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Ultimate Frisbee club looks to continue success

BY PATRICK MASON | SEPTEMBER 07, 2011 7:20 AM

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The Iowa men’s Ultimate Frisbee Club wants to build on last year’s success.

The Iowa Hawkeye Ultimate Club, led by senior Alex Rummelhart, placed third at nationals in May in Boulder, Colo. The squad is looking for talented freshmen to help it make a similar run this year.

“Right now, we have around 20 freshmen who have shown interest, and we would love some more talented and interested players,” said Rummelhart, one of the team’s captains.

He dismissed the idea that the club is in a rebuilding year.

“I’d like the stay away from that word, because that seems like we are taking a step back,” he said. “We are actually moving forward, and we have a great group of guys, with [some] talented freshmen. We’re looking to go far again this year.”

The team will travel to three tournaments in the fall and five to six tournaments in the spring. In the spring, the squad has an opportunity to compete at nationals — but first, the team must advance through numerous preliminary events. If the club can advance out of the Iowa bracket, it can move on to face teams from Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Nebraska in the regional bracket. If it places high enough there, it has a chance to compete at nationals.

In the past, the team has traveled to South Carolina, Florida, Nevada, and Texas.

Iowa fields both an A and a B team, each with 20 to 25 players. Both teams travel to all of the tournaments and compete in matches. After each point is scored, the seven players on the 70-by-40-yard field come off for a full set of new ones.

“This is so we are always fresh and can have the best chance to score at any time,” freshman Tory Moore said.

Moore was born in Newton, Iowa, but grew up and went to high school in Chicago, where he ran track and cross-country. Moore said he played ultimate Frisbee for fun, and when he came out for the team two weeks ago, he was excited to see the game played with more structure than he was used to in Chicago.

“It was annoying when everyone would just run around all over the place,” Moore said. “On this team, we set up in stacks so certain people — called handlers — stay back and throw the disc to the people in the front, called cutters.”

Senior cocaptain Jimmy Wiesbrock, who has been playing ultimate Frisbee at Iowa for four years, talked to the younger players during a recent scrimmage practice and gave them tips on where to stand when defending and how to shake a defender off when holding the disc.

He said his goal is to help develop young players.

“The goal in these practices is to really show the game to these guys, and build their skills,” Wiesbrock said. “Getting used to the speed of the game is a big part, too.”

Those interested in joining the team can contact any of the team’s three captains — Rummelhart, Wiesbrock, and Jake Kersten — via the club website or can stop by a practice session. The squad generally practices on Tuesday and Thursday evenings and Sunday afternoons at the Hawkeye Recreation Fields.

And with the team’s first tournament just a few weeks away — the team will travel to Grinnell on Sept. 24 — Rummelhart had one more pitch for interested players.

“A really cool part about this game is that it is self-officiated,” he said. “It’s called spirit of the game, and that’s built on honesty.”


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