The skies were overcast and rainy on Sunday morning. But as students remained warm in their dorms, the roars of the Claremont Greenshirts, the Claremont Colleges’ women’s and gender expansive ultimate frisbee team, could still be heard echoing around campus.
The Greenshirts, otherwise known as the Greens, hosted the Claremont Classic last Sunday, an invitational round-robin tournament featuring Occidental, UC San Diego, UC Irvine and UCLA. The Greenshirts went 3-1 at the Classic with dominant and crucial wins throughout the day, but according to Linda Phan PO ’24, win or lose, “Spirit of the Game” is what drives the Greens.
“Spirit of the Game is something that totally makes frisbee super unique from other sports,” Phan said. “[It’s] kind of our way of centering sportsmanship and making sure that everyone’s having fun before competition.”
Spirit of the Game is a fundamental philosophy that defines the sport, promoting sportsmanship on and off the field. The Claremont Braineaters, the 5C men’s ultimate team, were the Division III Spirit Champions at last year’s national tournament.
Even though the Classic had major implications for national seedings, the tournament was hosted to so much more than just on-field play. Songs, dances and intense cheers are all a part of the Greens’ mission to create a community that celebrates teamwork, sportsmanship and equal opportunities while also providing a competitive environment for a team with National Championship aspirations.
Sylvie Kromer SC ’25 said the Greens’ dedication to Spirit of the Game is what drew her to the team.
“My high school team was very intense and very competitive, it wasn’t always the most fun,” Kromer said. “Coming to the Greens, it was so nice. It’s such a lovely community of people … and I feel [that the] people on the team have become some of my best friends.”
Throughout all the games at the Claremont Classic, the Greens could be heard screaming their hearts out, cheering on both their teammates and their opponents. At halftime, instead of discussing team strategy or devising plays for the second half, the Greens hosted a line dance in the middle of the field. Both teams as well as fans were welcomed to join the dance to tunes such as “Footloose” and “Country Girl.” These cheers and dances are part of a rich history of the Greens, something Phan finds incredibly special about the team.
“Our cheers kind of go hand in hand with the Spirit of the Game element in frisbee,” Phan said.
“[They] are used to hype us up, but it’s also to foster a welcoming and fun environment for all the people who are here to watch and the teams [we] are playing against. Our cheers are passed down throughout the years of our team [and are a] testament to the different histories we have here at 5Cs,” Phan said.
Even with prioritizing community, the Greens still dominated on the field. The Greens started the day strong with a victory against UC San Diego. After falling behind 4-1 early on, the Greens scored five unanswered points to take the victory. In the second round, the Greenshirts fell to UC Irvine after a late comeback attempt fell short. The Greens faced off against UCLA in the third round and took care of business, winning 10-3.
The Classic closed with a rematch against the Greens’ heated rival, Occidental. In their third matchup of the season, the Greens won a thrilling game that came down to the final point.
As the only two DIII women’s frisbee teams in the Southwest region, matchups between Occidental and the Greens have major national tournament implications. Given their national ranking, the Greens (21) will have to go through Occidental (23) to receive a bid in the National Tournament. According to Phan, these frequent matchups have led to a friendly rivalry between the two squads.
“We love Oxy,” Phan said. “There’s a lot of camaraderie since we only play them for the bid to Nationals.”
Despite their rivalry, Spirit of the Game remains a priority for both teams, and the tensions never grow too high.
“The rivalry … has [the] opportunity to create tension with the Spirit of the Game aspect,” Phan said. “But I think one of the big things about frisbee is that competition never outweighs Spirit of the Game, and if it does, that’s something that is … held accountable.”
The Greenshirts will look to continue their success as the season kicks into gear. The team currently sits 11-7 overall, jumping into the national rankings last week after a successful trip to Santa Clara, where a key win against Occidental shot them into the top-25 DIII teams.
As the chase for a National Championship grows closer, their hearts are set on a title, but for Rachel Ressmeyer PZ ’26, National Championship or not, the Greenshirts will remain one of her favorite parts of Claremont.
“Every day I look forward to seeing the team, no matter what we’re doing,” Ressmeyer said. “They’re all super supportive and it’s definitely the best choice I’ve made in college so far.”