Even jokers can dethrone kings sometimes, as the Middlebury men’s ultimate frisbee team proved last weekend with its victory in the Yale Cup.
The Pranksters knocked off seven teams on their way to the championship, including perennial powerhouses Tufts and Harvard.
“We were really well-balanced on the weekend,” said Charlie Roberts ’11.5.
“We made sure to use our full roster which really helped on Sunday in terms of our stamina and keeping everyone fresh.”
The team’s “official” roster includes some daunting personalities, such as “The Honorable CrunkBox,” “Wesley Snipes” and “Billy Berrou.” Yet despite this roster of pseudonyms, the team roster really does include serious depth.
“A couple of our first-years really stepped up, particularly on defense,” said Roberts.
“We expanded our rotation this weekend so we integrated our top 13 players rather than just our top 10. It helped get everyone involved and helped with engagement from the sideline.”
The Pranksters started their path to victory with convincing wins over Yale and Brandeis before moving on to Bentley.
Bentley proved an odd game given the team’s unorthodox style. The Middlebury zone proved ineffectual against the quick give-and-go’s of the Bentley squad, but ultimately, Middlebury’s prowess and tact proved too much for the Bentley Falcons.
Roberts was especially proud of the team’s 13-2 victory of UMass.
“There was no force pass from UMass defenders because our handlers were working them so hard,” said Roberts. “When Dan Glatt ’10 was on the field, the force was irrelevant.”
The toughest match for the team was the semifinal game against the Tufts Jumbos. The Pranksters’ hopes for Nationals were dashed by the Jumbos in Regionals last year. Middlebury had its first chance at redemption in the Terminus Tournament semifinals in Georgia. But, like in the 2009 Regionals, Middlebury got trounced by a wide margin of 4-13.
Tufts came into the game soft and were not ready for the Prankster fury.
“We found that the inches we need were everywhere around us,” said Jake Herman ’11, in paraphrasing “Any Given Sunday.”
The 13-10 victory carried with it an instant gratification, but it also has postseason implications.
“It was an exciting opportunity to play some opponents in our region,” said Roberts. “Getting that victory against Tufts was pretty important for seedings in Regionals.
After Tufts, Middlebury met the Crimson force of second-ranked Harvard in the finals. Harvard has had a successful season thus far, having beaten last year’s national champion, Carleton College, earlier this season. This fact failed to faze the Pranksters.
“Jon Cox ’11 played lights-out against Harvard,” said Herman.
“And when Glatt and Joe MacDonald ’10 were playing together it was like watching Jean Claude Van Damme and Dennis Rodman reunited on the silver screen, finally.”
The titanic MacDonald only played in two games during the tournament but he made his presence known in the finals.
“Joe was hopped up on ibuprofen and ‘five-hour energy’ for the games,” said Roberts. “He couldn’t feel anything but a thirst for victory.”
The game was not without its obstacles, though. Herman notes that “the Harvard coach was wearing a bucket hat and designer jeans. It was pretty distracting.”
Luckily, the Pranksters overcame the distractions and locked up the Yale Cup and the spoils that went along with it. The team was awarded a chocolate Easter bunny and a bottle of Manishewitz for its efforts.