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Luther frisbee teams prepare for regionals

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Owen Schleif (‘18) looks for a cutter in a tournament last fall.

Owen Schleif (‘18) looks for a cutter in a tournament last fall.

Photo courtesy of Chris Lovagnini (‘16)

Photo courtesy of Chris Lovagnini (‘16)

Owen Schleif (‘18) looks for a cutter in a tournament last fall.

Rozlyn Paradis, Staff Writer

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Luther’s three ultimate frisbee teams are preparing for their conference and regional tournaments which will take place during the last two weekends of April. The women’s team, Freya, and two men’s teams, Pound and LUFDA, are preparing for these tournaments in ways that match their specific team cultures. The teams are also creatively working around the unideal weather conditions.

Pound and LUFDA will compete in the West Plains Conference tournament on Saturday, April 21 and Sunday, April 22 at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa. If the teams are one of three to qualify, they will compete at the North Central Division III Regional tournament on April 28 and 29 at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. One team will have the opportunity to qualify for nationals at the regional tournament.

This conference and region has fewer women’s teams, resulting in a combined North Central Conference-Regionals Tournament at Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota on Saturday, April 21 and Sunday, 22. Freya will compete for a single bid to nationals.

According to Freya captain Hanna Doerr (‘19) there have been some obstacles to training this year.

“It has been a challenge trying to prepare this year because of the not great weather,” Doerr said.

Freya has been practicing outside every chance they get but have had to supplement their preparation through indoor practices, lifting in Legends, and having classroom time. Doerr commented that most teams in their region and conference are facing similar conditions but all must prepare for the high competition in the weekend to come.

“We traditionally have had a very competitive region,” Doerr said. “Usually, we have had two bids per region, meaning two teams from our region have the chance to go to nationals but this year we only have one. So, competition getting to nationals is going to be very tough this year.”

Pound is preparing differently for the upcoming tournament.

“We are pretty confident it will be cancelled [due to weather and field conditions],” Pound captain Ethan Harris (‘18) said. “We are playing a lot of sardines [hide-and-go-seek type game] to keep the team engaged and prepping for next season.”

When asked how Pound might perform during the tournament, Harris responded, “For us, it has always been for the fun of it.”

LUFDA has been unable to practice the same drills and intense scrimmages they normally do. Instead, they have been lifting, running outside, and using the SRC. LUFDA captain Owen Schleif (‘18) discusses more in-depth how his team has been preparing for the big tournaments despite the weather.

“We have had practices where we just have shoes on in the snow so it’s almost impossible to plant and change direction,” Schleif said. “So we still do that just because it is not going to get us much better at the fundamentals of Ultimate but it helps with grit and dealing with whatever is put in front of you, and if we enjoy it and start laying out in the snow it really helps with morale.”

Schleif sees no other choice but to practice outside this week even if the fields are not ready. LUFDA’s goal for conference is to win the tournament, earning them a spot at regionals to compete against the three other teams that are realistically viable for nationals.

“We have been preaching ‘no easy games’ because you know, we can’t get complacent and find ourselves in a hole where we might not advance,” Schleif said. “So we are trying to be a little more humble this year and approach each team like they could be a team that ends our season and we can’t let that happen. Instead, let’s end their season. We get kind of intense with it.”

The original tournament days were Saturday, April 14 and Sunday, April 15 but were rescheduled due to weather. The unseason-like weather that continues to plague the Midwest may cause more delays or cancellations for these tournaments. If canceled, the teams ranked highest will automatically receive the bid to nationals.

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