This past weekend, Vassar College’s Ultimate team held their annual tournament for other colleges and universities in the region, cleverly titled Huck for Red October. This year marks the sixth year that Vassar Ultimate has held this tournament. With a total of eight schools in attendance other than Vassar, this tournament is the culmination of a season of work by the Vassar Ultimate teams.
As well as being the biggest Ultimate tournament put on by Vassar College, Huck for Red October is also a wonderful place for Ultimate teams from other schools to meet and make connections, according to women’s Ultimate co-captain and senior Anna Been. “HFRO has been going on for a while,” wrote Been. “It’s definitely a tradition and is accompanied by a BBQ as well as festivities with the other teams, so it’s a really fun event. Having alumni teams come back is also great, because these are the people we learned to play from. It’s our only home tournament, and a ton goes into organizing it.”
Senior man’s co-captain Nick Creighton agreed with Been’s sentiments, emphasizing the planning that goes into an event like this for a non Varsity sport like Ultimate. “I think whats really cool about Huck is that its all student driven,” expressed Creighton. “Unlike other teams here at Vassar, we don’t have anyone in the athletics department helping us coordinate games, travel, etc. At other schools its the same; Ultimate teams are generally clubs, with the same kind of oversight that for example an a cappella group would get. A lot of people on our team pitched in, helping to run the BBQ, helping set up and clean up the fields, and putting up their houses so teams could sleep on their floors. And in the end it really came together, we brought 200 people to the school and it seems like they all had a pretty good time.”
Creighton has been playing Ultimate for a total of eight years, and has nothing but love for the sport. “The game is a ton of fun and I really like the competitiveness of it, but the spirit of the game is really what distinguishes it from other sports,” Creighton described. “It’s self-refereed, which means that its really on the players to make it fair. Occasionally there are some arguments over calls, but it gets left on the field. I love going to tournaments and meeting new people.”
Been had a different experience, coming to Vassar with little Ultimate playing time. “I wouldn’t have stayed on the team had the people not been as nice as they were, but I also have come to really love the sport,” Been explained. “It’s challenging and also incredibly sportsmanlike, as the whole game is self-refereed. I played on a summer league in Boston this summer, which is a great way to stay in shape/improve your playing skills. A lot of people play in summer leagues, which are usually co-ed.”
The tournament was played over the course of two days, with Saturday being the day where each team plays four matches. The performance of each team determined their placement in the finals bracket, which would be held on the following Sunday. Vassar men’s A team went 4-0 on Saturday 14-16, putting them at the top of their bracket. The team lost to Vassar’s alumni team in the semi finals on Sunday. The winner on the men’s side was the University of Maryland Baltimore, defeating the Alum team. Vassar men’s B team went 0-4 on Saturday.
On the women’s side, Vassar’s team, known to many as The Boxing Nuns, went 1-3 on Saturday. However, they defeated Dickinson on Sunday 12-8, giving them a spot in the semi finals, where they lost to Connecticut College. The Vassar Alum team on the women’s side also lost in the semi finals to Bard College. Bard needed up taking the Ultimate title on the women’s side.
Aside from Huck for Red October, Vassar Ultimate fosters a sense of unity, according to Been. “The teams here are incredibly inclusive and anyone can join,” Been stated. “We are definitely friends off the field as well and will often have team dinners and go to events or hang out as a group.”
Men’s co-captain Noah Edelstein expressed the importance of the team’s unity to him personally. “To me, more than anything this team is a network that exists far beyond the Vassar campus. I am still very close with teammates who have graduated and have friends who played on the Vassar Ultimate team years before I was even here. It’s a brotherhood.”