By Chayla Furlong
In Webster’s Universal Dictionary, “ultimate” is defined as “unequalled or unsurpassed, the finest or most superior of its kind.” Ultimate Frisbee is, according to its participants, a superior sport in terms of athleticism, hustle and spirit.
This past weekend at the East Field, the UC Santa Cruz Women’s Ultimate Frisbee Team, also known as the “Sol,” battled against top teams such as Stanford and Berkeley in the sectional playoff competition. If the many displays of leaping, diving and sliding face first in the mud and grass wasn’t enough entertainment for spectators this weekend, the infectious spirit and goofy outfits definitely satisfied the craving for something exciting and unique.
The Sol, like most Ultimate teams, adopted a team name in lieu of the official school mascot. Before each game they chant a mantra in Spanish: “Hace Sol, Tenemos Sol, Somos Sol!” which means, “The sun is out, we have the sun, we are Sol!” This tradition carried them through the rainy conditions and tough matches Saturday, losing in the morning to Stanford’s and Berkeley’s A Teams. The afternoon looked brighter, with a big win over Stanford’s B Team, but the Sol also had a disappointing one-point loss to Davis, whom they beat last weekend by three points.
The Sol rallied back Sunday, successfully barreling through their two mid-morning games against Santa Clara and Berkeley’s B Team.
In their history, the UCSC Women’s Ultimate Team has a tradition of excellence. Maggie Mathias, who is in her fifth year as a coach for the Sol, remembers her college days when she played for Stanford against Santa Cruz. At that time, UCSC was the top team in the country, having captured the national title in 1994 and 1995.
“They had a pretty small team [then], but they were super-aggressive, fun people who went all out with the Frisbee and were great throwers,” Matthias said. “The years they won back-to-back they had a strong core of people and then they all graduated. It’s all about recruiting enough people to keep the program going.”
Even though they will be traveling to the regional competition in Corvallis, Oregon in two weeks, the Sol really play Ultimate for their teammates and the fun of the game.
The idea with Ultimate isn’t necessarily the caliber of the team, but rather the relationships and the spirit of the sport. The games don’t even have referees. The players call their own fouls and travels, adhering to what the Ultimate Frisbee world refers to as “Spirit of the Game,” the practice of good sportsmanship.
“They’re really smart and they’re really good people,” first-year Sol Coach Miriam Allersma said of her team. “We laugh a lot together and it’s fun to be around them.”
Team captain Tegwyn Lewis-Pine loves the sportsmanship that the game encourages.
“That’s why I joined Ultimate,” Lewis-Pine said. “It’s just a whole different breed, and this ‘Spirit of the Game’ thing is really great. I love [Ultimate] because it’s this combination of how much it takes. It’s pure athleticism combined with how fun it is and how much people really love it. It’s an amazing combination.”