Sweets Eyeing Strong 2016 Season

Alec Rainsford

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Led by a strong veteran presence, the Whitman Women’s Ultimate Frisbee team is off to a strong start in 2016. The hard work and effort in a grueling preseason, one that included practice five to six days a week resulted in an epic finals win at the Stanford Invitational.

The Lady Sweets were able to cap off a long and trying tournament with an exciting 13-10 win over University of Central Florida. The playoffs were played in wet and windy conditions, and both teams had to fight through tough competition to reach to championship game.

For Whitman, the path to the final involved a showdown with then ranked number five University of Oregon. At the culmination of a thrilling match, Whitman came away with the victory on a last second universe point. Up next was Central Florida, the team which had previously handed Whitman their only loss of the weekend during the pool play games by a score of 10-8. In a final that saw numerous big plays and highlight moments, Whitman was able to exact revenge on the East Coast powerhouse. UCF opened the match with a 4-1 lead, but Whitman countered with a 7-1 run of their own, heading into halftime on top by a score of 8-5. In the second half, it was Whitman’s calm demeanor on offense and ability to lock down on defense that resulted in the 13-10 victory.

Much of the even-keel attitude present on the team comes from the outstanding leadership of their captains, junior Claire Revere and senior Ari Lozano. The two have been absolutely essential in guiding a team which is mainly self coached. With responsibilities including running practice and taking care of day-to-day logistic tasks, the two have put in almost as much time as they dedicate to their respective majors. Lozano remains locked in with her approach, even with the recent triumphs including a number one ranking in all of Division I.

“For us, the process has always been the most important. Success is a plus,” she said.

In addition to their steadfast approach, another part of Whitman’s success has been the raw talent the program has been able to attract. In the four years Lozano has been a part of the team, the Lady Sweets have risen from DIII all the way to the top ranking in DI. Lozano described the ascension as “rapid but most definitely sustainable.” A big part of this success has been the pipeline of talent coming from Seattle, a city known for its Ultimate Frisbee prowess. Luckily for the Sweets, these skilled players find themselves attracted to Whitman.

On the men’s side of things, sights have been set on once again achieving DI status after being relegated to DIII this season. Due in part to a difficult season with numerous close losses to large schools, as well as the loss of key contributors the last couple of seasons, the men’s team failed to reach nationals for a third straight year last season. The team dominated the DIII warm up and has its sights set at moving back up to DI. This has not dampened the spirits of the team or junior captain Reed Hendrickson.

“We are excited to get back into competition and prove our worth at this level,” Hendrickson said.

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