Wednesday, June 7, 2017

College Nationals

Sorry it's been a while! Work and life have been busy around here but with very exciting things! Over Memorial Day weekend Jack played in his fifth college nationals. This is really incredible. So many players never get the chance to attend nationals and just making it is the goal of the season. Jack has been able to qualify all five years and he has played a significant role in the last four of them.

This year UNCW came in seeded 11th overall. This means they were 3rd in a pool of 5 and the road to quarters was supposed to be pretty tough. After a flight delay, I managed to make it to the fields for their first game on Friday and it went pretty smoothly. They beat the two low seeds and were scheduled to play Pitt the next morning. The UNCW vs Pitt game is notoriously a good game and always very close.

The crowd was huge for the game and Wilmington broke away early on and ended up winning by a couple points. It was awesome.

By winning all of their pool play games they set themselves up for an easy ride into quarters and had to play Washington on Sunday morning. They handled that game pretty easily as well and found themselves in the semi-finals game on ESPN U Sunday evening at 8 PM. They would be playing UNC.

Derrick had to stay in Raleigh for this trip so I was so excited that Alison and Bender came up. Bender used to play on UNCW and Alison is basically family so it was so nice to have them in our cheering section.

This next picture is not a great picture but it's a picture of our view of the Callahan ceremony. Jack was nominated by his team for the Callahan award.

"In the eyes of his or her peers, the Callahan winner is the personification of the ideal ultimate player. Like Henry himself, players who win the award are recognized not just for their on-field accomplishments, but display superior athleticism, outstanding sportsmanship, leadership and dedication. As ultimate’s oldest and most prestigious award, it is hoped players nominated for the Callahan will continue as ambassadors for the sport through superior on-field play and sportsmanship."

Not only was he his team's nominee but he was voted in the top 5 for the award. This is amazing. Seriously...such an honor! He didn't end up winning which was a crime in my eyes but just the fact that he was recognized by his peers as one of the top players and leaders in the sport is truly amazing. I hope he always remembers that.

Right after the Callahan award was his semi-finals game against UNC and this was the game that I lost my mind.

UNC came out strong and the game got to be 12-8, game to 14, with Wilmington down. Jack was playing every single point. It was obvious that Jack was not just going to give this game away and, despite being down from early on, every point I saw him on the line leading his team. At 12-8 most people, including myself, had resigned themselves to a UNC victory and that this would be Jack's last college ultimate game. A 6 point come back at this level is almost unheard of...especially when the other team only needs 2. This is when Jack single-handedly dragged his team back into the game.

I have never seen a single performance that was so amazing. He was involved in every D or score until the end and once his team felt his energy they started responding with their own intensity. He dragged the team back to a tied game of 13's. Universe point. Next point wins. He ended the game with a dime huck to a receiver in the endzone and the crowd went absolutely crazy. 

I screamed, I cried, I lost my mind with the rest of the Wilmington fans. They should be posting the game on youtube and you should all go watch it, even if you start at 12-8. That's when the magic starts.

UNCW played Carlton in the finals on Monday night and ended up losing 15-11. Jack's hamstring was shot from the night before and it was hard to see his body failing him on several plays that he usually has no problem with. Even so, second at nationals with a semi-finals performance that he had is amazing. They came in seeded 11th and made it to finals. What???!!!???

I am SO proud of him and his team! They are such nice guys.

Here's the whole family after the awards ceremony, very proud of our little Jackie-poo.

Alison, Bender, and the coaches. 

Seniors. I've enjoyed watching these guys for the last 4-5 years!

1 comment:

  1. I had goosebumps while reading the entire post! What a great weekend! Still riding that high of being at nationals and witnessing that success first-hand! Jackie is a gem.