You bleed blue and white. You attend sporting events, read up on them and flaunt your undying devotion to Penn State athletics through the clothes you wear and the words you tweet. But while Nittany Lions in the spotlight are scoring touchdowns, winning matches and taking penalty shots, some unsung heroes of PSU sports are throwing discs forehand and backhand up at Bigler Field three nights a week.
Named Isis after an Egyptian goddess of healing and magic, the Penn State Women’s Ultimate Frisbee club team gears up in both the fall and spring semesters. Like other club sports, they travel all over the East Coast for their tournaments. And they have a tendency to win.
For the past three years, the team has consistently remained in the top five teams of the region. Next season, hopes are high for making it to nationals.
“The fall season is pretty much when we teach everyone how to play and welcome [them],” explains President Kelsey Baumes. “The spring season is competitive.”
Though Baumes, a sophomore, picked up ultimate frisbee in high school (and founded her school’s team), many of the girls are new to the sport when they join Isis.
In the fall, they perfect throwing the disc and other basic skills, including the “stack,” an offensive technique, as well as various types of defense. Baumes describes the fall as a “clean slate.” It’s still competitive, but the spring is much more serious — only the top 18 girls will compete in spring tournaments.
Reflecting on last spring, Baumes insists it was a fluke that the team didn’t make it to nationals. She says that she knows the girls have definitely learned from mistakes made in the deciding game and that they’re ready for this spring.
After five starting seniors graduated, the team managed to pull in a bunch of freshmen, and everyone has stepped up, Baumes says. The fall season went well — the team was victorious in a couple of tournaments. And even though its last tournament was in early November, the team continues to practice. Now that the weather has begun to turn, its practices are based on conditioning to stay in shape for the spring.
“When it gets cold, we just condition,” Baumes says. “[We] just run and run.”
For more information on Isis, visit its website.
Photo courtesy of Stephanie Stewart