Taylor Corley, Campus Carrier editor-in-chief
The men’s and women’s Ultimate Frisbee teams, the Berry Bucks and Berry Women’s Ultimate, are preparing for a modified season that includes competition guidelines and other precautions to keep athletes safe and healthy amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
Both teams are sanctioned by USA Ultimate, the main national collegiate ultimate frisbee organization, who stated that the association’s focus is on the upcoming fall season which intended to accommodate ultimate frisbee college athletes who were planning to play during the 2020 and 2021 spring seasons.
At this point in time, according to USA Ultimate, any competition possibly held in the spring of 2021 will not affect the fall postseason championship series, and any participation in a 2021 fall series will not affect the 2022 spring series.
However, despite the uncertainty of the seasons that lies ahead, both the Berry ultimate frisbee teams have resumed practice and returned to building their team comradery.
“We have maintained team bonding by checking in on each other, having dinners together when the weather is yucky, and just continuing to meet as a team,” Kendall Holan, junior captain of the women’s team said. “I am excited to continue building on the community aspect that is created from being part of a team.”
USA Ultimate tasked their medical advisory team with compiling a list of guidelines, titled “Return to Play,” that are meant to help those involved with the ultimate frisbee community mitigate any risk of spreading COVID-19.
The 33 page list of guidelines addresses risk factors, state and local regulations, stages for returning to play, starting at individual training and working through group travel competitions, CDC recommendations, diversity and inclusion, a checklist for players, parents/guardians and more.
“Sadly, tournaments have not been able to happen this year because of COVID, and we have to wear masks at practice,” Holan said. “But [COVID-19] honestly doesn’t change the way we practice other than that.”
According to junior Christian Casteel, the men’s team is looking into organizing competitions with other schools in the region, but in terms of planning, it is still uncertain whether or not this will be possible.
“I’m just happy we’re able to get out on the field, and that we still get to practice and play frisbee,” Casteel said. “The team is hopeful that we get to participate in some tournaments and play against other schools too but we’ll see.”
Even with the changes to the 2021 spring tournament schedule, Holan and her co-captain, junior Malia Busenitz, are determined to keep a positive attitude.
“Malia and I are very excited to continue practicing this semester,” Holan said. “We are trying to keep a positive mindset and do what we can even with COVID. Our biggest goal is to continue growing the team through adding new players and making sure we have the foundational skills down.”
Their mindset is shared by other members of the women’s team as well.
“I’m super excited to play the sport I love and share it with both returning players and new faces who are looking for a good sport that not only has good exercise but it a way to make great friends too,” junior Joi Buckley said.
The men’s team practices on Tuesdays from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., Thursdays 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., and Sundays 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. The women’s team practices on Sunday from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. and on Tuesday from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
“We would love for people to join any time,” Holan said. “If someone would like to join, then they can email Malia or me.”