COD students make headway with Ultimate Frisbee Team

Team vies to be an official COD sport

A+group+of+players+jump+for+the+disc+during+an+Ultimate+Frisbee+game+at+Knock+Knolls+Park+in+Naperville%2C+Ill+on+Sept.+12.+
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COD students make headway with Ultimate Frisbee Team

A group of players jump for the disc during an Ultimate Frisbee game at Knock Knolls Park in Naperville, Ill on Sept. 12.

A group of players jump for the disc during an Ultimate Frisbee game at Knock Knolls Park in Naperville, Ill on Sept. 12.

Lucas Koprowski

A group of players jump for the disc during an Ultimate Frisbee game at Knock Knolls Park in Naperville, Ill on Sept. 12.

Lucas Koprowski

Lucas Koprowski

A group of players jump for the disc during an Ultimate Frisbee game at Knock Knolls Park in Naperville, Ill on Sept. 12.

Lucas Koprowski, Sports Editor

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The College of DuPage has a huge roster of sports for students to participate in, for both men and women, and has shown to be a huge help to students who want to participate in school activities and be a part of student life. Although this list of sports has been finite for a number of years, there is a new group of students that want to bring the newest entry in the list of official Olympic sports to COD: Ultimate Frisbee.

 

Ultimate Frisbee is a team sport where players try to score points by passing a Frisbee to a teammate past the opposing team’s goal line. It sounds like Football with a Frisbee, but the sports are quite the opposite of each other. While Football is a very physical sport, Ultimate Frisbee is a non-contact sport. In addition, the game is based around sportsmanship, more so to the extent that there are no referees on the field; so the players are responsible for calling out bad plays, and being responsible for themselves and their actions.

 

Captains of the unofficial COD team Jerry Kelly and Zach Diener have been trying to bring this team to fruition and make it official for their entire time being a student here at COD. “We want to promote student life at COD,” said Diener. “This is an Ultimate strong area, and we know that if we were able to get a team going we would do very well. Our goal is to see competitive play, if possible and if allowed by COD.”

 

Both Kelly and Diener come from Neuqua Valley High School in Naperville, Illinois; which is a very strong high school for Ultimate Frisbee in Illinois. They both have coaching experience at Neuqua Valley, and have huge admiration for the sport. “I love Ultimate. I love every aspect of Ultimate. I’ve played a lot of sports in the past, but nothing’s come to the amount of enjoyment I’ve had in comparison to Ultimate,” said Kelly. “I want Ultimate in my life as much as I can, and I know COD doesn’t have an ultimate program, which is an official sport now. COD has basketball and football, but still no Frisbee.”

Jerry Kelly throws a disc past Alex Biskus during a game of Ultimate Frisbee at Knock Knolls Park in Naperville, Ill on Sept. 12.

Lucas Koprowski
Jerry Kelly throws a disc past Alex Biskus during a game of Ultimate Frisbee at Knock Knolls Park in Naperville, Ill on Sept. 12.

Both of these students have been trying to build the team from the ground up for the past couple of years while here at COD, but recently have become more organized in how they run their unofficial squad. “We started two years ago when we were both freshmen. Now we’re juniors and we’re finally starting to gain some ground,” said Diener. “Most of these guys that are out here are sophomores and freshmen, so we’re gaining in popularity for sure. We’ve been persistent and now we’re finally starting to become a program. We’ve been doing this for two years, but this is the first year we’re looking to be competitive and participate in sanctioned events.”

 

What he means by sanctioned events is that he wants the team to be affiliated with the school; to be COD’s official Ultimate Frisbee team, backed by the school just like any other sport. Although this would mean the school would have to add a small budget for the team, and possibly some field time, the benefits of becoming a sanctioned club far outweigh the negatives. The biggest would be that team would be able to play in regular season matches and college regular season tournaments as frequently as any other sport at COD plays against other teams across the nation. The team would be able to participate in tournaments such as the Illinois Open in Champaign, Illinois, and the sanctioned tournament of the Chicago Invite in Rockford, Illinois.

 

When the team was finally starting to be competitive in the Fall of 2014, the duo had lead the team into a few unsanctioned events; where they can only call themselves a group of COD students, and not the college’s official team. “We did well at all of those tournaments; we won one, and we got 5th out of 40 teams at another,” said Diener. “We have tried to be competitive, but unfortunately without the support of COD it’s been difficult. We would love to get competitive if we can.” Last year, the team dominated many top level teams from big name schools, such as Western Illinois University, Northwestern University and Purdue University of Indianapolis.

 

Even though the team hasn’t been accepted by the school as the official team, the captains have already picked up a coach with over 5 years of experience in the sport at the collegiate level. Former COD student and Coach Gene Poletto has played with multiple teams over his career as a player, and has coached the captains since they were high school. “Me and a few other guys tried to start an ultimate club at COD, but they didn’t let us unfortunately,” said Poletto. “I left COD a year later to go to Iowa State. I played for them for two and a half years, then I just wrapped everything up at Northern Illinois University, where I received my Degree in Meteorology. I coached these guys when they were in high school, over the summer and a little in the spring. Then they asked me to coach the COD team, and I agreed.”
With strong coaching and leadership in the club, this team has the potential and future of being one of the strongest teams in the area, with or without acceptance by the school. There are a total of 22 team members who are active in the team, and they would love to see even more players come out that are interested. The team practices twice a week at two separate locations to accommodate travel time. They practice on Thursdays from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Seven Gables Park in Wheaton, and on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Naperville. All skill levels are welcome, and if you’re interested in the team or have any questions you can contact the captains via email at either zdiener95@gmail.com, Zach Diener, or girolamokelly@gmail.com, Jerry Kelly. If you have Twitter, you can also tweet out to them at @CoDfishUltimate.

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