Women’s Frisbee Makes Run at Nationals
Whitman’s women’s ultimate frisbee team made a statement in Wisconsin the week after many of their seniors walked across stage wearing caps and gowns. By finishing 13th at the Division I national tournament, the team asserted themselves as a team worthy of greater recognition on a national scale, as well as on their own campus, where they have long been overshadowed by the men’s team’s success.
The Lady Sweets fought their way into the national tournament despite a year riddled with injuries, and walked out of the tournament six spots closer to a national title than when they entered.
“It sounds really cliché, but the Lady Sweets going to D1 Nationals was definitely a dream come true. Especially being a D3 school and knowing that absolutely no one else in the ultimate community had high expectations for our team to make it anywhere,” said rising sophomore Ari Lozano.
The men’s team, which has had greater success on the national stage in recent years, was one game from their own run at a national title. Despite their disappointing end to the season, the men came out in full support of the women through watching and even providing coaching for the Lady Sweets on the path to their successful finish. The Sweets’ communal success reveals that the two teams are truly part of the same program and feed off of each other’s successes.
“I think we are just excited that now we are a full program (men’s and women’s) that can compete as the highest level. Hopefully soon both teams will be at nationals, that would be a huge accomplishment for our program,” said alumna Kelly Hall ’13.
While the national recognition behooves both Whitman teams, it is the women who made the largest strides this year.
“As far as recognition nationally, the girls have definitely matched, if not exceeded, the boys’ level of success,” said alumna Beth Daviess ’13, the Lady Sweets’ captain.
Daviess sees the women’s success as a window into greater expansion of the program, allowing growth for both the men’s and women’s teams.
“We tied for 13th at Nationals, breaking our seed by six spots and I think we have the chance of doing better next year. I’m not sure if there is a shared spotlight [on campus]. I think both we and the boys will have to prove that we can make it back, and that our years at nationals weren’t just flukes,” said Daviess.
The growth of the women’s team is best illustrated in its graduating class. The team thrived off of senior leadership this year, but the team’s veteran players were driven by their memory of their early struggles as a team.
“My freshman year we could barely get 14 people at practice to have a scrimmage,” said Hall, adding, “This is by far the most successful year in the team’s history.”
Though this year’s seniors have already crossed over to the realm of alumni, they have paved the way for a young team poised to build off of its run at nationals.
“I’m really excited for next season, I know making another appearance at Nationals will be one of our goals,” said Lozano, who will be a team captain in the fall.
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