WU club ultimate flying high
Most people do not spend their time daydreaming about playing competitive frisbee when they come to college, but success in both the men’s and women’s club teams have many students expanding their horizons.
Although ultimate is a club sport at Washington University, it does not mean that the men and the women only play other club teams.
“We play throughout the year against both club and college teams,” said senior Suzanne Wikle, co-captain of the women’s team. “However during the spring semester, which is our real season, it only counts towards regionals and nationals when we play other college women’s teams.”
So how do the WU club ultimate teams fare against varsity programs at other schools? The answer is pretty well; the men were one of the best teams in the region, while the women made it to nationals last year. This is especially impressive considering that the women’s club team began competition only two years ago.
“When I was a freshman, there was no club team,” said senior Erin Donovan. “When I was a sophomore, I started playing with the men’s club team just for fun because there were no women to play with. Soon a bunch of us started coming out, so we decided to form our own team and we got funding from the SCF (Sports Club Federation).”
Despite the success, the men and women do not spend hours practicing. In fact, most of the “training” comes from pickup games. Since most of the training is fun, both the men’s and the women’s ultimate teams are seeing record turnouts this year.
“We are seeing a lot more people coming out and there is definitely a lighter, more positive atmosphere,” said sophomore Arash Sabet, a player on the men’s team. “For example, the first two practices were basically just go out there and play, with much less emphasis on drills.”
The growing popularity of ultimate can be seen just by the sheer number of people who came out for the team. Twenty-five women and 20 men tried out for the team this year, an impressive number for a club sport.
From a rules standpoint, ultimate is much different from a lot of varsity sports. One of the major differences is that there are no referees in the game. The players are responsible for calling their own fouls. Usually, people abide by this honor code and conduct themselves in a fair manner.
“You call your own fouls, you call fouls on yourself,” said junior James Rosen, treasurer of the men’s team. “People play, for the most part, pretty nice.”
Some people might mistake a lack of referees for a lack of competition, but that is far from the truth. Both the men and women will face stiff competition this season from quality varsity programs.
“Texas A&M won regionals last year and they have a lot of young talent that will be coming back this year,” said Jeff Chai, president of the men’s team. “As far as the team that we will be playing on a regular basis, Kansas should be the toughest rivals.”
Perhaps the best thing about ultimate is that it can be played by anyone. It can also be played just about anywhere as long as you have a frisbee and a group of enthusiastic people. And with record popularity, the men’s and women’s club ultimate teams have shown just how far a frisbee and some excitement can go.
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