By Gabi Marrese
The women’s ultimate frisbee team qualified for Nationals for the fourth year in a row at their conference meet on Apr. 14-15. With a loss to their conference rivals, University of Portland, on the first day of Conference, the team persevered to take the first bid to nationals.
“A lot of Ultimate organizations, such as USA Ultimate, or Ultiworld, doubted our abilities, essentially assuming we would not get the bid to Nationals,” senior Ellen Kalenscher (Portland, Oregon).
Early in the season, the team faced a huge loss as one of their senior teammates Alana Speich (Boulder, Colorado) sprained a ligament in their knee. As the team continues to Nationals they were able to welcome her back to last weekend and extend her career at Puget Sound said.
“It was hard to come back just for the end of the season, so I’m glad there’s more to come,” Speich said.
Carleton Eclipse were National Champions last year and have knocked out Puget Sound out of the tournament for the past two years. Two years ago the team finished sixth and last year they placed third. They were fortunate to play Carleton at the Stanford Open and win. This shows that they are ready to continue to climb and hopefully play for the championship this year.
“Over that past couple of years Clearcut has grown exponentially and it has been amazing to be a part of a community that continues to build and strive for more as we head to compete at DIII nationals for a third time,” junior captain Abby Mayo (Denver, Colorado) said.
As the team begins travel preparations for Kentucky, the host of this years Nationals, they continue to prepare for finals before they depart for the tournament on May 20-21.
“We will work on fine tuning our defensive looks and cleaning up our offense,” head coach Spencer Sheridan said.
“I love the atmosphere of Nationals, the spirit of competition that comes hand-in-hand with a joy of the game, and appreciation for teammates and opponents,” Kalenscher said.
After attending Nationals in previous years, the team has become familiar with a few teams from all over the country. This years tournament will welcome two Northwest bids which will be a familiar face to Clearcut as well in Univeristy of Portland.
The entire season builds up to the goal of making it Nationals. Now since they have accomplished the goal again this year, the pressure is on to win for the first time this year.
“Most important thing for our team is to remember to still enjoy it and not take it as life or death, because when we have fun, that’s when we really shine,” Speich said.
With the ultimate organizations underestimating the strength of the team and the obstacles of injury, making it to Nationals has shown the strength of team’s bond and the mental strength win when it counts.
“I’m excited to get to show the nation how much work we’ve put into being the best team we can be,” said Kalenscher.
Nationals has introduced players to new states and to show the talent and passion of Clearcut. This also put the Northwest on the map for a well renowned ultimate frisbee location.
“My favorite moment from Ultimate is really just every time the team rushes the field after we score. It is the most gratifying way to feel a part of the community. It’s wonderful to see all of our hard work pay off,” said Speich.
As Nationals brings the season to a close player can look back on their ultimate frisbee season or career and the good and the bad memories they share.
“I love when this team rises to the challenges that come with playing some of the best teams in the country. I also am excited to see the final product this year of all of the track workouts, lifting sessions, practices, and countless hours of throwing a frisbee that these women have put in,” Sheridan said.
We wish the seniors and the rest of Clearcut the best of luck in preparation for Nationals and in the tournament itself.