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Ultimately Fun

Mr. Nilsson confers with his team during a game.

The present Deerfield squad is dedicated and talented. Although “we graduated some terrific talent last year,” Mr. Nilsson said, “we have some strong players coming through the ranks, including a large group of juniors who have developed strong skills and experience.” He defines Ultimate as somewhere between a recreational activity and varsity sport that accommodates both old and new team members.

Particularly during the spring, pick-up Frisbee games are routine on the quad. Just two years ago, Jem Wilner ’11 took the activity to a competitive level, and, according to Ultimate Frisbee Coach and Assistant Dean of Faculty Peter Nilsson, “very actively organized the group into its own co-curricular.”

Now in its third season, Ultimate boasts a 6-1 record as a competitive coed squad. What has contributed to its rapid growth and success at Deerfield over such a short span?

Last year Wilson Wang ’12 solidified the team’s role by organizing a busy schedule of interscholastic matches for the entire season and signing up for the Amherst Invitational, the nation’s most acclaimed high school Ultimate tournament. Mr. Nilsson attributes the sport’s current stature to “[Wilner’s] rallying and Wang’s drive and motivation last year.”

This year’s team, led by captains Tara Murty ’14 and Taran Weeks ’13, has continued to attract both new and veteran players who seek the fun environment and cross-training benefits of the game.

“It’s really a community game, and the typical association of friends throwing a disc at the beach isn’t totally off,” Murty said. “The sport is about playing for the love of the game and that’s it. Yes, we want to win. But more importantly, the spirit of the game rests at the heart of Ultimate.”

Ultimate has become increasingly popular since its creation in 1968. Now, according to wfdf.org, more than 31,000 members participate in USA Ultimate.

The sport’s simple set of rules, as well as its few equipment and experiential requirements, contribute to the sport’s progression. The goal is to score points by passing the Frisbee into an opponent’s end zone by completing throws. Players cannot run while holding the Frisbee. Because the sport is non-contact, the other team only assumes possession if the pass is incomplete, or after a score.

The present Deerfield squad is dedicated and talented. Although “we graduated some terrific talent last year,” Mr. Nilsson said, “we have some strong players coming through the ranks, including a large group of juniors who have developed strong skills and experience.” He defines Ultimate as somewhere between a recreational activity and varsity sport that accommodates both old and new team members.

“It’s the most underrated sport on campus,” said Luke Madronal ’14, a second-year member of the squad. The team’s impressive record against high-level rivals such as Northfield Mount Hermon, Hotchkiss and Andover demonstrates the group’s obvious talent, as well as Mr. Nilsson’s coaching skills.

One notable participant is Weeks, who has accounted for one-fourth of the team’s points all season. Mr. Nilsson appreciates his ability to “guide and teach new players with strong sensitivity.” As the season comes to a close, the team hopes to win the final JV tournament and break seed at New Englands at the end of the season.

“As a captain, I am so happy to see the progress we have made with Ultimate here,” concluded Murty. “We all hope that we can continue building and moving forward as a program at Deerfield.”

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