The University of Florida Women’s Club Flag Football team was recently named 2018 NIRSA champions after a win versus Mexican University, La Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León in early January of 2019 that took place at Pensacola, Florida.
Their second national championship win, the women’s club flag football team began their first practice in fall of 2017.
“My high school coach pushed me to start a club team from the start of college,” Amanda Chromiak, president and founder of UF Women’s Club Flag Football Team said. “I started the organization fall of 2016 and by January of 2017 we had reached club status.”
Chromiak began her flag football journey at her Tampa high school, Robinson High School, where her mother pushed her to join flag her incoming freshman year. She stuck with playing flag and soccer, and by junior year her team won the state championship in flag.
Her high school coaches, Josh Saunders, Tim Mimbs and Jeff Melesky graciously coach the flag football team Chromiak founded
“It’s a fun and exciting sport,” Chromiak said. I loved the group dynamic and it changes the way you look at practice.”
By the time flag football had reached club status at U.F. there had come a team of 10 promising girls ready to give it their all during the fall 2017 season. The team practiced at Southwest Recreation Center each week on Monday from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. and Thursday from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
“The expectation was to come to practice because if one person didn’t show up (out of 10) you virtually had no team to play with,” Chromiak said
Chromiak credits the team’s natural athletic ability for their 2017 NIRSA Championshipwin versus FAMU. They had no expectations on their win.
Chromiak said the other schools involved were UCF, Georgia Southern and La Universidad de Nuevo Leon. The gators won versus FAMU in overtime 12 to 6 in overtime.
This year, the team began the fall 2018 season with 25 promising student athletes ready to defend their title as two-time champions. With this number, the team could scrimmage and thus, get more experience playing.
Chromiak said they split the team into two during practice. Orange team was varsity and Blue team was junior varsity. This gave them the advantage to learn from each other’s strengths and weaknesses.
Back in Pensacola for the second NIRSA championship, the flag football team played La Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León one of the team’s they had seen at last year’s match. The game took place the first weekend of the new year, January 4th to 6th. The score was 27 to 6 with no overtime.
“We were all in on winning,” Chromiak said.
Going forward and in reflection, Chromiak believes the team needs to continue to scrimmage with each other, making practicing real games a pinnacle factor to this new-born team’s turned two-time champ success.
They have plans to continue to travel to Tampa to scrimmage with high school flag teams, as well as branch out to non-NIRSA flag football teams within Florida.
Chromiak will continue the spring’s off-season as president. She will step down as president as she begins veterinary school fall 2019.
“(Chromiak) has put countless hours into our team by attending Rec Sports meetings, planning practices, and recruiting players and coaches. On the field, she is a key player on offense and defense.” said Tiffany Smith flag football vice president.
“The passion she has for this sport is unmatched. Flag football wouldn’t be where it is today without Amanda’s leadership,” said Smith.
- Sophia Bahr, UF RecSports Sport Clubs Intern