Recreational, intramural and club sports allow students to participate in fun, competitive, physical activities on campus. The women’s ultimate frisbee team provides a unique way to meet new people while gaining the traditional benefits of playing a club sport in college.
Maddy Walshak, a junior from Houston double majoring in environmental studies and economics, is this year’s team president. Two and a half years ago, she joined the team at the first-year involvement fair and has found the club sport to be one of her most valuable experiences at Trinity.
“Ultimate Frisbee embodies a mentality called ‘Spirit of the Game.’ Ultimate is a self-officiated sport, which means we don’t have any referees, and each player is responsible for calling their own fouls. As a result, each player has to understand the rules and is expected to play honorably according to those rules,” Walshak said.
“It also means that players often have to talk on the field about fouls with their opponents to reach an agreement. No matter how heated things get on the field, we try to always circle up with the other team after to thank them. This fosters a lot of teamwork and support amongst players,” Walshak said.
The team’s organization is supplemented by students and coaches who are appointed to various leadership positions.
“We have two captains, senior Cat O’Shei and sophomore Becca Kroger, who are in charge of helping lead practices and teaching playing technique. My vice president is sophomore Julia Riley. We also have two new coaches this year. They are a couple who recently moved here from Colorado. And play ultimate on a local club team here in San Antonio. They coach all of our games, run practice and have already had a huge impact on the team with their expertise. The six of us all have a really great relationship,” Walshak said.
Riley especially praised the influence of the team’s new coaches, Jake Johnson and Jaycee Jones.
“We are all very appreciative and respectful of our coaches, but we also try to have a fun time with them. For the past few years, we haven’t had coaches, so having them with us this year has been an amazing experience. Having coaches allows our captains to focus on playing and encouraging the team,” Riley said.
O’Shei’s experience as a fifth-year student at Trinity has given her the opportunity to watch the team grow.
“We have around 20 people on the roster this year, which is definitely the largest our team has ever been. It’s both a benefit and a challenge, because having more people is wonderful for the future of the program and allows more players to rest between points,” O’Shei said.
In order to reach peak performance during their competitions, the team maintains a consistent practice schedule.
“We practice twice a week, every Tuesday and Thursday from 8:30 p.m. through 10:30 p.m. This schedule is held throughout the entire year. We spend the first half of practice doing drills and learning plays, then we usually scrimmage for the last half. Even though we are a competitive team with serious practices, we always have lots of fun and share a lot of laughs at each practice,” Walshak said.
The team practices for long periods of time to mimic the physical demand of games.
“The amount of players on the team varies between years and especially during tournaments. The games are about an hour and 25 minutes long, and we play around four games each day during a tournament. Ultimate frisbee is a lot of running, so the day can be very exhausting,” Kroger said.
The club sport experience allows Trinity’s team to compete against the other ultimate frisbee teams across the country.
“Collegiate Ultimate works in a tournament style of competition. Schools across the country host tournaments on the weekends where teams come and play each other to advance in a tournament bracket and how well each team plays at these tournaments dictates their USA Ultimate college ranking. Towards the end of the semester, top ranking teams compete for the national champion title,” Riley said.
Although the sport can be tiring, the experience in general is well worth the effort.
“People play our sport because they love it, so this leads to a very tight knit community of ultimate players. Our team is friends with players from all over Texas,” Kroger said.
Walshak hopes that everyone will find an activity they enjoy on campus, and encourages people to do so through ultimate Frisbee.
“Ultimate Frisbee is so much fun, and it’s a great way to stay in shape. Unlike other sports, you won’t be behind if you’ve never played before. We are super accepting of anyone who wants to join regardless of prior experience. When you join our team, no matter who you are, you become a part of our family,” Walshak said.
Anyone who is interested in joining the Ultimate Frisbee team this year can still do so by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.