Madison sports fans looking to discover a sport on the rise are fortunate to have the USA Ultimate College Championsips (PDF) at Reddan Park in Verona this weekend. Forty teams total -- 20 women's and 20 open -- are competing for national titles beginning with pool play on Friday and Saturday with elimination rounds beginning Saturday evening. Quarter-finals are Sunday morning with semi-finals in the afternoon at Mansfield Stadium on the Madison Memorial High School campus.
Both UW-Madison squads are in the field, with the three-time national champion Hodags seeded second in the open tournament and perennially contending Bella Donna seeded eighth among the women's teams. The men wear baby blue uniforms most often, occasionally switching to black jerseys. The women alternate between red and black.
USA Ultimate is still a developing organization and it's not particularly easy to navigate its website. Fans will want to pay attention to the Score Reporter pages, which have schedules and scores. The open scoreboard is here, women's here.
The Hodags get going early on Friday, playing Cornell at 8:30 and arch nemesis Carleton College at 12:30. Pool play continues on Saturday with games against Harvard (10:30) and Florida State (2:30). The Hodags' rivalry with Carleton, better known as CUT, is long and heated with Wisconsin taking the most recent game on May 5 for the North Central Region title.
Bella Donna starts off with a big test at 10:30 a.m. Friday against top-seeded Oregon. They play Minnesota at 2:30 p.m., Northeastern at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday and Stanford at noon Saturday.