South Central: 2012 Women’s Preview

by | February 9, 2012, 10:33pm 0

This article and the 2012 Skyd College Tour are brought to you by Spin Ultimate

It has been said about many regions in the women’s division thus far, but the South Central really is anyone’s game. In fact, the South Central may be the most evenly matched of all ten regions in the college Ultimate game. With so many teams experiencing huge losses, and so many teams returning solid cores, predicting the top competitors is a difficult task for anyone.

2012 saw the graduation of two of the top players in the college game: Sophie Herscu (Colorado College) and Sam Huo (Washington University). Both players were dominant for their respective teams and led the charge of their teams to the 2011 College Championships.

Look for early season indicators about who will be leading the pack within the region at Mardi Gras, Freestate Classic, and Midwest Throwdown.  With Centex being closest to the teams in the South Central, it will offer the best chance for the region to earn an extra bid, as many teams will compete in all three divisions of the tournament.

Colorado College

Colorado College Lysistrata’s Tools took the college ultimate scene by storm in 2011. The 2011 Cinderella story, the team went from nearly unknown to a quarter-final finish, breaking seed by ten spots to finish tied for fifth. Strata must cope with the loss of top contributors and redefine themselves offensively. Herscu and Claire Jencks, both All-Region selections in 2011, led the team in assists in 2011, while Hannah Sohl scored many of the team’s goals.

In 2011, look for Molly Sinnott to have her breakout season. After being a go-to receiver and leading scorer for Strata in 2011, she will become a name in the region by the end of 2012 with even more experience to add to the team. On defense, junior Erin Gould and sophomore Lisi Lohre are two of the best in the region. Last season, they showcased their ability to rule the air, standing 5’8” and 5’10”, respectively.

Washington University

Tilt went to the 2011 College Championships with one of the smallest rosters among the field of teams in the women’s division. This philosophy assured that each of the fifteen players were able to play a lot of points and gain experience as a result. Increased experience may be an asset as the younger players on this team step up to contribute more this season. Notably, Kami Groom returns to the Tilt roster in 2012 looking to dominate the competition. Groom, named a Skyd Magazine Playmaker brought to you by Breakmark in the Women’s Division of the 2011 Club Championships with Midwest RevoLOUtion, is also among the top-scorers at the 2011 College Championships with an impressive 30 goals in Boulder. Pay special attention to the dynamic duo of Kami Groom and Danielle Blatt on the field.  Blatt and Groom have great chemistry and energy on the field and play to each other’s strengths. Blatt, a speedy defensive player, has the ability to play fundamentally sound downfield D.

Missouri State

Barely Legal of Missouri State may be one of the teams to watch this year. Coming off of a particularly strong fall pre-season, Missouri State has demonstrated that it can beat the regional competition. Winning the Manhattan Project and securing a third place finish at Missouri Loves Company will earn them top seeds in upcoming tournaments in spring against regional competition.

Though the team qualified for Regionals in 2011, Barely Legal was not to make the trip to Texas to compete against the other conferences’ competitors due to low numbers. The historically small team was able to prove its skill in the wind at Missouri Loves Company, picking up crucial wins over regional competition: two wins over Colorado and a decisive win over Kansas. All this is despite graduating talented primary handler Amanda Johnson. Their veterans have stepped up to fill her role and then some. If they are able to keep their roster healthy and maintain enough players for Regionals, this team has some real potential.


Kat Songer gets up for Kansas - Photo by Tasha Parman

The Bettys also come off a strong fall season, finishing 5th at Missouri Loves Company, which was the team’s first single-squad tournament. The team is led by 2nd Team All-Region selection Christy Cheung, speedster and offensive star. With much improved throws this season, she will be able to add versatility to the Betty offense, and lead defensively. Notably, the Bettys will have to find someone to fill the role of Kat Songer, a standout handler with an incredible inside-out forehand break. Christy Cheung says, “Kat was a big part of our overall success in the fall, but I think a lot of our handlers proved to be capable of filling her shoes with how well we ended at MLC. We have a strong set of returning vets as well as a handful of very promising new rookies, so I’m excited to see what we can do this season.” As the Bettys continue to lay the foundation and encourage touches on the disc throughout the winter, the battle will be keeping motivation alive during the indoor season.

Texas and Colorado

Texas and Colorado have historically been the strongest in the region. With few results this fall, it will be interesting to see how both teams fair in spring after A and B team splits are made, and the commitment level increases. Both teams have talented returning players and have shown their ability to produce top competitors year in and year out. Will this be the season where we see them return to the College Championships? Don’t discount either team.

Leslie Norberg snags a disc in California for Hell's Belles - Photo by Bob Cartin

Colorado State

Hell’s Belles have a real potential to put up some big results this season. Though there has been a major turnover in leadership, the team has a refreshing outlook on building a new identity from last season.  Emily Stege notes that their new coaching staff has helped to lay this foundation, “Ex-Belle’s players Brie Quigley and Jill Fairchild have stepped up to take the reins as coaches for our team this year. They have been an amazing addition to our team, bringing in a great deal of focus and intensity as well as positive energy to the team.”

The Colorado State team looks to develop some great rookie players, including Second Team All-State Colorado high school stud Sarah Stamper. Paige Applegate returns to the team with additional experience and Tayrn Doud will be an asset for the team after she returns from studying abroad in Spain.  Stege says, “Doing well at both of those fall tournaments did give us momentum going into the spring season. With such a young and athletic team we are really placing a lot of emphasis on the basics: our fitness, catching, throwing, etc. If we can play solid, fundamental Frisbee, we will surprise some people this spring.”

Players to Watch

  • Janel Venzant (Texas) – Standout player for Melee, notable for shutdown D, returns for another season to contain your team’s biggest threat.
  • Christy Cheung (Kansas) – Speedy cutter with the ability to get open and get the break throw off on anyone. She has gained more confidence defensively and will get the layout D this season.
  • Kami Groom (Washington University) – Callahan frontrunner, huge playmaker for Tilt. This girl gets more run-through D’s than anyone else around and will beat you deep for the book-ends every time.
  • Sarah Stamper (Colorado State) – Standout Colorado high school player leads the young team, and should be the front runner for South Central FOTY.
  • Molly Sinnott (Colorado College) – Anticipate her to be the go-to offensive player for Lysistrata’s Tools, looking to lead the team back to a home-crowd advantage again at the College Championships.

Feature photo of Colorado State’s Kelly Banta gets big at SoCal Warmup by Bob Cartin.

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