Ultimate Frisbee Spining Towards Success
Athletes who enjoyed playing Ultimate Frisbee in high school physical education classes and are interested in stepping up their game while in college might want to check out UC Irvine’s Ultimate Frisbee club.
‘It’s a really slow-paced game in high school. Most people don’t really know how to throw,’ said Scott Rooder, co-captain of the team. ‘But here you play with more experienced people and it’s a really fast-paced game.’
Beginners are still more than welcome to sign up in the fall as the team spends time recruiting, training and working on its strategy at the start of the school year.
The game is played on a 70-yard football shaped field with 25-yard end zones. When you catch the disc, you have three steps to slow down, and then you have 10 seconds to pivot and find someone to pass to.
The game is a no contact sport. You can’t knock the disc out of an opponent’s hand but you can stick your hands and arms in front of the other team’s players to try and block their toss. The game is self-officiated, so some level of physicality is usually tolerated as long as it’s not really interfering with anything.
‘One of the things that a lot of people find attractive about the sport is that it’s self-officiated. It’s a lot more good-spirited. You don’t hear people calling fouls and travels and stuff like that,’ Roeder said.
The team spends quite a bit of time developing its offensive and defensive strategies as well. The team can play either man-to-man or zone defense. No double-teaming is allowed.
In the begining, UCI was ranked in the 270s nationally, and has worked its way up to 79th for their sectionals tournament this year. It also got first place in the Santa Barbara qualifier tournament this year, which allowed it to jump from B-team status to qualifying for A-team tournaments.
‘We’re doing a lot better this year,’ Roeder said. ‘We [had] considered splitting to an A and B team. I think letting people know we’re more serious pushes them harder to try to get on the A-team.’
Other teams at UC Los Angeles, San Diego and Santa Barbara have B-teams, and they bring both teams to all the tournaments.
UCI also hosts two tournaments every year. One was the ‘Halloween Huckfest’ in October in which teams from as far as Arizona come out to play. The other tournament was around finals time of winter quarter and only about a dozen showed up.
There is also a separate women’s team. This is its first year as an established team. Originally, the women went with the guys and competed in a few coed tournaments last year. But in the spirit of making the whole organization more serious, the females formed their own team. About eight to 10 women show up consistently and only seven are needed to play.
Anybody who wants to check out the club can drop by the team’s practices on Monday and Wednesday evenings from 6 to 9 p.m. They gather at the very upper end of the fields.
‘Anyone can join,’ Roeder said. ‘Hopefully next year we’ll be a lot bigger, and we’ll have two teams traveling to all the tournaments.’