Name: Claire Chastain
Years on A-team: We don’t have an A/B split, I’ve played since freshman year [5 years]
Hometown: Jamestown, NC
Graduating: Super Senior 2013
When and where did you start playing ultimate? Who recruited you?
I started playing ultimate my freshman year after hearing about it from my sister who played at East Carolina. I saw a flyer in my dorm and decided to try it out, was instantly hooked. No one recruited me per se, but everyone on that 2009 team kept me coming out to practice and showed me the game.
What does the Callahan award mean to you?
The Callahan award represents not only the best overall player in college ultimate, but it showcases the respect that your opponents have for you as a player, leader and ambassador for the sport. It is an honor to be nominated and considered by peers that way.
What does it mean to you to be nominated by your teammates?
I play every point for my teammates and for them to allow me the opportunity to represent Seaweed on this scale is an honor.
What are your goals for this season?
One of my goals was to instill the same sense of team that was instilled to me my freshman year. We were never the most fundamentally sound or had the best strategy, but we always played the hardest and I learned that in my first practice. I wanted the rookies and everyone who wasn’t graduating to feel that kind of passion for the sport, but mainly for seaweed. Our tangible goal was to get to Nationals; we fell short last weekend but I feel a huge sense of relief leaving the team in Sadie’s [Gosselin, co-captain] hands – 2014 looks bright.
How would you describe yourself as a player? What are your favorite plays to make?
Versatile. I don’t like being predictable so I try to do a little bit of everything during a game: handle, cut, switch match ups, etc. I like to move the disc quickly, so my favorite play would either be a homie or a quick give-and-go up the field. And layout D’s, everyone’s favorite.
What was your favorite moment of this season?
When McKenzie – who tore her ACL in the fall – put cleats on and played a point in our consolation game at Regionals. She threw a goal (don’t worry, she wasn’t changing direction). She would’ve been cleared to play at Nationals, which was probably the biggest motivating factor during the season for me, so after we fell short I was super bummed we weren’t going to get to play a point together as Seaweed in our last year (both 5th years). We did and it was by far my favorite moment.
What is your favorite part of being on your college team?
Being coached by Danny Wrenn and Nikki Zeldin, two legends, who taught me how to play and love Wilmington ultimate. Playing alongside people I consider the best ever, Kelly Tidwell, Sara Casey, Jessica Patrick and more. Being a captain for 3 years. Watching rookies develop into veterans.
Do you have a favorite photo of you playing for your college team?
This was during our crossover game at Regionals last year against UNC, I like this picture for two reasons: 1. Air 2. It’s a bid against Lisa Couper, who after that season I became teammates with on Phoenix and she’s one of my favorite people to play with and against, it just showcases the battle of the match up, she definitely wins this one.
What’s your favorite in-season workout?
Running stairs/hills (we’re lacking a lot of those in ILM though)
How has your college career been impacted by injury?
I was pretty fortunate to avoid any major injuries during the college season, though playing back-to-back college and club seasons my knees get tweaky towards October.
What’s your club experience? How is playing club different than college?
For the past two years I played on Phoenix out of Raleigh, NC. We made semis my first year which was incredible. To me, it’s a whole different experience, one I wish every college player got to have. You learn so much in practice and at tournaments because you’re playing against the best; my perspective on the game and how I viewed opponents changed, I grew up a lot in the first season and shook off some of the attitude I played with in exchange for a more cool-headed style. Though club is a higher level of play, the community that college builds is incomparable.
Are you graduating after this season? What are your summer/career plans?
I’m graduating in May and am going to play for the U23 Women’s team in Toronto, and then figure out how to avoid using my degree as long as possible. Will work for ultimate expenses.
Feature photo by Kevin Leclaire – Ultiphotos.com.