How the Los Angeles Astras rocketed to the ‘ultimate’ level of play with a flying disc – Daily Breeze

For the Los Angeles Astras – Los Angeles County’s first professional women’s ultimate Frisbee team – stepping onto the field at Redondo Union High School for their first home game was surreal.

It was one of the first times women have played ultimate as professional athletes, a goal most have worked toward for years, if not decades.

“Finally seeing it all come together, seeing how excited my teammates were, was just a really cool experience for all of us,” said player Felicia Yang, who is also the commissioner / founder of the nonprofit Western Ultimate League and an owner of the Astras.

One of those teammates, Emily Ash, a Torrance resident and quality engineer at Mattel, said the fact that she’s finally a professional player is hard to comprehend.

“I go out and play every weekend, but to see and play (the game) on a professional level, just gives it this whole other meaning,” Ash said.

And it only made sense, after losing their first two games, that the Astras would win the only home game they’ll play this season, beating the Utah Wild 11-7. And it certainly helped to have about 100 people cheering on the team named after the Spanish word for star.

“Everyone has been eagerly awaiting more opportunities to support the women in our community, and they showed up huge,” Yang said. “Getting that win in front of them was electrifying.”

Ultimate is played on a football-sized field with seven players on each side, three “handlers” and four “cutters.” A game consists of four 12-minute quarters.

A team scores when a handler passes the disc to a cutter over the opposing team’s end zone.

There’s lots of running, but there’s no running with the disc. Once a player catches a pass, she plants a foot and can only pivot, sort of like in basketball.

Astra coach and owner Jessica Creamer, who has played ultimate for 20 years, equated the handlers and cutters with positions in football.

“The handlers are kind of like a set of quarterbacks where they’re the ones that are constantly getting the frisbee back and then moving it up to the cutters,” Creamer said.

For many players on the newly formed pro team, including Yang and Ash, the first time they touched a disc was in college.

However, according to Creamer, the sport is taking on a new life outside of university campuses.

“It [ultimate] has bloomed way beyond college, hippie days, ”Creamer said,“ and having a professional element is definitely part of that. ”

World Flying Disc Federation is even making a push for a version of the sport to be considered at the 2028 Olympics.

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