The Brock University Ultimate Frisbee Club travels and competes in various tournaments within Ontario and finished this season with their best results in club history for both the men’s and women’s teams.
Ultimate is a non-contact team field sport played with a flying disc or Frisbee. Points are scored by passing the disc from teammate to teammate until the disc is caught within the opposing team’s end zone. The sport of ultimate is experiencing a massive surge in popularity in recent years as it is now included in the World Games. Additionally the American Ultimate Disc Association (AUDA), the league which organizes professional ultimate in North America, has in only four seasons established 26 teams and a growing fan-base in cities like Toronto, Ottawa, Brooklyn, Atlanta and Los Angeles.
“It’s a niche sport, not many people know about. At Brock, with us getting club status we started getting more people knowing about it and coming out for the team. I see the trend that it’s rising in popularity.
Lots of kids who used to play soccer or other sports are coming over to play ultimate now because the skills are so transferable,” commented Jeremy Hill, Vice President and co-captain of Brock’s Men’s team. Hill represents the diverse levels of talent that can be found on the Brock squad as he played for not only Canada’s national under 23 ultimate team in 2015 but he also signed and played for the Ottawa Outlaws in the AUDA last summer.
Officially, Brock’s ultimate team has only been running as a recognized team by the university for two seasons. Before they gained “club status” the group mainly consisted of students who just wanted to have fun and stay active while playing a sport they were passionate about. They would assume full responsibility for all fees associated with entering tournaments including travel, hospitality and tournament expenses. However, it was this foundation that has allowed the team to grow into its present size of 45 members between both the men’s and women’s teams.
With proper funding and a few years of development, Brock has grown into a team which has competed with success on the national level this past October.
“The best memories I have from Brock Ultimate is the moment where each player ‘gets it’. This is when a player understands the strategy, outperforms a competitor, or makes a great catch,” said Shannon Hicks, female team captain and coach.
After participating in three tournaments in Guelph, Hamilton and Kingston, both men’s and women’s teams qualified for the ‘B’ division of the national tournament which was held in Ottawa this year.
“This past season, the Brock Ultimate Women’s team placed sixth in the ‘B’ division at Nationals. This was an excellent placing for our team this year, not only because of a variety of competitive teams we played against, but also the increased skill level from the players,” says Hicks.
Sara Wikston gave an incredible performance at Nationals as she made some incredible plays and multiple layouts during the weekend. Brevna Balachandran was also deep threat during games; she used her speed and great cuts to make incredible catches that were picture perfect.
Hicks recalls a time in her ultimate career where the Brock women’s team was only able to field a team of 10 players in total when teams typically bring 20 or so players. The women’s drastic improvement over a few short years is evident in their rising numbers of committed and talented players and they look to continue to improve into the next season.
Led by captains Nelson Le and Hill, the men’s team won two games and dropped one on the first day of their National tournament outing. The next day the team won their first game against Memorial advancing them into the quarter finals. Both the quarter final and the semi-final games played against Lakehead and Ottawa University respectively went into overtime; in ultimate the team who scores the next point in an overtime situation would emerge victorious. The men would triumph in these games scoring the game winning overtime points and going undefeated with a 3-0 record on the day. “The excitement amongst our team when we won in the semi-finals was unlike anything I had experienced. We had beaten a team that just a few years ago would have trounced us and by only one point in the final seconds. It was just incredible,” comments Connor Gray.
Brock would meet McGill in the ‘B’ division final and fall 16-7 in a game that was played with an exhausted and injury ridden squad. Overall the team has never come close to finishing their season in the top 10 at the national level.
Hill, Le and rookie Chris Caldwell had outstanding offensive performances scoring a considerable portion of Brock’s total points in the last season. The team also relied heavily on Derek Hiemstra and Dean Weber for their defensive contributions.
“Last season gives us a goal to reach next year to either get there or improve if possible. We’re losing a lot of our core guys next season which is hard so were looking for strong rookies to come in and help us out,” said Hill.
Hill encourages anyone interested in ultimate to contact him as the team begins its spring training program.
“The people that are involved in the club are the best part. They were the first group of friends I had at Brock and the club allows you to meet people in different years. Traveling to tournaments is also fun because you see people outside of their element,” said Hill.
The opportunity to compete and be a part of a team is another huge advantage the club tries to strive towards. “We are always supporting one another, and helping each other on and off the field. Every time we get together, there are always jokes, laughter and a family atmosphere. Brock Ultimate gives more than just the ability to compete, but it builds a relationship between players that you won’t find in many University sports,” says Hicks.
If you are interested in playing with the club, contact them through their Facebook page, Brock Ultimate Frisbee 2016.
Assistant Campus News