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Ultimate frisbee hits the road

Photo by Ryan McCaughtry.

While other Concordia College students fretted over schoolwork, the Ultimate Frisbee club took a road trip last weekend to Omaha, Neb., for a tournament put on by the University of Nebraska—Omaha.

The tournament involved 16 invited teams playing in four different pools in which they were seeded first through fourth. Concordia was seeded third in their pool, or between ninth and 12th overall. The tournament started on Saturday and finished Sunday.

Several students from the club traveled. Among them were student leaders and juniors Grant Erickson and Bryan Vohnoutka, who saw the trip as a no-pressure, all-benefit situation.

“We don’t really have too high of expectations,” Vohnoutka said before the tournament. “Just to gain experience and hopefully play better Sunday than Saturday.”

Erickson also emphasized the relaxed atmosphere.

“Everyone plays for fun [at the tournament],” he said. “It’s really laid back. You can show up, play and have fun.”

However, both Erickson and Vohnoutka agreed that winning was the desired result—or at least earning a sportsmanship award. But winning is not what makes the sport of Ultimate Frisbee so appealing, they said.

“For me, it’s the camaraderie,” Vohnoutka said. “You really develop a friend group with the guys you play with. Friendship is definitely a big part of it.”

Erickson also noted that the friendships forged during Ultimate Frisbee go “well outside the Concordia bubble.” He explained more of why the sport is so appealing to him.

“I just really like idea of having fun, that spirit of the game thing,” he said.

Unfortunately, the results during the tournament did not reflect team desires.

The Concordia Ultimate Frisbee team struggled throughout the tournament; however, at times they did manage to keep up with stronger schools. The team considered this a feat, especially given their small-school nature and lack of substitutions.

Experience was another bright spot for the squad, especially considering the large number of first-time students traveling to the tournament. Among this group was freshman Ryan Larson.

Larson was not sure what to expect entering his first tournament, and was surprised by what he found.

“I had really only played Ultimate Frisbee for fun up until I joined,” he said. “So I was very surprised to see the level of play and how strategy for the game works…It was definitely a learning curve having to learn the different offenses, defenses and plays.”

Larson also affectionately mentioned the camaraderie that the team gained during and after the tournament.

“The tournament definitely helped with team cohesiveness,” he said. “And having a bunch of guys in a van for 14 hours definitely makes for interesting conversation.”

All the players hope to see growth for the Ultimate Frisbee club in the future. And the signs from this past year are optimistic.

“Something we hope for next year is to see a lot more women come out,” Erickson said. “During the [Cobber Expo] this fall we had a lot of female interest, but unfortunately it just never really panned out.”

They also hope to see an increase in general participation, stressing that “the set-up is informal and for anybody and everybody who wants to play.”

“I hope that we can get more people involved in the Frisbee program here,” Larson said. “Because it’s a great time, and a great way to meet new people. The more people we have the more fun it will be.”

Erickson added that the sport is for people of all skill levels, and curious students should not hesitate to approach players.

“If someone wants to learn we are more than happy to work with them until they feel comfortable,” he said. “I feel as if we’re really welcoming and accommodating here.”

As the year draws to an end, both student leaders hope the best for the future of Ultimate Frisbee on Concordia’s campus.

“Hopefully next year we’ll be going to a lot more tournaments, and gaining some experience,” Vohnoutka said. “And hopefully we can keep going with a desire to just compete and have fun.”


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