The Brock University men’s ultimate frisbee team captured a tier two national championship two weeks ago — something that was hard to imagine when Jeremy Hill joined the program in 2013.
“It was nothing more than a group of men and women who met up twice a week to practice and attended tournaments on the weekend. We travelled in our personal cars to tournaments, and paid all team fees and other expenses out of pocket,” Hill said of the program.
“Since becoming an official Brock competitive sports club, Brock Ultimate is now recognized alongside other varsity and club sports and receives some funding to help offset costs.”
The ultimate frisbee season is shorter than most, starting with tryouts the week classes begin in September, and concluding the weekend after Thanksgiving.
“The schedule is very quick and compact. From there, we have practice 3 days a week, with tournaments on most weekends up until reading week.”
Each season, the teams get Thanksgiving weekend off, but the weekend following is when they compete at nationals. This past season, the Badger teams competed in tournaments in Guelph, Hamilton, Belleville and Ottawa.
Unlike other sports — such as basketball or hockey — ultimate doesn’t get an opportunity to recruit student-athletes prior to their arrival at Brock.
“With it [ultimate] still being a niche sport, it is hard to recruit players to join our program. Last year we began playing exhibition games on Brock Open House days to entice any potential incoming student,” said Hill.
Though they have made efforts to expose the program to future students, “The large majority of the team is selected from the individuals who chose to attend tryouts in the first week of school.”
This season, the men’s team completed a goal they had from the start; capturing a tier two national championship.
“The success of the men’s team stemmed from each member having a team first mindset. In games that were close, some players didn’t see as much field time, but they did everything they could to support the team,” Hill said of the culture of the men’s team.
Hill also had praise for the veteran leadership on the men’s team. “In games that we we had a large lead, they [veterans] encouraged our less experienced players to get more playtime and allow everyone to be apart of the team success.”
“We had a meeting at the beginning of the year and talked about what we wanted to accomplish as a team. We talked about what didn’t work well last year and what our goal was for this season. Our goal was to win a national championship, and we succeeded.”
Though Hill did not start playing ultimate until coming to Brock in 2013, he has worked his way up the ranks, and currently plays professionally for the Ottawa Outlaws in the summer.
“Growing up in a typical Canadian sports background, I played hockey in the winter and soccer in the summer.” Hill had planned to tryout for the Brock men’s soccer team, but after he suffered a hamstring injury prior to tryouts, he decided to join the Ultimate Frisbee team as a way to stay active and get to know some more people at Brock. “I quickly turned this new opportunity into a passion and began to excel at it.”
After his second season at Brock, Hill’s hometown, Ottawa, received a franchise in the American Ultimate Disc League, “I jumped at the opportunity to tryout and I’ve been with the team for 3 seasons now.”
“I play for the [Ottawa] Outlaws in the summer which allows me to return to Brock as a student-athlete during the school year. I also play for the Canadian U-24 Nationals team.”
When Hill first started with the Brock Ultimate program, for his first three seasons, the team was without a coach, though hill served as player and team captain. After Hill tore his ACL, MCL, and sustained a partially torn meniscus in his second season with Ottawa, he came back to Brock to coach the men’s team in his fourth year. This year, he returned as player and captain of the men’s team.
Hill believes the ultimate program at Brock is on the right track, and that the team is becoming more recognized and known amongst the university.
“The program has come so far already. With people knowing that we have a team, our vision is to increase numbers for students at tryouts in order to continue competing with top universities. I hope to see students seriously consider attending Brock to play for the men’s or women’s ultimate team.”