Preying Manti Add Bevy of First-Years

Nathaniel Sher

The women’s ultimate frisbee team, the Preying Manti, has begun a new season of practice after making it to the USA Ultimate College Division III Regional Championship in Pennsylvania last season. This season, changes abound, as the team has two new captains and nearly 20 new players on the team.

The team elected new captains, sophomores Maya Gillett and Caela Brodigan, at the end of last season, for their multiple years of frisbee experience despite their lack of seniority.

While most of the Manti came to the team as beginners, Gillett was an active participant in Seattle’s youth frisbee scene for a number of years prior to attending Oberlin.

“I’ve had some really excellent coaching, and I’m excited to bring some fresh ideas to the team,” she said.

Gillett described Brodigan as a “renaissance woman on the field,” owing to her versatility as a player and ambitious plans for the upcoming year. Brodigan has plans to introduce a new secret play, which she calls “Crazy Line.”

Since practice has only just begun, the team’s overall character and direction is still up in the air. The team has seen about 20 new players at the first few practices of the semester, and how well they are able to contribute will go a long way toward deciding how successful the Manti will be. Early reports are promising, according to Brodigan, as the newcomers have shown a variety of skillsets to add to the team.

“The freshmen look like they’re going to be strong,” Brodigan said, following the team’s second practice.

While some first-years already appear to be adjusting well on the field, many have had little to no experience and are in need of much guidance.

“I’m excited to help all the first-years as much as I can so we can build a solid core,” said junior cutter and former captain, Allison Fulton.

As part of their preseason, the more experienced Manti will look to get everyone up to speed by running drills, scrimmaging and conditioning during the coming weeks in an effort to prepare for the season ahead. Fortunately for the team, they are already making progress.

“Everyone’s learning quickly,” said junior cutter Jackie Milestone.

The importance of learning quickly can’t be understated, particularly since the Manti lost several valuable players to graduation last year.

“We’re a young team,” said Gillett.

While the two captains do hope to help the Manti make the most out of their upcoming season, they made it clear that determining the team’s direction will be an entirely collaborative effort.

“We have a bunch of amazing players and people who are ready to step up as leaders, ” said Gillett.

If they do step up as leaders and the team learns to work together, the Manti feel that they have a shot at a very successful season. The team’s goal is to return to the USA Ultimate Frisbee Division III Regional Championship as they did last year, or to advance to the National Championship.

For Brodigan, these goals are very much within reach.

“We are the sort of team that, if we decided we wanted to go to Nationals and we made it a priority, we could go,” she said.