Women's College Centex is centered around two things: competition and community. Texas Women's Ultimate and the Ultimate Players League of Austin (UPLA) teamed up to host this year's tournament, which expanded to include 32 Women's teams divided into two tiers with the opportunity to play up / down. The decision to grow the tournament stemmed from a desire to create more opportunities for teams and increase the depth and level of competition in the Women's Division. While a few teams remain at the top of the food chain, competitive games happened across the board and a number of up-and coming teams proved their worth as contenders for a bid to Nationals.
In addition to the high level of competition, the weekend also provided a number of opportunities to build the Women's Ultimate community. With a number of "extra" events over the course of the weekend, everyone had the chance to meet other players from around the country. UCSB challenged teams to (water) boat races at the mixer on Friday, UCLA broke it down on the dance floor, Wash U started some intense games of pokey, Illinois and UCSD enjoyed heckling each other's rookies at the rookie showcase game on Saturday, and as usual, a number of teams brought their A game to the Centex dance-off.
By the end of the weekend, many new friendships had been forged and teams that had previously never interacted were on each other's sidelines cheering each other to victory. Our goal was to create an atmosphere where we could connect the Women's Ultimate community and we hope that people walked away with a greater appreciation for the sport we play and the wonderful people we play with and against.
In this feature, we'll take a look at the tournament and the teams in competition at Centex from the persective of the coaches, captains, and players in attendence.
All photos courtesy of Russell Gaskamp at Spiking Plastic.
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— Michelle Ng, 2009 Women's College Centex Tournament Director