Nicola Shaw runs over the Scottish region in the Women’s division ahead of Indoor Regionals.
Never mind the heated politics that’s been happening in the past few days, on a more local scale we are now interested in the hotly contested Women’s University teams of Scotland soon to be battling it out for spots at University Women’s Indoor Nationals (UWIN). As always, with newbies and graduates flying in and out, change and the unknown is actually what makes this exciting!
The Ultimate Women of Scotland are ready to come out in force, on 19th and 20th of November. With half of the Ultimate universities in Scotland sending two teams and both Glasgow and Edinburgh sporting three, evidently the depth is increasing across the region and the nation! After Great Britain Under-24 trials last weekend, a number of Scottish women have been added to the development squad – a great sign for the young female athletes of Ultimate! I certainly very much look forward to following their road to Worlds in Australia in 2018.
Starting in reverse alphabetical order with Strathclyde University, I’m proud to say it’s my old stomping ground. I’ll try not to be too biased. Hayley Dalmon is leading two teams for the second time with the aim to beat their seed and qualify for Nationals. Last year their first team narrowly missed out, coming sixth at Scottish University Women’s Indoor Regionals (ScUWIR). However, with players like new pick-up handler Christine “goes to the gym before 7am training” Duncan and Bethany “blink and you miss her” Ross, Strathclyde may be an underdog to watch out for. Fuelled on home-made brownies, they are looking forward to matching up against best-friends but close rivals Aberdeen after two games last year. Fantasy Ultimate bonus points if you can spot the ex-county hockey player, the ex-county cricket player, the highland dancer, or even the girl who can run 400m in less than a minute. With players like these on her side, Ms Dalmon is predicting an incredibly tight top six, but as she says, “who knows what could happen?!”
Moving down the alphabet we have Stirling, a brand new team on the block. With the University’s first-ever official Women’s captains, Lindsey McKinnon and Mona Maier, the team are feeling stoked just to be at Regionals. Looking to develop their squad and help their freshers catch the Frisbee bug, they claim to have done more slut drop dabs in Fubar than squats in the gym! There will be another batch of brownies to pinch from at Women’s Indoor Regionals as Stirling will bring “Pitch mama Haggis’s infamous brownies” to inflame the squad. If you are at Aberdeen Sports Village the weekend of Regionals, you might need to go speak to the Blazettes to find out what these are…
St Andrew’s, led by Gabriela Starek and Emily Madoff, have their sights set on a place at Nationals for their first team and a high hopes for their second team too. They plan to celebrate in style with a pizza night after qualifying for Nationals – a very positive approach from their captain, but I like the confidence. With passion for girl-power, making hashtags and their signature dance move ‘the worm’, this looks like a fun-filled force to be reckoned with. Janis “Jpizza” Petzinger is the girl to watch according to the captaining duo but all of the team have been training hard on the east coast of Fife, preparing to rock the boat at Regionals in the ‘Deen.
In the lower half of the alphabet, although no stranger to the top half of the leaderboard, we have Heriot-Watt University. Sarah Finnie has two fine teams to take up to Aberdeen for ScUWIR. Their first team are aiming for Nationals (we have a strong theme throughout the Region, with five spots to claim) and their mission for the year is development and improvement, a very sensible but solid plan which should help them on their way to maintain (or even better?) the third place they took last year at ScUWIR and fifth at University Women’s Indoor Nationals. They tell me they are also able to function without the infamous Shona Whitely and I look forward to watching them in action, with a dab after every score – a challenge they may or may not accept. Players to check out include “Vampire” Fiona Leiper with her “crab-like one handed grabs” and I’ve got to mention the newbie Lauren Logie with flaming defence, so hot that if you “don’t attack the disc, she will!” Fighting talk from Heriot. I hope the other teams are prepared, or are wearing flame-resistant kits purely from a Health and Safety point of view.
Glasgow has dropped one of its teams since ScUWIR 2015, however don’t necessarily expect the standard to have lowered along with it. With so many females in the University’s huge squad, regular Women’s trainings have been helping these so-called “Glaswegians” develop their skill set. After a top three finish at Nationals 2015, the team has gone through a few changes so they’re modestly aiming to get to UWIN this year with plans to grow, improve and “do their best”. From vegans to carnivores, this team seems to have it all. With the squad missing PhD Student Lulu Boyd and now-graduated Amina Malik, there are a couple of gaps for new stars where the likes of the rapid Jessie Howell could rise into. I look forward to seeing where this fresh Glasgow will place at Regionals.
Next up is the Capital, Edinburgh, captained by Kate “Staffie” Stafford who has focused plans this season and in particular for Regionals. After a “disappointing” loss at Regionals in 2015, Staffie is looking for their first team to top the leaderboard. Edinburgh have bolstered their trainings with a 7am“Goaltie” session in an effort to get there. Ex-GB Under-23 Women’s player, Natasha “Tushy” Lim and returning Masters student Julia “JulesNoRulez” Kelly are the key players according to the captain. Tushy dropped once at Scottish University Mixed Indoor Regionals, currently still in recovery I’m told, but will hopefully have fully “healed from the traumatic event” before the first pull at Women’s Regionals.
Dundee are happy to have a team at Regionals after some tough losses through graduation. The leavers include Dr Aisling Barton who will be sorely missed by the team, not only for her skills but her wonderful Fifteen’s – a Northern Irish fridge cake. Dundee have settled for Triple Choc Brownies to support their brand new team, with only one player having more than one year’s experience. A new star to the team is Beth Hall – with only two months under her belt, she has “a better end-zone game than some of [Dundee’s] experienced boys,” which is quite a statement from captain Denitsa Moralieva. With lots of fresh blood in the team I look forward to seeing them in action against the known experience of teams like Edinburgh.
The home team, Aberdeen, headed by Alison “Allie” Macgregor plans to “run really slick offence with some solid disc skills across the team.” Throughout the season they are looking forward to playing higher quality Ultimate as the standard of Scottish Women’s players continually increases. Allie tells me that Harriet “Hazzles” Hopper and ex-GB U20 Eleanor Taylor are the ones to watch, with defence and speed being their forte. Their wee first team, just two members above 5’5, will be the ones to keep an eye on with their blending levels of experience. Fizzy strips are Aberdeen’s go-to tournament scran. Together with the home crowd, I’m excited to see where they place.
Across the board, it’s definitely a developing region with many changes from previous years; lots of new captains, stars, freshers and (limited recipe) baking. We will see who celebrates the 2016 Scottish Championship at the weekend.
My predictions for ScUWIR 2016:
- St Andrews
Follow me on twitter @areyoushawn for live (Frisbee and baking) updates as the tournament unfolds.
Feature photo by Andrew Moss.