MGP, the Middlebury Guy Pranksters, had an incredible season that culminated in a third-place finish at the Division III National Championships in Rockford, IL.
Our season started in late February at the prestigious Bring the Ruckus 9. We cruised through pool-play, finishing 4-0, without giving up a single break. Unfortunately, bracket play was cancelled due to bad weather, giving the freedom-loving Pranksters an opportunity to hang out at the luxurious Motor Sports Inn & Suites before checking out the Liberty Bell on the way back to the Frozen North.
After a fairly long hiatus, MGP returned to action at the Atlantic Coast Open in Virginia Beach. We won our pool, before dropping a tight game to Duke in the pre-quarters. We bounced back on Sunday with wins over the University of Pennsylvania and Luther, tying us for 9th place, and putting us at 5-1 on the weekend.
The swans then flew south for the week, continuing our season at D3 EastUR in Richmond, VA. This was our first real test against other DIII competition, and we took care of business, going 6-0 and winning the tournament, including 15-9 victories over Richmond and Mary Washington. The Patriotic Pranksters won a Hucket Bucket (from 2014) and took this nice picture in front of this nice flag.
That ended the regular season, and saw the Pranksters head into the postseason with a cumulative record of 15-1. At sectionals, we claimed victories over New England rivals Keene State, Maine Farmington, Colby, Bates, and Bowdoin in pool play, while dropping one to Dartmouth. The finals were a rematch against Dartmouth, and this time, MGP came out on top. After being down 8-6 at half, Swan Steve at one point rattled off five breaks in a row to win 13-12 in hard cap, making us back-to-back North New England DIII champions.
Fueled by La Croix and love for one another, the guys drove down to Smithfield, Rhode Island for regionals, ready to claim our spot at Nationals. The tournament opened well for MGP, going 4-0 in pool-play with wins over Bowdoin, Bentley, Williams, and Colby. Due to an upset in the other pool, Sunday morning started off with semifinals against Bryant, in a matchup between the #1 (them) and #3 (us) ranked DIII teams in the country. After we were up late in the second half, Bryant came away with a 13-11 victory, sending MGP to battle in the backdoor bracket. We bounced back with 15-12 wins over Amherst and Williams, and punched our ticket to Rockford in two weeks. That got us feeling some kinda way.
MGP came into DIII Nationals seeded third. Saturday morning began with a long-winded captains meeting, which the MGP captains skipped to warm up and sing. Pool play saw us take victories over North Park, Puget Sound, and John Brown. Bracket play was delayed the next morning due to rain, allowing MGP to teach other teams our choreographed dance to Body by Loud Luxury (a musical masterpiece).
Middlebury’s quarterfinal was a rematch against Mary Washington, and the game ended the same way. MGP rode physical defense and efficient offense to a 15-8 victory and a spot in the semifinals.
Unfortunately, MGP’s season came to an end in the semifinals against Air Force. The swans were a bit slow in the first half, and despite winning the second half, were unable to make up the deficit. The game was filmed by USAUltimate.
MGP is proud of what it accomplished on and off the field this season. Our cumulative record of 31-4 (our only two losses to DIII teams coming to the #1 and #2 teams in the nation) reflects the work that we put in all season. But our season was also awesome because of what happened away from USAUltimate’s spotlight. We drank a ton of la croix, danced to Body, kept our creek beds moist, and created a big Pink family. Congratulations to our graduating seniors Nathan, Connor L, and Connor H (kind of. Feb). While we’ll miss you, we hope we won’t miss you too much; because we have big goals for next year.