Club sport gains popularity at UD, around the world

By: Dan Durkin – Staff Writer

Editor’s note: The print edition copied pg. 14 twice, omitting this story from that version. It is included in the PDF version here.

The University of Dayton has numerous sports clubs for student participation. These clubs might not get the publicity that some of the varsity sports do on campus, but don’t mistake that for a lack of competitiveness or importance. The fastest-growing and largest club that UD offers is the Ultimate Frisbee club team.

To give a little background to Ultimate Frisbee, it’s a 7-on-7 sport, meaning there are seven players for each team on the field at once. Ultimate Frisbee is a noncontact sport, and as senior team member Stephen Moore puts it, “It’s self-officiated, which makes it unique in regards to other sports.”

Moore added that Ultimate Frisbee is a combination of many sports.

“There’s elements of football, soccer, basketball, and really any sport like those,” Moore said.

The game is played with a disc, and teams can toss that disc to one of their members, but there is no yardage to gain like football. Once someone has received the disc, they can’t move, or else they are called for traveling, so like basketball it is important that you establish a pivot foot.

Players get 10 seconds to throw the disc to one of their teammates; if they don’t, then it’s a turnover. Like football, there is an end zone teams have to try and score in, and each score counts as one point. Most games are played to 15, and teams have to win by two points. The playing field is the same size as a regulation-size football field, but as you move up the ranks in Ultimate Frisbee the field could get narrower, or the end zones could get bigger too.

The Dayton club team travels all around the region to play.

“The sport is typically played in a tournament format, so we’ll go somewhere over the weekend for a tournament, [and] over the course of two days we’ll play seven or eight games,” senior captain Conner Haenszel said. Haenszel, along with fellow captain Jack Hanson, is in charge of developing the schedule and organizing many things for the team. The Ultimate Frisbee team usually plays in both the fall and spring.

“The all season is more like a preseason, then in the spring is like our regular season and playoff season,” Haenszel said.

While tournaments are played in the fall, it’s used as a time to get the team developed and get your new members associated with the team.

There is a common theme amongst many of these players who join the Ultimate Frisbee team every year. Some people are former athletes in high school that want to continue to be active in college. With a 60-member club and Ultimate Frisbee being a 7-on-7 sport, it forces the captains to adapt.

The squad is split up into an “A” team and a “B” team.  Not everyone travels to the tournaments, so not all 60 members show up, and the people who are on the B team won’t be able to advance as much in the playoffs as the A team would, but when that point comes they would merge the two teams together.

The Ultimate Frisbee team travels to different colleges for each of their tournaments, including schools like Notre Dame, and cities and states like Pittsburgh, Cincinnati and Tennessee. The captains are also hoping to be able to host a tournament at UD next semester.

The origins of the club are rooted in the 1980s, when Michael Kaylor founded the club.

Haenszel broke down the history of the club.

“The club kind of fell out in the mid-1990s, but in the mid-2000s Eddie Mack and Evan Corcoran (UD alums) revitalized the club, [and] they named the team the ‘Ghetto Force,’” Haenszel said.

The team name was then changed to Dayton Ultimate, but the team said they are taking suggestions for club names.

The team members enjoy the togetherness of the club, and how it is unique to other clubs. Some of that has to do with the nicknames that they use to communicate with each other when they are out there competing.

“We use nicknames as more of a strategy during games,” Moore said. “Where we might introduce ourselves to the other team, so we might tell them our names, so when we call out one of our players, we use a nickname so the other team doesn’t zero in on a certain player.”

For example, Haenszel is called “C,” and Moore is called “Steve” or sometimes “Beast.”

The team is hoping to duplicate the success they had in the late 2000s, when they were a game away from going to nationals. The team has a lot of confidence coming into this season, with a lot of experience coming back. Some of the results they had in the fall leave them with great expectations coming into the spring.

This is a growing sport across the country and even the world. The International Olympic Committee officially recognized the World Flying Disc Federation, which is the governing body for disc sports including Ultimate Frisbee, in August. While that doesn’t guarantee that it will become an Olympic sport, it is an important first step.

Moore plays for the professional team in Cincinnati. This year, the UD team had more and more people show up to their tent at Up the Orgs, and it’s become a big point of emphasis for people looking to go to colleges. A lot of the team members made sure the schools they were looking at had an Ultimate Frisbee team.

This team will look to start competing again when UD comes back from their winter break, where they’ll spend most of their time conditioning. They will look to do the school proud this spring as they start their competitive season of Ultimate Frisbee.

If you are interested in joining the team, you can contact the team at daytonultimate@gmail.com.

Photo: The Dayton Ultimate Frisbee club team gathered at Stuart Field during family weekend in September. The club has 60 members and has two squads that play in tournaments all over the region. The team hopes to host a tournament at UD in the spring. Ultimate Frisbee was recently officially recognized by the International Olympic Committee. Photo courtesy of Stephen Moore.