First scrimmage motivates girls’ ultimate

Team works on goal-setting


Carissa Prestholdt

Senior Grace Hamond throws disc to teammate at girls’ ultimate first scrimmage of the season against Hopkins. The scrimmage Feb. 26 took place at Hopkins Junior High. Hopkins defeated Park with an undefined score.

Kaia Myers and Isabel Kjaer

When senior Grace Hammond looked back on her team’s scrimmage against Hopkins, she said saw value in it because the scrimmage helped players learn the logistics of the game.

“A scrimmage is more about learning and less about points. This scrimmage, because it was the first one of the season, was more about teaching new people about how games work,” Hammond said. “It’s more forgiving. Games are more strict. In scrimmages, if we don’t have enough players—like we did this time—we’ll switch it up, mix up the teams.”

Coach Kevin Ruda said having a scrimmage as opposed to a regular practice aids the team by training in a game-like setting.

“You can’t even simulate (a game) in practice very well because it doesn’t have that competitive aspect to it. You don’t know who you’re playing against in this case,” Ruda said. “It’s very much like you either learn it or get beaten kind of thing. It just forces them to adapt a lot quicker.”

According to Ruda, the team looks to increase the competition level it plays at and to improve team morale this year.

“One (goal) is to make (Division 1) state. Last year, we were high (Division 2), so getting to the next level (is a goal),” Ruda said. “We’ve always had high spirit scores. Two years ago, we won the spirit award, so we’re looking to get that again as well.”

Junior Svea Bleske said she enjoys the positive and uplifting environment she has found on the team and hopes to bolster this atmosphere.

“(I hope) to stay tightly knit as a community and as players. We are very supportive of each other; we always give high fives,” Bleske said. “We always encourage each other, so the goal is to stay motivated and stay encouraging.”

One way the team builds spirit is by having a social captain, such as Hammond, organize various team bonding events and a “sisters” program, according to Ruda.

“We have a captain designated for (building community): the social captain. They have been organizing some events,” Ruda said. “We also do sisters, which is fun as well. Usually, we have an upperclassman with a younger one, and they learn off of each other. It’s a person to talk to on the field.”

Ruda said he’s looking to inspire newer players to take risks during games by practicing more.

“As young, developing high schoolers who are brand new to the sport, they are often very intimidated, and they won’t throw things that I’ve seen them throw in a game,” Ruda said. “It’s been more of pushing them to get outside their comfort zone and do that.”

According to Hammond, the team is striving to train rigorously in practices in order to improve its overall fitness.

“In (practices), we usually start with warmups, then we do specific drills very similar to what we do in games. We do a lot of running drills. This year we’re trying to focus more on conditioning and getting faster individually as a team,” Hammond said.

Official girls’ ultimate practices start Mar. 3 at the St. Louis Park Middle School.