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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Feven Getachew
Feven Getachew
May 6, 2024
Michael Lozada
Michael Lozada
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Nathan Hoffman
Nathan Hoffman
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Harvey Wilhelm `24.
Harvey Wilhelm
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Ultimate Frisbee ends fall season in Misery

The Sticky Tongue Frogs and the Grinnellephants Ultimate Frisbee teams finished up their Fall season this past weekend, at the Missouri Loves Company tournament in Columbia, MO. The tournament featured 16 women’s teams and around 40 men’s teams.  The caliber of competitors ranged from the Division I veterans to greenhorns with only a few months of competitive experience. Women’s Captains Paige Hill ’12 and Cori Keeler ’12 led the Frogs and ended up with a 2-5 record.

“We faced a lot of stiff competition because we were playing teams that in general, were a little more experienced than us and teams that also kind of had this legacy of doing really well at the Division I level so it was a huge learning experience,” Keeler said.

On the men’s side, Captains Jon Davis ’12 and Chris Kaiser-Nyman ’12 were also pleased with the way their team played at the tournament.  Like the women, the men faced mostly Division I schools.

“Almost half of the schools that went to Division I nationals were at the tournament,” Kaiser-Nyman said.

Despite tough competition, the men were very internally focused and made sure that playing time was even amongst all players.  In doing so, they helped more people prepare for the Spring season.

“This is the most competitive Fall tournament, so a lot of schools play their top ten players and that’s about it,” Davis said. “They’re really playing to win. We approached it slightly differently and we do a lot more even playing time. In general we have a really good team this year with a lot of first-years and second-years.”

Something that the men and women’s teams have in common is their youth. Of the 20 women who traveled to Mizzou, 11 had never played Frisbee before coming to Grinnell.

“I felt like the tournament really gave us a lot of practice playing as a full team.  Our team right now is half rookies—there are a lot of new people on the team. Right now we’re working on getting everyone really used to the dynamics of the game and just practicing the elementary skills of throwing and stuff,” Ellie Honan ’14 said.

Because the fall season acts as a rehearsal for the spring, the teams are not so concerned with their outcomes.

“Since these games don’t count for our seeding in the spring, we don’t really pay attention to details like [our record],” Kaiser-Nyman. “We concentrate on how we played and what we need to do to improve.”

When it comes to Frisbee, the communities that the teams provide are integral to success in playing the game. This year’s teams are no exception.

“I think that this is probably one of the most supportive ultimate teams that I’ve ever been on. To see the level of engagement on the sideline and on the field and the positive attitudes of everyone stands out on this team and in comparison to the teams that we play. Sprints don’t get you further than that and throws don’t get you further than that,” Hill said.

“Our team hangs out every day.  Most people on our team are really good friends with other people on our team,” Davis said.

In addition to their winter workouts and general team bonding, the captains are arranging a way for the team to give back to the Grinnell community through volunteer work.

“I’m really excited about monthly community service started and we’re on our way to being partnered with a food bank so that once a month we can send as many players as want to go to the food bank who want to work there,” Kaiser-Nyman said.

Going forward, the teams are focused on their spring goals to qualify and compete in the Division III National Tournament.  To do so, they will continue to work on their skills and athleticism.

“A really interesting dynamic is our winter practices, it’s lifting and sprint workouts.  We don’t have a coach so the only reason why people show up to practice and do [the workouts] is really linked to that social community that we have. Everyone on this team is really friends with each other and really strives to push each other,” Davis said.

With time to work on what they learned at the last tournament, the Grinnell Ultimate Frisbee teams hope to improve their skills and develop their new players for success this spring.

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