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The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

Women’s ultimate frisbee comes to Saint Joseph’s


Saint Joseph’s University is now home to a women’s Ultimate Frisbee club team. A men’s team has been present on campus for close to a decade now, but it was not until this past summer that some of the women playing with the men decided to start a women’s team.

“So, there was a boy’s team that had been established at St. Joe’s for like, eight years and we started to go to their practices because we were friends with them,” senior Keira McHugh said. “We had a really good time and there was just a huge community that we just fell in love with.”

McHugh was one of five women practicing with the men’s team last year and a leader for the arrival of the women’s team.

“We would talk to other teams around here and they’d always ask, ‘Why doesn’t St. Joe’s have a girls team? Like, it’s 2016.’ I couldn’t ever give an answer, so we wanted to change that,” McHugh said.

Billy Sickles, ’14, an alumnus of St. Joe’s who was then working with the men’s team, offered to help with the potential women’s team.

“[Something] was like, ‘I’ll totally be your coach if you wanted to start [a women’s team],’” McHugh said. “It was something that we always thought about the entire year that we were on the boys’ team, but we didn’t really go for it. This summer, we were like ‘Let’s do it.’ We asked the head of campus rec if we could get a girls team going and she gave us the okay.”

By the time fall semester started, the logistics were all settled and the team had everything in place, but needed more players. With only five women on the team and at least seven required to play, the team set up a table at the activities fair to recruit players and had about 80 people sign up. Only a fraction of the signups stayed committed, but the team was ecstatic to find 20 students committed to twice a week practices.

The team, however, is still welcoming to new players, whether they have a subtle interest or a competitive aspiration to win every game. Ultimate Frisbee is a game that most players learn by doing. The new women’s team places a heavy emphasis on teaching the sport, but players learn best when they’re thrown right into the situation.

“We played Temple [University] one time and the coach put me in,” senior Daniela Puizina said. “We’re doing this zone drill. I guess I missed that practice because I’m like, ‘What is a zone drill…?’ So I’m just running around like a chicken with my head cut off.”

Puizina admits the situation was a bit embarrassing, but claims it’s the best way to learn. A lack of knowledge is no excuse not to play, nor is a lack of athleticism.

“It’s not like other sports where if you’re not as skillful or athletic they won’t play you,” junior Erin McLaughlin said. “They’ll just say, get in and do what you can do. Everybody’s included. That type of atmosphere makes it so much more enjoyable.”

Ultimate Frisbee is a sport with a rapidly growing popularity all over the country.

“Frisbee is becoming something, in general,” McHugh said. “It’s becoming more popular. It’s going to be an Olympic sport soon. Ultimate Frisbee is so cool because, unlike sports like basketball, where the men’s team was there and established themselves and the women came along eventually, in Ultimate Frisbee the boys aren’t even established in the United States. It’s cool to think the women are right behind them. At St. Joe’s we’re only like eight years behind, where it could’ve been like 100 years.”

The team plans to have their first scrimmages this Sunday against Villanova University and Drexel University.

“I would say it’s fun first, Frisbee second,” said Puizina.

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