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Hell’s Belles level up in sectionals tournament despite inclement weather

Colorado+State+University+Ultimate+Frisbee+player+Char+Bokhof+throws+the+frisbee+to+a+fellow+teammate+in+the+sectionals+tournament+against+the+University+of+Colorado+Boulder+April+13.
Collegian | Julia Percy
Colorado State University ultimate frisbee player Char Bokhof throws a frisbee to a fellow teammate in the sectionals tournament against the University of Colorado Boulder April 13. CSU lost the championship game 15-6.

The dream stays alive.

That’s what Colorado State’s women’s and nonbinary ultimate frisbee team, the Hell’s Belles, was left with at the end of the Rocky Mountain sectionals tournament on Saturday in Fort Collins. The Belles only needed one win on the day to obtain a position in the upcoming regionals tournament.

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No. 8 ranked Colorado took the overall tournament win without a loss, defeating No. 19 CSU in the championship round. The Belles started to mount a comeback after a rocky 3-0 deficit early on and managed the game to 6-5 in CU’s favor before the offense fell flat for the rest of the match.

CU’s stifling defense and nimble offense led to an unanswered seven-point run near halftime, and they never looked back. The Belles managed one more score before CU initiated the final goal. CU effectively held off the Belles in the back half of the match, winning 15-6.

Playing against an organized, fast-paced team like CU led to extremely impactful turnovers.

“We can work on it more in practice,” coach Hannah Hinchsliff said. “(We’ll work on) doing drills that are mentally grinding to practice fighting through turns and drops and things like that and still lifting the team as a whole. Like, not getting down on each other when there’s a drop or if you get scored on.”

Wind, clouds and a slight drizzle impacted play starting in the championship match — something all teams withstood throughout the competition.

“Sometimes, it can be pretty miserable because you’re literally out there, and you can’t catch anything because the wind is so crazy,” junior Julia Giesenhagen said. “It’s also good because you’re able to work into those conditions and get better just based (on) the conditions at play.”

One game doesn’t make the day, though. CSU’s ultimate team fared well in the first round, beating Denver decidedly 15-5 and again in the second place finals 15-1.

The Belles ended up taking second place and secured a bid to the regional tournament starting April 27 in Austin, Texas. On top of that, the Belles’ offense played well in general, and the team continued their upward competitive trajectory.

“Our defense was a little down on our first game against CU, which is why they were able to score more points,” junior Kiera Schreiber said. “But our offense has been really good today.”

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The Belles have retained many starters from the past two seasons, in each of which they made it to the national tournament. Senior players have stepped up and helped distribute wisdom and discs to the underclassmen.

“You can tell we’re still leveling up, which is, like, a great thing,” senior Genevieve Reyland-Slawson said. “Because even though we know that we made it to regionals, it’s still really important for our mindsets to be (in the game).”

Conditioning, regular practices and talent all contributed to the Belles’ success this season. A main focus moving forward is increasing the level of mental play as CSU’s ultimate team looks towards the future.

“We have a lot of athletes and a lot of really good cutters, and then that athleticism translates to intensive defense,” Hinchsliff said. “Something we have to work (on) a little bit is our mental game and what is in our control.”

With a spot at regionals secured, the Belles look to finish first or second in Austin in order to seize a bid to this year’s national tournament.

“I know we can make it to nationals,” Reyland-Slawson said. “We just need to keep leveling up mentally to help our game physically.”

Reach Michael Hovey at sports@collegian.com or on Twitter @michaelfhovey.

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