Frisbee Rises to the Ultimate Challenge

Rose Stoloff, Staff Writer

With a weeklong stay in a sweet southern pad, two tournaments, and two 15-hour drives behind them, the men’s and women’s club Ultimate Frisbee teams can safely say that their spring break was well spent.

The teams kicked the week off with a tournament outside of Atlanta, GA known as Freaknik, where competition figured to be fierce. Both the Flying Horsecows and the Preying Manti, the monikers for the men’s and women’s teams, respectively, admitted that their prospects in this tournament were rather bleak.

“We went to these tournaments really to ‘play up’ in a sense,” said Horsecow senior Xander Tartter of their ostensibly superior opponents from the south. “We played a lot of teams that should have crushed us.”

The Manti, also, faced some difficult teams.

“We came in seeded last,” said senior captain Callie Vaughn.

But both teams outdid expectations. The Horsecows came away with a winning record, placing ninth overall. And the women won three of six games to finish ranked two spots above their seeding.

Following the Freaknik tournament, both teams stayed in a large house near Atlanta that first-year Horsecow Remington Schneider could only describe as “grand.” Hiking, canoeing, and a peculiar practice known as “getting beared” (placing a stuffed bear in the bed of those who chose to oversleep or turn in too early) ensued, solidifying the connections between the teams and teammates.

“I think a lot of the game is about the chemistry between players and spending a week unsupervised with just the guys’ and the girls’ teams really builds bonds,” said senior Horsecow captain Bo Strauss. “It makes it easier to play with your friends on the field as opposed to a bunch of strangers.”

After the week of relaxation, both teams drove north for another large tournament, this time in Manheim, PA called Steakfest. Along with the 31 other teams, the Horsecows and the Manti contended to win a home-cooked steak dinner.

Though they did not win the ultimate prize, Strauss emphasized that in spite of several injuries and a team-wide state of exhaustion, the Horsecows still managed to only “narrowly lose to teams that on paper were a lot better than us.”

Strauss also noted his pride in the rookies of the team.

“Our freshman line is really coming into their own,” he said. “We have a very young team as it is, so a lot more responsibility is being put on the sophomores and on the freshmen to carry us. They stepped up to the challenge.”

Tartter agreed noting that, in particular, first-year Evan Holliday is “just an incredible player, especially defensively.”

Schneider, also a first-year, is impressively following in the footsteps of his brother, a past Horescows captain.

He’s “putting the team on his back and carrying us to some of those victories,” said Strauss.

Vaughn believed that the women lost some of their momentum in the second tournament.

“We came into a cold, wet Pennsylvania after a week in sunny Georgia and had to play the first day with only three hours of sleep,” she said. The Manti ultimately lost all but one of their games. Their win, however was quite a sight.

“We were down by six points,” said Vaughn, “but we rallied and made a huge comeback to end up winning 12-10.”

Both teams are now looking ahead to the sectional tournament, set to take place this weekend in Versailles, Ohio.

“Basically this determines whether our season continues,” said Tartter. “If we place in the top four this weekend we would then be eligible to go to regionals in two weeks.”

The men are currently ranked sixth in this upcoming tournament and are hoping to outdo some of the teams ahead of them.

“The Horsecows are traditionally a sort of comeback team,” remarked Strauss. “We generally come out pretty flat in the first half [of a tournament] and then have to work our way back. But this weekend we are going to try and come out strong, end strong, and in the middle play as strong as possible to try and redefine the mentality we go into these games with.”

Vaughn says the women are looking forward to the weekend as well.

“We’ve learned so much this season, both in practices, and at tournaments, and it’s going to be an awesome chance to show how well we can play.”