Portland, Ore. – A Portland Women’s Ultimate Frisbee Team will compete in the Worlds Masters Ultimate Club Championships in Limerick, Ireland from June 25th through July 2nd. It’s like the Olympics of frisbee and will be the first time an ultimate team from Oregon has competed in the competition in nearly two decades. They will also be one of just four American teams competing.
“We’ve been a team since 2019, and we have consistently gone to Nationals since we started,” said one of the team captains Rachel Auerbach. “The way we made it to Worlds was by consistently doing well at Nationals. There will be 18 teams, and we are playing in two pools. We’ll have round robin and get to play teams from all over the place: France, Venezuela, Germany, so we get to see quite a diversity of teams. And depending on our standing at the end of round robin we go into bracket play.”
Their team name is PDXtra, and they have placed in the top 10 in the country at the USA Ultimate National Championships in the last two years. And like their name suggests, the key to success is being a little extra.
“Our team is really special. We call ourselves PDXtra because we’re just a little bit more,” Auerbach says with a laugh. “Our team brings so much flare. Our jersey’s are inspired by Lisa Frank, we make rainbow pancakes on the sideline, we put temporary tattoos all over our body. We just enjoy ourselves so much doing this. We all have days jobs, and this is an opportunity to really be thankful to be able to use our bodies and run around and have the support of a team.”
You really should see these uniforms. It’s this explosion of rainbows and unicorns and smiling animals in a galactic landscape. Their Instagram page is a part of the culture of keeping things loose. Posting silly photos of one another in less-than-photogenic moments. It’s a good thing they get along so well, because Auerbach says that translates to on-field success.
“Most teams aren’t going to call patterns like a football team would, but you have sort of ways you react. It’s really a ton about building chemistry with one another.”
They compete in the Masters division, meaning all the players are over the age of 30. So there’s a number of moms and others with a typical life, often looking for a way to stay healthy in a fun way. A number of the athletes played college sports too, looking for a way to keep that competitive edge. Auerbach says she’s a bit of an outlier with having prior experience playing ultimate, she started a team at her high school back in 2000. But even if you’re new to the sport, PDXtra has a spot for you.
“We have quite a few women who just came out one day because they saw their friends were doing it and got the bug and got hooked,” says Auerbach, who is also a co-founder of the team. Adding that Portland is one of the better cities to get involved in the sport because of its explosion here in the last 10-15 years. “Portland has a great series of rec leagues and ways to learn the game, even if you’re an adult.”
PDXtra isn’t the only ultimate team making waves in the region. There’s quite a bit of history for the sport in Oregon.
“Portland has been a great place to play ultimate for many, many years. Schwa, the women’s team (that competes at the highest level of the sport at the club level) went to Worlds 20 years ago, we’ve had a really successful women’s professional season this year with the Oregon Onyx, the men’s pro team The Nitro is currently in season, at the high school level there’s been really successful teams. South Eugene High School just won high school nationals for their women’s and gender diverse team,” Auerbach continues. “Rhino is the club men’s team, and they’re headed to Club Worlds. So if you want to see great ultimate played you can watch it right here in town.”
Don’t be startled when you see the team roster.
“We have a really open community we’ve created. So there’s actually over 100 people that we think of as being our team,” says Auerbach. “Then what we do is roster up for our competition. So we take a group of people that we know we can compete with, but we have a really open, porous team.”
You can help the team fund its trip to Ireland by donating at portlandultimate.org and donations are to a 501(c)3 and are tax-deductible. Also they will likely stream some of their games from Worlds, so be on the lookout on their Instagram page @PDXtraUltimate