A glance at UWEC women’s ultimate frisbee

UW-Eau Claire SOL Ultimate springs into first tournament of the season

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Photo by Sam Farley

SOL, the UW-Eau Claire women’s ultimate frisbee team, practices and competes indoors during the winter.

Flying discs, squeaky sneakers, loud voices and pop music filled the Zorn arena as the UW-Eau Claire women’s ultimate frisbee team practiced for their upcoming tournament.

The women’s ultimate frisbee club at UW-Eau Claire was founded in fall 2006. The club was named SOL, which stands for “seven on the line,” because at the time there was only seven members and there can only be seven players on the field at one time, according to SOL Ultimate Frisbee.

The UW-Eau Claire women’s ultimate frisbee team started off their spring season with the Midwest Throwdown tournament from March 2 to March 3 in Columbia, Missouri.

SOL Ultimate was seeded seventh out of 23 teams entering the tournament.

“I feel really confident about this weekend — a lot of what we’ve been doing this past week is focusing on our tournament,” Ashley Wurster, third-year handler and captain, said on Feb. 28 at practice before the Midwest Throwdown.

Ashley Nelson, a first-year cutter, said she was looking forward to playing and bonding with her teammates.

“I’m really excited,” Nelson said. “It’s a great way to work as a team and work on communication and chemistry and all that. It’s a good bonding experience.”

UW-Eau Claire finished 0-3 at the Midwest Throwdown in Missouri. The Blugolds ended up placing fourth in their matches against the University of Texas at Dallas, University of Arkansas and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The final scores were 3-9 against University of Texas at Dallas, 7-9 against University of Arkansas and 3-9 against University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, according to USA Ultimate.

During their fall season, SOL Ultimate competed at the No Wisconsequences tournament on Oct. 6 and 7 and finished second at Eau Claire Chillout on Oct. 20 and 21.

SOL Ultimate will continue competing throughout the spring season. Their next tournaments are the Midwestern Invite on March 9 and 10 in Fair Oaks, Indiana and the Southerns Invite on March 23 and 24 in Statesboro, Georgia. The conference, regional and national tournament dates are still being determined.

SOL Ultimate currently has 17 women on their roster, many of which were integrated to the team just this season. Returning athletes said the new members are adjusting well.

“We have a lot of new players,” Paige Murphy, a second-year handler and captain in training, said. “We’ve been doing a lot and throwing a lot of information at them, and they’re picking it up pretty well.”

Jones-Klausing said the new players are not only skilled, but fit in with the rest of the team.

“We’ve really grown as a team,” Jones-Klausing said. “I think we have a lot of skill and a lot of potential for this season. Everyone who has joined the team this season has really clicked and really fit in. It’s been a lot of fun just getting to know a lot more new people.”

SOL Ultimate doesn’t have a coach. However, leadership is a “team effort,” Murphy said.

“It’s definitely a team effort,” Murphy said. “Leadership is very dispersed.”

Murphy went on to acclaim SOL Ultimate’s two captains, Ashley Wurster and Makayla Jones-Klausing, for their leadership roles.

“Ashley and Makayla are very good leaders,” Murphy said. “They’re perfect for the position (of captains), and have really taken on the role of coaching very well and with much elegance.”

Nelson said the team is working on including everyone in leadership roles.

“The team is very athlete-led,” Nelson said. “We’re taking the experiences we all have and piling it all together. We’re working on opening it up and including everyone in that.”

A team goal for this season is working on communication and team chemistry, captains Wurster and Jones-Klausing said.

“As a team, our goal is really communicating on and off the field,” Wurster said.

Jones-Klausing agreed with her co-captain that communication is an important goal along with team bonding.

“It’s a lot of fun, team bonding,” Jones-Klausing said. “I really want our team to work on just really working together and growing that chemistry as a team. Also communication, we try and do our best at that.”

The future of SOL Ultimate is in the hands of the new players, Jones-Klausing said.

“We have a lot of new players who have never played before,” Jones-Klausing said. “It’s great to see because they’re gonna be playing for years together, grow together and build the team together.”

SOL Ultimate has a variety of players who have played ultimate frisbee for many years or began playing in college. No matter their skill level, they’ve all had positive experiences playing at UW-Eau Claire with SOL Ultimate.

“I just really love the sport and community,” Nelson said. “Just the people and the community makes it such a blast. They’re a super fun group of people.”

The group of athletes in SOL Ultimate stand out to Jones-Klausing as well.

“They are a lot of aspects of ultimate in general that make this sport unique,” Jones-Klausing said. “Mainly, it’s the atmosphere and the people that I love.”   

Walleser can be reached at [email protected]