What: Kali Ultimate, Colorado women's ultimate Frisbee team
Follow Kali: https://twitter.com/Kaliultimate
More info: https://facebook.com/ColoradoWomensUltimate
After two disappointing seasons, the University of Colorado women's ultimate Frisbee team, Kali Ultimate, is ready to make a run for the national title.
After making it to semi-finals in 2010, the team fell short at regionals in 2011 and 2012. But this year the team is older, more experienced and has recruited enough women to create a development team.
Up from 22 players last year, Kali has grown to around 36 women this season, about half of whom have a few years of ultimate experience behind them, second-year coach Jack McShane said.
"We were really young last year," McShane said. "In terms of outlook, a lot of the freshmen from last year are maturing. We have a much stronger core this year, a much deeper core this year than we did last year."
In addition to having an older, maturer team, around 15 Kali women teamed up over the summer and played for the same club team, which means this season they mesh together well.
As of March 6th, Colorado was ranked 7th in the nation by USA Ultimate behind several other Pac-12 schools like Washington and Oregon.
"People were putting in time over the summer," said senior Amanda Good, originally from the Chicago suburb of Batavia, Ill.
Good and teammate Megan Cousins, a junior, tried out for and made the U23 women's national ultimate team, USA Ultimate announced Friday. The two Colorado women will join 20 others from across the country to represent the United States at the U23 World Ultimate Championships in Toronto this July.
The older, more experienced women on the team have taken on a mentorship role this season because the team placed a heavy emphasis on recruiting new members -- even those who had never picked up a Frisbee before.
Freshman Sarah Bartosh, a New Jersey native, joined the team with a field hockey and softball background. Because Kali created a development team, Bartosh -- who'd never played ultimate before -- will get real, on-field experience this season playing against other development teams.
"I had to learn from scratch," Bartosh said. "I was a goalie, so I never even know hot to look at a field. That was a huge adjustment for me, but every single person (on the team) was supportive."
Bartosh is one example of ultimate's growth in recent years. McShane started playing in 2003, when he would mention the words "ultimate" and "Frisbee" to friends who didn't play and get confused stares. Now, he said, there are countless high school programs, and CBS Sports broadcasts the national tournament.
Senior Christina Mickle, who grew up in Golden, noticed the growth of ultimate from her freshman year of high school to her senior year.
When she started, there weren't enough players to make up separate men's and women's teams. By the time she graduated, there were 20 players on the women's team alone, she said.
"That was huge growth," she said. "Coming into college, every year I feel like it's just gotten bigger."
Kali's next tournament is the weekend of March 23-24 in Austin, Texas, at the Women's College Centex. Then they'll head to sectionals in late April, which determines if they advance to regionals and nationals later this spring.
Though players on the team want this to be "their year," McShane said he wants to team to take the season one tournament at a time.
"One thing I learned while playing and coaching is we don't want to look too far ahead," McShane said. "So we're focusing on what's coming up. We have certain goals we'd like to hit along the way."
--Follow Sarah Kuta on Twitter: @SarahKuta.