Year at CHC: Junior
Major: Humanities and Media Studies
Eliana Norton was just three when she first picked up a Frisbee. She remembers a neighbor was in her yard throwing with her dad when the disc accidentally hit her in the head. She picked it up and threw it right back at him, and her dad started throwing with her the next day. As a kid, she practiced several times a week until she joined the middle school Ultimate team, and she’s played ever since. Now, she’s one of three captains on the U of O women’s ultimate team, Fugue.
The history: "My dad played in college after his brother passed away...that really got my dad into Ultimate as something that he carried with him. I kind of knew that he was going to at least make my sister and I give it a shot at some point. I ended up really liking it and sticking with it. I realized I was pretty good at throwing. All the hours with my dad paid off. I started playing for the high school team... and we had one of the best youth players in the country on that team. Being able to watch her play... made me want to stick with it.”
Ultimate at U of O: “Frisbee helps me stay in touch with people back in Atlanta. Going to a tournament in San Diego recently, I ended up seeing old friends from the men’s team in Atlanta that I would never visit at home. It gives us something to connect over. The coaches here at U of O are from Atlanta, and they coached me in high school. That was...the biggest deciding factor of why I ended up in Oregon. The vast majority of my friends play Ultimate right now. I have older friends in Eugene I never thought I’d have from being able to play with a bunch of different people. There are social invitations from the team, from going bowling to studying together during finals. Seeing the people around me work hard motivates me.”
What she gets out of it: “I am very busy, but I think Ultimate’s just a nice break from studying for me. I’ve definitely tried to take breaks just by going to the gym and it’s not the same. Being with my friends and being able to get moving and have fun while we’re playing Ultimate is such a great break from homework. Ultimate means a lot to me, so I know I want to put aside that time for it. It forces me to ... not procrastinate.”
- Story and photo by Ilka Sankari, Clark Honors College Communications