Once again it’s time for outdoors! Everyone knows outdoors is real Ultimate. The rain, the slippery mud, the four loads of laundry per week. The big throws, the zones, the layouts that don’t hurt. Outdoors is the best. Last year, around the country, University Women’s Outdoor Regionals was called off due to weather. This year it’s supposed to be a balmy 8 degrees so we can safely assume that the Scottish weather will act in a totally reasonable and predictable manner and this event will go ahead.
This year Scotland has six universities attending UWOR, making a total of nine teams. They are competing for four Division 1 spots and two in Div 2. Heriot-Watt and Stirling were both unable to field a squad this year – we’ll hope that this just means they are gearing themselves up for an awesome comeback next year! The teams that are attending will be raring to go after getting themselves all psyched up last year and being thwarted by the inconvenient snow storm. I’m here to preview what I think will go down in St Andrews, and to make some likely very wrong predictions for final results.
I did have some help writing this article. To give it an edge, I asked two of my co-workers (Jo and Zoe) to give me their predictions for each team. Please note: they know nothing about Ultimate, and they mean no offence or harm in any way with these predictions. That being said, they seem to be much more entertaining that I am so I do hope you enjoy that.
Without further ado, in order of my predictions for final placing :
Strathclyde (Dark Horses)
Strathclyde are having an absolute riot of a year so far. They swept up all the medals they could find in the Indoor season, and have by now surely turned their gaze onto the Outdoor trophy. This team knows each other well, have seemingly boundless energy, and are absolutely the ones to beat. Major credit is deserved here; a squad like this takes time and development over a few years and Captain Karina Aitkin has taken over the reins of this squad efficiently. If they are as well-drilled outdoors as they were indoors, Horses may be taking home another rosette. I predict a first place finish.
Jo: “People better watch out.” Proceeds to sing Santa Claus is Coming to Town, replacing Santa Claus with ‘Dark Horses’.
Edinburgh, nowadays resplendent in red and green (whose idea was that anyway?), have had a disappointing indoor season with a seventh place finish at UWIN. Now, seventh in the UK is still very good of course, but I imagine it will give them some drive to show what they are made of when it comes to Outdoors – especially as they are the reigning champions of this event. Unlike their Men’s team, they’ve not acquired any St Andrew’s players recently; but they have got some American/Aberdonian talent that will stand them in good stead outdoors. If the captaining duo of Hannah Schrempf and Nelly Henzler can keep their teams heads up in the likely windy conditions, they should do well. I’m predicting them at second place for this event.
Zoe: “Their stars have aligned. Their frisbee skills are as magical as their academic prowess.”
Aberdeen, land of the very fast people. Or at least, their frisbee players are. The women’s team placed 2nd ScUWIR this year, and though they placed 15th at UWIN with several Scottish teams above them I think their experience outdoors will give them the edge here. They are fast, they know how wind works, they consistently have proven themselves to handle anything opposition throws at them – literally. It’s unclear whether GB’s Ellie Taylor will be playing this event; if she is, insert usual warnings here.
Jo: *Proceeds to do terrible Aberdeen accent*
Zoe: “They’ll start off slow, then turn things around. They will keep their spirit up. That’s a thing, right? Spirit?”
St. Andrews, the host team. One of the Universities to have two teams entered to this event, they have the advantage of knowing their turf. With GB U24’s Ella Hamilton-Foad at the helm and stellar support from their AU (be like St. Andrews), I think this team will be coming in hot with a big squad. Coming in 17th at UWIN this year and 16th at UWON’18, they are consistently Division 1 material. They’ve had several key players graduate recently, so it will be interesting to see who steps up to fill those spots for the Saints. I’m predicting a fourth-place finish.
Jo: “The prosecco will keep them going. St Andrews players are posh.”
Dundee are back playing Outdoors after a couple of development years. After winning UWOR in 2014/15, they’ve either not attended or didn’t qualify for Nationals, missing on the last spot in 2015/16. This comeback is exciting for them – we’ve even seen a resurgence of the Star branding. With GB U24s player Beth Hall whipping them into shape, perhaps it’s time for Dundee to challenge the top seeded teams. They came in at an impressive 12th place at UWIN Div 1 and I’m excited to see what this weekend will bring for them. If they can back up Hall’s impressive cutting with steady throws in the inevitable windy conditions, they’ll likely have a good result. I predict them to finish fifth. Dundee also very helpfully list their committee and all past wins on their Facebook page. Be like Dundee.
Jo: *Shows us a cute dog picture*
Zoe: “Their moon is in Jupiter*. There will be soft creative plays, but unsuccessful overall.”
*I really, really tried to find out if this is true. Inconclusive results.
Glasgow were, for some time, a force to be reckoned with outdoors. Now with many of their players graduated, Glasgow Ultimate brings to mind the forces of the Club scene. The University team however has still been working hard. As we know, development years are what makes a team champions. Whilst at the moment the other University in that postcode are at the top, Glasgow are setting themselves up for future wins. I’m not sure what to expect from this team at Outdoors, but playing them indoors showed that though they have some quite new players, they are determined to coach them well. They are athletic, and with some key players to direct what’s going on, they should have some good games. I predict they will come sixth.
Zoe: “They’ll try their hardest but they’ll be unable to.. you know… (punching motion).”
Jo: “Tough to beat, after all they are… * redacted statement*.”
A summary of all of the above : I will be shocked if Strathclyde don’t pull in another win here, and it’s a toss-up for who will face them in the final. With a tough pool of St. Andrew’s, Aberdeen and Edinburgh which will probably play havoc with my predictions, the four Div 1 spots are going to be hotly contested. With the SSS championships running alongside, I’d hope there will be some loud and supportive sidelines for all these games. My co-workers really know nothing about this game, so I’ve passed on a link to Finlay Watson’s YouTube channel, and I thank them for their contributions.
I have only really discussed first teams in this preview. With shifting team sizes between indoors and outdoors, I’m afraid I just don’t know enough about the newer faces of the second teams to do them any justice. However, if you’ve ever read my articles before, you’ll know I’m a massive advocate of getting newer players as much exposure as possible. Therefore I invite any and all contributions in the comments about your second teams (or your first team) players that you think should be hyped up for this weekend!
Good luck to all teams!
4 St Andrews
6 Heriot-Watt *
* yes I know they aren’t competing, they just wanted them on there somewhere I guess.