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NICOLE "SPROUT" BECK

Inducted: 2016 - Player

Hometown: Santa Cruz, Calif.

Born: March 3, 1968

 

Nicole "Sprout" Beck was a soccer star turned ultimate player sensation! She was focused, competitive, intelligent and flawless as an athlete. As a young player being nurtured on the Maine-iacs, she blossomed into a dynamic, all-around handler and cutter who pushed those around her to be better. Time and time again, Sprout would simply dominate. Her speed and vision on the field were a lethal combination; her skills spanned all areas of the game. Nicole brought women’s ultimate to another level of competition and athleticism, which garnered wide support from her peers, both women and men.

After earning national titles with the Maine-iacs and Felix, Sprout was one of the founding members of the San Francisco-area team Fury, and contributed to the growth of a dynasty with five national titles and one world title over the 12 years she was with the team. Nicole was instrumental on and off the field; she recruited players, held teaching sessions and helped develop innovative strategies that led Fury to their many successes. At the end of her competitive time with Fury, she became the only player to have her number retired. Sprout’s combination of athleticism, a strategic mind, her love of team and her dedication to our sport is the gold standard for ultimate.


Playing Career | US Nationals | WFDF Worlds | Contributions & ServiceInterview

   

Playing Career

Year
Team Name
1991   California
1991-1993   Maine-iacs
1994   Felix
1995   Da Fence
1996   Townies
1997-2008   Fury

 

Nicole Beck Layout
Nicole Beck lays out fully extended for the disc

 

 

 

  

Nicole Beck throw

Nicole Beck surveys the field looking for her open teammates

US National Championship Tournaments

Name    City    Year    Division    Placing
Cal Berkeley   Berkeley   1991   College   Nationals
Maine-iacs   Bay Area   1991   Women's   Nationals
Maine-iacs   Bay Area   1992   Women's   Nationals
Maine-iacs   Bay Area   1993   Women's   Champion
Felix   Bay Area   1994   Women's   Champion
Da Fence   Bay Area   1995   Women's    
Townies   Bay Area   1996   Women's    
Fury   San Francisco   1997   Women's    
Fury   San Francisco   1998   Women's    
Fury   San Francisco   1999   Women's   Champion
Fury   San Francisco   2000   Women's   Nationals
Fury   San Francisco   2001   Women's   Nationals
Fury   San Francisco   2002   Women's   Nationals
Fury   San Francisco   2003   Women's   Champion
Fury   San Francisco   2004   Women's   Nationals
Fury   San Francisco   2005   Women's   Nationals
Fury   San Francisco   2006   Women's   Champion
Fury   San Francisco   2007   Women's   Champion
Fury   San Francisco   2008   Women's   Champion


WFDF World Ultimate Championships

Name    City    Year    Venue    Placing
Maine-iacs   Bay Area   1993   Madison, Wis.   Champion
Fury   San Francisco   2000   Heilbronn, Germany   Fourth
Fury   San Francisco   2002   Honolulu, Hawaii   Sixth
Fury   San Francisco   2004   Turku, Finland   Third
Fury   San Francisco   2008   Vancouver, Canada   Champion

 

 


 

 

Nicole Beck Sky

Nicole Beck skies over two defenders


  

Interview

Q: What position(s) (e.g., handler, deep cutter, middle middle) did you usually play?

A: Throughout the history of Nicole's career, the sport, athleticism and quality of women’s ultimate completely changed. From 1991 on the Maine-iacs through 2000, she was a handler. The top teams played dump swing strike offense with minimal long isolation looks until 1998/99 when the game started opening up via inside outs and broken marks into long throws. In the early/mid 2000's, the game changed and some teams started playing spread. Fury converted in 2005 when she became a cutter, playing to her strengths of being able to read her defender and get open on isolation, as the dump swing handlers were required to do. 

On defense, she covered handlers or other quick players. On man-to-man defense, she was gritty when her team needed to get blocks. Herself, Coach Bob Pallares and Team Captain Jennifer Donnally changed the way women played zon,; creating many subtly different but very specialized looks. Fury is still leading women’s defensive strategy to this day, continuing Nicole's, Bob's and Jennifer's legacy. Throughout her career she played wing in the zone and got many blocks there using her instincts, knowledge and athleticism. 

Q: Please describe your major accomplishments - both as a teammate and individual?

A: Top Ten in chronological order.

10. 1992 Won her first National Championship with the Maine-iacs

9. 1994 Felix never lost a game, usually in completely dominant fashion

8. 1995 Townies missed qualifying for Nationals by a few points under the lights in the Northwest with about 12 active players

7. 1997 Fury missed qualifying for Nationals by a few points under the lights in Eugene with about nine active players

6. 1999 Fury at Tune Up and Coach Bob Pallares' gutter speech after losing to Women on the Verge (Seattle), again

5. 1999 Fury finally beat Women on the Verge in the semifinals and went on to win their first title and our first tournament all year

4. 2006 Fury crushed all opponents in the finals, playing like they were at the park with friends

3. 2008 Fury came back from 2-10 to take their third title in a row with a final score of 15-12

2. 2008 "That just happened" Fury won Worlds (FUSA), Nationals and Spirit Award

1. Watching Fury dominate on ESPN today

Q: Please explain why you stood out among the elite players of your time. What was it that you did best, or were known for?

A: I always strove to peak at regionals, then Nationals. I love the trophy. If I was 100% healthy at Nationals, I think I typically played like a "stud". On the Maine-iacs, I was a starter and key defender. On Felix, I was one of many "studs"  and we rolled over the competition. On Fury (1997-2003), I likely played over 70 percent of the points all year, and I think only in 1998 did Fury underachieve as a team. In 2004 I lost my mom and played exceptionally well for her, but the Fury team chemistry was off. The finals at nationals in 1999, 2002 and 2006 may have been my best performances on the big stage. I have not even played pick up since Nationals 2008.

Q: What role did you play on the best (or most overachieving team) that you played on? 

A: From 1997 to 2003, she played on 70 percent of the points all year. These resulted in two national titles as well as a second place finish at Nationals.

Q: Why do you believe you are worthy of being inducted into the Ultimate Hall of Fame?

A: Nicole was a dominant player with outstanding leadership, charisma, work ethic, vision and innovation. She was the most committed player on championship teams that spanned the early 1990’s to the later 2000’s. Her influence on the game is still felt today in the way teams prepare, how the practice and how they strategize. 

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