Ultimate season for Frisbee team

By Contributing Writer

by Kaitlyn Mattson

Contributing Writer

Frisbees are sailing into the lives and hearts of Columbia students.

The Renegades’ Ultimate Frisbee team is just getting started with its new yearlong season, and despite the coming sleet, ice and snow, frisbees will be flying, even if the team has to move its games indoors. So says Wesley Jerden, founder and captain of the Ultimate Frisbee team and senior marketing communication major.

“I got started [playing Ultimate Frisbee] at my old school,” Jerden said. “I was a captain for two years as a freshman and a sophomore. When I transferred here, I wanted to do it again, so I went to the Renegades and I gave them all the information they needed to get [a team] started here.”

Ultimate Frisbee is not a traditional organized sport. The game has several unique rules. Each side has seven players, and the action is similar to that of football. But running with the frisbee is forbidden, and once it’s caught, it must be passed, said Tifanny Stanley, treasurer of the Ultimate Frisbee team and senior marketing

communication major.

The disc can be held onto for only 10 seconds before it needs to be passed or thrown downfield. The first team to get 15 points wins, Stanley explained.

“We lost our first game 15-12,” Jerden said. “But hopefully, we are going to win every game from here [until] the end of next year.”

Kevin Vicks, team assistant and junior film and video major, has found that the Ultimate Frisbee team is getting a positive response from Columbia students.

“We generate a lot of interest for sure,” Vicks said. “I know a lot of people [for whom] this is their first time playing ultimate here, or anywhere, and they started on our team. We like to have a friendly atmosphere.”

The team doesn’t need new players, according to Jerden, yet it welcomes and encourages people to come out and practice.

“We have enough players,” he said. “We are essentially one giant mass of people, and whoever can make it to the game goes.”

The team has also recruited a teacher to help advise the team. Jerden sought out Jonathan Keiser, faculty member in the Science and Math Department, and now official Ultimate Frisbee adviser.

“I played ultimate in Minnesota for years, and I guess I had probably mentioned it to someone in the Renegades office,” Keiser said. “So Wes Jerden came and found me two years ago.”

The team’s official Facebook group has more than 80 members, and its email list exceeds 200 students. The team has been successful, in part, because of Jerden’s marketing experience. He does a good job getting people interested in the team, according to Abby Cress, vice president of the Renegades. Jerden tells everyone he meets about the Ultimate Frisbee team because he is so enthusiastic about it, Cress said.

“Jerden brings a passion, motivation and intensity to it that I haven’t seen before,” Keiser said. “He loves the sport and wants to share that passion with other people, and it is contagious.”

Not only is Jerden passionate about Renegades, but the entire team seems to have a real love for the sport.

“We have a really positive team,” Vicks said. “We haven’t had any issues or negative feedback. Everyone who comes out loves it and plays. So our team is doing great in terms of morale.”

Stanley said the onset of winter won’t present a problem.

“If it gets too cold, there is the possibility of Frisbees shattering, so we do try to use indoor facilities,” she said. “We actually have the use of the gym that just opened up.”

The Ultimate Frisbee team is possibly the largest Renegades sports team and has grown from one to a roster of more than 50 students, Keiser said.

So far this season, the Ultimate team has played the University of Illinois at Chicago and the Illinois Institute of Technology three times.

“A characteristic of the game is the spirit of the game,” Keiser said. “It is [also] highly competitive, but not at the expense of taunting other individuals or unintentional fouls. The spirit of Ultimate is … having a lot of fun without injuring anyone else.”

For more information on the team, search for the team’s Facebook page, the Official Columbia College Ultimate Frisbee.