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Gritty Ultimate Team Ends Season on a High Note

By Xander Knock, Head Coach

This year's Ultimate Frisbee team knew the definition of grit. The team made the jump from 5 v. 5 to 7 v. 7 competition this season, and with that jump came a larger field to become accustomed to and a higher level of play than our team had encountered before. This transition was difficult for our younger players, especially for those for whom this was their first field sport.

As the season progressed, though, we started to see huge improvement in the entire team as everyone settled into the flow of the offense and began to develop a sense for where the disc was going on defense. Even though we may have lost all our regular season games, we always came away with more knowledge of where our weaknesses lay and how best to move forward. The team stayed dedicated to the process, and practices began to look more and more smooth, with fewer errors in decision-making and execution. As we approached the end of the season and our final two tournaments, the players were hungry to show their stuff after the wealth of knowledge they gained through every trial. 

At our first tournament, the team battled together through wind and rain, put up our most competitive showings of the season thus far, and built the camaraderie necessary to lean on each other when times get tough. At our final tournament of the year, state, the team started to fire on all cylinders. Players who a few months prior had never played a competitive game of Ultimate were commanding the offense, and the veterans who had been here before seized their moment to shine. We were peaking at the right time. After taking two losses in our first two games, we went on to win three games in a row—our first wins of the season—to place us into the finals of the 9th-place bracket. We went down a few points at halftime but showed incredible resolve and mental fortitude in the second half, closing the gap in points, and losing a close one, 8-10.

Congratulations to end-of-season award recipients: Omar Alsolaiman, MVP; Brady Eckrote, Most Improved; Nyioe Younten, Coaches’ Award; River Yeates, Offensive MVP; Max Jansen, Defensive MVP; and Leo Martin, Most Inspirational.

I am so incredibly proud of the players for always supporting each other and being phenomenal teammates throughout the entire season. Many thanks to Assistant Coach Joel Long for his dedication to the team and to the sport, as it was he that lit the fire that ignited interest in the sport several years ago. I have no doubt that the future of Ultimate at Rowland Hall is blindingly bright!