Hard work, new talent, and 6:30 a.m. practices pay off—Bates Women’s Ultimate heads to D3 Nationals for the first time in both men and women’s program history. An ode to Maine weather, the team Cold Front will travel down to Winston Salem, North Carolina, on the weekend of the 21st and 22nd to compete against top ranked schools like Williams, Claremont, Bowdoin and Mt. Holyoke.
Cold Front is one of three teams from their section that includes Bowdoin and Colby. After sweeping the competition, Bates won the sole bid for Regionals. There, the women competed against eight teams for only for spots for Nationals.
The Student sat down with Captains Ruthie Baker ’16 and Josie Gillett ’19 to understand this year’s success. (Claire Bartell ’16 is the third captain and star talent, but was unable to meet with the Student at the time and two other junior captains are abroad.)
The Fall season began per usual with a flood of new players recruited around campus. Unlike the competitive spring season, the fall is coed and catered toward showing new players “what frisbee is about,” said Baker who, along with Bartell, competed in high school. In fact, most new members have never played frisbee before. But this year was slightly different.
With an already experienced senior captain squad, Cold Front was ready to make the move towards a more competitive team when first year and now Captain, Josie Gillett, joined the team in the fall. She provided her extra experience and talent from her frisbee career that started in the sixth grade.
“This year getting Josie on the team [added] so much knowledge of the game and how to train for the game,” said Baker. Cold Front was left with a void after junior two captains, Kate Cuthbert and Camilla Walker, went abroad, so they reached out to Gillett to be spring captain.
Of Seattle, Gillett first entered the ultimate game in the fifth grade, where she fell in love with the sport. As a seventh grader, Gillett competed at the high school level. In her freshman year of high school, she made the varsity team and soon joined two additional club teams—one competing year-round.
But to Gillett, it’s not the time played that counts. “My skill as a frisbee player is probably the least important part I bring to a team,” Gillett said. “I have had coaches that have given me the tools to elevate other people’s play.”
Gillett brought in new workouts designed around interval training and sprints, which the team emphasized during the winter when outdoor play was limited. The conversation surrounding the team’s level of play began last semester. Cold Front had the potential to rank nationally as a team, but was there also a cost?
“We wanted to make sure we were not losing our community in the process of becoming competitive,” Gillett said. There was a desire to maintain the inclusive nature of the sport at Bates, while pushing those who wanted to take their play to the next level. The captains decided on creating open practices for everyone, with additional closed practices for the competitive team.
“The whole team, and the captains especially, were ready to push the team a little bit higher and put their best selves forward,” the captains said.
However, sending 19 players to Nationals is no simple tasks. With less than $1000 left in their budget, Cold Front has been caught in their own storm of logistics and fundraising. Senior team member Natalie Silver started a GoFundMe page to kick off the fundraising efforts in addition to reaching out to Bates for help—the team raised $5000 in the first day.
“What we have been surprised by and grateful for is the community that we have around us,” Baker said.
“Dean Mcintosh and his receptionist Donna have been so helpful with flights and organizing,” she added.
The fundraising goal was set to $8000 and was reached last week, but there are additional costs not covered. The team hopes to pay for every player’s transportation costs in full. An outpouring of love and funds has come from other groups on campus.
“It has been incredible to see that support,” Gillet said. Some notable names include the Circus Club, with a generous $1000, and the Ballroom Dance Club, with $400.
“These other clubs are so happy to help us out,” said Baker.
Looking forward to North Carolina, Cold Front will be up against 16 different teams seeded based on their Regionals performance. Saturday will be composed of “pool play” where teams are broken down into groups, followed by traditional bracket play on Sunday.
The team is ready, both physically and mentally, despite stiff competition.
“Williams will be tough to beat, but I think we can do it. It is hard to tell because there is so little out of region play,” said Gillett.
Hopefully Cold Front can perform with the same ferocity that they used against top-tiered Bowdoin where, as Baker put it, they “were not prepared for the level of intensity that we brought.”