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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Feven Getachew
Feven Getachew
May 6, 2024
Michael Lozada
Michael Lozada
May 6, 2024
Nathan Hoffman
Nathan Hoffman
May 6, 2024
Harvey Wilhelm `24.
Harvey Wilhelm
May 6, 2024

Men’s frisbee team advances to regionals

The men’s ultimate frisbee team traveled to Cedar Falls, Iowa last weekend, where they claimed the West Plains Division III Conference Championships. The Grinnellephants swept all three of their opponents to bring home the trophy.

Meanwhile, the two women’s ultimate frisbee teams competed in the North Central Division III Conference Championships in Northfield, Minn., but were unable to advance any further towards the upcoming Nationals competitions.

Besting Luther College, Loras College and Drake University, with scores of 13-10, 11-10 and 13-8, respectively, the men secured their bid to North Central Division III Regionals Championships, which will take place in Appleton, Wis. on April 26-27.

“It went as planned,” said co-captain Evan Ma ’14. “We won all of our games and we won state, which is always nice.”

With a strong regular season already under their belt, the players had high expectations going into the Conference meet.

“It’s always difficult to manage expectations going into Conference because we, as a program, are currently undefeated at Conference, which obviously adds to the pressure,” said co-captain Ben Elias ’15.

The weather conditions played a major factor in the competitions as the players had to deal with strong gust of wind. Nonetheless, the men’ were able to adjust to the circumstance and pull through.

Under the upperclassmen’s leadership, the younger Grinnellephants also played a central role in the team’s advancing to Regionals. According to Elias, younger players such as Mark Lewis ’16, Noah Mozell ’17 and Peter Walker ’17 were some of the key contributors to last weekend’s triumph.

“I think we have a really great team this year,” Ma said. “We’ve been very low on everybody’s radar for a long time, but I think we have a lot of potential to do well this year. It’s just going to be a matter of playing [our game] and having the right mindset going into [matches].”

The squad traveled to Carrollton, Va. at the beginning of spring break to compete in the Woodside Invite, where the team won five of its seven games. The team was able to carry this momentum back to Iowa and Conference, and hope to continue this winning trend at the Regionals competition.

Among the four opponents at Regionals, Grinnell will especially look forward to facing rival Carleton College.

“We have a little rivalry with Carleton and we tend to come out on the bottom of it,” Elias said. “We’re hoping this is our year. We played them in a tight game in the fall and lost by one point, after leading for most of the game. So we’re hoping that Regionals is the time when we can really push through and take them down once and for all.”

Ranked third among the five teams, Grinnell may not be the favorite to continue on to the Division III National Championships, which take place on May 17-18 in Westerville, Ohio. But the Grinnellephants are looking to making a rumble.

“In terms of Regionals, we’re the third-seeded team in a region that has two bids to Nationals, so if everything goes [according to the seeding], we won’t make it,” Ma said. “But I don’t think that’s going to happen.”

On the women’s side, in a 14-team field where the top two seeds secured a bid to compete in the National Championships, the Sticky Tongue Frogs placed fourth at the Conference tournament, going .500 in their six games, while the Grinneleanor Roosevelts finished in eleventh place.

The level of increased play in Conference pushed the squads to raise their expectations, as well.

“In the past four years, every year, we’ve qualified for [Nationals],” said co-captain of the more experienced “Stickies” Eva Metz ’14. “This was our first year not qualifying, so that’s a bummer, but we tried really hard and we had really tough competition this year. We knew that it would be hard to qualify.”

This season, the women’s frisbee team grew substantially, mostly due to increased first-year participation. To maximize time on the field, the program decided to split the team in two.

“I’m really glad we split up into two different teams,” said Carissa Shoemaker ’14. “I miss playing with some of the [other seniors], but it was really great to see the first-years that I had in the fall come to the end of their first-year and be so good at ultimate.”

The Conference tournament was no walk in the park for the players. Tough weather conditions and a string of consecutive games hindered them from performing their best.

“[We] had five games in a row, each an hour and a half,” Shoemaker said. “It was brutal, especially because we haven’t been conditioning hardcore, since we’ve had a lot of injuries throughout the season.”

Yet, the teams’ talent was still evident, even in a loss. When the Stickies were down 8-2 against Drake University, the squad made an impressive comeback to recover from the deficit. Even though the team eventually lost 10-9, the performance displayed the players’ tenacity and determination. And perhaps more importantly, they enjoyed playing with each other.

“We weren’t aiming for anything in particular [at Conference] other than to perform as best we can,” Shoemaker said. “We were trying to be really competitive, but [also had] a lot of fun.

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