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CSU Hell’s Belles develops community as well as nationals bid

Collegian | Emma Askren
Cice Kim, a captain of the Colorado State University women’s and nonbinary ultimate frisbee team Hell’s Belles, throws a frisbee during an indoor practice Feb. 14.

Colorado State’s Hell’s Belles are no strangers to top-level play. 

As CSU’s women’s and nonbinary club ultimate frisbee team, Hell’s Belles has created a supportive, competitive culture on the field. 


“It’s been really good — we’re coming off of, like, two straight seasons of going to nationals,” said Grace Brown, a Hell’s Belles team captain. “We definitely have had that expectation going into our competitive season.” 

The Hell’s Belles are coming off a tournament win in Austin, Texas, and are looking to stay hot in their upcoming sectionals competition on the way to a bid for nationals.

Many of the players didn’t initially sign up to play in big events, though. 

“I wasn’t necessarily wanting to go (to a team) somewhere that was super competitive or that it would be the only thing I was focused on,” Brown said. “But then as I started playing and, like, our team was getting better, we ended up being at that level of making nationals. Then I was like, ‘OK, this is just great.’” 

This success the Belles have built is centered on camaraderie first and foremost.

The Belles have built their winning team culture through their players with a little help from the coaches. Longtime coach and former Belles member Emily Stege has witnessed this throughout the years.

“The ethos of the Belles has kind of always stayed very similar,” Stege said. “I mean, wanting to play at a high level while also maintaining a good community.”

The supportive, competitive nature of the team becomes quickly apparent during practices and scrimmages. Cheering, affirmations and constructive coaching are all heard amid fast-paced play.

“Something that I love about the team is just how uplifting it is and easy,” team captain Cice Kim said. “It’s not weird to uplift your teammate after a point even if it was a loss for you guys.”


The nature of the team ties in well with the self-officiating aspect of traditional ultimate frisbee. Players are left to self-regulate games, as there aren’t any active referees involved.

“It’s really encouraged to have spirit of the game,” Kim said. “You don’t have refs, so that’s definitely emphasized.” 

The attitude of the Belles isn’t just for show on the field. The team created bonds outside of ultimate frisbee that have affected the lives of some of the members as well. 

With players ranging from first-years to seniors, the background of each member is unique. 

“I feel like this is a really big community, and the team is super close,” senior Corbin Smith said. “And if you’re not super close with a team, that’s going to take away from the experience and also from the team culture.” 

Smith transferred to CSU in her sophomore year and quickly found a place within the Belles.

“(Transferring) was definitely a transition,” Smith said. “I feel like coming in, only knowing a few people was sort of hard. Since the team is super open, they want you to play (and) want you to make friends. It was really easy to mingle with everybody. There were no cliques or anything.” 

This atmosphere is also self-governed and depends largely on the quality of people inhabiting the team. 

“There’s only so much you can do as a coach to set cultures,” Stege said. “We can set ethos and expectations and kind of all be operating from the same set of core values. They kind of foster the culture themselves.” 

One thing unique to this year’s Belles is their pregame traditions. 

“We do … goals and manifestations before (competition),” Kim said. “Everyone says their goal, which is more of a personal thing. My goal — it’s, like, super attainable, something that you’re working on all weekend. … And then manifestations are more like big picture and so, like, good weather, no injuries.” 

The Hell’s Belles look to manifest a bid to this year’s national championship as the postseason rears up. Colorado’s ultimate team has claimed one of two spots in the south central region, allowing the Belles a potential shot at a third consecutive nationals appearance.

“I mean, we’re super talented,” coach Jack Hinchsliff said. “Come watch us. It’s going to be sweet.”

Reach Michael Hovey at or on Twitter @michaelfhovey.

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About the Contributor
Emma Askren
Emma Askren, Sports Editor
Emma Askren, alongside Damon Cook, is the fall 2023 sports editor for The Collegian. She began working at The Collegian during her first year in the fall of 2022, when she covered the swim and dive team as well as anything sports-related. She is currently a sophomore at Colorado State University, where she is majoring in journalism and media communication and double minoring in Spanish and sports management. During her first year, she joined the rowing team, began working as a reporter for The Collegian and working at the Student Recreation Center. Askren applied to CSU as a journalism major, knowing she wanted to combine her passion for sports and writing to create a fulfilling career. Upon realizing that Rocky Mountain Student Media was hiring for first-years, she jumped at the opportunity to become a writer for The Collegian. While working for the sports desk, Askren has had the opportunity to write about hockey, logging, whitewater rafting and the importance of women in sports. As a woman in a male-dominated industry, she seeks to break the status quo and become a successful sports journalist following graduation. Following a year as a sports reporter, Askren became a co-editor for the sports desk alongside Cook. Together the duo seeks to create a new and improved sports desk that caters to all readers of The Collegian and beyond.

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