Ultimate Frisbee flies onto ASU’s club sports scene

In the midst of mainstream spring sports, there is a team of athletes that like to stray away from the norm.

The ASU ultimate Frisbee men and women’s teams prefer to intertwine multiple sports while throwing a circular disc instead of a typical ball.

“Some say that the sport is a giant mix between basketball (pivot foot), soccer (positioning) and football (score in the end zones),” cell and developmental biology senior Shelby Leach said, who serves as the women’s team president. “The game is self-officiated with seven players from each team on the field.”

Each game begins with a pull, or kickoff, where one team throws the disc across the field to the other end zone. The disc is then thrown back and forth up the field to attempt a score by catching the Frisbee in the end zone, but the disc cannot be ran into the end zone or up the field.

Also unlike most sports, there is no official or referee present on the field.

“Players are responsible for calling their own fouls and other infractions,” chemical engineering graduate and men’s Frisbee President Stefen Hillman said.

If a conflict arises from this, ultimate Frisbee has a built-in agreement known as “The Spirit of the Game,” which is mutual respect and sportsmanship to play for the joy of the game, not the drive to win. However, Hillman mentioned that an observer is used at higher levels of ultimate Frisbee to make minor infraction calls.

The worldwide sport has existed at ASU for quite some time, but the men have a little more history than the women.

“The ASU men’s team has been around for at least twenty years,” Hillman said. “We have made the transition from a fun team to a serious competitor (over the last few years).”

The Sun Devil men’s team hopes to continue its past success this season and roll it into the spring behind the team’s two leaders.

“We have a really young team,” Hillman said. “Some guys to watch include two of our captains, Nate Bridges and Travis Dunn. These guys just finished their summer with a local club team and are poised … to dominate the college scene this year.”

The women have slowly begun to develop their team as a playoff contender like the men, and think this year could be one of the best.

“We are all very excited for the spring season and hopefully place well in regionals this year,” Leach said. “It is our strongest team ever.  We are looking towards the top-five.”

Leach foreshadowed the success this season by rallying around junior Rosa Franklin, senior Ximena Hofsetz, junior Katlyn Kaiser and senior Amanda Loh.

“We have a lot of very good players this season,” Leach said. “But, I think what makes our team so great this year is the rookies. We have one of the largest recruiting classes to date.”

Both teams play in tournaments locally and in surrounding states throughout the year. The men play in the Desert Conference — which consist of local Arizona colleges — and in the Southwest Region, which includes teams from California, Arizona, Nevada, Hawaii and New Mexico. The women also participate in a sectional and regional conference that hosts a tournament at the end of every season to determine who qualifies for nationals. The men partake in an identical form of postseason.

Ultimate Frisbee is consistently growing throughout the U.S. and now has two professional leagues starting up known as the American Ultimate Disc League and Major League Ultimate.

“Ultimate (Frisbee) is one of the fastest growing sports,” Hillman said. “Not just in the U.S., but internationally as well.”

The spring season begins next semester, and all ASU students are welcome to tryout and participate.

 

Reach the reporter at msterrel@asu.edu