After a variety of travel mishaps, from a wrong turn to a flat tire, the men’s and women’s frisbee teams returned to campus early Monday morning after a busy weekend of games.
Both teams were playing at the Southwest regional tournament in Tulsa, Okla. Unfortunately, neither team was able to qualify for the national championships as the men (Wasabi) won two of their six games, and the women (Strata) won five of their seven games, losing their last elimination to the University of Colorado at Boulder.
“It’s been a really fun and interesting and exciting season,” said Wasabi co-captain Shane Eckert ’19.
This was the first season Wasabi had an official coach, which helped Eckert and his co-captains as they could focus more on team-building and their own play instead of having to also coach their new teammates. Their coach, Jonah Wisch, played college frisbee at the University of Pittsburgh, and brings collegiate experience to the team.
In addition to bringing an official coach on board, Wasabi also welcomed several new first-year players to the team. Ultimate Frisbee is not common in high schools, so many players join with little to no previous experience. However, many players picked up the game quickly, and Eckert has been impressed with the skill level on the team.
“Our first-year class is outstanding,” Eckert said. “I like to joke that they’re better already than the seniors are, but it’s not really a joke. They’re actually amazing.”
Eight seniors have played their final game as members of Wasabi, but Eckert has high hopes for the future of the team, and will miss travelling and playing with them.
While Wasabi and Strata practice and play separately, members of both teams are quite close as they hold events such as potlucks and Frisbee Prom together.
The women were in a similar situation, as they welcomed 11 new players to the team, with only two or three having previous experience.
Co-captain Frances Gellert has been playing since she was in sixth grade, and she convinced her first-year roommate and now co-captain Stella Gardner ’19 to join the team with her. They have both played for all four years and are still roommates.
“We totally exceeded my expectations,” Gellert said. “It was super awesome to see.”
Strata has 24 members, but the entire team has become close. They take time to praise each other as they stretch after games, and they have worked on trusting each other as teammates by doing mental toughness exercises once per week. They also have a strong alumni network who come to tournaments and support them with fun cheers and inside jokes.
Despite not making it to the National College Championships, the season was filled with positives and gave the graduating class some of their favorite memories.
“One of my favorites was beating [Boulder] this weekend,” Gardner said. “That was a wild game, people played so well and we had such positive energy. Even when we were down, we were able to come back. It was such a good feeling.”
There is a lot of young talent on both teams, and as always, qualifying for Nationals will be on their minds as the teams begin their 2019–20 seasons next Fall.