Frisbee buffs from the University of Saskatchewan and several other Canadian universities came together to face off in the ultimate sport Oct. 19-21 in Kelowna, B.C.
The Canadian Ultimate University Championships hosted 14 university teams.
The U of S women’s frisbee club was among those teams and sent 14 players to represent the U of S at the national tournament. Ladies from a variety of undergraduate and master’s programs including the colleges of medicine, pharmacy, kinesiology, geology, physics and education made up the motley team.
Ultimate frisbee is best described as a mix of football, soccer and basketball, the goal being to pass the frisbee between seven teammates on the field and catch the disc in the end zone for a point. Meanwhile, another team of seven players tries to steal the frisbee and send it back to the other end zone to score. The first team to score 15 points wins.
Of the seven players on the field there are three handlers (quarterbacks) and four cutters (runners) who start the game with a pull (long throw) down the field.
The team spent two months training for the championships, bearing hand-numbing weather at times in order to perfect their craft. The squad trained under Erin Bingham, a Saskatoon Ultimate Disc Society player for the past 10 years, learning about the offensive and defensive strategies of the game.
The U of S team also brought in Robert McLeod from Calgary to help the women improve their throwing techniques.
McLeod knows a thing or two about throwing frisbees. He holds the world record for the longest throw to a canine — the dog caught the disc almost 124 metres away from McLeod in the record toss.
In this year’s tournament the U of S women’s club played eight games and finished fifth of the 14 clubs, narrowly missing out on the championship playoff bracket due to a one-point differentiation loss in a three-way tie for third spot.
The women said they would have thrown more long-bomb passes at the end of the last round robin game if they had known it would be such a close finish. The team now knows that those final points can make or break your team’s chances at a playoff spot.
The club’s most veteran player, Courtney Dalton, has been with the team for five years. She has competed with the squad in university ultimate frisbee nationals all across Canada, including stops in Vancouver, Montreal, Edmonton, Ottawa and now Kelowna. As she finished her last tournament she was pleased with the team’s results.
“Placing fifth has been an amazing way to end my athletic career with this team,” Dalton said.
Dalton is the only player on the U of S team that will graduate in the spring and the rest of the players always have their eyes open for new recruits.
Britini Brenna just joined the women’s club this season and says she has enjoyed learning and playing ultimate frisbee.
“I’m excited to get involved at such a high level of this sport only a year after being introduced to it.”
This year’s squad will pack it in for the winter months but hopes next year’s group will be able to hone the skills they have learned over the past two months when they return to action next August to train for the 2013 Canadian Ultimate University Championships.
To contact the team or learn more about ultimate frisbee at the U of S contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo: Anna-Lisa Hodgins