Skunks end fall season as regional champions

Elvis+Chen+catches+the+frisbee+during+a+team+practice.+

Photo: Courtesy Emerson Skunks

Elvis Chen catches the frisbee during a team practice.

By Domenic Conte, Magazine Editor

In their final possessions as members of the Emerson Skunks, senior captain Kate Nelson reeled in a pass from junior co-captain Cameron Barth for the game-winning score this past Sunday, capturing the Northeast Mixed Regionals Division B championship and ending their career on top. 

The Skunks put out their most experienced players for their final offensive possession in the championship game against Providence College’s ultimate disc team, and their captains connected for the storybook finish. After an hour and fifteen minutes, the Skunks won 13-10, capping off their most important tournament of the semester with a championship trophy. 

“It was really fulfilling,” Nelson said in an interview. “Personally, I have put everything into this team since I was a freshman. To see it all kind of pay off not only by being the best mixed team in the division, but emotionally being the best team, to build our team up to a point where we didn’t need a championship to tell us how good we are, that’s all I needed.” 

For Nelson and Barth, it was the perfect ending to their careers. They’ve spent each of their years at Emerson building up the Skunks program, helping them grow into a team of over 30 members and eventually gaining them school-affiliated status at the beginning of the semester. They will join longtime Skunks member Karla Brady at Emerson’s Los Angeles campus next semester, handing off the duty of captain to sophomore Jared Merrifield.

“It’s surreal knowing that we ended the season on such a high note,” Merrifield said in an interview. “It’s a dream for me—I would imagine it’s a dream for everyone. It leaves us in a good spot for next semester.” 

Get This Week's News

All the big stories delivered to your inbox every Thursday morning 

Nelson finished the weekend with seven goals and nine assists, according to the Skunks’ Twitter account. Barth recorded a total of 13 assists throughout the weekend, including the tournament-winning pass to Nelson. He said he enjoyed winning over a school as athletically accomplished as Providence.

“Of all our wins this weekend, it was the closest win we had,” Barth said in an interview. “It felt really good to beat a [Division I] school, whereas we’re a [Division III] school and they’re a more established program than we are.” 

Freshman Jamie Leuchs-Curtis said the energy from the players off the field fueled the team throughout the weekend.

“We came together the most as a team this weekend,” Leuchs-Curtis said in an interview. “Part of that was because this was the most people we’ve had at a tournament this time this season. Our sidelines were coming together and showing support for the players on the team, and half of the game is the sidelines, in my opinion.” 

Senior Elvis Chen, the oldest member of the Skunks, began playing each semester since his freshman year. He said he remembers the different stages of the program throughout his time at Emerson, and recalled a time during his sophomore year when team success and morale fluctuated. In his seventh consecutive semester with the Skunks, Chen contributed on one of the team’s main lines this weekend.

“I consider myself really lucky to have been part of it,” Chen said in an interview. “When I came to Emerson, I knew I wanted to play ultimate, but I never realized just how much being on the Skunks would change my life.” 

Chen said the victory did not sink in right when the game clock ran out, but instead occurred to him as they marched towards the tournament headquarters tent and prepared to receive their trophy. 

“I was just thinking of how far I’ve come as a member of the team, and I started crying, because I’ve been here for all the ups and downs of the team,” Chen said. “Being on one of the main lines for this weekend’s tournament makes me feel like I’ve completed my own journey as a player, along with the team itself.” 

Despite winning their largest tournament of the year this past weekend and not scheduling another tournament until the spring, the Skunks took to Boston Common for their regularly scheduled Wednesday practice in sub-50 degree weather.

“We’re practicing because we love each other,” Nelson said. “And we just want to hang out.”

Sports Editor Aaron J. Miller did not edit this article due to a conflict of interest.