Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Vol. CLIV, Issue 8
Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Ultimate Frisbee’s Onionfest a huge success

On the night of Saturday, April 3, a mass of reveling ultimate Frisbee players from Missoula, Mont., Seattle, Portland and elsewhere flooded Tau Kappa Epsilon’s backyard and spilled onto the adjoining parking lot behind the house known as Figi. This gathering provided a lucid illustration not only of how monumental Onionfest ’10 was: which included 29 teams and approximately 500 players: but of how much the tournament has grown in the 15 years since its inception. Looking through a retrospective lens, it is somewhat absurd to think that what has become such a populous tournament began with just four teams.

“This was Onionfest’s biggest year by far,” said Elle Burstein, the senior captain of the women’s team.

Though it is undeniable that this co-ed tournament’s attendance has proliferated astoundingly over the years, its noteworthiness does not stem merely from its size.

“We pride ourselves on hosting the most fun co-ed tournament in the Northwest, while still making some profit (as it is our main fundraiser),” said sophomore Ben McGinn. “The tournament is focused more on fun than competition.”

Saturday night’s festivities certainly testified to the validity of McGinn’s claim, as does the fact that this tournament: unlike the others Whitman has competed in this season: is co-ed and warmly welcomes a wide range of talent. However, in spite of the tournament’s fun-oriented, relatively laid back nature, competition remains an important component of any tournament.

“We have an outstanding reputation for putting on a tournament that attracts quality teams,” said Burstein.

Amidst a bevy of strong teams, each of Whitman’s three mixed-gender teams performed well. The A team advanced all the way to the semi-finals and tied for third, marking the best showing by a Whitman team in recent memory. Whitman’s other two teams tied for fifth and 18th respectively.

The Missoula Mental Toss Flycoons: the 2008 club mixed champions: emerged as tournament champions, but not without stiff competition from the Seattle Supersonics. Aside from these two teams, both Burstein and McGinn listed the Whoopsie-Daisies: the team that beat an all-star team consisting of past and present Whitman Sweets: as another standout squad.

Now that Onionfest is over, both the men’s and women’s teams must turn their attention to the postseason, or the College Series. To this point, both teams have had a fair amount of success, in spite of certain unforeseen troubles.

Though many games at Trouble in Vegas: the first tournament Whitman competed in this season: were cancelled due to rain, both the men and woman managed to post impressive victories in the few games they did play in Sin City. The men beat one nationally-ranked opponent as they defeated number nine Tufts University 12-11 while the women defeated Dartmouth College 13-4 and Harvard University 13-10.

Conversely, the Stanford Open was not satisfying for either the men or the women. The women finished 10th  just one year after placing second in the same tournament.

“We underachieved that weekend, only winning a few games, and losing a bunch that we could have won,” said McGinn, in describing the open from the men’s team’s perspective.

In the following tournament, hosted by Pacific Lutheran, the men’s team played well enough, but suffered a devastating blow when junior captain Chris Hansman tore his ACL after a hard foul.

Despite the setbacks that have befallen both Whitman teams thus far in the season, both Burstein and McGinn have managed to cling to positivity.

“I have never gotten to play with such a group of talented and athletic ultimate players,” said Burstein. “We have very dedicated players who give up so much time and energy to play for the Sweets that it really lends to creating a competitive team.”

In a similar vein, McGinn suggested that Hansman’s unfortunate injury does not necessarily spell doom for the men’s team.

“I feel as though we have a solid core of players ready to go into the postseason,” said McGinn, citing former junior national players Jeremy Norden and Jacob Janin in particular. “We have the potential to do very well for the rest of the season.”

Beginning Saturday, April 17, when the college series commences, we will have a chance to see just how much damage Whitman can do in the postseason. For now, we can at least rest assured that the Sweets know how to host a tournament.

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