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Bittersweet End to Frisbee Seasons

Gaby Thomas, Staff Reporter

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This past weekend Whitman College welcomed sunshine, warm weather, a swift breeze and a swarm of frisbee players from all over the Northwest for the USA Ultimate Northwest Division I College Regionals. Many of the colleges at the tournament were large state schools with deep, well-developed programs, and Whitman College was the smallest school in the pool of schools by a long shot.

This is the second year in a row that the regionals have taken place in Walla Walla, but unlike last year where just the Whitman Sweets’ women’s team competed, the men were also in the running for their own DI tournament title.

“What we put on this weekend was some of the highest level of college ultimate in the country. We were pleased to showcase this level of play in our own backyard,” stated Robbie Farwell, a sophomore captain on the Sweets’ men’s team.   

The men earned their spot in Division I Regionals by winning the Division III Sectionals earlier this spring in Puyallup, Wash. They took an anticipated heavy loss to the number one seeded University of Oregon early on Saturday, but were able to clench some victories over University of Victoria and Montana State University later in the day, ending with two wins and two losses overall.

Their hard work on Saturday paid off and they made it into the championship bracket the following day. After a loss to Western Washington on Sunday in the pre-quarterfinals, Whitman went on to finish eighth overall after a loss to University of Victoria. University of Washington won the tournament, and will be heading to Division I Nationals along with the University of Oregon, University of British Columbia and Oregon State University.

The men were pleased with this result.

“On all accounts, we exceeded expectations. We played well enough on Saturday to find ourselves in the championship bracket, vying for a nationals bid against top tier ultimate programs in the nation,” Farwell said.

“Getting crushed by a Division I team is not the most fun, but then you win a game, and it’s the greatest feeling in the world because you just beat a team that came from this giant school that can select anybody to play for them,” first year Alex Brettmann explained.

The women’s team came into Regionals with hopes of returning to Division I Nationals, where they claimed the second place spot last year. A first or second place finish in the regional tournament would have shot them off to Ohio for the national tournament, and after a 4-0 run on Saturday, their prospects were looking good. The Whitman women took down University of Utah, University of Victoria, University of British Columbia, and University of Washington to slide them easily into the championship bracket for a chance at first place the following day.

On Sunday, however, the Sweets’ women trudged through some tough matches against University of British Columbia and University of Oregon, just missing a trip to Nationals after those two losses.  Both University of British Columbia and University of Oregon will continue on to Division I Nationals.

“Despite not qualifying for Nationals, each of us left the field knowing we gave everything we had, and that our love for this program and each other is more valuable than any win will ever be,” sophomore Hannah Filley said.

“Our team is built on a foundation of love, and not qualifying for Nationals meant that our season ended and we don’t get to continue sharing our love for one another, as well as our passion for the game, in the same competitive nature that we do during our season,” explained junior Kaileah Akker.

Though this past weekend wrapped up the season for both of the Sweets’ teams, they plan on carrying on with their off-the-field positivity and spirit, enjoying each other’s company and taking some time to reflect on the hard work put in over the course of this past season.

“What’s next? Next up will be lots of pick-up, as much time spent together as possible, celebrating the graduation of our wonderful seniors, club season for some of us, and otherwise some much needed rest before training starts up again in September,” Filley explained.

“We are part of a community that is overflowing with love for one another, and I think the biggest takeaway from this weekend was that the love of our teammates is what matters the most and is why we do what we do. As for what’s next, we will continue to cultivate and grow the love on our team,” Akker said.

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Whitman news since 1896
Bittersweet End to Frisbee Seasons