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Vikes women’s ultimate hold the North American spirit crown

Ultimate nationals

June 1, 2023

VICTORIA – Aside from taking 15th overall at the USA Ultimate Division 1 Women's College Championship in Mason, Ohio, last weekend, for the second time this season, the University of Victoria women's ultimate team also won the coveted Team Spirit Award.

The Vikes, who earned their spot to nationals by finishing fourth at the Northwest D-1 College Women's Regionals in Salt Lake City at the end of April, might just be the most spirited team in North America. This season, the team earned spirit awards at both the Canadian University Ultimate Championships and the USA Div-1 Ultimate Championships—the first Canadian team to do so.

Spirit of the Game

While the name is misleading, the Spirit Award is not in fact awarded to the team with the most school spirit. However, if that were the prerequisite, the Vikes would likely win that too.

Spirit of the Game plays a significant role in the sport of ultimate. Since it's invention in 1968, ultimate has proudly promoted that aspect of the game more than any other.

Spirit puts the control of conducting and managing the game in the hands of the players—a genuinely unique and defining element of ultimate, requiring each player to know the rules and make their own calls without the help of a neutral official.

Spirit scoring is the primary tool for implementing spirit. The score sheet allows teams to rate their opponents on rules and knowledge use, fouls and body contact, fair-mindedness, attitude, and communication. The reported scores help determine the team spirit award.

To be named winner of the spirit award is truly an honour, highlighting the team's commitment to sportsmanship and fair play while being recognized by their peers.

"This means a lot to our team, who has prioritized spirited play over the course of the last few seasons. We have elected three spirit captains this season who help guide the team to maintain a high level of spirit and sportsmanship throughout everything we do. To win the game but lose the respect of your opponent is not a win at all, and they've embodied respectful play," said Vikes co-head coach Amira Maddison.

"The Vikes have also been largely involved with Ultimate Spirit, a local Victoria organization run by the BC Ultimate Society that works with Indigenous youth through the sport and spirit of ultimate. Ultimate Spirit aims to unify connection, healing, and wellness in communities through the culture, spirit and sport of ultimate and build transformational connections between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities."

USA Ultimate D-1 Women’s College Championship

Up against the top university programs from the USA and Canada, the Vikes went into the national tournament, ranked 16th. With a big win in pool play, defeating Carnegie Mellon University 15-13, the Vikes finished strong by breaking seed and finishing in 15th.

This is the UVic women’s ultimate team's third trip to nationals and will certainly not be their last. With a young crop of up-and-coming talent who gained experience competing at the highest level this season, the future is bright.

“Proving that the UVic ultimate program deserves to be recognized as one of the top 15 teams in the US and Canada is huge. To do so and maintain the highest level of spirit is such a great accomplishment,” said Maddison.

“I’m very proud of the veterans and captains on the team who have helped lead the team to this moment, and so excited for all the young players who have gained a lot of experience from this process and can bring that experience to future years on the Vikes ultimate team.