Q&A with Abby Cheng ’20, Captain of Women’s Ultimate Team

March 4, 2019

Jane Hobson ’22

Action shot of Abbey Cheng playing ultimate
Abby Cheng ’19 competing at the Northeast Club Regionals with her club team, BENT, in 2017
Photo credit: Amy Leder

This summer, senior Abby Cheng, a mathematics and vocal performance double-degree student, will compete at the weeklong World Flying Disc Federation (WFDF) 2019 Under-24 Ultimate Championships in Heidelberg, Germany.

The WFDF Championships take place every two years and feature some of the best college-aged players from around the world. At Oberlin, Ultimate has been an important component of Abby’s life. Read more about her experience playing Ultimate in this Q&A.

Please tell me a bit about Ultimate at Oberlin. How long have you been playing?

I have been playing Ultimate for three and a half years at Oberlin. This is my third year as captain of the Preying Manti , which is Oberlin’s women and trans Ultimate club team.

What has your experience been like playing for the Preying Manti?

My team is my whole life at Oberlin. It has very much shaped my entire college experience and who I am as a person. I’ve seen my team grow into a thoughtful, loving, and supportive community, and I'm so incredibly lucky to have been a part of the success of such a beautiful group of people. In my time here, our A Team has gone from 25th in Division III to 4th. This spring, we are going to reach farther and achieve more than ever.

How did you get your spot on the WFDF U-24 Women’s Team?

I applied for the Women’s National Team this past summer and was invited to try out. The way the selection process works is that 100 men and 100 women are invited to attend one of two tryout camps before the teams are selected. I flew to the west coast tryout in San Francisco in November because I was performing in Oberlin’s fall opera during the east coast tryout. The tryout was intense—we played Ultimate for eight hours on Saturday and four hours on Sunday with very few breaks. Then, the team was announced in January.

Action shot of Abby Cheng playing frisbee with the Preying Manti
Abby Cheng ’19 competing with the Preying Manti at the Women and Trans Division-III Ohio Valley College Regionals in 2018, which Oberlin won
Photo by Ultiplanning

So, what are you doing to get ready for the championships?

Besides staying in shape and building up my strength and speed, I’m investing a lot of time in the Oberlin team. The only way I can really improve in the next four months is by playing and learning with my team. Honestly, the Preying Manti is the reason that I’ve gotten this far. In our games and practices, I set very specific goals for myself so that I can be sure I'm always pushing myself to the next level.

Last question: are you excited?

Yes! I am very excited to play with the best players in the country and in the world. It will be so special to be in a space where every single player values Ultimate as much as I do.

The WFDF Championship will be held July 13-20 in Heidelberg, Germany. We wish Abby the best of luck!

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