Bridget Bailey faces ‘ultimate’ test; Raider senior to attend national tryout

 

BRIDGET BAILEY of Fryeburg Academy was the only Maine player to be invited to the national Ultimate team tryout next month in Florida.

BRIDGET BAILEY of Fryeburg Academy was the only Maine player to be invited to the national Ultimate team tryout next month in Florida.

By Wayne E. Rivet

Staff Writer

FRYEBURG — In January, Bridget Bailey will be heading to Florida for an ultimate experience.

Out of a national field of 400 athletes, Bridget, a senior at Fryeburg Academy, has been selected to attend tryouts for the 2016 National Team that will represent the United States at the World Junior Ultimate Championship in Wroclaw, Poland next summer.

USA Ultimate, the national governing body for the sport of Ultimate in the United States will send select teams in the girls and open divisions to compete at next year’s championship.

One hundred men and 101 women have been selected by coaching staffs to attend one of two tryout camps in January. Bridget will attend the tryout camp in Orlando, Fla. on Jan. 23-24. Bridget is the only player selected from the state of Maine and only one of seven from New England.

Bridget has been playing Ultimate Frisbee with the Fryeburg Academy team since her freshman year. Last year was the first year that Ultimate was recognized by Fryeburg Academy as a varsity sport. The Ultimate Team is coached at Fryeburg Academy by Chris and Emily Strahler.

Bridget has led the FA girls’ team to two state championships and has been a part of Rip Tide, the Maine State Girls’ Team at the national level at the Youth Club Championship in Minneapolis, Minn. for two consecutive years.

The 2016 World Junior Ultimate Championships will be held July 31-Aug. 6, 2016, in Wroclaw, Poland, and will be hosted by the World Flying Disc Federation and the Polish Ultimate Players Association. WJUC was last held in Lecco, Italy, in 2014. The United States earned two medals at the event, a gold in the girls’ division and a silver in the open division.

The Bailey File Hometown: Fryeburg Parents: Brenda Berry and Bert Bailey Groups: Interact, Raider Patrol, FA Super Fan Club (president and founder), Junior Classical League, FA Jazz orchestra, Band Sports: Soccer, basketball and Ultimate Honors: Honor roll since freshman year Future plans: Bridget plans on attending a four-year school in New England and taking advantage of their pre-law track. After that, she plans to enroll in a two-year graduate law school.

The Bailey File
Hometown: Fryeburg
Parents: Brenda Berry and Bert Bailey
Groups: Interact, Raider Patrol, FA Super Fan Club (president and founder), Junior Classical League, FA Jazz orchestra, Band
Sports: Soccer, basketball and Ultimate
Honors: Honor roll since freshman year
Future plans: Bridget plans on attending a four-year school in New England and taking advantage of their pre-law track. After that, she plans to enroll in a two-year graduate law school.

Ultimate gaining in popularity

The popularity of Ultimate — which was invented in 1967 at a New Jersey high school — is growing across the nation and Maine. Almost five million people participate in Ultimate in the United States alone, which is more than lacrosse and hockey combined, according to a 2012 Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association report.

Why? First off, the game is rather simple. All that is needed to play is a flying disc and an open field. There are no game officials. Players make the calls under the true spirit of sportsmanship.

The rules say, “Assume the best about your opponent…Treat others as you would have them treat your mother.”

Here in Maine, Ultimate is played in the spring. In 2009, the Maine High School Spring League had eight teams. The league has since grown from 12 teams in 2010 to 16 in 2011, 21 in 2012, 26 in 2013, 36 in 2014 annd 53 in 2015 (with over 600 athletes across Maine).

On a sign-up board at Lake Region, a sheet has been posted for those interested in joining Ultimate.

Fryeburg Academy girls won the state title this past season, defeating Cumberland at the Cumberland Fairgrounds. This past year, Fryeburg Academy gave Ultimate “varsity” status.

“I think people are lured to the sport because it’s something new to try that may not come with the same pressures from school, family and friends,” said Emily Strahler, FA girls’ Ultimate coach. “It is a lot of fun to play a sport simply for the love of the sport. People find it easier to join Ultimate later in life because there are very few youth programs available for ages prior to high school. Thus, most people are on the same footing when starting in high school or college.”

Coach Strahler said Bridget is a key player and team leader for the Raiders and has been really since her freshman year. Her older brother, Ben, was on the 2012 State Championship Team and can probably be credited with first introducing Bridget to the sport.

“Since then, Bridget has made it her own game, leading the team in season and playing every chance she gets out of season,” Coach Strahler said. “On the field, she calls the plays, manages the pace of the game and controls movement of the disc. Off the field, she is a great promoter of the sport and has been essential in building the girls’ program.”

PLAYERS & POSITIONS Teams participating in the Club Championship Series may have a maximum of 27 players on their roster. Most other series and events do not have roster limits, but a common team size is between 14-24 players. A squad of seven teammates play on the field at any given time. COMMON THROWS Backhand — A pass in which the back of the thrower’s hand faces the direction of the throw and the throwing motion is across the body.  Forehand (or Flick) — A pass in which the palm of the throwers hand faces the direction of the throw and the throwing motion is on one side of the body.  Hammer — An overhead throw, which delivers the disc upside down. THE PLAYING FIELD A regulation ultimate field is 70 yards by 40 yards with end zones 20 yards deep. Play and scoring must occur within the lines. Perimeter lines are out of bounds. The official rules recommend that spectators and gear should remain 15 feet away from the field of play (or whatever distance is designated by the event organizer) to keep the perimeter safe and clear during play. THE DISC Ultimate is traditionally played with a high-tech molded plastic disc, which is approximately 10.75 inches in diameter. USA Ultimate has approved a variety of discs for use in Ultimate play at both the adult and youth levels. PLAYING THE GAME Ultimate is a noncontact sport played by two teams of seven players. The object is simple. Each team plays “keep away” from the other team by completing successive passes and progressing down the field, with a team member catching the final pass in the opponent’s end zone. A typical game is played to 15 points and usually lasts about 90 minutes. Initiating Play: Each point begins with both teams lining up on the front of their respective end zone line. The defense throws (“pulls”) the disc to the offense.  Scoring: Each time the offense completes a pass into the defense’s end zone, the offense scores a point. Movement of the Disc: The disc may be advanced in any direction by completing a pass to a teammate. Players may not run with the disc. The person with the disc (“thrower”) has ten seconds to throw the disc. The defender guarding the thrower (“marker”) counts out the stall count. Change of Possession: When a pass in not completed (e.g., out of bounds, drop, block, interception), the defense immediately takes possession of the disc and becomes the offense. Just like basketball, ultimate is a transition game in which players move quickly from offense to defense on turnovers. Substitutions: Players not in the game may replace players in the game after a score or during an injury timeout.  Non-contact: No physical contact is allowed between players. Picks are prohibited. A foul occurs when contact is made. OFFICIATION There are no referees in Ultimate. Part of the game’s official rules, Spirit of the Game, is based on the belief that respect and honor between competitors make it possible for control of the game to be in the players’ hands. Each athlete is obliged to trust every other player on the field to act as an official throughout play. Players are responsible for making their own calls. When a player believes there has been an infraction, they must make the call. A player called for an infraction can either agree that they committed a foul/violation and say “No Contest” or they may “Contest” that call if he/she believes the infraction did not occur. Play will temporarily stop while the call is being discussed. If opponents cannot agree on the outcome of a call (i.e., the call is “contested”), there will be a do over, where the disc is sent back to the thrower that possessed the disc before the supposed infraction and play will continue from there. Spirit of the Game: Ultimate relies on a spirit of sportsmanship that places the responsibility for fair play on the player. Highly competitive play is encouraged, but never at the expense of mutual respect among players, adherence to the agreed upon rules, or the basic joy of play. Such actions as taunting, aggression, intentional infractions or other win-at-all-costs behavior are contrary to Spirit of the Game and must be avoided. Observers: Observers are nonplayers whose role is to carefully watch the action of the game and perform any or all of the following duties: track time limits, resolve player disputes, censure or eject players for sportsmanship infractions, and issue rulings on line calls, off-sides calls, and some time limits. The difference between an observer and a referee is that, in general, observers only make rulings on infractions called by players, and only after the players have failed to resolve the issue themselves. COMMON TERMS Contact — A thrower may call “contact” instead of “foul” when contact with the marker occurs. Play does not stop, and the marker resets the stall count.  Dump Pass — A short lateral or backward pass.  Foul — When a player initiates contact with another player that affects continued play. Marker — The defensive player within three meters of the thrower who counts out the stall count.  Pick — Occurs whenever an offensive player moves in a manner that causes a guarding defensive player to be obstructed by another player. Obstruction may result from contact with, or the need to avoid, the obstructing player. This is a violation.  Pivot — The part of the body (usually the foot) in continuous contact with a single spot on the field during a thrower’s possession once the thrower has come to a stop.  Pull — The throw from one team to the other that starts play at the beginning of each point.  Stall — A turnover occurs when a thrower has not released the disc by the count of 10.  Stall Count — The amount of time the offensive player with the disc has to throw the disc. Each thrower is permitted 10 seconds to release the disc. The stall count must be called aloud by the marker. The stall count cannot be started until the marker is within 10 feet of the thrower.  Strip — When a defensive player initiates contact with the disc after an offensive player has gained possession of the disc, and the offensive player loses possession as a result. This is a foul.  Travel — When a thrower fails to establish a pivot at the appropriate spot on the field and/or keep in contact with that spot until their throw is released. This is a violation.  Violation — Any infraction of the rules other than a foul. • Source: Spectator’s Guide to Ultimate, USA Ultimate

SPECTATOR'S GUIDE TO ULTIMATE     PLAYERS & POSITIONS
Teams participating in the Club Championship Series may have a maximum of 27 players on their roster. Most other series and events do not have roster limits, but a common team size is between 14-24 players. A squad of seven teammates play on the field at any given time.
COMMON THROWS
Backhand — A pass in which the back of the thrower’s hand faces the direction of the throw and the throwing motion is across the body.
Forehand (or Flick) — A pass in which the palm of the throwers hand faces the direction of the throw and the throwing motion is on one side of the body.
Hammer — An overhead throw, which delivers the disc upside down.
THE PLAYING FIELD
A regulation ultimate field is 70 yards by 40 yards with end zones 20 yards deep. Play and scoring must occur within the lines. Perimeter lines are out of bounds. The official rules recommend that spectators and gear should remain 15 feet away from the field of play (or whatever distance is designated by the event organizer) to keep the perimeter safe and clear during play.
THE DISC
Ultimate is traditionally played with a high-tech molded plastic disc, which is approximately 10.75 inches in diameter. USA Ultimate has approved a variety of discs for use in Ultimate play at both the adult and youth levels.
PLAYING THE GAME
Ultimate is a noncontact sport played by two teams of seven players. The object is simple. Each team plays “keep away” from the other team by completing successive passes and progressing down the field, with a team member catching the final pass in the opponent’s end zone. A typical game is played to 15 points and usually lasts about 90 minutes.
Initiating Play: Each point begins with both teams lining up on the front of their respective end zone line. The defense throws (“pulls”) the disc to the offense.
Scoring: Each time the offense completes a pass into the defense’s end zone, the offense scores a point.
Movement of the Disc: The disc may be advanced in any direction by completing a pass to a teammate. Players may not run with the disc. The person with the disc (“thrower”) has ten seconds to throw the disc. The defender guarding the thrower (“marker”) counts out the stall count.
Change of Possession: When a pass in not completed (e.g., out of bounds, drop, block, interception), the defense immediately takes possession of the disc and becomes the offense. Just like basketball, ultimate is a transition game in which players move quickly from offense to defense on turnovers.
Substitutions: Players not in the game may replace players in the game after a score or during an injury timeout.
Non-contact: No physical contact is allowed between players. Picks are prohibited. A foul occurs when contact is made.
OFFICIATION
There are no referees in Ultimate. Part of the game’s official rules, Spirit of the Game, is based on the belief that respect and honor between competitors make it possible for control of the game to be in the players’ hands. Each athlete is obliged to trust every other player on the field to act as an official throughout play. Players are responsible for making their own calls.
When a player believes there has been an infraction, they must make the call. A player called for an infraction can either agree that they committed a foul/violation and say “No Contest” or they may “Contest” that call if he/she believes the infraction did not occur. Play will temporarily stop while the call is being discussed. If opponents cannot agree on the outcome of a call (i.e., the call is “contested”), there will be a do over, where the disc is sent back to the thrower that possessed the disc before the supposed infraction and play will continue from there.
Spirit of the Game: Ultimate relies on a spirit of sportsmanship that places the responsibility for fair play on the player. Highly competitive play is encouraged, but never at the expense of mutual respect among players, adherence to the agreed upon rules, or the basic joy of play. Such actions as taunting, aggression, intentional infractions or other win-at-all-costs behavior are contrary to Spirit of the Game and must be avoided.
Observers: Observers are nonplayers whose role is to carefully watch the action of the game and perform any or all of the following duties: track time limits, resolve player disputes, censure or eject players for sportsmanship infractions, and issue rulings on line calls, off-sides calls, and some time limits. The difference between an observer and a referee is that, in general, observers only make rulings on infractions called by players, and only after the players have failed to resolve the issue themselves.
COMMON TERMS
Contact — A thrower may call “contact” instead of “foul” when contact with the marker occurs. Play does not stop, and the marker resets the stall count.
Dump Pass — A short lateral or backward pass.
Foul — When a player initiates contact with another player that affects continued play.
Marker — The defensive player within three meters of the thrower who counts out the stall count.
Pick — Occurs whenever an offensive player moves in a manner that causes a guarding defensive player to be obstructed by another player. Obstruction may result from contact with, or the need to avoid, the obstructing player. This is a violation.
Pivot — The part of the body (usually the foot) in continuous contact with a single spot on the field during a thrower’s possession once the thrower has come to a stop.
Pull — The throw from one team to the other that starts play at the beginning of each point.
Stall — A turnover occurs when a thrower has not released the disc by the count of 10.
Stall Count — The amount of time the offensive player with the disc has to throw the disc. Each thrower is permitted 10 seconds to release the disc. The stall count must be called aloud by the marker. The stall count cannot be started until the marker is within 10 feet of the thrower.
Strip — When a defensive player initiates contact with the disc after an offensive player has gained possession of the disc, and the offensive player loses possession as a result. This is a foul.
Travel — When a thrower fails to establish a pivot at the appropriate spot on the field and/or keep in contact with that spot until their throw is released. This is a violation.
Violation — Any infraction of the rules other than a foul.
• Source: Spectator’s Guide to Ultimate, USA Ultimate

Bridget is a “handler” on offense, which means she does much of the throwing and catching. She has probably the best long throws of any girl in Maine and connects well with her teammates in the end zone, her coach said.

On defense, Bridget plays the deep position and is the last line of defense to prevent the other team from scoring.

“She is able to read the disc well and often appears seemingly out of nowhere to take away the disc from the other team,” Coach Strahler said. “It’s not uncommon to overhear other teams telling their players, ‘Keep it away from the redhead!’ which is much easier said than done.”

Bridget was recommended by her coaches, Chris Strahler from Fryeburg Academy and Nicole Welch from Rip Tide (travel team), to be considered for the national team.

“I think it is the fact that she was the leading scorer and defensive player for Maine’s Rip Tide team at the Youth Club Championships last year in Blaine, Minnesota,” Coach Strahler said.

Bridget will be competing with other players under the age of 21 for approximately 30 spots on the national team, so she will have to work very hard to earn a roster spot.

“Her biggest obstacle will be her lack of experience as she will be competing against collegiate players. She will also have to display a greater level of athleticism than she usually needs to as she will be competing with the best of the best,” Coach Strahler said. “Bridget often relies on superior height and disc reading skills that may not hold up against the best competition.  Although I cannot work with her in the offseason, she is planning to do some work with her club coach, Nicole Welch, to prepare for the tryouts in January.”

Excited about the opportunity

This week, The News posed the following questions to Bridget:

How did you become interested in Ultimate?

Bridget: When I was in elementary school my older brother Ben helped create the Fryeburg Academy Ultimate team, and that was something that he was very passionate about. He would force me to go into the yard with him (no matter the weather) and throw with him for hours. He taught me the basics on how to throw and catch, as well as the rules of the sport.

What skills do you need to possess to be a competitive Ultimate player? What position do you play and what are your responsibilities?

Bridget: To be successful in Ultimate, I think you need basic athleticism, and willingness to learn. Because there are no referees in Ultimate, Spirit of the Game (sportsmanship) is imperative.

I play the handler position so I control the flow of the disc and do a large majority of the throwing up the field.

How have you improved, and what do you do to improve your skills?

Bridget: My freshman year, I was very slow, and had no idea that my throws were above average in distance and accuracy. After my freshman season, I was chosen as a captain, which I think played a big part in building my confidence and giving me the opportunity to lead my team. Over the past four years, I’ve almost tripled the distance of my throws, and added about four or five new throws to my skill set. Like any other sport, repetition is the best way to get better. My high school coach always tells us ‘you’ll never get the down throw until you throw it at least 1,000 times.’

What do you enjoy the most about the sport?

Bridget: I enjoy the individuality and responsibility that comes with self-officiating, along with the general presence of other players that are equally as passionate about the sport. I encourage anybody to watch or participate in a game of Ultimate because no matter the opponent, the spirits are always high.

It appears the sport is starting to grow in popularity. Why?

Bridget: I think that people are starting to realize that Ultimate is more than just a game to play on the beach, but is a great way to stay in shape and combine several different aspects of other sports into one. As far as school goes, kids that play other sports are noticing that the Ultimate teams always have a lot of fun and that they’re being provided with the opportunity to try something new and exciting.

Fryeburg Academy has had some early success in Ultimate with a couple of state titles. What do you attribute that success to?

Bridget: Aside from the hard work and dedication from Chris and Emily Strahler (coaches), the kids that play for the Fryeburg Academy team have always had a true dedication to the sport. Most kids join the team with little-to-no knowledge of how to even throw and catch, and the support that the experienced players have always provided to them has made our team a success.

Comment on your selection to try out for the National team.

Bridget: I’m thrilled and honored to have been chosen to tryout for this team, as I’ve played against most other teams in New England and am aware that there are many talented girls in the region. Some of these girls play on the Maine state team with me during the summer, where we travel to Blaine, Minnesota every August to compete in the Youth Club Championship. After the tournament this year, our coaches encouraged us to fill out the application to try out for the WJUC team.

I know that I will be among the youngest of the girls trying out, as the team is U20, however I believe that my experience may make me a good competitor. I think that to be selected for the team it will take lots of dedication, along with speed, accuracy, distance, and agility. To help myself improve before the tryouts, I’ll be doing lots of sprints and lots of distance/accuracy throwing on the weekends, and whenever I have time around basketball games and practices.

With the tryout in Orlando, is there expenses you have to cover and if so are there fundraisers planned to help offset those costs?

Bridget: There are expenses to cover. I have to pay a tryout fee (covers cost of coaches and tryout space) along with airfare, housing and transportation. I’ve set up a RallyMe account for my trip and if someone wants to help out, go to RallyMe.com and search “Bridget Bailey” to donate.

What would it mean to you to be named to the National team? 

Bridget: I would love to be named to the National team. Ultimate has already provided me with such great opportunities and I hope that it continues to do so in my future. I’m heading into the tryouts with no expectations other than to learn and to grow from the experience.

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