2019 Donovan Award Winner: Josie Gillett

The Bates senior has been a dominant player in the division for years.

2019 Donovan Award winner Josie Gillett. Photo: William ‘Brody’ Brotman — UltiPhotos.com

The 2019 Donovan Award in the women’s division, presented by the National Ultimate Training Camp, goes to Bates Cold Front senior Josie Gillett.

For the last four years, Gillett has been an integral part to success of the Bates program on the national stage, helping to lead Cold Front almost since stepping on campus. With her combination of ultimate prowess, team-building focus, and competitive-yet-supportive leadership, Gillett has shaped the program for both immediate and long term success in the division.

From the beginning of her time at Bates in the 2015-2016 school year, Gillett–nicknamed “Future”–imbued a level of talent not seen at Bates before as a Seattle youth scene product and U19 Nationals team member. Individual talent, as well as a dedicated and teaching spirit, brought Bates their very first Nationals appearance.

Over the course of the last three years, the bar has only risen, thanks to a deepening program bench and a second place finish in 2018–which saw an astounding 62 recorded assists thrown by Gillett over the course of the weekend. The bar remained high, with Cold Front taking second at the 2019 National tournament. The Bates senior has earned the respect of the division and racked up accolades along the way as well–2018 Player of the Year 1st Runner Up, 2017 and 2018 All-American 1st Team, 2018 New England Region Player of the Year–for her on field accomplishments.

Watching footage of Gillett or seeing her play in person, her on-field skills are undeniable. She is an offensive engine, lighting up the field with massive hucks from all places on the field. Vision becomes reality when the Bates handler lets off a cheeky inside break or hits the strike route to whip the disc sixty yards, finding hands with precision and accuracy. Gillett doesn’t just drive offense but generates defensive turns and can dominate in the air against a gaggle of opponents.

All of the above translated to dominant statistics at 2018 Nationals, amassing 62 recorded assists over the course of six games. Whether defending or looking to score, Gillett dictates the game and pushes Bates to rise to the occasion, together, in a way that the D-III Women’s division has not been able to ignore.

It’s not only on the field that the senior captain pushes herself and her team; the supportive nature and humble attitude of ‘team first’ has develop a culture of hard work without sacrifice of the important principles that draw players to the ultimate community. A captain since her second semester at Bates, Gillett is described by her team as a role model who welcomes new players and has the patience and tenacity to teach the basics and instill a love of the sport. The ability to compete at the top level, and also build up the newest levels of future talent with , is not a garden variety quality in most top college players. While Gillett will be sorely missed after graduating this spring, the Donovan Award winner will leave Bates a better program for her time with a strong culture that will burn bright long after the 2019 season.

  1. Sam Echevarria
    Sam Echevarria

    Sam Echevarria is the Women's D-III College Editor at Ultiworld. She has been playing ultimate since 2010, starting with the Centerville HS Outsiders and later the Claremont Colleges Greenshirts. Currently based in Madison, WI, you can reach her on twitter (@sechevarria27).

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