Kirkland siblings play in USA Ultimate Frisbee championship, one wins
By RAECHEL DAWSON
Kirkland Reporter Reporter
September 5, 2012 · Updated 12:08 PM
Julianna Werffeli’s passion for ultimate frisbee stems from her brother’s own fervor. She followed in Ryan’s foot steps by joining a private team at their high school, University Prep. And again when she won first place this August at the USA Ultimate Youth Club Championships after his victory last year.
“I love it,” Julianna Werffeli said. “I definitely plan to play in college.”
So it’s no surprise that her dreams of playing ultimate frisbee in college align with her brother’s, who plans to make it happen when he attends Northwestern University in the fall.
His sister, at age 16, still has a while.
The two have been involved with the sport since 6th grade and both say they love that there’s no referees.
Julianna describes this feature as a part of the “Spirit of the Game,” an official rule in Ultimate. In Section 1. Introduction, item B. it states: “Ultimate relies upon a spirit of sportsmanship that places the responsibility for fair play on the player.”
In ultimate, players have been using the honor system for more than 30 years.
It was Julianna’s first time on the U-19 girls division, coached by Chris Forsberg or “Fozz” and Lisa Niemann, and according to Forsberg she “did pretty well.”
The U-19 girls won their 8th championship at the tournament Aug. 11-12 at the National Sports Center in Blaine, Minn. It was hosted by the Minnesota HS League.
“It was really special,” Julianna said. “The team worked together well, we worked hard. It was awesome playing with people at such a high level.”
Forsberg speculates the Seattle team DiscNW (Northwest) dominates because of the prominence of ultimate frisbee teams in Seattle public schools, which are funded by park levies.
He says it makes sense that they are better because the kids start playing when they’re 10 or 11. But he said it’s not easy to get to the championships. Despite only practicing a few times a week as a team, he said many of the players practice individually.
Julianna claims that the coaches have a lot to do with the U-19 success.
Ryan attributed his involvement with the sport to DiscNW and said that they are “what makes this whole thing possible.” Ryan’s team came in third and he said his performance was impacted because his shoulder had been dislocated about “six or seven” times. He played without treatment but had shoulder surgery after his tournament. Ryan expects a four to six month recovery but is optimistic that he will make it a life sport.
“I would like to keep playing as long as I can stay healthy,” Ryan said. “But maybe at a less competitive level.”
For more information visit usaultimate.org.
Contact Kirkland Reporter Reporter Raechel Dawson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 425-822-9166 X5052.