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The Scarlet & Black

Ultimate Hosts ninth annual Elephantitis

The Grinnell Men’s and Women’s Ultimate Frisbee teams are hosting their ninth annual tournament. Elephantitis lifts off this Saturday, Sept. 24. Since its inception, the tournament has grown into a 32-team extravaganza. This year brings 18 men’s 14 women’s teams to the tournament from Wisconsin, Missouri, Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska as well as Grinnell Men’s and Women’s Alumni teams.

Dan Ehrlich '14 attempts a pass while closely guarded during practice on Wednesday, Spet. 21. Photograph by Emma Sinai-Yunker.

This season is exciting because last year both Men and Women’s Ultimate went to Nationals and Grinnell is now firmly established as a strong Ultimate school,” said Grinnellephants Co-Captain Chris Kaiser-Nyman ’13.

Each team attending will kick off its season at Elphantitis. In general, the fall season, which is not officially sanctioned by USA Ultimate, focuses more on development than overall performance. Alternatively, the spring season proves much more competitive with teams playing for a bid to the National Tournament in May.

“This is a great opportunity for teams to bring a lot of new, rookie players and a lot of first years who have never played before, and give them their first real game experience,” said Grinnellphants Co-Captain Jon Davis ’12. “So a lot of teams use it as a teaching experience for their first-years.”

The more relaxed nature has its advantages.

“It’s really amazing because the environment is so inviting, because everyone gets included and everyone gets to play,” Julia Daniels ’14 said.

“It’s finally the Frisbee community coming together. For the first years who have been coming out for pick-up and practice … this is usually the point where we know who is going to stick with us the rest of the season,” Gus Peterson ’14 said.

In addition to its increased size, Elephantitis will feature its first Women’s Ultimate Leadership Summit, hosted by Co-Captain of the Sticky Tongue Frogs Paige Hill ’12. After the games on Saturday, there will be a gathering to talk about how Women’s Ultimate is growing in the Midwest and how teams can work together to make the sport more widely acknowledged.

“Women’s ultimate is sort of out-pacing the institutional support and the way the larger national organization supports it, so we want to find ways to help each other and grow more,” Paige said.

The tournament is also a chance for the team to earn money that the teams use for travel, hotel and tournament entry fees. There will be discs, jerseys and other merchandise sold.

The whole team is ready for the weekend. The first years are anticipating Elephantitis as a good beginning experience.

“I’m super excited to see how everything works, see how other teams play, and just have a lot of fun playing Frisbee,” Sarah Farbman ’15 said.

The Sticky Tongue Frogs and Grinnellephants always appreciate support and think there is no better place to get your first exposure to the sport.

“As our team is looking toward this tournament, what we want to do is give people their first taste of ultimate,” Paige said. “When you’re out there and you see 700 people playing who love this sport fiercely, it’s hard to say no. And we want our rookies to come out and to see that, and to be a part of that community that falls in love with the sport.”

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    paulSep 23, 2011 at 10:37 pm

    Go MAC!