[stextbox id=”alert” color=”050505″ bcolor=”6cc3f8″ bgcolor=”ffffff” big=”true” image=”null”]School Name: University of British Columbia
Team Name: Thunderbirds
Year Founded: 1997
Jersey Colors: White & Grey
2010 Record: 23-14
Tell us a little about yourself. How did you get involved with Ultimate at UBC?
Katie Berezan: I am entering my fourth year with UBC Ultimate. I began playing recreationally when I was fifteen, but had never really seen what competitive Ultimate could be like until I moved out to Vancouver for university. A large factor for me picking UBC as a school was the incredible Ultimate scene that I had heard of, and of course hosting Worlds in 2008. When I began playing I had no idea how large of an impact UBC Ultimate would have on my life. I joined UBC Ultimate just in time to experience the rewards of all the hard work and dedication put in my older t-birds. Being a part of and watching my team win College Nationals in 2008 drives me to get better and bring another team back to experience the incredible feeling and atmosphere of a Nationals final game.
What is Ultimate at UBC all about?
Katie: UBC Ultimate is more than just a team, it is a family. Together we experience tremendous highs and lows. Together we grow as players, teammates, and people. We are a group that is brought together by a common love of the sport, but stay together because of the bonds that we have formed with each other.
How did your team do last year? What was the highlight of your season?
Katie: Last year we lost a lot of amazing leaders and talent from our team. It was sad to see them go, but this created a great space for younger players to step up and take on new roles. We also gained a lot of youth from the Canada World Juniors team. Our season started off on a great note by winning Sundodger. From there we experienced a few growing pains, but learned a lot about strategy and the mental game. Centex has traditionally been a great tournament for our team. A defining moment in our team’s development was the pre-quarter game against Santa Barbara. After our Captain Jenny Lo got injured, the rest of the team rallied together to upset the reigning champions on universe point. There were many highlights off the field as well, these however, cannot be mentioned in order to maintain the integrity of all those involved.
Who is your favorite team to play against?
Katie: As always we have great games against UW. Our longstanding friendly rivalry usually gives us a great spirited and competitive game.
Tell us about your coaches and captains. What do they bring to your team?
Katie: We are currently in the process of defining the leadership of our team. We are very excited about the amount of experience that is interested in helping us through the season this year.
Are there players on your team who deserve consideration for Callahan, All-Region, or Freshman of the Year?
Katie: At risk of giving away our secret weapon, I would tell everyone to keep their eyes on Cat Hui this year. Her speed and throws have always been an asset to our team, but after a summer of playing with the Vancouver women’s team Traffic, her refined skills and mental game will be unstoppable! She is also a positive influence for the team on the sideline and at practice.
What player is most likely to make a huge play as a thrower?
Katie: Our bomb throwing Erica Tucker will be one to watch when she has the disc.
As a receiver?
Katie: In the air beware of pink-tights, Hannah Epperson and National Basketball Champion Robyn Fashler, who has returned to UBC and traded back her high-tops for cleats.
Katie: Defense will be dominated by returning player Crystal Koo, and a new addition to the UBC team, Rachel Moens.
It’s easy to see when someone throws a huge huck on gets a layout D. Who’s a player you have to watch more carefully to see how valuable she is to your team?
Katie: There is a lot of strength coming back to the team this year. Everyone adds something special and unique to the team. I could not recognize just one person here, because then I would be leaving out all of the hard work and value of so many other players.
Without giving too much away, what does your team like to do on offense and on defense?
Katie: This year we are focusing on fitness. We are going to grind through every point no matter how long it is. We are hoping to develop an offense that exploits our talents and speed.
Has your team set any goals for this season?
Katie: We will be setting team goals once the team has been finalized. However, all of the returning players are hungry for a shot at the National Championship. One goal of the UBC philosophy is to make Women’s Ultimate a competitive and recognized sport by our institution. Playing in the US College series is a privilege that does not go unrecognized by our team and allows us to improve and pave the way for Canadian College ultimate to follow.
What has your team been doing this fall to prepare for the spring season?
Katie: This fall has been a great developmental year for the team. Our practices have focused on bringing out new players and encouraging them to work on their skills to build a strong base of female athletes at UBC. There are even talks of having a second team this year.
What tournaments do you plan to attend in the spring?
Katie: We have not decided on any specific tournaments as of yet, but have committed to at least 2 major tournaments and a few local ones.