Ultimate team hopes to improve after a promising inaugural season

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Grace Coughlin

The 30 member ultimate team practice on the field to prepare for the upcoming season.

David Nelson and Devin Lanz

The Benilde-St. Margaret’s ultimate team doesn’t draw large crowds. Rarely will you hear people asking each other if they’re going to the game tonight and be referring to the ultimate game. The players have to drive themselves to and from tournaments rather than take buses like other sports do. And, according to Benilde-St. Margaret’s website, ultimate isn’t even considered a sport.

No, not one person could honestly say that the BSM ultimate team is getting the attention or appreciation that it deserves. Perhaps that’s because it’s only the team’s second year, but after a top 25 finish in last year’s state rankings, it’s time the BSM student body started paying attention.

Ultimate was a new activity at Benilde-St. Margaret’s just last year. Even though the team has almost doubled in size from last year, it is still not considered an actual sport. Ultimate is considered today what lacrosse was a decade ago, an up and coming activity gaining popularity. “It is a new activity at BSM, but hopefully it can become a sport for next season,” junior Jonathan Paquette said.

Just like lacrosse, ultimate has a group of people passionate about playing and want that to be recognized. “I really like playing and so does the rest of the team. We are all dedicated players,” Paquette said.

Just from last year, the size of the team has doubled. Because of the number of new players, the activity made an A team and a B team instead of a single level team to compete. “[With an A and B team] all players will be able to get more playing time and more touches on the disc. On the downside, it might separate the two teams from being one big whole team and players might feel slighted that they aren’t on the A team,” senior player Adrian Ng said.

Because of the ultimate team’s rise in interest, players think the uniqueness of the sport is the reason for the large influx of players. “Playing as a team in ultimate, you connect a lot more as opposed to other sports. In ultimate, everyone is catching [the disc], everyone is throwing it….it’s such an involved team sport. The camaraderie that develops between teammates is stronger than any other sport. And in this sport, there is no referees and everything is self-officiated, which means there’s a higher level of integrity required and upheld,” Ng said.

Senior captains Brian Kretsch and Eric Von Kampen hope to lead the team to victory and make it to the state tournament in early June. “We are hoping to win a majority of our section games this season, and we want to be placed in a high ranking for the state tournament at the end of the season,” Paquette said.

The teams have a two hour practice twice a week on the turf and it will need all the practice it can get when going up against tough opponents such as Hopkins, last year’s state champion, and St. Paul Central. “All the kids on Hopkins start playing when they’re really young. They move the disc well, and have a reputation for just being the best in Minnesota. They are recognized nationally, and play like it. They’re tough competition, but once we learn how to play well, anything can happen,” Von Kampen said.

Team improvement will be necessary if the team hopes to start gaining the respect it deserves. “We’re going to need a lot of coaching and leadership from our returning members [to get to where we want to be]. And we need our developing members and our entire team to be focused on that goal, [staying] active and trying to learn. I already think we’re going to be better than we were last year,” Ng said.