Who says teams take time to build?
In its first year as a co-ed club ultimate Frisbee team, Whagonweel took second at the Mid-Atlantic Regionals on Oct. 2 and advanced to USA Ultimate’s national championship tournament in Sarasota, Fla., Oct. 28-31.
Though Saturday started a little sluggish, the team pulled it together in the second half of the first game.
“We went on a 22-3 point streak between the second half and our second game, so we were really firing on all cylinders for semis,” said team member Rob Sayre-McCord. “We had a couple of streaks on defense where we were pretty dominant, and that really helped us to crack open a couple games.”
The team lost 15-6 to AMP in the finals, but managed to pull it together against Renegade in the game-to-go, winning 15-10 and securing the second nationals bid.
“It’s really easy to get down on yourselves after losing a finals and having to play a backdoor game,” Sayre-McCord said. “But we did a great job of pulling together, getting our spirits back up and going to work.”
That doesn’t mean the young team didn’t encounter any bumps along the way. Sayre-McCord says Whagonweel struggled periodically on offense.
“We’re just incredibly inconsistent and rely too much on individual talent as opposed to an overall cohesive strategy,” he said.
The team also encountered a few difficulties with its mental game.
“When we were playing well, it was because we were having fun and trusted each other,” said player Andrew Ryan. “When we slipped up, we were hesitant and stagnant, which gave our mental game a small hiccup.”
By advancing to nationals, Whagonweel accomplished one of its many team goals forged at the beginning of the season. And while winning that championship tournament is now high on that list, Sayre-McCord says it’s not the only thing they’re trying to achieve.
“I want to see our team continue to grow and to stick together and really pull through everything together,” he said.
The team has already made incredible progress in terms of team cohesion since May.
“There’s a lot less hesitation on the field, a lot fewer hiccups in terms of trusting your teammates,” Sayre-McCord said. “We all know what everyone can do, and we can clearly rely on each other out on the field. It makes us a much better team than we were at the start of the season.”
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