1996 UCSB Black Tide

National Champions


Jeff David / John Shelton / Mike Namkung / Casey Hare / Eric Morrissette / Ryan Yarbrough / Doug Boyd / Mike Hall / Charley Weiland / Forrest Collins / James Studarus

Rich 'Blueberry' Berkfield / Mario Viani / Greg 'Hollywood' Husak / Jason Seidler / Matt 'Pepé' Lefevre /Jason 'Redbeard' Backlund / Andy Crews / Chris Farmer / Chris 'Gav' Gavigan

Other 1996 Black Tide Pictures


The 1996 Black Tide team dominated the Regional tournament at U.C. Santa Cruz. They defeated every opponent by a wide margin except for one, Cal Poly SLO, who played a tough game and lost to UCSB by only 3 points. UCSB was on the way to Nationals in 1996.

Although UCSB won the Regional tournament fairly easily, it was not without tension. Some of us who had been at Regionals the year before, remembered how UCSB lost and did not go to Nationals. The sadness on the faces of the players in 1995 was dramatic. It was a very hard thing to live through. Of course, we can look back and say it taught them ‘how to lose’ which is a good lesson in life. But it stung bad at the time. When they won this year, it was even sweeter thinking back to the disappointment one year before.

After Regionals, while the team was practicing for Nationals, a major injury happened--and to the same player as the prior year. Gav broke his collar bone and would not be able to play in the National Championships. It was hard to tell whether we were more sorry for Gav, who would miss playing in the Tide’s final tournament 2 years in a row, or the team who had lost a key player. The dedication to the sport and his teammates would be evident again when Gav flew to Minnesota to support the team from the sidelines just like he had done the year before at Regionals at UC Santa Cruz with his broken wrists.


It was cloudy and cool Friday morning when we got to the fields. We had no idea what to expect. The decision for Marcia, Stephen and me to go to Nationals outside of Minneapolis in Blaine, MN was an easy one. I guess Jason had been preparing us for this weekend for the past 4 years. Flying there Thursday night was uneventful, and we all got a good nights sleep. I knew that UCSB was the best team in the Western Region, but I didn’t know anything about teams in other regions. And the comments from the prior Nationals about the North Carolina teams were not complimentary; they did not live up to the ‘spirit’ of the Ultimate sport. I guess you could say I was nervous.

UCSB first played Indiana. I began to relax as the game progressed. UCSB won 17-6. By now there were over 10 UCSB parents watching the games, and we all enjoyed meeting and talking with each other.

Then UCSB played Carleton, the local team that was sponsoring Nationals. Their campus was about 30 minutes away from the fields, and all of the students had been given the day off to attend the tournament. So there were over 100 Carleton students on the sideline rooting for their team. It was a close game until the end when UCSB won 16-11. Little did we know at the time how good a team Carleton was; we would play them again in the tournament.

So Friday ended with 2 wins and 0 losses. Dinner that night was relaxed and fun. On Saturday, UCSB would play three games including the dreaded North Carolina team first. University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW) had the reputation of playing a fairly ‘dirty’ game. So the tournament officials were participating in this game as observers (the only game they did so). Both teams looked very good, and the score stayed fairly even throughout. In the end, UNCW won 18-16. No one really knew what UCSB’s chances were to get to the finals at that point. Most of us assumed we were out of it. But we had two more games to play that day before the final four were decided for the semifinals on Sunday. As UCSB has done so many times before, they put their loss behind them and faced Georgia. UCSB won 17-12, but they looked very tired. Their next opponent was Wesleyan, and UCSB was simply to good for them. UCSB won 17-3.

After two days, UCSB had 4 wins and 1 loss. It turned out no team went undefeated, so UCSB would go to the semifinals the next day and play Wisconsin. Wisconsin was a very good team, but no match for the Black Tide. Final score was 18-14 with UCSB the winner. Now it was time for the final game to decide who would be the 1996 Collegiate National Champions. The athletes on both teams had been working and practicing for almost a year to get to this point. It was all on the line.

UCSB has a tradition of selecting the first 7 players for the ‘finals’ game of any tournament. They make a tunnel and call out each person’s name who will start the game. That person then runs the gauntlet to the cheers of his teammates.

Carleton had also won 4 games with only 1 loss, the one to UCSB. And they also won their semifinal game. So the two teams would play again. The entire sideline was filled with spectators. I estimate over 400 people were watching. And most of them were Carleton students. When they cheered for their team, it was like a thunder clap. I doubt if the few UCSB supporters could even be heard.

So what did UCSB do when the game started? They scored the first 2 points and silenced the crowd. It was stunning. The game continued with each team sharing points until half-time with the score UCSB winning 11-8. Then they did it again. The UCSB team just had the depth and mental strength to win under pressure. The UCSB defense was superb blocking Carleton throws, and their offense couldn’t be stopped. During the second half, it began to thunder and rain, but the athletes didn’t seem to notice. In fact, no one left. The game was all that was important. In the end, the sun came out and UCSB pulled away and won 21-15.

I cried.

1996 UCSB Game Scores:

01/20/96 U.C.Santa Barbara 13 U.C.Santa Cruz 10
01/20/96 U.C.Santa Barbara 13 U.C.Davis 4
01/20/96 U.C.Santa Barbara 13 Occidental 5
01/20/96 U.C.Santa Barbara 13 Stanford-B 2
01/21/96 U.C.Santa Barbara 15 U.C.San Diego 5
01/21/96 U.C.Santa Barbara 15 Cal Poly-S.L.O. 7
01/21/96 U.C.Santa Barbara 13 Stanford 11
02/17/96 U.C.Santa Barbara 13 Stanford-B 2
02/17/96 U.C.Santa Barbara 13 Cal Poly-S.L.O. 9
02/17/96 U.C.Santa Barbara 13 Las Positas 5
02/17/96 U.C.Santa Barbara 13 U.C.San Diego-B 1
02/17/96 U.C.Santa Barbara 13 Occidental 2
02/18/96 U.C.Santa Barbara 13 U.C.Santa Cruz 2
02/18/96 U.C.Santa Barbara 15 U.C.San Diego 5
02/18/96 U.C.Santa Barbara 17 Stanford 12
03/02/96 U.C.Santa Barbara 13 U.C.Berkeley 3
03/02/96 U.C.Santa Barbara 13 U.C.Santa Cruz 4
03/02/96 U.C.Santa Barbara 13 Occidental 1
03/02/96 U.C.Santa Barbara 13 Iowa 2
03/03/96 U.C.Santa Barbara 15 Oregon 4
03/03/96 U.C.Santa Barbara 17 Oregon State 7
03/03/96 Stanford 19 U.C.Santa Barbara 14
03/23/96 U.C.Santa Barbara 12 Humboldt State 4
03/30/96 U.C.Santa Barbara 13 Stanford 7
04/20/96 U.C.Santa Barbara 13 U.C.L.A. 0
04/20/96 U.C.Santa Barbara 13 U.C.San Diego-B 0
04/20/96 U.C.Santa Barbara 15 Cal Poly-S.L.O. 3
05/04/96 U.C.Santa Barbara 15 Occidental 3
05/04/96 U.C.Santa Barbara 15 U.C.San Diego-B 1
05/04/96 U.C.Santa Barbara 15 U.C.Berkeley 2
05/05/96 U.C.Santa Barbara 15 British Columbia 9
05/05/96 U.C.Santa Barbara 15 Cal Poly-S.L.O. 12 - Semis
05/05/96 U.C.Santa Barbara 15 Stanford 9 - Finals
05/31/96 U.C.Santa Barbara 17 Indiana 6
05/31/96 U.C.Santa Barbara 16 Carleton 11
06/01/96 UNC-Wilmington 18 U.C.Santa Barbara 16
06/01/96 U.C.Santa Barbara 17 Georgia 12
06/01/96 U.C.Santa Barbara 17 Wesleyan 3
06/02/96 U.C.Santa Barbara 18 Wisconsin 14 - Semis
06/02/96 U.C.Santa Barbara 21 Carleton 15 - Finals

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