Psychos Win It All
Nationals. Hundreds of college ultimate teams from across the nation have poured their blood, sweat, and tears into trying to snag a spot in this coveted tournament. However, only 20 teams qualify each year for the opportunity to play on the National stage. This was the third year in a row that the Psychos have qualified for Collegiate Nationals. This year’s Nationals took place in the hot and humid city of Austin, Texas. The Psychos spent weeks heat training for the tournament, performing cardio while wearing layers upon layers and stewing in their sweat afterwards. Nasty stuff, but it most certainly helped as the team was unbothered by Texas weather.
Friday was the first day of pool play. The Psychos made a statement as they defeated Western Washington 14-9 and Northwestern 15-4. On Saturday, Psychos defeated Georgia 14-10 and lost to Tufts 10-13. Although we lost the fourth game of pool play, it was one of the most exciting games of the tournament as we opened up lines and played 4 rookies each point! This game demonstrated that the future is bright as the youngest Psychos shined and gave Tuft’s starting line, full of experienced and seasoned players, a real challenge and run for their money. Regardless, the psychos won their pool and advanced straight to quarters. Many rookies had fantastic goals throughout pool play including Lauren “Tello” Stuart and Shaina “Noggin” Jewett-Wolf.
The quarterfinal game was one of the toughest games of the tournament. All weekend long, there had been a strong breeze on the field, but for this game the wind was much stronger. The Psychos trailed behind for most of the game but as the team focused on each other and togetherness rather than individual error, we overcame and won the game with a huge backhand break huck from freshman Lauren “Linux” Hanna to a jaw-dropping layout from captain, Dena “Chrome” Elimelech. (Clip of the game-winning catch: https://twitter.com/USAUltimate/status/1132805796830568448)
The semifinal round was a blowout with Psychos taking the win from Ohio State, 15-5. But the championship was a different story. Although the Psychos were seeded higher, the finals appeared to be an almost David vs Goliath story as the Psychos, who hadn’t seen the final stage in over a decade, faced off with two-time back-to-back National Champions: Dartmouth College. The crowd was obviously favoring UC San Diego as “Psycho” cheers were continuously echoing.
The game started with the Psychos going upwind on offense. Unfortunately, this point would end with a break from Dartmouth and they would take the lead for the entire game. However, the Psychos would not go down without a fight. Every downwind offensive point was punched in and scored for the Psychos, and every upwind defensive point was hard fought with many close score attempts. Shout-out to our remarkable cutters, captain Stacy “Aero” Tran, Alex “Dante” Diaz, and Winnie “Kirby” Chen, for having multiple impressive catches deep and for scores. The most remarkable thing throughout the game was not only the Psychos’ disciplined offense and fiery defense, but also the enormous sideline spirit and unwavering confidence. Throughout the season the Psychos practiced mental strength with the goal being to gain the ability to play our best regardless of the score. Even as Dartmouth pulled ahead 6-3, the Psychos continued to grind, bringing the score back to 6-6. Holds continued for the rest of the half and Dartmouth would take half 8-7. While Dartmouth Ultimate rested exhausted and with their heads down, the Psychos happily tossed Gu chews between each other and broke out in a typical dance warm-up. All your favorite moves were had, including “gorilla”, “shark”, and “pilates”.
The second half started, and both teams continued to trade points. The score eventually reached 11-11: Double Game Point. The next point would determine who the next Women’s D-1 College Champions would be. The Psychos found themselves going upwind on defense, the least ideal of conditions. However, after Dartmouth’s first and only turnover that point, the Psychos found themselves with the disc and an opportunity to score. After an incredible, now viral, in-between-the-legs catch from Chrome, the Psychos continued to work upwind. After the chilliest, calmest end-zone offense which we’ve seen all season, the Psychos punched in the final score with a lefty-backhand from Chrome to co-captain Kelli “Krypto” Iwamoto. The Psychos are your 2019 Women’s D-1 College Champions! Tears are shed, photos are taken, interviews are had, and the Psychos return home victorious with bellies full of Texas barbecue and (vegan) potatoes.
Written by Sara “Frost” Zhang