Ultimate Frisbee Team Experiences Revival

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Photo courtesy of Lindsay Giovannone

James Lande throws disc during practice at Kayo Field, West Haven, Feb. 7, 2022.

Lindsay Giovannone, Sports Editor

Ultimate, formerly known as ultimate Frisbee, was developed in 1968 on the foundations of sportsmanship. USA Ultimate is a not-for-profit organization that serves as the governing body for ultimate in the United States, and sponsors youth, college, club, international and beach competitions.

The game is played on a field that is 70 yards long, 40 yards wide, with end zones that are 20 yards deep. To start, the defense pulls (throws) the disc to the offense. Like most other sports, a point is scored when the disc is caught in the defense’s end zone. Players are not allowed to run with the disc, and they only have 10 seconds to make a throw. When a pass is not completed (out of bounds, dropped, blocked, intercepted, stalled), the defense takes over, becoming the offense. Generally, ultimate is a non-contact sport.

Members of the Ultimate team scrimmage during practice at Kayo Field, West Haven, Feb. 7, 2022 (Photo courtesy of Lindsay Giovannone.)

The referee – if there is one – is unable to enforce rules, hence Ultimate simply relies on the “spirit of the game,” where players call their own fouls.

The spirit of the game is not just a motto, but a principle written directly into the rules of ultimate. The official rules state, “Highly competitive play is encouraged, but never at the expense of mutual respect among competitors, adherence to the agreed upon rules, or the basic joy of play.”

The University of New Haven’s ultimate team is over 20 years old and maintains this commitment to sportsmanship, as well as inclusivity.

Captain and Risk Manager Tyler Fitzgerald, a junior majoring in criminal justice, has been on the team since his first year. He says his favorite part about being on the team is, “watching [new members] grow and improve. Every one of our members are now friends because of this team, regardless of where they’re from.”

Captain and team president Justyn Mikulewicz, a senior marine biology major, says that “being part of the ultimate team has had a huge impact on my experience as a University of New Haven student,” and that he, “[enjoys the team] being able to get together each week and get better at the game.”

Justyn Mikulewicz prepares to throw a disc during practice at Kayo Field, West Haven, Feb. 7, 2022. (Photo courtesy of Lindsay Giovannone.)

Junior cybersecurity and networks major, Matthew Swaggerty, who is also serving as team captain and vice president, says he joined his first year and it has “definitely made my experience [at school] better. It’s also how I met the majority of my friends.” He says, “it’s a fun and easy sport to play. There are no tryouts, and we are welcoming to people of any skill level.”

For those interested in getting involved with the ultimate team, reach out to [email protected] You can follow them on Instagram, @chargerultimate. Practices are four days a week: Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays from 6:30-8:30 p.m., and Saturdays from 12-2:00 p.m.