Jackson-Reed Ultimate Frisbee team wins DCSAA state championship

On May 6, the Jackson-Reed Ultimate Frisbee team secured the DCSAA state championship for the second year in a row, furthering their incredible record as one of DC’s best high school sports teams. 

This year marks the 7th year the frisbee team has won the DCSAA team and currently the Jackson-Reed boys ultimate team is ranked the 12th best in the country. In addition this past season, the boys team at the Youth Ultimate League of Arlington (YULA) Invite, made it to the championship and ultimately got second place. 

Although Jackson-Reed typically has separated girls and boys frisbee teams, for the DCSAA mixed tournament the two teams were combined to create multiple co-ed squads; JV and Varsity.

Going into the tournament, the mixed boys and girls ultimate team had very little practice playing together.  “We didn’t play mixed the entire season” said junior Wengyin Ho. With only two weeks of practicing together, the team had to find a way to play and win as a unit. However, building chemistry wasn’t an issue for them. “Our team culture is very strong… and our players trusted each other to get the job done,” senior captain Margot Nissen said.

While the JV team had an earlier exit from the tournament after losing in the second round to Walls’ Varsity team, Varsity made a deep run and eventually captured the championship. They cruised through their first two wins, beating Walls’s JV team 13-0 in the first round and followed it up in the second round with a 13-8 win over Latin to propel themselves into the championship game. 

The championship game was against a very familiar competitor: School Without Walls. “Walls has been our main rival throughout the year. Both [the] girls and boys teams have lost to them individually throughout the season and we were ready to get revenge,” Nissen commented. In addition to individual losses to Walls throughout the season, in the fall JR’s mixed team lost the Virginia State championship to Walls.  

“It felt great, especially since we beat Walls. It was really close throughout the game but we ended up winning,” Ho said. Tensions were high as Jackson Reed and Walls battled back and forth for the title. “The finals were intense. It’s probably one of the most nervous games I’ve ever been in,” Nissen, who had been forced to the sideline due to injury, said.

Many players stepped up throughout the tournament and did their part to secure the win. Specifically, junior Zach Bensky showed up with a spectacular performance and was awarded the well deserved title of MVP. Defensive contributions from senior Liberty Kessler and a huge catch from junior Lizzie Himmelfarb for one of the final points of the game also helped bring Jackson-Reed to a win.

In addition to winning the DCSAA championship, the boys ultimate team is one of 16 teams across the country invited to Nationals. Each year 16 boys 16 girls teams are chosen from across the US to compete. Nationals will be held on June 16-17 this year and is set to take place in Salt Lake City.