Central Region Freshman of the Year Alison Ellis of Wisconsin Bella Donna is know for her gritty, aggressive play. With hands like sticky-tack, Al has an uncanny receiver ability and the throws of a wizard. Skyd Magazine catches up with Bella Donna’s rising star to find out more about what makes her tick.
How did you first get introduced to Ultimate?
I first started playing Ultimate my freshman year of high school. My brother encouraged me to play Ultimate during the fall and spring when I wasn’t playing basketball. I also went to pick-up a lot which really helped me develop my skills.
Did you play any sports in High School?
Before I played Ultimate, I was obsessed with basketball. I played basketball my freshman and sophomore year. I quit junior year because it became too intense, and by that time I liked Ultimate better. When I quit basketball I joined the cross-country team and ran with them my junior and senior year.
Where/How have you honed your skills?
My brother was really helpful when I first started playing Ultimate. He taught me how to throw, he gave me advice, and he encouraged me to keep playing even though at first it was difficult. Playing pick-up and playing in open has also really helped me develop my skills. Since I was matching up against guys, it made me faster and more aggressive.
Who are your heroes in Ultimate? Who do you strive to be like?
Georgia Bosscher was my captain last year and she is the best! She has a great attitude on and off the field. And oh yeah, she is RIDICULOUS!
When looking at colleges to enroll in was Ultimate in mind?
Ultimate was definitely an important part in my college making decision. I knew I wanted to play in college. As of right now it seems like that it is the only reason I’m in school, but hopefully I’ll figure things out…
What’s it like being a part of Wisconsin Bella Donna?
What positions do you usually play for them?
For Bella, I am a D line handler. Throughout high school I was an O line cutter. Last year was the first time I have ever handled, so it was an experience. I am loving D line. I’m pretty competitive so I love it when I can completely shut someone down. I miss cutting, but at least D line gives me a chance to run around.
What’s your favorite tournament to play in?
I really like Sandblast. It’s fun, it’s at the beach, and there’s Chipotle. Enough said.
What are you goals for Ultimate? Championships? To have fun?
Alison: My long term goal is to play Ultimate until I’m 50. My priority is to have fun and push myself. I find that I play best when I have fun. Shenanigans are key ingredients to Ultimate. Without them, ultimate isn’t as fun.
Did you play club this past season? With which team? What was club like as opposed to college?
Haha. This summer I played on a mixed team in Chicago called Muevela. It was more laid back than college Ultimate. We would practice once a week, and sometimes we would even practice at the beach. Mainly we win parties and we tread water…Muevela was really fun this past summer, so I’m not sure if I’ll play competitive club. Maybe once I’m done with college I’ll want to be more serious.
What’s one story that always comes up whenever you think about Ultimate?
Bug spray. Table top.
Why do you think you are able to excel over a lot of the other women in the sport?
Basketball taught me to be aggressive, and I think that is what helped me in Ultimate. I’ve noticed that a lot of new women Ultimate players are timid and more afraid of being hurt as opposed to men. Ultimate is also described as a non-contact sport, but in truth, it is. People will run into each other, people will layout into the ground, and there will be fouls. Play ultimate with the same aggression as in any other sport, except channel that physicality into getting the disc.
Five Ultimate, VC, Patagonia, Savage, Breakmark, or Gaia?
Patagonia or VC
What cleats do you wear?
Diadora all the way.
And now for an important lesson in schooling fools: