Whitman Women’s Frisbee: Sweets Take Nationals

Wil Kotnik, Sports Writer

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Contributed by Claire Revere.

This year, the Whitman women’s frisbee program has reached unprecedented levels of success. Eight Sweets or Sweets alumni were invited to the United States U24 national team tryouts, which is a competition that determines who will be representing the United States in ultimate frisbee on the international level. Even more impressive, however, is that out of those eight current and former players, four secured spots on the U24 mixed-gender team. Claire Revere, Ari Lozano, Alissa Soo and Alex Hardesty all were selected to the U24 national team and will be representing the United States on the frisbee world’s largest stage. The other four, Linnea Soo, Margo Heffron, Nina Finley and Robbie Farwell, exhibit great promise in just being invited to compete in the selective tryouts.

These selections are a remarkable accomplishment for the Sweets program. This is especially true for Alex Hardesty, who is the only one of the four Whitman players who has not played on any United States national team before.

“I’m most looking forward to the magnitude of the event,” says the Sweets alumni. “To even imagine the moment of arrival as Team USA on day one of the competition makes me incredibly stoked. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity to compete at the world level in anything, so I’m looking forward to the international competition in the best sport in the world.”

The tryouts were hosted in June in Aurora, Colo. and there is certainly no lack of competition for a spot on the U24 team. Senior and current captain of the Sweets, Alissa Soo, compares this year’s tryouts to her time on the U20 United States national team.

“I think it was more difficult to get younger girls out to the U20 tryouts, so there were less people. The U24 tryouts had more people with more experience,” Soo said.

With all the big-names in college frisbee congregating in one space, one might assume that the environment would be filled with hostility. Soo, however, explained that ultimate frisbee players prioritize healthy competition.

“It’s fun to meet the people you’ve heard of and have played against in college. Everyone becomes friendly at the tryouts and competes in a very positive way,” Soo added.

Now that the team has been finalized, there will be training sessions in Atlanta in November. But Atlanta and Aurora are the least exotic of the team’s excursions. The World Championship competition itself will be held in Perth, Australia. It will take place in January and temperatures often surpass 100 degrees Fahrenheit in Perth during this time of year.

Overall, it is indeed significant that the Whitman Sweets are represented by four players on the same Worlds team.

“With regards to the Sweets program as a whole, I think it showcases the high level of play that a small liberal arts college of 1,500 students is capable of. And that’s huge in the ultimate frisbee community. I was part of the team when we decided to make the leap from playing ultimate at a DIII level to DI level. In my 3 years as a captain of the Sweets, it was definitely one of my goals to show just how good the underdogs were (us).”

Lozano is in a unique position because she played for the exact same mixed-gender U24 team in 2015.

“This year will be different coming in as a returner for sure,” she said, reminiscing on her past experiences with the team. “My first year playing, I looked up to the returners a lot. I can only hope that I serve as good of a role model to the new players as those returners were for me two years ago.”

Although the competition will be an intense show of talent, trial and grit, there are other elements too.

“One of the best parts of Worlds for me last time was meeting players from around the world,” Soo explained.

This sentiment appears to stretch widely across the board. Building relationships and having fun are a huge part of the ultimate community. Each of the players have expressed their excitement to craft new friendships, travel and soak in the World Competition experience on levels even beyond playing with and against the best of the best.