Ego faces ultimate challenge: Bouncing back
Ego, the University of Oregon’s Ultimate Frisbee team, hasn’t had the success it would have hoped for at the Open Division College Championships.
In 2010, Ego was ranked as the No. 1 seed in all of college Ultimate. However, they failed to make it out of their four-team pool. Last year, Ego was once again deemed worthy of the No. 1 ranking in the nation coming into the open tournament. And once again, expectations were sky high.
“Despite the plethora of Ego footage available this season, no amount of scouting can stop this high-risk, high-flying offense in pool play,” wrote Brian Kiernan and Ian Toner of USA Ultimate before the start of the open championships. “Oregon’s athleticism and quick-strike capability amount to too much for any [team in their pool] to handle.”
Ego made it all the way to the semi-finals in Madison, Wis., where they faced off with the University of Pittsburgh’s Ultimate team En Sabah Nur. In the step before the finals, Ego faltered, losing 14-11 to Pittsburgh and ending their season. @@Team name [email protected]@
“Last year I’d say we were the best team in the country,” sophomore Nic Heaton said. “Basically everyone last year was crushed that we lost. The whole year we kind of knew that we should win it.” @@name [email protected]@
Despite falling short of a national championship, Ego remains confident that they can learn from last season’s shortcomings and use that to their advantage this year.
“It didn’t feel great and it was tough losing so close to the finals after all the work we put it, but I wouldn’t say we experienced any detrimental blow to us as a team,” team captain Dylan Freechild said. “If anything, we will learn from our mistakes last year and come back with more experience and a better understanding of what it takes to get past the semifinals and ultimately win a national championship.” @@name [email protected]@
Last year, Freechild won the Callahan Trophy: an award given to the best college Ultimate player in the United States. Winning such a prestigious award hasn’t changed the way Freechild approaches the game. @@award [email protected]@
“It was an honor to win the award, but I try and continue to play and treat the game the way I did before I won the Callahan,” Freechild said. “That’s what got me to that point in the first place.”
Despite the loss in last year’s semifinal, Ego believes that it could make it over the semi-final hump with their talented cast of players, an increased team effort.
“This year, we lost a lot of people,” Heaton said. “We have a lot more organization this year. Everyone feels like we need to make up for the people that we lost, with effort.”
With effort taking the forefront, Ego is already off on the right foot this season.
In their first tournament of the year, Ego won the Chico State tournament using a mixture of its “A” and “B” teams, fending off the alumni team from Chico State 15-14 in the final. While not a clear indication of how this season will go, Ego’s expectations remain lofty for the coming season.
“Our expectations for the season are to be competitive in every game we play and to win nationals come May,” Freechild said.
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