Frisbee teams prep for playoff runs

The GW men’s and women’s basketball teams made memorable postseason runs this winter. This spring, two more teams are making runs of their own.

The GW club ultimate Frisbee teams have been impressive this season. On April 17, the women’s squad won the Colonial Sectional for the first time in the program’s history by defeating Delaware. The men’s team beat Maryland on the same day to capture its sectional title.

The women’s team’s 13-10 triumph over Delaware in the sectional championship game qualified the squad for the Metro East Regional, which will be held at Princeton, N.J., on May 7-8. The top two finishers at that event will advance to the national competition.

“I remember playing (Delaware) our freshman and sophomore year, and their program was so talented and so large,” women’s senior co-captain Alexis Johnson said. “We used to match up against Delaware as a team that blew by us on the way to the sectionals or the nationals.”

The sectional competition was grueling – on the first day of the competition, GW played four matches.

“We went into the competition as the top ranked team, and we won every single game we played (that) weekend,” senior co-captain Carissa Townsend said.

Her team knocked off Salisbury, American, Georgetown, and Goucher on day one. By winning all four games, GW had to win only once more.

At regionals next month, the competition will not be unfamiliar.

“We know a lot of the teams well because we played them a lot in the fall and the spring,” Johnson said. “We have faced Rutgers, Cornell, Penn State, and (the University of Pennsylvania) a number of times this season and we know what they’re like. We’re really excited to get there and to face them.”

The men were seeded No. 3 heading into the Colonial Sectionals, and beat No. 1 Delaware, Navy, Georgetown, and Maryland-B on the first day of the competition. GW then beat American, St. Mary’s of California and Maryland on the final day of the competition to capture the title.

The men now prepare for the Metro East Regional, which will also be held May 7-8 in Princeton. GW finds itself ranked fourth out of the 16 teams present, behind only Queens-Kingston, Pittsburgh, and Swarthmore. Postseason runs of this kind are nothing new for the men’s squad.

“In May 2002, the team qualified for the national tournament for the first time in only its fifth year of existence,” men’s senior co-captain Adam Croce said.

A top two finish by the men at the upcoming Metro East Regional would make it three appearances at nationals in the last four years. Nationals for both genders are held from May 27-29 in Corvallis, Ore.

With the season winding to an end, the graduating team captains can now pause and reflect on what the program has meant to them.

“We’ve both played for our full four years at this point, and it’s so exciting and surreal that it’s coming so quickly to an end,” Johnson said. “Not only is it a part of our extracurriculars, but it’s a big part of our social lives.”

For nearly 10 years, the GW ultimate Frisbee teams have thrived on campus. Former GW students David Watermulder and Tom Shields founded the men’s squad in 1997 and the program has grown steadily since. This year, there are more than 40 members on the team.

The women’s team began three years later, when enough female students expressed interest. At the outset, the women’s squad rarely had more than the seven players required to play, which did not help against the larger schools in their section. However, just five years later, the team features a total of 22 competitors who have dedicated themselves to Frisbee, which is not a varsity sport.

“We practice two or three times a week,” Townsend noted. “(Last Tuesday) we had a practice where we did three to four drills on disc control. A lot of our drills are focused on precision and throwing, or distance and throwing. We’ll do some conditioning, like sprints, but we’ll let the girls do those on their off days.”

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