Theresa Yu ’19 Makes Team USA


Tom Honan

Theresa Yu ’19, who co-captained the Hotchkiss Varsity Ultimate team, now plays for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

On a sunny, windy weekend in May, alumni, students, and family gathered on Taylor Field to celebrate the Hotchkiss Ultimate Frisbee team’s 20th anniversary. Coach David Thompson used cones to set up endzones, and the group divided itself into two teams. Although players’ ages ranged from three to over fifty, and the teams included beginners to accomplished international competitors, the game bridged the differences among the players and inspired a sense of camaraderie.
Nowhere is Ultimate Frisbee’s unique ability to bring people together more prominent than at Hotchkiss. The program has fostered community development, where older players and role models nurture new members, helping them achieve success.
Theresa Yu ’19, who co-captained the team to the 2019 New England Championship, was one of the notable alumni who attended the celebration. She now plays for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and has just been accepted onto the USA Women’s Junior National Team for the upcoming World Championships in Malmö, Sweden.
Yu first started playing because her close friends Bonnie Dana ’19, Brian Wong ’19, and Souleman Toure ’19 all decided that they wanted to try out for the Varsity team during her Prep year. With no prior experience playing Ultimate, Yu was conflicted about playing in the spring. “At the time,” she admitted, “I was torn between Ultimate and some other spring sports, but [my friends] convinced me to at least go to tryouts. I figured if I didn’t like it, then I could just switch to another sport.”
After spending one year with the newly-formed JV team, Yu fell in love with the sport. She marvelled at the way that the sport brought different people together, something she had never experienced on a team before. She said, “The team is super-friendly and welcoming, and if you have any questions about the sport at all, [Coach] Thompson or any of the current captains would be more than willing to talk [to you].”
Hotchkiss Ultimate’s development program laid the foundation for Yu’s later success as a player at higher levels; in fact, she noted, “I think we did [fewer] reps at tryouts that we’d do during dynamic, and that made it pretty easy for me.”
Yu was happy to share advice for new and returning players. She said, “Definitely don’t be afraid to try the sport because you don’t know how to throw. I certainly did not have any throwing experience when I decided to try out. Trying something new is super-scary and embarrassing at times, but definitely well worth the community that you’ll find.”
Yu is just one example of an alum who has found a life-long passion through the Ultimate program. Other recent alumni who have gone on to play ultimate in college include Ryan Hoffman ’16 and Alden Pritchard ’17.