Ultimate Frisbee Club connects UCCS with Team USA

12 November 2019

Devon Williams

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The Ultimate Frisbee club at UCCS competes under the supervision of USA Ultimate (USAU), led by club president Soren Turner and vice president Andrew Dawson. The club is in its second year at UCCS, after being founded by a coalition of students.

Ultimate frisbee, or just “ultimate,” is a team sport that has garnered recognition at various amateur levels, from high school to college to club. Competitive ultimate has risen in recent years as an international sport, with multiple bids to have the game added to the summer Olympics.

For those who are not familiar, the game is similar to soccer, with an endzone instead of a net. Teams of seven typically play on a field divided into 25-foot-long zones. The first to 15 points wins.

USAU broadly dictates the rules of the game, with officials on the field calling the shots.

The UCCS club team was originally brought together by an initiative of UCCS students. Dawson noted that Turner was the one who brought the group together and led the team (nicknamed “Team Sauce”) in its first season.

This year, the team was able to bring in Jimmy Donnellon as a coach and leader. Donnellon originally came from the Air Force Academy and is now the director of operations for Altitude Youth Ultimate, a nonprofit founded in 2014 to build ultimate frisbee leagues at the high school level. He also served as president of the Colorado Springs Ultimate Network for a time.

This year, Donnellon was able to implement a program for Team Sauce to shape their style of play and their effectiveness. The team trains regularly during practice on Alpine field from 4-6 p.m. on Fridays, in addition to team conditioning at 6:00 a.m. on Wednesdays.

Periodically throughout their season, the team travels abroad to tournaments in their league.

Dawson said that “students should know we stand by the spirit of the game above all other goals. Ultimate is a game ran on spirit. Self-refereed, limited-contact, and a high level of sportsmanship.”

Though tryouts have yet to occur for the upcoming season, Dawson said the team looks for athletic people for their roster, with a background in any sport with a high amount of running. Depending on their position, players can average two to three miles of running per game.

For each member, the team requires a payment of $60 in regular dues, in addition to a one-time $50 USAU membership fee. According to Dawson, these are the lowest fees of any club sport at UCCS.

Since leaving the Army after nine years of service, Dawson has been able to play multiple levels of Club and now the College League over the past six years. He said that “ultimate is built on a community of people who want to play at high levels of athleticism while maintaining a fun atmosphere …what separates Ultimate from all other sports, is the spirit of the game. If you do not project sportsmanship, you cannot play.”

Dawson cites this sportsmanship as the main reason he enjoys the game.

Moving forward, Dawson said the team has the goal of advertising and raising awareness of the sport, as well as becoming more competitive at the collegiate level.