign and coaching at National Ultimate Training Camps. Her video has the classic big blocks, big d’s and big throws, and Tulsa's just entering the big name conversation and it's clear she'll be a big name for a while. 


Article written by Laurel Oldershaw and Satchel Douglas. We tried to limit as much of our bias as possible as we could in choosing our rankings .