The Knox College Ultimate Frisbee teams have been working hard to meet their lofty goals for the season. From first-time players to the team captains, everyone is doing their part to get some wins for both the men’s and women’s teams.
Sophomore Carly Gilbert is one of the few who had playing experience before entering Knox.
“It’s one of the only sports that you can play co-ed and I really like that aspect of it,” Gilbert said. “The tournaments are a blast because you get to play with other teams from different schools and compete at a higher level that I really like.”
As Gilbert stated, the Ultimate teams get to compete at tournaments throughout the season, having just participated in their first postseason tournament of the year in Bourbonnais, IL against Wheaton College, Valparaiso University, Kalamazoo College and North Park University. Gilbert talked highly of her team’s heightened competitiveness.
“The best part in those games was that our competitive level was increased. I think it’s a good thing to play against teams that are better than you because you learn and get better,” Gilbert said.
This competitive nature led to many exciting plays for the teams.
“We had this one point where the disc kept being turned over and we would get it and then the other team would get it. It ended with a deep throw into the end zone with one of our players [diving] out into the grass to catch the disc so it was a really awesome end to the point,” Gilbert said.
The second day’s games were postponed due to inclement weather, as low temperatures, constant rain and wind, as well as standing water on the fields made it unsafe to compete. However, the team did get to play one full day’s worth of games. They will play six games, but so far have played four, compiling a record of 2-2.
“We would have had two on Sunday but we go back this coming weekend to finish up those last two games,” Gilbert said.
One of the Ultimate captains, junior Meryl Davis had never played the game until her freshman year at Knox. Now this Ultimate veteran takes on a leadership role with the team.
Davis stressed the teamwork aspect of both Ultimate squads at Knox, as she mentioned that every player helps the team succeed.
“We all contribute in different manners, whether that’s bringing the positivity up, catching all the points, throwing all the assists, or things like that,” Davis said.“I don’t really like to say, ‘you were the best one from this tournament’ just because that takes away from the fact that we do trust each and every player on the team and that is what makes us such a strong team,” Davis said.
This approach is not utilized by most of Knox’s opponents, Davis notes.
“There are others out there from other schools and they will play their seven best players for the entire game and we try to avoid that as much as possible in order to give everyone as much of a possibility to grow as possible because in a few years they will be the person that everyone relies on,” Davis said. “By priming them now it sets them up for a better chance of performing well when it’s their time.”
For Davis, the success this past weekend had a lot to do with the amount of spirit the team brought into their games.
“We came out with a lot of energy, a lot of excitement and right off the bat we scored a good four points. We are a very young team, a very inexperienced team so to have that happen right away was really exciting,” Davis said.
That energy will hopefully carry over into when they finish their last two games of this tournament this Sunday, as the winner of the tournament earns a berth to DIII College Nationals in May.
While the women are waiting to finish their regionals competition, the men’s Ultimate players just finished competing in their sectionals and will be continuing with regionals the weekend of April 28 and 29 near Ann Arbor, MI.
Senior and captain Jack Harman was pleased with the men’s team’s 3-1 record on the first day, though the team has stressed not being content with success at sectionals.
“We played the first day and were able to place top four and then because we placed top four we are able to go on to regionals regardless of how the bracket play on Sunday worked,” Harman said. “But then the bottom four of the teams that we were playing in the men’s division have to go back this weekend and then the women’s team also goes back.”
Describing the responsibilities that come with being elected captain, Harman said, “A big part of it is calling lines, whether it’s offense or defense.[Co-captains junior] Jonathan [Schrag, senior], Will [Ensign-Church] and I have a practice of whether we score or get scored on, taking a step off the line if we scored and talking about the last point, or if we got scored on walking back the full length of the field talking about what we’ve seen.”
Harman echoed the Alley Cats’ philosophy of using their depth as the strength that carries them to success in important games.
“I think a lot of teams in our region have one very central person that they run through and if anyone gets the disc they are immediately looking for that person to get it back to. We’ve tried to cultivate a feeling around our team where anyone can do anything,” Harman said.
Now that they have qualified for regionals, the River Rats will have to win that entire tournament in order to qualify for DIII College Nationals in May.
With team philosophies focused on winning as a team, both teams look to make more noise in their regional tournaments.
Jonathan Schrag is the Co-Editor-in-Chief for The Knox Student.