BU’s Hot Dawgs bring women’s ultimate Frisbee to campus

Katherine Foe and Jessica Hutzel posing on the Mall. Photo by Paige Horsley

LEAH OLLIE | CULTURE CO-EDITOR | lollie@butler.edu 

Though Butler boasts of a variety of options for both club and intramural sports for students looking to stay active and build community on campus, the options currently available maintain some limitations. Depending on rules and regulations for individual sports, club and intramural teams often enforce binary gender divisions or limit student options to coed teams. Jessica Hutzel, a sophomore pre-pharmacy student, and Katherine Foe, a first-year organizational communication and leadership major, are two of many such students building their own space on campus that is both affirming and athletically challenging. 

Both the only current female players on Butler’s coed club ultimate Frisbee team, Hutzel and Foe have collaborated over the Spring 2023 semester to organize and officiate a women’s club ultimate Frisbee team — the first in Butler’s history. Recently passed through the Student Body Senate and recognized by the Office of Student Activities, the team have dubbed themselves the “Hot Dawgs.” 

Hutzel explained the inspiration behind the idea for a women’s team, and how she and Foe were encouraged to work together. 

“During winter break my [coed] coach called [Katherine and I] individually proposing this idea for a team,” Hutzel said. “He encouraged the idea. Me being a girl on the team didn’t really seem to be like an issue, but [in my] first tournament [on Big Dawgs], which was in the fall, we were playing against teams that had all men on them … it was a little bit isolating, and also traveling made it more difficult.” 

Big Dawgs, Butler’s coed ultimate “A team,” often travels for tournaments and matches — occasions during which Hutzel roomed alone. Hutzel’s experience is that of many women on coed teams who may feel alienated from their peers because of a lack of representation. 

“Whenever I play teams now [comprised entirely of men] sometimes it’s kind of degrading,” Hutzel said. “Sometimes it’s really annoying if the other team doesn’t even guard me, because they don’t think that I’m a valuable player. I’m really hoping that this women’s team will be very uplifting and refreshing.” 

With nine combined years of ultimate experience between them, Hutzel and Foe are excited to stay on the field with a new team of female players. Ultimate Frisbee is a rapidly growing sport on the professional and collegiate level, and female players have made their voices and talents heard — on and off the field. 

In 2019, the Premier Ultimate League was formed as the result of the boycott of several female players who left the American Ultimate Disc League to protest for equitable gender representation in both the latter league and the sport. Since that time, women who love the sport have continued to excel in advocacy and athletic achievement. 

Foe said that though she appreciated the support of the coed team — mostly comprised of male players — she hopes that the Hot Dawgs will encourage more women at Butler to take a chance on ultimate to build solidarity that some coed teams may lack. 

“I’ve played on coed intramural teams in the past, but it was a little disheartening to go to practices and it would just be Jess and I,” Foe said. “That’s kind of when it started to get difficult for me. I like the guys on the team, and they’re all great guys, but it’s really difficult to connect with them and have good player-to-player interaction when you don’t really relate to them.” 

Arthur Small, head coach of the coed team, said that he is hopeful that the creation of a women’s team will bring new faces to a sport he holds dear. 

“[Ultimate has] provided me with a community, and I know that there’s all different sorts of communities that you can join [on] Butler’s campus, and maybe Frisbee’s not the one for you, but it very well could be,” Small said. “Regardless of skill level, athletic background, anything like that, joining the team is a really good way to get some exercise, meet some new people and just get assimilated on Butler’s campus.” 

Small encouraged Foe and Hutzel to pursue their goal of a women’s ultimate team, and both players have spoken to the foundation that their time on the coed team gave them. 

The next steps for the Hot Dawgs entail recruiting new athletes both from prospective student pools and current students who may be interested. Butler is currently searching for two new dedicated coaches for the women’s ultimate team, namely female coaches who could act as mentors to student-athletes. Hutzel and Foe also plan to register their executive board for a table at Block Party, a student activities fair held at the beginning of every academic year on Butler’s campus. 

By showing a friendly face and spreading the word about the new team, Hutzel hopes to encourage ultimate newcomers and veterans alike. 

“Just go to the first practices or the first meeting and just try it out because ultimate is a really fun sport, and it is very friendly,” Hutzel said. “Because [the team is] gonna be brand new, there’s gonna be a ton of people who don’t know what they’re doing. Now would be the perfect time to get involved because everyone’s going to be learning.” 

Small echoed Hutzel’s sentiment and encouraged interested students to take the first steps to get involved with Hot Dawgs. 

“If you have an interest in playing, there is no expectation for prior knowledge or experience,” Small said. “Even with an A and a B team on what will become the men’s team next year, we have a very strict no-cut policy. I can’t imagine that the women’s team will treat it any differently … it’s a sport that’s very welcoming to people from all different backgrounds.” 

Connect with the Hot Dawgs on their Instagram page, and look out for their booth at Block Party in Aug. 2023. 


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