Champions: will they take it all again?

Competitive teams will compete to see if last year’s lacrosse teams, the Titans and the Knights, and the ultimate frisbee teams, the Spartans and the Knights, will be back-to-back champions in 2016.

This season, Head Coach Robin Bernard, a senior studying recreation management, is over the 2015     women’s ultimate frisbee champions,  the Spartans.

Bernard said this will be her fourth season in competitive sports.

Bernard said she would like to keep the Spartans’ legacy going.

“It makes a difference in the season and experience when your team cares not only about winning, but also each other,” she said.

She said she wants to help her players increase in skill and in their love for    the game.

Bernard said she looks for skill, a good attitude, effort and humility in players.

“Ultimate relies upon a spirit of sportsmanship that places the responsibility for fair play on the player,” according to the ultimate frisbee rule book at BYU-Idaho. “Highly competitive play is encouraged, but never at the expense of mutual respect among competitors, adherence to the agreed upon rules or the basic joy of play.”

Bernard said she wants her players to learn the spirit of sportsmanship.

“A goal I have is to help my girls have fun in a competitive environment and win in the process,” Bernard said.

Ethan Bernard, a senior studying political science, who is married to Spartan Head Coach Robin Bernard, was the 2015 coach of the men’s ultimate frisbee championship team, the Knights.

Ethan Bernard said he has played in four championships.

He said to help win a championship, team unity is the number one factor, followed by preparation and confidence.

“Despite drafting mostly new players last season, I knew I had a special team,” Ethan Bernard said. “My overall goal was to go undefeated. When we all first met together as a team, the first thing I told them was that we were going to win the whole thing.”

He said that as a team, they had game goals, but also personal goals.

“Part of what made our team the   best was our strong chemistry from hanging outside of practice and even having extra, optional practices,” Ethan Bernard said.

He said that when picking players, he first looks at heart, humility and, lastly, their skill and athleticism.

“Our team last year might not have had all the best athletic individuals, but I attribute our success to great communication and patience, and we also knew how to be calm and play smart even when there was a lot of pressure because I made sure each member knew how to perform their role,” Ethan Bernard said.

The 2015 lacrosse lady Titans were coached by Bryanna Miller, a junior studying history, and the assistant coach, Rachel Black, a junior studying communication. They led the team to win the championship.

Black said they were all motivated to play their hardest.

“Each girl had an individual goal, and before the game, we would go around and say what we would work on in the game, which created a championship mind-set to always improve,” Miller said.

Black said that after the games, no matter what the outcome was, they would have the girls pick an MVP for that game.

Miller and Black both said that when they picked their players, they looked for a balance of experience, new players and leadership on the field.

“We worked on the basic skills and fundamentals because the basics make for a strong team,” Black said.

Miller and Black both said they focused on the positive, and with every negative, they brought a positive to back it up with.

Miller said she played lacrosse in high school and used the things that she liked that her coaches taught her to influence her coaching.

“It’s always been competitive, but the player’s attitude depends on the coach’s attitude,” Black said. “If you can really express that you care and love your girls, then that will make all the difference.”

Miller said players play better when they are having fun.

Ben Arnett, a senior studying  exercise physiology, is the coach for the 2016 Knights.

Arnett said players will not go far in the game if they do not have fun.

“To continue the Knights’ legacy, I want to make sure that my team has a good grasp on the fundamentals, and I want to make sure that we are conditioned to play as a team,” Arnett said.

He said he looks for players with skill, who have the ability to adapt and who are already experienced. With new players, he said he looks for their desire to learn and looks to see if they are teachable.

The 2015 men’s lacrosse champion coach, 2016 women’s lacrosse head coach were not able to be contacted.

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