Thursday, March 22, 2012

Making It Reign

By Alison Haywood, Sports Reporter

After weathering the long and rainy preseason, Pacific Lutheran’s women’s Ultimate team hopes  to return to nationals this year. Despite their competetiveness, players still emphasize the importance of having fun.

Senior Teresa Brna says of her teammates, “They love playing Frisbee, and they love having fun and they love doing well.”

Brna has been playing Frisbee since before she came to PLU, but this is her first year on the team.

“It’s something I’ve always wanted to do,” Brna said, adding that she likes the competitive environment of the organized sport.

A highlight of this season will be a trip this weekend to Austin, Texas to compete in a tournament put on by the University of Texas. Co-captain senior Flannery Spinhirne estimates 48 women’s Ultimate teams will be there.

“It’s really exciting, since this is our first year going. It’s a huge tournament,” Spinhirne said, adding that this tournament will help determine their rankings for the conference championship.

Since club sports are not funded by PLU, the team raised money for this trip last year by doing a bake sale.

Co-captain senior Jihan Grettenberger said that although club sports are affiliated with particular schools, they don’t always identify with the school’s official mascot. Teams often come up with their own names. The PLU Women’s Ultimate team chose “Reign” as a play on words to reflect their competitive nature and the local weather, Grettenberger said.

Reign participated in its first tournament of the season last weekend, going up against different teams at Heritage Park in Puyallup.

Grettenberger said they technically placed first since the official winner was a UPS alumni team that did not compete.

“After beating Whitman and the University of Victoria, it shows that we’ve got it in us to get first in this region,” Grettenberger said, adding  that two years ago the team placed first at nationals  and “there’s the potential to do that again.”

Spinhirne said their chances are high for heading to nationals again this year.

Despite the team’s competitiveness, it’s also about making friends and having fun.

“It’s not only about how well we do, but just the fact that we’re all here and we’ve having fun,” Grettenberger said. “It’s more competitive than just doing intramural, but not as competitive as a varsity sport.”

Brna said she liked the laid-back competitive atmosphere of the team. Last weekend, for instance, all of the players wore colors of the rainbow and the coaches dressed up as leprechauns in honor of St. Patrick’s Day.

“We play hard, but we have fun … but we’re gonna kick butt at the same time,” Brna said.

Grettenberger has been on the team all of her four years at PLU. She said this year the team has a lot of fantastic rookies.

“Everyone brings a different component to it,” Grettenberger said. “There’s a high level of spirit, but also that competitive nature.”

Brna encourages students to “Join the team!” she said, “or come out and toss on Foss.”