USU Ultimate expects dividends
Published: Thursday, October 10, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, October 9, 2013 22:10
Anyone can pick up a frisbee and play, but a group of students on the USU campus are taking it to another level.
The Utah State men’s and women's ultimate frisbee teams are official club teams, and they are working hard to make the university proud.
The men’s team hosted a tournament last weekend, and teams from Montana, Idaho and Colorado came to compete. About 15 teams competed and the Aggies came away with a 7-1 record and took third place overall.
Despite some less-than-successful seasons in the past, the men’s frisbee team feels like this is its season. Where in past years they have lost a lot of their good players to missions for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, they are back this year and better than ever.
“My freshman year it was pretty much just throw a bunch of kids together, and it was just craziness,” said Nico Vigil, one of the three captains of the mens team. “So now, it’s finally starting to get together and be successful.”
This year’s team is going in a more organized direction, and the captains have high hopes.
“A lot of us have been playing together for about three or four years now,” Vigil said. “Some went on missions and stuff like that but we’re all back now, so it’s kind of like all the building and progressing that we’ve done so far is going to pay off this year.”
The men will travel to tournaments in Las Vegas, Montana and all up and down the West Coast this year. USU struggled with some injuries due to the age of their players, but their experience playing together and working as a team is an advantage for them over younger teams.
While the men's team has been sanctioned for years now, this year is the first year the women's team has been officially sanctioned as a club team by the university. This means they now get funding from the university for their team, and it also means they can be nationally ranked.
“The biggest thing about being associated with the school is that we can be registered through USA Ultimate, which is like the NCAA of ultimate frisbee,” said Rachel Coombs, a women’s team coach. “Every girl signs up and pays $50 for the year, and then all of your tournaments are sanctioned tournaments that you go to and you get ranked.”
The women's frisbee team was in a probationary state last season; this means they were “trying out” to be an official club team. They worked hard and got sanctioned, but they still felt like they did not get everything they could out of the season.
“Last year we didn’t really go to many tournaments,” said women’s captain Jill Virgi, younger sister of Nico Virgi. “We didn’t really get much out of our season, so this year I was hoping to go to another tournament at some point this semester, but the majority of our season will be in the spring, so we’re hoping like two this semester and maybe four next semester.”
The teams practice every Tuesday and Thursday at 5 p.m. on the Quad, and the women said they are always looking for new members, even if they have never played a club sport. Players don’t need any experience, just a desire to learn.
“We are actually getting pretty good pretty fast, so that’s good, but we’re having a hard time keeping our numbers,” Jill Vigil said. “This year, we’re a lot of new people. We have a max of five returning players, and we’re just recruiting. I just tell every girl to bring one friend.”
“So far I am pretty excited,” said co-women’s captain Stephanie Honey-Salas. “We didn’t have a lot starting out, like we said, but the girls that we’ve had that have started to come pretty solidly are doing really well. We have a lot of talent, and they’re all really excited about playing.”