We’re proud to introduce Cornell’s Wild Roses as the second team in our pre-nationals highlight series. For this interview, we talked to Roses co-captain Raina "Sprite" Kamrat. Enjoy!
Tell us a little about your history as a team:
The Wild Roses have been around since 1980, and have had a strong B team since 2004. When we formed, we were just the "Roses," a play off the men's team who went by the "Buds." The Wild Roses have made several appearances at Nationals and have been regionally competitive for decades.
What is your team composition?
After losing 13 seniors in 2017, the team took on a high number of freshmen, sophomore transfers, and B-team players in the fall. Our team make-up this year is primarily sophomores and juniors, with only three seniors and one grad student. Aside from college ultimate, our team comes from a variety of sports backgrounds (including soccer, lacrosse, track, and ballet). What we have most in common is a large composition of STEM majors!
Season goals and strategies?
Our goals were to foster an environment that encouraged self-improvement and vocal, unconditional support. We were lucky to return from an exciting year with fired-up players and seasoned coaches, so our challenge was to fuel that excitement through the long New York winter. We encouraged our players to take leadership roles on and off the field (like Team Manager, Social Media Wizard, Spirit Captain, etc.) and honed in on the fundamentals of gameplay. Our strategy was to experiment in the early season and dial it in for the series so that our players had as much time to practice and diversify as possible.
Which tournaments did you attend this year?
Queen City Tune Up, Main Event, I-85 Rodeo, and the College Series.
How have those played out over the past months?
We've had a pretty wild ride this spring, from a string of losses at Queen City to our dominant performance at Regionals. We struggled to find practice space in the winter with limited accessibility to the indoor track on campus. Rather than rallying for 11:30 PM-1: 30 AM practices, we booked an off-campus turf field through the winter. One of the major challenges in the East is re-learning to throw in the wind after several months trapped indoors. We emphasized throwing and catching as soon as we could play outdoors again, striving for every player to have a solid break-mark and upwind throw in their arsenal. Despite dealing with a number of injuries early-on in the season, our commitment to practices and weekly weight lifting propelled us to success.
Sami Smalling and Dena Behar have been a dynamic duo since starting on the Roses their freshmen year, and the addition of Kerianne Coulon as a deep receiver has made this trio near unstoppable at many tournaments. Raina "Sprite" Kamrat and Annie "Soups" Zhang are rock solid handlers as well, while Audrey "Leaf" Fox and Kyra "Spork" Ratusnik are key backfield players. Many of the second year returners have stepped up this year as well, lending the Roses an enduring depth that we've relied on all season.
Team Strengths and Growth Points?
Although we have several dynamic throwers, the Roses lack deep throwing experience, with many players picking the sport up only a year or two ago. We have a handler line that can shred zones and our cutters have great chemistry together, but our real strength is our defensive ability. We can deploy a wide variety of zones and junk looks and swiftly transition out to cause chaos and disrupt our opponent's flow. Our heads up help D has generated a lot of turns this season as well. When it comes to improvement, we have a couple of defensive looks that we're still shaky on deploying and sometimes struggle with offensive startups.
What makes your play or style unique?
The Wild Roses are a deep team where no superstar player controls the game. We can trust every girl on the field with the disc. We are also unmatched — in the Metro East, at least — in our determination to hit the ground on both Offense and Defense. Many of our rookies have been working on layout form since day one of tryouts (likely inspired by Lilly "Kermit" Mendoza and Sami Smalling's gorgeous form)!
What do you love about your team?
I love that the Wild Roses are really a family. We're committed to the game and to each other; there's always a teammate around to help you with homework, join you at the gym, or take you to Wegman's at 1:00 AM when you need hummus. There's not a single person on this team that I wouldn't want to spend a 15-hour road trip with. We couldn't do this without each other!
Anything else you’d like to add?
We just wanted to throw out some extra appreciation to 5 Ultimate for embracing the corn and agreeing to print us two flags this season — one with the Wild Roses and the other with our true spirit veggie: Corn. Also this.
Daria "Top Nut" Pachuka bearing the Corn-L flag
You can follow the action at the D-I College Championships this weekend here!
Follow Artemis on social media and get ready for them to make some NOISE!
The Wild Roses are one of Five's Partner Teams from the 2019 college season.
Whether you're a college or club team, if you want to partner up with us for your best campaign yet, shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, mentioning that you'd like to partner!