Rice University’s Student Newspaper — Since 1916

Thursday, August 18, 2022 — Houston, TX

Powderpuff champs: Baker claims title

baker-powderpuff-credit-gabi-gomez-1
Courtesy Gabi Gomez

By Ivanka Perez     1/14/20 11:13pm

In December, the Baker College powderpuff team defeated McMurtry College 7-6 to win its first women’s college flag football title since at least 1999. Baker’s victory broke a four-year streak during which Hanszen and McMurtry each claimed two titles. 

Described by head coach and senior Cannon Armistead as “small but mighty,” the Baker team featured only around 12 consistent players, just four more than the eight required to play. Senior Paul Ryu, an assistant coach, said it was difficult to find times when the entire team could meet. As a result, only five players on average could make it to each practice.

“Sometimes there were more coaches than players [at practices],” Ryu said.



Since not everyone on the team could make it to every game, team captains and Baker seniors Erin Kilbride and Sarah Downing said they almost had to forfeit a game when not enough players showed up. But Kilbride said the size of their team didn’t work against them; rather,  the team’s small size actually worked in Baker’s favor.

“The quality of players was high because we had a small team,” Kilbride said. “Each person who showed up to a game actually cared and wanted to win and tried their best.”

The team’s size also meant that players got more playing experience than they would have on a larger team.

“People got to play both sides — offense and defense,” Kilbride said. “Whoever showed up to a game always got a lot of playing time, so it was fun.”

Baker sophomore Indya Porter said having a small team was part of what encouraged her to continue to remain an active player.

“[The coaches] really wanted [players] to play because we have a small team,” Porter said. “So because of that you feel really important — you feel like you’re meaningful in the team.” 

Although Baker’s powderpuff team hadn’t recently won a championship, both Baker captains said this year’s winning squad built upon last season’s strong foundation. 

“Last year was [our coaches’] first time coaching, and a lot of people’s first times playing [our new positions],” Kilbride said.  “So last year was kind of like getting started with our coaches and new positions. This year, it really clicked.”

Downing said part of the team’s performance should be attributed to the five coaches on the team.

“I think we had a more solid coaching base than we’ve had in the past, with pretty knowledgeable coaches who showed up and cared about how we were doing,” Downing said.

Armistead also said the chemistry between the coaches and the players factored into the team’s success. 

“[All the coaches are] all really good friends with the girls,” Armistead said. “We’re on the same wavelength.”

According to Downing, the individual players’ performances also made an impact on the team’s success. Downing said the players’ athleticism and experience contributed to the team dynamic.

“I think part of it is that we have a lot of players who have played sports in the past,” Downing said. “We just have a lot of pretty naturally athletic people who have played sports like soccer that kind of match the aggressiveness and athleticism that powderpuff requires.”

After moving players to different positions, Armistead said he realized putting the right players in the right positions had a huge impact.

“We put [Kilbride] as [wide receiver] and she turned out to be the best receiver in the league,” Armistead said. 

Although the team dynamic may have led them to win the championship, Kilbride said that Baker powderpuff doesn’t focus on winning.

“It really [isn’t] about winning or being competitive at all,” Kilbride said. “The relaxed, fun environment is what makes [being on the team] cool.”

Despite the team’s laid-back attitude, Ryu said the players delivered during some of the championship game’s most pivotal moments. 

“[The players] made some insane plays,” Ryu said.



More from The Rice Thresher

SPORTS 7/25/22 12:16pm
Garcia drafted by the Rays in the 14th round

Pitcher Roel Garcia became the latest Owl to turn pro on Tuesday when he was drafted by the Tampa Bay Rays in round 14 of the MLB Draft. According to Garcia, he barely remembers the moment he heard his name called because he was so overwhelmed with joy.

SPORTS 6/13/22 2:41pm
Forbes takes silver at NCAAs

On Thursday, sophomore distance runner Grace Forbes proved to the rest of the country what her Conference USA opponents and Rice teammates have known for years – she’s one of the fastest runners in the country. Competing at the NCAA championships in Eugene, Ore. for the second consecutive year, Forbes, took second place in the 10,000-meter, the best finish by an Owl at the NCAAs in over a decade. According to Forbes, who missed the indoor season and the first month of the outdoor season due to extreme fatigue later diagnosed as an autoimmune disorder, the result was a testament to the work she’s put in to overcome an incredibly challenging year.

SPORTS 6/3/22 1:21pm
NCAA T&F prelims see five Owls qualify for championships, Forbes take gold

Five Owls will be heading to next week’s NCAA outdoor track and field championships, after qualifying at the NCAA West Preliminaries which ran May 25 through 28. Headlining the meet for Rice was sophomore distance-runner Grace Forbes, who took first place in the 10,000 meters for the second consecutive year. Forbes will be joined in Eugene, Ore., by sophomore thrower Tara Simpson-Sullivan, junior thrower Erna Gunnarsdottir, senior thrower James McNaney and sophomore vaulter Alex Slinkman. Jon Warren, head coach of the men’s track and field program, said that he was impressed not only by the five qualifiers, but by all 13 Owls who participated over the course of the week in Fayetteville, Ark.


Comments

Please note All comments are eligible for publication by The Rice Thresher.