The Division 1 UCSB women’s ultimate frisbee team, the Burning Skirts, is currently recruiting for their 2020-21 season. Ranked among the top 10 squads in the nation, the Burning Skirts are further evidence of UCSB’s often-overlooked athletic success. In its past few seasons, the UCSB women’s ultimate frisbee team has performed impressively amongst local and national competitors. Before COVID-19 halted their 2020 spring post-season, the girls were ranked No. 7 in the nation; at one point before that, they were ranked as high as No. 4.
Described as a mixture of football, soccer and basketball, ultimate frisbee captures the fast-paced fluidity and camaraderie that former athletes crave, while offering an opportunity for community and player development for new-to-sports prospects.
The self-officiated game fosters a culture of respect, positivity and fierce competitiveness not only within Santa Barbara’s squad, but among the entire ultimate frisbee community. It is this quality, captured by what senior co-captain Nicki Yang calls “the spirit of the game,” which attracts fun-loving players who collectively develop a passion for ultimate frisbee and a strong commitment to their teammates.
The 30-girl roster welcomes everyone: from incoming freshmen to graduate students, and from former competitive athletes to never-played-a-sport-before rookies. And for the Burning Skirts, every one of these players is an investment.
This season’s three senior captains — Felicia Cruz, Leah Forester and Nicki Yang — are eager to not only recruit girls who, in the short term, will fill the spots of the 14 Spring 2021 graduates, but to more importantly give those girls the genuine friendship and competitive fix that will make the decision to stay on the team a no-brainer, just as it did for them.
The three collectively emphasize their team’s camaraderie, noting that even when the first few practices don’t sell the new players, the positive energy of the returning girls does. Their testament about how close they are speaks for itself: They train together, they eat together, they travel together — oh, and they live together.
In a typical fall pre-season, the team focuses on training and development, orienting the new players to the fast-paced game and integrating them into the tight-knit roster. Two fall tournaments allow the new squad to develop, tweak and perfect their skills in preparation for its three main tournaments in the winter season.
However, it is the team’s consistent performance in post-season that speaks especially to their ability to develop and hone their old and new talent. During spring quarter, the frisbee squad typically embarks on its journey to Nationals, for which it has qualified and competed in the past two years. In a combination of home and away tournaments, the team competes against local rivals Cal Poly, UCLA and UCSD, as well as farther competitors like Northeastern and University of Wisconsin.
Unfortunately, COVID-19 has so far halted in-person practices and team meet-ups, and their season, like many others, remains in limbo. Both UCSB and USA Ultimate, the governing body for Ultimate frisbee, have yet to release explicit statements regarding potential options for the upcoming season.
The captains have nonetheless done their best to keep players involved and in shape, sending out workouts and hosting virtual team trainings. They recognize that many freshman and new transfer students are eager to explore different UCSB organizations and to safely meet people on campus, and are therefore committed to virtually integrating new players as best as possible.
The Burning Skirts will be holding a virtual information session this Tuesday, Oct. 6 from 8 to 9 p.m., and they encourage anyone with even a speck of interest to attend and hear more about their team. The link to sign up can be found on any of their social media platforms: Instagram @burningskirtucsb, Twitter: @Bskirts, and Facebook: Burning Skirts – UCSB Women’s Ultimate Frisbee.