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Triumph after tragedy: A team to root for at Carleton College

Posted by: Howard Sinker Updated: May 22, 2014 - 12:20 PM

Maybe you remember the story in March: Three members of the Carleton College men's Ultimate team died when the car they were in crashed just outside of Northfield while at the start of a trip to California for a tournament. We won't go deep on the details, so if you want to read them go here.

Despite being a small school and academically intense, Carleton has traditionally fielded one of the top Ultimate teams in North America, competing and beating schools that you would normally associate with major-college sports. Carleton has won three national titles, the most recent in 2011.

This is what the team looked like in the early days, around 1980:

 
Photo: Mason White

This is the 2009 national title team:

This weekend, Carleton's men's and women's teams will compete in the national Division I college championships in Ohio.

The men are in a bracket that includes Oregon, Florida and Rutgers among the 20 teams that qualified, Central Florida and Colorado are among the teams in the Carleton women's pool.

Ultimate used to be called Ultimate Frisbee and those who know about Carleton shouldn't be surprised that it is very good at something that's very different from the sporting norm. (Here's a guide to Ultimate, if you want a quick lesson on the sport.) Some of the games will be shown on the internet, including ESPN3. The schedule, from which you can get to another page that has video information, is here.

We could write more, but know that we couldn't match the words of Linda Eckert, the mother of a current Carleton player, who wrote about a conversation she had with her son Conor, an Ultimate player who visited the roadside memorial in Northfield before the team left for Ohio.

Jerry Smith/Northfield News photo.

Here's some of what she posted late Wednesday night on the CaringBridge web site:

"Please pray for all of them this weekend. Such young souls who have aged so quickly. Such dear, dear young souls. May the 'Spirit of the Game' lift them all one step closer to healing. Pray for us parents, too. Trying to be 'with' our young wounded souls ... and trying to be WITH the parents of those players who will NOT be there -- those players represented by those crosses ... And, pray for the parents who really wonder just how their son is doing...but could not be at nationals. We are all holding our own wounded souls at the same time we want to deeply comfort those around us.

"I know this weekend will be about so many things - including celebration - in a very FULL sense of the word."

You can read her full post here. If you do, it's a good bet you'll keep the Carleton teams in your thoughts this weekend.

(h/t Catherine Reid Day)
 

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