Ultimate respect: ISU club team ascends national ladder

Lauren Hedrick

The phrase “diamond in the rough” might be an overused idiom. But for the ISU women’s Ultimate Frisbee club team, it can be considered the perfect description.

The sport of Ultimate Frisbee is growing quickly and the ISU women’s club team, Woman Scorned, is ready to lead the way.

Despite a somewhat difficult struggle in the endurance and conservation of Woman Scorned in the past, the team now has a full roster that has the right to call themselves champions after they took home first place for the second consecutive year last month at the Centex Ultimate tournament in Austin, Texas.

“It feels really good,” said coach Lana Seiler. “I think it just shows that we’re an established program; it helped us to prove ourselves a bit more.”

Senior captain Rebecca Miller said winning Centex will push the team to work harder.

“We’re really happy to have won,” Miller said. “We want to use this to drive us to work harder throughout the rest of the season and that those wins aren’t the peak of the season.”

The team has built a heavily successful resume, which includes 14 recorded first-place finishes and 33 recorded top-five finishes in the past five years. Woman Scorned has also locked two top-10 finishes at nationals for the past two years.

“In 2011, the team was excited about the finish, but when you looked at the results, we thought that we could be better,” said coach Kevin Seiler.

With the next year’s qualification, the team had higher hopes but fell to 10th after being knocked out in the first elimination round.

“Last year we had a lot higher hopes than 10th place, so it was disappointing,” Miller said. “We could have done better, but we were still proud of it.”

To qualify for nationals, every Ultimate region’s top team receives an automatic bid to play, determined by previous tournament performances and the strength of the competition. However, each region also can win a strength bid depending on how high the team is ranked.

The North Central region recently secured a fifth strength bid, so all five of the top ranked teams in the North Central region will go. This also marks the most bids that the region has ever had.

After winning at Centex, Woman Scorned should have another toss for first at nationals.

“It’s almost like we’re going into regionals expecting to make nationals, and I think we know that we’re going to make it,” Kevin said.

Senior Sarah Pesch said they are ready to prove that Woman Scorned deserves to be the top-ranked team.

“We knew that we could probably make it to nationals even if we didn’t get the strength bid, but now we have a better opportunity,” Pesch said. “It’s just going to be a lot of hard work to prove that we deserve to be the No. 1 team in the region.”

Senior captain Magon Liu said the team needs to keep working and earn success.

“All of normal season is done; now we are just working on getting ready, taking each tournament one at a time,” Liu said. “We’re not taking it for granted; we need to earn it and stay concentrated and motivated.”

Not only has Women Scorned found team success, but individual success as well. Becca Miller, Magon Liu, Cami Nelson, and Sarah Pesch have recently qualified for the Under 23 World Championship Ultimate teams, locking four of only 32 positions available.

“All four of those girls are natural athletes, but they also work really hard at it,” Lana said.

The Under 23 Championship is a world competition in July in which the United States puts together a national team and an under-23 national team. Hopeful athletes apply and try out to earn their spots.

Liu said that making the team was surreal.

“It was pretty hectic; it still is very surreal,” Liu said. “Four ladies tried out from Iowa State, and we still made it. Pretty cool: four for four.”

Although ISU Ultimate has a highly successful and talented team, both the coaches and players said that anyone is welcome at any time.

“We welcome anybody that wants to give it a try and play,” Miller said. “We take it seriously, but first and foremost we have fun; we’re such a close-knit team and family.”