JEFFERSON CITY — Missouri’s ultimate team, the MUtants, looks forward to its only chance to host an event each season.
The fourth annual Missouri Loves Company Tournament last Saturday and Sunday brought 55 teams from universities in 15 states to the 63 Sports Complex in Jefferson City for seven hours of ultimate play. The event acts as a fundraiser for the MU club team, with each team that enters paying a $275 dollar entry fee.
The MUtants were ranked among the top 10 in their past two tournaments, but they were seeded 21st for their own tournament because of the caliber of the visiting teams. Defending national champion Wisconsin-Whitewater as well as the 2007 runner-up Colorado both made the trip.
The networking skills of MUtant co-captain Mike Houston helped bring in the top teams in the nation.
“We have started a tradition of trying to bring in the best competition,” Houston said. “Plus, I went to high school with a couple guys on those teams, so I made a few calls.”
Houston’s fellow MUtant co-captain, Paul Adkisson, said he noticed the change from last year.
“It’s pretty incredible just in the fourth year to have the national champions and other national teams here,” Adkisson said.
The MUtants started the tournament with an 11-9 loss to Northwestern and an 11-3 loss to Wisconsin-Whitewater. The losses dropped MU out of the championship bracket, but later on Saturday, they won against Grinnell(Iowa) 11-6, and Missouri State 11-1. On Sunday, the MUtants beat Ole Miss 13-7 and defeated Michigan State 12-7.
The four-game winning streak led the MUtants to another match against Northwestern.
MU’s momentum helped them take an early 3-1 lead, but Northwestern came back toeven the score. Both teams put together a series of scoring runs, then when the players’ legs started to tire, the game pace slowed. A late push from Northwestern gave them a 12-8 victory and ended the MUtants’ tournament play.
“They (Northwestern) are really a solid team, they are not really a big-play type team, which is what we are, so when they throw their zone at us and stay super chilly with the disc, it causes us problems,” Adkisson said.
While the MUtants didn’t make it into championship contention, they still viewed their weekend positively. Their 4-3 record placed them 19th in the tournament, an improvement from their seed. Also, playing teams outside their normal Midwest region brought about new ideas for future games.
“Whenever we get to see a new team play, we get to see a new offense or defense,” Allen Jones, a MUtant sophomore, said. “We’re only graduating a few. We’re definitely a building program.”