Preying Manti Gear Up for New Season

Sarena Malsin

The Preying Manti women’s Ultimate frisbee team are split into two teams this spring, but both teams are tirelessly preparing for their first tournament, the Music City Mash–Up in Nashville, TN, on March 8-9, with weekly lifting and track practices.

The A and B teams saw mixed success last year, in part because the Manti could not fit both rosters. But with many first-years joining the team this fall, the Mati now boast a roster with 30 players, plenty to fill both teams.

“The optimal team number is 14 to 15; 30 people do not get to play as much as they want to,” said sophomore Jessica Hubert.

Sophomore A-Team Captain Allison Fulton said she prefers the two–team format. “It’s hard to take 30 people to a tournament and not have everyone play — that means not everyone is growing as players,” she said.

Junior B-Team Captain Sarah Blenko agreed with Fulton. “The addition of a B team takes off a lot of the pressure of playing with people who have been playing Ultimate for years.”

Even with a shaky start to their last spring season, the team made it to the National Championship at Dill College.

“It would be wonderful if we could build on that momentum and continue to compete on higher levels,” Blenko said.

Even though the first-years are new to the team, not all of them are new to the game.

“There’s a mix of freshmen that have been playing for years and ones that never played before orientation,” said senior Sarah Reach.

“There’s a spread of ability, but that’s good — it bodes well for the program if we can keep all types of players coming in,” Fulton added. “It astounds me how into it people get and how excited they are to come to practice and learn. That’s what we really like to see.”

The new setup and season don’t change the Manti’s constant goal of cohesion. “We’re working on getting to know everyone’s playing style, to know what everyone’s capable of,” said senior and Review production manager, Rosie Black. “To do that, we want all players to be as committed as possible.”

Even with the advent of split practices, the Manti will continue to have practices with both teams to “keep the cohesive Manti unit together,” according to Reach.

The Manti look forward to their Nashville tournament and two tournaments over spring break in Southsboro, GA and Princeton, NJ, both of which will host the Yeowomen for the first time.

The team is anxious to return to Nationals, and the Manti’s captains are ready to put in the work to make that goal a reality.

“We’re going to try things we haven’t done to surprise teams we’ve played a lot before,” said Black.

Before Nationals, the Manti are looking to take on every challenge as a team; including its tournament–heavy season.

“You grow [as a team] so much in one tournament, as opposed to one month of practice,” said Fulton.

“I’m excited about just getting out on the field — nothing is better than going outside and having the whole field in front of you and six of your fellow Manti on the line beside you,” Blenko said.