Onionfest: The Ultimate Costume Party

Emily Solomon, Staff Reporter

Onionfest, the annual Ultimate Frisbee tournament, was hosted by Whitman’s Men’s and Women’s Sweets this past weekend. This tournament brought many club and college Ultimate Frisbee teams to campus from all around the Northwest.

Onionfest is a non-sanctioned event, so teams include players from all age groups and all experience levels. Since this is meant to be a fun and carefree event before the series (sectionals, regionals and nationals) starts, players all sported wacky outfits and enjoyed some good ol’ frisbee.

“Onionfest is less about winning and more about the spirit of the game and having fun as a team,” first-year member Lennae Starr said.

The weekend took a lot of preparation, with a lot of it being off the practice field.

“Numerous emails have been sent back and forth between us and other teams about scheduling, tournament bids, housing details, etc.,” Tournament Director Lian Gamble commented. “Everyone is assigned a task in order to make Onionfest happen.”

Although Onionfest is not as competitive of an event as other Ultimate tournaments, it provides a good fun-filled weekend before the real competition begins.

“The men’s team has two tournaments in the fall and four in the spring. Five if we make nationals. The women’s team has one more in the fall,” sophomore Ben Lahr said. “The team is rabid to get the tournament started. It’s a treat to be a part of a light-hearted tournament, and not having to drive to get to it makes it a whole lot better.”

While competing on the field in practices, scrimmages and tournaments, the team also loves getting to know each other off the field.

“My favorite part of being on the frisbee team [is] the people,” Gamble said. “When I joined the Sweets as a first-year, I was told I had just [joined] a family. That statement could not be more true. The friends I’ve made over the past two years have graciously given me so much.”

Lahr had similar regards, commenting, “I love the people and I love the exercise!”

Whitman has seen much success in the past few years when it comes to Ultimate Frisbee. In 2016, Whitman’s women’s team made it to the finals, beating Virginia in the semifinals. They went on to lose to Stanford in the finals, finishing second in the standings of Division I college championships.

In 2015, the women’s team made it to the quarterfinals, also among Division I competition.

“Being on the Sweets is a time commitment but it’s definitely worth it,” Starr added. “Practices are so much fun and full of dancing, but also serious when they need to be.”

For being a college with just under 1500 students, Whitman strongly represents small schools at the Frisbee Division I level. Competing with schools like Stanford, USC, UCLA and Oregon, it is impressive how Whitman not only competes at the highest level of collegiate Ultimate Frisbee, but also sees great success year after year. The Sweets hope to extend their recent success as they continue their spring season.