Women’s ultimate frisbee team vying for a title

Bound for Nationals

By Chiara Profenna | November 4, 2021 2:57pm

The team during an evening practice on Oct. 28, 2021.

Media Credit: Marek Corsello / The Beacon

Running drills, scrimmaging and tossing a frisbee: All signs point to fall sports on campus. And what better way to welcome Portland’s rainy season than with muddy evening practices?

After their season got cut short during spring 2020, the UP women’s ultimate frisbee team is competing again.

Their rankings from the Spring 2020 season applied to sectionals this season. They have already competed in sectionals and qualified for Nationals, which will occur in December in Norco, California. The team is excited to be together again and holding practices.

Juniors Mairead McManus and Christine Burchinal are two members of the team who are ready to finally continue the season they started freshman year.

“We were able to travel our spring semester freshman year to tournaments in California, and it was so much fun having an opportunity to be able to play with our team and have that team bonding,” McManus said.

Kim Porr wearing a UPRoar ultimate jersey during practice.

by Marek Corsello / The Beacon

Usually, the fall season is spent on recruitment and training, while spring is competition season, but this year was different.

“This year because of COVID, our fall semester is a spring semester,” McManus said. “We have sectionals and Nationals in the fall, and we're able to play with seniors that graduated in 2020 and 2021.”

After over a year of Zoom meetings and team bonding, players were eager to start training this fall, and it paid off during their recent tournament. 

“We excelled at sectionals and we did really well,” McManus said. “I think overall we're just excited to compete again.”

The women’s ultimate frisbee team had a winning ratio of 4-0 at the Northwest Conference in Corvallis, Oregon that took place on October 16-17. This was not only the first tournament of the season, but it also determined which teams would advance to Nationals.

The team in Corvallis, Oregon for a tournament on Oct. 17, 2021.

Photo courtesy UPRoar Women's Ultimate on Facebook.

“Usually when we scrimmage, we’re playing against each other,” Burchinal said. “It's nice to be able to play with each other against other teams, and we only had 13 people at sectionals, so it was a quick turnover and we all played a lot of points. We all had equal playing time too which was impressive for the competitive level that we played at.” 

Both the men and women’s ultimate frisbee teams have a reputation to uphold. They each advanced to Nationals in 2019, the last regular season before COVID-19. Hoping to continue this trend, players are actively preparing for Nationals.

“Watching films, either ourselves play or professional teams or club teams, it's really good to see strategy and how other people play,” McManus said. “And practice was a priority, also working out and throwing outside of practices.”

With over a month until Nationals, players have plenty of time to train and brush up on their skills.

“We’re just always trying to work on ourselves,” Burchinal said.

Kelly Westberg passing.

by Marek Corsello / The Beacon

 Even when practices weren’t possible, the team stayed close by playing virtual games or meeting up to toss a frisbee in the quad.

“We are literally just like a family,” McManus said. “It’s awesome.”

Catch the women’s ultimate frisbee team leaving it all out on the field at Nationals, taking place in Norco, California from Dec. 17-20.

Chiara Profenna is a reporter for The Beacon. She can be reached at profenna23@up.edu