Colorado Springs, Colo. (March 23, 2023)—USA Ultimate, the national governing body for the sport of ultimate in the United States and member of the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee, is proud to announce Carl Nelson and Zeta Strickland as the 2022 Observers of the Year.

Nelson was certified in 2015 at the Old Capital Open and has been present at almost every USAU championship event since 2016. In 2022, he worked the finals of both the Club and College Championships. In addition, he was the Head Observer for the 2022 U.S. Open, leading a large crew of observers across two large scale tournaments (ICC and YCC). Nelson is also the Regional Observer Coordinator for the North Central region and is scheduled to become an observer trainer in the spring. Nelson has also put forth efforts to start developing training resources for observers and players interacting with the observer system. It is hard to find anyone in the observer community who more consistently strives to improve his craft, whether it’s posing the most elusive game scenario to find the proper ruling or constantly asking for feedback. Nelson also has begun working as a hockey referee in his spare time.

2022 Observer of the Year – Carl Nelson

Strickland was first certified in 2018 at the Northwest Challenge, with much of her observing development put on hold due to the pandemic. But that didn’t stop her from coming back in 2022, working several high-level tournaments along the west coast including the Stanford Invite and Northwest Challenge. She’s always prepared for her games, no matter the level of play, and is always working to improve her skills. In the 12-month period ending in October 2022, Strickland observed both a semifinal and final at the 2022 National Championships and two semifinal games at the College Championships. In her spare time outside of ultimate, Strickland is an avid cheese maker.

2022 Rookie Observer of the Year – Zeta Strickland