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School Name: University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire
Team Name: SOL
Captains: Brit Gartner, Heather Wroten, Iansa Zaldarriaga
Coaches: Pat Niles
Year founded: 2006
Jersey Colors: Hot Pink and Black
Website: www.uwec.edu/ultimate, http://www.solultimate.blogspot.com/
2010 Record: 18-10
How did you get involved with Ultimate at your school?
Brit Gartner: Most of the girls that have played for SOL over the past few years or are playing for us this year came to college and stumbled across ultimate one way or another and became hooked right away. There is such a strong sense of family with our team that people instantly feel like they belong and can be themselves and that’s all they need to d to fit in.
What is Ultimate at Wisconsin- Eau Claire all about?
Brit: Ultimate is easily one of the most competitive/serious club sports at our university. We really stress the importance of spirit of the game while still playing hard each game. SOL is about FUNtensity, it’s what we strive to maintain each tournament. Having fun with our team on and off the field while still playing with intensity and passion.
How did your team do last year? What was the highlight of your season?
Brit: Our team has lost in the game-to-go the past 3 seasons, but last year was our hardest fought game yet. We played Carleton in a game that exemplified everything I would use to describe what ultimate is. Every player on each team did all the could to help their team make it to the big dance- Nationals. Every player pushed themselves through that game playing hard, smart and with the support of every teammate. Another highlight was winning the Dance-off and Centex this year! It was ballin.
Who is your favorite team to play against?
Brit: We love playing the big guns from our now former Central Region like Iowa State, Carleton and Madison who remains in our Region. Almost all of my most memorable games of ultimate have been played against these teams. Central Region- REPRESENT!
What player is most likely to make a huge play as a thrower?
Brit: Iansa Zaldarriaga
As a receiver?
Brit: Melissa “George” Jordan
Brit: By Regionals 2K11, all of us!
How does your team bring new players to ultimate up to speed?
Brit: Between the captains and consultations from our coach, we try to use drills that work fundamentals, mimic game situations and challenge us. It is important to keep revisiting fundamental skills with drills that use game situations so you can apply what you have drilled while you play. We make sure our new players aren’t afraid to ask questions and everyone is extremely patient in the teaching and learning process. By challenging each player to become better every time they play, they learn A TON in such a small time. As a first year captain I am blow away by what my teammates are capable of and it’s awesome.
Without giving too much away, what does your team like to do on offense and on defense?
Brit: On offense we usually like to score. Then on defense we will generally try to stop the other team from scoring so we have the opportunity to score some more. It’s a pretty unstoppable game plan.
Has your team set any goals for this season? What are they?
Brit: Two of our biggest team goals for this season are becoming good communicators and defense. We want each of our teammates to feel comfortable giving/taking constructive criticism from every member of the team whether they have been playing for 5 years or 5 weeks. As far as defense goes we want to be able to play such great man defense that the thrower will only have two choices when the disc is in their hand- 1) get stalled or 2) throw it away.
What has your team been doing this fall to prepare for the spring season?
Brit: Our team has been practicing 3 times a week, doing one day of conditioning per week, hanging out with each other and attending as many tournaments as we can.
What tournaments do you plan to attend in the spring? Which are you most looking forward to?
Brit: We plan on attending Midwest Throwdown, Centex, possibly High Tide, and hopefully one other tournament out of our Region in the spring along with the series of course. I think we are all looking forward to Centex since we get the chance to play such great teams that we usually never play such as UCSB, Oregon, UCLA and Colorada. And Centex gives us the chance to defend our dance off title- repeat champs??
What does your team do to get pumped up for a big game?
Brit: We are all about the music! We play our best when we are having fun. Before big games or any game at all we like to listen to some jams, get hyfie and dance around like goons. Then before we take the field we share a few motivating words in the huddle and go!
What song would you pick for the soundtrack to your team’s 2011 highlight video?
Brit: Wavin’ Flag by K’NAAN. No doubt.
Bear, ninja or cowboy?
Who’s going to win the 2011 USA Ultimate College Championships?
Brit: I’m gonna hope for a Midwest team and say either University of Iowa or Carleton. SOL will be there this year to watch it happen!