Onionfest brings costumed co-eds back to Whitman

In this 2012 file photo, team Fa Mulan’s Sarah Williams passes off the frisbee under pressure from a Banana Rampage defender during an ultimate frisbee game at Whitman College’s Onionfest. The tournament returns this weekend.

In this 2012 file photo, team Fa Mulan’s Sarah Williams passes off the frisbee under pressure from a Banana Rampage defender during an ultimate frisbee game at Whitman College’s Onionfest. The tournament returns this weekend. Photo by Jeff Horner.

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WALLA WALLA — Onionfest, the annual ultimate frisbee contest, is returning to Whitman College this Saturday and Sunday.

The 20-team co-ed tournament, known equally for competitive play and wacky costumes, kicks off at 9 a.m. both days. Teams from around the Northwest are scheduled to be in attendances, with schools like Washington State, Lewis & Clark, Eastern Washington, the University of Washington and more sending squads.

The competition will be broken down into the three divisions: A, B and C, with the most competitive players playing for the A teams.

Games will be held at three different sites: on the Whitman campus at Ankney Field, at Martin Field near Borleske Stadium and at Whitman’s soccer complex near DeSales High School.

Saturday’s action will be capped by a showcase game pitting Whitman’s A team against a Whitman alumni team at 6 p.m.

There will be a tournament championship game held Sunday at a time to be determined.

Although Whitman is one of the smaller schools in attendance, the Sweets, as the ultimate frisbee men’s and women’s teams are known, are annually one of the top contenders in the Northwest.

In 2011, the men’s team won the Northwest regionals and finished 15th at the Division I Nationals in Colorado, the sport’s highest collegiate competition.

The men fell in the Northwest regional qualifiers for nationals last year, but are in good form this season with a win at one of the largest tournaments in the country, the Stanford Invite, that saw Whitman pick up a win over first-ranked Wisconsin.

The women won the DIII national tournament in 2009 and have since moved up to the DI level. Last season, the Sweets women finished fourth at the DI regionals.

This season, the women placed second at the Colluvium tournament hosted by Oregon State in Corvallis. The Sweets fell, 15-10, to No. 1 Oregon in the tournament title game.

As Onionfest is a co-ed tournament, it is not a sanctioned competition.

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