The Flying Horsecows men’s Ultimate Frisbee team is preparing for its spring season after a fifth place finish at its Cat Fight tournament at the University of Kentucky in February. With a number of tournaments scheduled for this March, the team will look to ready itself for a run at the national tournament.
First-year Peter LaFreniere said that defeating Kenyon College for the first time in years was a big morale booster.
“The last tournament was re ally great,” he said. “We did really well. We finished fifth of 16 teams in a tournament that included DI and DIII teams. We beat Kenyon — which we have not done in a number of years — in universe point, which means ‘next point wins.’ Kenyon has been a big rival in our past, and [it’s] a team that we have to beat to go to nationals this year.”
For senior captain Quinn Schiller, beating Kenyon was also a high light of the weekend.
“Kenyon is one of our long standing rivals and has always been a little better than us the whole time I have been here,” Schiller said. “Hopefully, now, this is our year to be better than them. I think we played hard in every single game, and the tournament was a lot of fun.”
This fall, the Horsecows were inundated with new talent. Many played the game in high school, while others came new to the game. While the team focused on team development first semester, this spring, the focus is to making it to nationals.
“A big focus is coming to practice and being friends outside of practice,” said junior Mike Plotz. “If you don’t have chemistry with other people and trust the other people, the team is going to fall apart. You need to know who you are passing to, their strengths and what they like to do. When you like playing with your teammates, you play better.”
Frisbee tournaments can be long and arduous, and team camaraderie can ease anxiety. When the team travels to competitions, they have to be prepared to play at least eight games every weekend. Fortunately, first semester gave the newcomers an opportunity to experience the collegiate tournament setup.
“There is a big difference between high school Frisbee and college Frisbee, and playing together last semester helped us develop those team dynamics, like knowing where people want to cut and where people want to throw the Frisbee. This is the semester where things start to get serious,” LaFreniere said.
Schiller is optimistic about the team’s upcoming tournament hosted by Washington University in Chesterfield, MO.
“The tournament is the Huck Finn tournament, and supposedly Wash U is pretty good,” he said. “They are in our pool, so we will have a chance to play them on the first day. This is definitely going to be a higher caliber of competition; there are only a couple of Division III teams, so it is mostly a Division I competition. We are seeded a lot lower, but this is a good learning experience and a tipoff to our more serious part of our season.”
Ultimately, the team’s goal this year is to do well at the regional tournament and qualify for the national tournament.
“Last season we finished at region als, which determines if you go to nationals,” Plotz said. “The goal was to get into nationals. We were a good team last year, but I don’t think we were quite there yet. I think this year nationals is a definite, legitimate possibility. We beat Kenyon, we beat Xavier [University] — two teams in the Ohio region. I think we have a good shot at nationals and everyone is on board.”
Schiller echoed these hopes for his final season with the Horsecows.
“This is bittersweet. My ambitions and expectations are really high for this semester because I would really like to go out on a good note and go to nationals. I am hoping to enjoy it,” he said.