Sarasota Reloads: a New Wave of Teams Floods the Field
Posted: October 26, 2012 11:45 AM
At the 2012 USA Ultimate Club Championships, eight teams across the Women’s, Mixed, and Open divisions graced the Sarasota fields for the first time. These teams—Boost Mobile, Heist, Hot Metal, Nightlock, Underground, Wild Card, Odyssée, Cosa Nostra, and American BBQ—worked especially hard to get to Nationals, overcoming smaller bodies of experienced players and generally less know-how than many of their veteran opponents.
Heist captain Georgia Bosscher chalked up their pre-championship success to their players’ overall talent and elite leadership. "Our leaders know what they’re doing and have high expectations," she said, partially referring to herself (Bosscher was a longtime player on Fury). "We also have great chemistry." Cosa Nostra captain Paul Hanna explained their achievement simply: when asked what it took for them to get here, he replied, "the same thing it takes any team: hard work, chemistry, execution, and a little bit of luck."
Most of these new teams are lead by players who had Club Championship or elite-level experience, although many of their teammates had never been to Sarasota before. Bosscher co-founded Heist with competitive players Corinne Wade and Robyn Fennig because she was interested in establishing an elite women’s club scene closer to home. Perhaps unsurprisingly, she received an overwhelming amount of interest. "Over 100 women were on the email list at the beginning of tryouts," she relayed proudly.
Although Bosscher has an impressive history of playing at the elite level, over half of Heist’s players have never competed in Sarasota before—and six of them had never been to a championship event at all. Odyssée captain Caroline Cadotte explained that, while all of her female teammates had been to Nationals before, only three men had. "Most of these guys, they’ve played for 10 years and they’ve never made it here," she said, also indicating how meaningful this experience is to many of her teammates.
While the majority of these first-time teams played together for at least a year before winning their bid to Nationals, a small handful formed and qualified in the same year. Teams like Hot Metal and Boost Mobile had played with each other for a handful of years prior to this year’s series, but Heist and Nightlock formed this past spring.
Many of Hot Metal’s women played together long before their club team was founded: about ten of them competed and attended College Nationals together while attending the University of Pittsburgh. Boost Mobile also started out as an alumni team of sorts, as almost all of its players were Stanford graduates up until this past spring. When the bid allocation system changed this past year, Boost Mobile decided to form a team comprised of other regional college graduates in order to become more competitive, bringing in UC Santa Cruz, the Claremont colleges, and Cal alumni. "There was a desire amongst other people in the area to form a stronger team," Coach Ariel Jackson explained. Obviously, their new recruiting strategy worked in their favor.
What does it feel like to be out on the polo fields for the first time? As a Nightlock teammate said to another after playing a competitive first-round game against Phoenix, "I don’t feel as weird as I was expecting to feel—I wasn’t that nervous because we played a close game." Many interviewed players described themselves as feeling positively elated to be here. As Paul Hanna said, "We’re ecstatic. This is the pinnacle of Ultimate. To be here is such an awesome trip." Here’s to their continuing success at the 2012 Club Championships.