School Name: Grinnell College
Team Name: Sticky Tongue Frogs
Captains: Christine Grummon, Sarah Ervin, Paige Hill
Year team was founded: 2002
Jersey Colors: Light Blue, Black, White
2010 Record: 16-11
Who is your favorite team to play against?
Cory Keeler: One of my favorite teams to play against is Valparaiso. We’ve played two games against them since I’ve been on the team and they’ve both been incredibly close and spirited. They beat us on universe in the finals of Frostbite last year, and I just remember they scored upwind on one of the best layouts I’ve ever seen at any level. We got to retaliate at No Wisconsequences this year though! It was another evenly matched game that went to universe, but that time we came out with a win. Also, Valpo can hold their own in a vegetable-off.
Paige Hill: I love playing against Saucy Nancy (Iowa) and Woman Scorned (Iowa State). Our games against them aren’t always the closest (but sometimes!), but both teams are really spirited and we play them so often that I feel like I’ve gotten to know them as a team and as individual players. They were really supportive of us last year, too, and a few of them commented at regionals about how much better we had gotten. It’s awesome to be able to hear other players, some of whom you really look up to, notice that you are working hard and improving.
How did your team do last year? What was the highlight of your season?
The Stickies had our best season in recent memory (and maybe ever). The highlight of our season was definitely going to DIII nationals and being able to play against a bunch of other DIII schools who provided a great level of competition. It also felt great to have a well run and well organized national tournament as the capstone of our season because it made me feel like all of our hard work over the season paid off.
Tell us about your captains? What do they bring to your team?
Our captains are 1. Very hardworking and 2. Very good at ultimate. Since Grinnell doesn’t have a coach, the captains plan and run each practice, call lines at tournaments while playing themselves, and constantly lead by example on the field so that new players get a feel for what ultimate should look like.
How does your team bring new players up to speed on ultimate?
As mentioned above, this really falls to the captains. About 75% of the Grinnell women’s team has never played ultimate before the first practice, and many people come out who have never even touched a disc. The captains work with players on forehands and draw “the force” on a tiny whiteboard over and over, and with a little bit of trial by fire everybody figures things out during the fall season.
What does your team like to do on offense and on defense?
We have a great thing going here: Boost it.
What tournaments do you plan to attend in the spring? Which one are you most looking forward to?
Midwest Throwdown is fantastic tournament, especially for developing teams like us. Playing in the Roundup division last year gave us exposure to what it is like to have an elite level player as a coach, and really opened our eyes to how much more dynamic our game can be. I think a lot of our success last year can be attributed to what we learned that weekend and how we applied it later in the season at practices and in games. Also, the Roundup division was the first time we participated in a DIII-type event, where we were playing against teams that were close to our own ability. It is an awesome way to get geared up for the rest of the season. And who doesn’t love Missouri?
What does your team do to get pumped up for a big game?
Listen to terrible, terrible pop music and yell PC, queer friendly, and sex positive cheers.
What do you think about the USA Ultimate College restructuring?
Even though the restructuring process is new and will probably undergo a lot of changes in the next couple of years, the addition of a legitimate DIII conference is something that is really exciting for us. It can be frustrating as a DIII school to feel like you have improved a lot as a team but not have the bids, titles, or rankings to show for it because you are constantly playing bigger schools with more established teams. I think the creation of a DIII conference will change that a lot and give us the opportunity to work toward a DIII series and a national level event and give us a tangible way of seeing how all the work we put into the season paid off. Also, the fact that bids to DIII nationals will now be largely determined by an actual DIII regional tournament is awesome. Not only is it an opportunity to play against a ton of schools that are a similar level to us, but it also gives our team the sense of intensity and excitement associated with playing in a high stakes tournament, which is something we don’t always get at tournaments dominated by bigger schools.