Maggie Kennedy is an amazing natural athlete.
How else could you describe someone who has been selected to play at the highest level of competition in women’s ultimate, a fast-paced disc sport, despite only having three years of experience?
Kennedy, who graduated from Plainfield North earlier this year and played for the Neuqua Valley club, made the Chicago Nemesis roster. The Nemesis is an elite club team that will participate in a handful of tournaments throughout the summer and fall and then pursue a national title.
“For Maggie to make this team is really, really big,” Neuqua Valley coach Java Arnoush said. “She’s made it to the top level of women’s ultimate and she’s only 18, which is pretty much unheard of. I can’t remember a player as young as 18 on either the men’s or women’s side officially making the team at this level.”
Kennedy played a number of different sports over the years and was able to showcase her stamina and athleticism in cross country and basketball at Plainfield North.
She heard about Arnoush’s annual Chicago Ultimate Training (CUT) camp and attended it for the first time during the summer of 2012. She’s come a long, long way in a very short time.
“I was ready to try something new and that first camp was amazing,” she said. “There were a lot of great coaches there and some really awesome ultimate players. I just loved the camp, so then I looked to see what else they offered. There were fall, winter and spring leagues and I just fell in love with it from there.”
Arnoush wasn’t surprised to see Kennedy excel.
“She learned the game very quickly and became very active and very dedicated to it,” he said. “She got to the point where she applied for the Junior World team and played very well, but didn’t make it, but one of the head coaches asked, ‘Who is the tall girl on the girl’s team?’ She made a great impression.”
The Nemesis opens play in the Chesapeake Invite, near Washington, D.C., July 12-14. The team also has a tournament in August in Rockford and over Labor Day weekend in Seattle, Wash., before heading into postseason play.
Since the postseason could extend into October, Kennedy will have to balance a busy schedule since she is heading to the University of Wisconsin to begin pursuing an electrical engineering degree.
“I’m very excited about college and these tournaments,” she said, “I’ve been really blessed. Everyone in the (ultimate) community has been super supportive. I’ll be playing with some girls who have been playing for 10 or more years. It’s really going to be awesome.”