A 2011 Armstrong graduate will be one of 18 girls vying for the U.S. to take home a gold medal during the World Junior Ultimate Frisbee Championships in Dublin, Ireland.
Erynn Schroeder, of Plymouth, will be representing the U.S. Aug. 12-18 in Ireland as the team takes on world opponents for a first-, second- or third-place finish.
Erynn joined Armstrong High School’s Ultimate Frisbee team in 2007. A swimmer, Erynn had never been a part of a team sport, but the team aspect resonated with her and she decided to give it a try – and it stuck.
“It does take some skill and athleticism,” Erynn said. “You need to be quick on your feet and learn quickly, and I think I picked it up and learned pretty quickly.”
“She’s being humble,” interjected Erich Schroeder, Erynn’s dad. “Erynn literally has 20 different throws she can affectively use to get around different players.”
Christi Dosch, Erynn’s sophomore year Ultimate Frisbee coach at Armstrong, said by the time Erynn moved to her junior year team, she was one of the best players on the field.
“She played outside of high school and really excelled quickly, it has a lot do with her drive,” Dosch said. “She’s not OK with not doing something right. She spends time practicing and working on her skills. She never rests.”
Since first picking up a Frisbee in 2007, Erynn has been a member of her high school and college Ultimate Frisbee teams but has also belonged to a number of Minnesota club teams that allow her to play with adults on a more competitive level.
“By the time I coached her, she was outclassing high school players,” said Jason Curtis, an Armstrong Ultimate coach. “It’s exciting to see her play at higher levels where she’s actually challenged.”
March 2012 marked the second time Erynn tried out for the U.S. national team. She flew to Seattle and over an intense weekend, showed her Ultimate skills to coaches in hopes of making the national team. In April, she received word that she was one of six alternates and was given a list of skills to work on.
In June, she got an e-mail that her hard worked paid off. She was bumped up to the active roster.
“It’s hard to get me excited, but I was really excited,” Erynn said. “I really wanted it and it was a bummer when I found out I was an alternate. When I got the e-mail, I didn’t want to read it because I wasn’t ready. I was just really excited.”
“I was there and she was just jumping around our living room almost hitting the ceiling,” said Lynn Schroeder, Erynn’s mom. “It was very fun to watch. It’s a once in a lifetime for any student athlete.”
Erynn will head to Boston on Aug. 5 where she will train with the rest of her team for a week. In the meantime, she has been working out diligently to ensure she is physically where she needs to be for the World Championships.
She does five workouts a week that have been specifically catered to her by one of Team USA’s coaches. In addition, she practices with a Minnesota club Ultimate Frisbee team during the week.
“It’s hard to get motivation sometimes, but I know that the rest of the team is doing that as well,” Erynn said. “Part of the workouts is mental and thinking about how I want to play. It really just hit me a few days ago…this is coming up really soon.”
Lynn and Erich will be in the stands eagerly cheering Erynn and the rest of Team USA on as they take on some of the other best Ultimate teams in the world.
“I’m looking forward to a whole group of Team USA families,” Lynn said. “For the spirit in the stands. It’s just a fun game to watch.”
“To see Erynn play with peers at a high level who don’t outsize her,” Erich said on what he’s most looking forward to. “It will be fun to have girls that have similar athleticism, who can play and put together a better strategy to play the game.”
And for Erynn, she is most excited to be playing with girls who love the sport as much as she does.
“I really just want to play with all of these amazing players,” she said. “It’s going to be amazing to play with peers at that level.”