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Senior helps Ultimate Frisbee team win nationals

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By: Monica Cai

Photos courtesy of: Monisha White

Before 2009, Ultimate Frisbee was nothing more than a game played in Physical Education classes. That year, Gunn formed its own Ultimate Frisbee team and placed second at the USA Ultimate State High School Championship. It was at this competition where senior Monisha White discovered her club team, the Bay Area Happy Cows, with whom she would go on to win two consecutive national titles. “There were club sign-ups for the team at the tournament,” White said. “I tried out later and fortunately, made it. [For Ultimate Frisbee], getting to nationals isn’t the hard part; it’s getting on the team.”

White joined a team of about 20 players from all over California, with some teammates driving hours to make it to practice. The team practiced once a week with  experienced Ultimate Frisbee player and coach, Geoff Rexroth, and did track workouts throughout the week. According to Rexroth, the weekly practices didn’t give much time for the team to connect, and it wasn’t until after Revolution, an adult club team tournament, that the team got into their groove. There, the Happy Cows faced the defending adult National Champions, the Polar Bears. Halfway through the game, the Polar Bears had a giant 7-1 lead, but the Happy Cows fought back with a string of four goals. “During that game they all connected,” Rexroth said. “Even though we lost that game, we played well against the best team in the country. From there on, we had some type of swagger that never lifted.”

The team participated in four tournaments during the four- month season, most of which took place during the summer. The Happy Cows ended up at the USA Ultimate Youth Club Championships on Aug. 13 in Blaine, Minnesota in the 19U Mixed Division with eight other teams from around the nation. Teams get into the championships by applying for a bid before the season even starts. After easily defeating all of their opponents by more than four points, the Happy Cows ended up in the finals against New England Boston Ultimate Disc Alliance (BUDA). BUDA took the lead in the beginning but the Happy Cows stayed close the entire time, eventually reaching a score of 6-7. White came in and helped the team pull through the match. The team went on to score three more points, winning 9-7 and earning the national championship title again. “Everything seemed to come together,” Rexroth said. “I’m very proud of my team.”

“Even though we lost that game, we played well against the best team in the country,” Rexroth said.  “From there on, we had some type of swagger that never lifted.””

According to White, the best thing about the season was the team itself.  “They were all really supportive,” White said. “Everyone who plays was really into the sport and excited to play.” White also played with a few students from Gunn, including alumnus Brett Petersen. “Monisha was probably one of our best female players,” Petersen said. “She’s athletic, aggressive, and is one of the few players that I don’t freak out [about when] she’s holding the disc.” White played as a cutter, or receiver of the Frisbee, a position Rexroth felt she performed extremely well in. “[Monisha] is the perfect type of player,” Rexroth said. “She’s never afraid of any receiver and has this mentality that nothing can stop her. She is a very consistent thrower and makes great decisions.”
It has been two years since White first started playing Ultimate Frisbee, but she has come a long way. White plans on leaving the Happy Cows this school year and will instead be practicing with the Stanford Women’s Ultimate Frisbee team.

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Senior helps Ultimate Frisbee team win nationals