Eliot and Reid Duncan are brothers who play on the Pitt ultimate frisbee team, where they are joined by former Pine-Richland teammate Aiden Landis.

Landis, however, has a younger brother, Ethan, who plays for Penn State along with longtime friend Luke Gochis.

What they all have in common is that they were scheduled to play in the ultimate college national championships in Wisconsin over Memorial Day weekend, making it five former Pine-Richland players being represented at the biggest tournament on the collegiate calendar.

Being on opposite sides, especially in a Pitt-Penn State rivalry, may seem like it could be an interesting twist in the Landis house, but according to Aiden, that’s not the case.

He enjoys seeing his brother succeed and Penn State qualified for nationals for the first time.

"It’s cool because Penn State has been on the up the last couple years,” Aiden said. "Long before I got here, Pitt has always had a very good ultimate frisbee team. I walked into that and got the opportunity to contribute to it. To see Penn State qualify for nationals this year is pretty cool. I’m happy for (Ethan) and all his teammates. I know that our parents are very happy to go to nationals and see us both play.”

Pitt and Penn State are in different pools, so both would have to advance out of their group to meet at nationals.

The two did square off in the regional final a few weeks ago and Pitt won, 15-5. Both teams qualified for nationals by advancing to the regional final.

Both older brothers, Eliot and Aiden, have drawn inspiration from their younger siblings.

Eliot was on Pitt’s "B” team prior to Reid arriving on campus. Reid made the "A” team right away as a freshman, but Eliot tried out each of his first three years and didn’t make it.

Eliot was captain of the "B” team and somewhat content with that, but the opportunity to play with his brother pushed him to try again his senior year.

"I hadn’t played with (Reid) since high school, so it was one of the main reasons I chose to play with the "A” team once I made it,” Eliot said. "It’s been an awesome experience. My parents like to go to the tournaments, so it’s nice that both of us are playing together. I get to see him a lot more too, because we drive to practices and games together.”

Aiden has been matched up against Ethan on the field when Pitt and Penn State have played against each other. It’s been a neat experience seeing his brother shine, even if it’s at his expense once in a while.

"Honestly, sometimes when we end up getting matched up against each other, he gets me,” Aiden said. "I just enjoy it. It’s hard for me to be super competitive against him because that wasn’t the way we were growing up. We’re close. I love him and it’s fun to get to compete against him and see him do well. It’s never a grudge match between us. I think we both enjoy being out there, especially after all of those years of playing together at Pine-Richland.”

If the matchups fall the way of Pitt and Penn State meeting each other at nationals, it would be during an elimination game. That would add another element to an already fun rivalry.

"It’s just a classic rivalry that comes with some strong emotions sometimes,” Eliot said. "It’s a little funny for me because two of my best friends play for Penn State. I kind of hate playing against them but also love playing against them at the same time.”

Eliot has one year left on the team because he is going to do a grad program at Pitt. For Aiden, it’s his final nationals because he’s finishing up his grad program this year.

Pitt entered nationals as a title contender. The Panthers beat top-ranked North Carolina earlier this season.

Getting a walk-off national title would be a storybook ending for Aiden after making the semifinals in 2022.

"It’s my last ride, which is bittersweet, but I’m certainly looking forward to nationals,” Aiden said. "It’s always such a blast. Going into my last one, there’s a lot going through my mind, but mostly I’m looking forward to performing and playing one last tournament with my friends.”

Jerin Steele is a freelance writer

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