Hillsdale College now boasts a traveling ultimate frisbee team that has already competed in two tournaments.
The team started as an unofficial club but was given official status by the Student Federation last spring. Sophomore and president of the club Sebastian Pestritto approached the office of club athletics to ask for funding to become a club team. The ultimate frisbee team has now received funding from college donors and sponsors such as Checker Records in order to become a travel team.
When Pestritto dual-enrolled at Hillsdale his senior year of high school, he began to play pick-up ultimate frisbee with other members of the campus ‘team.’ He continued playing the sport in his freshman year of college and began to look for ways to make the team more organized.
After making the club official and gathering enough names at this semester’s Source, the team began regular practices on Tuesdays and Saturdays. After practice, the club members also play pickup games with anyone interested.
Senior Henry Brink, the club’s treasurer, said these pickup games are how the team recruited some of its members. For example, Brink told the story of how freshman Ethan Cobb, who Brink describes as “a very dependable cutter with very sticky fingers,” joined the club.
“Ethan showed up to pick up games for a few weeks and I assumed he didn’t want to play on the team because he didn’t ask,” Brink said. “Then one day I said to him, “Ethan, are you sure you don’t want to play on the team?’ And he said, ‘Actually yeah I do, I was just waiting for you to ask me.’”
For freshman Abbee Elwell, who had played ultimate frisbee competitively in high school, finding out there was an ultimate frisbee club was a “bonus” to coming to Hillsdale.
“I knew I was going to make time in my study schedule to go to all the ultimate practices because it’s a great form of exercise and also a great community,” Elwell said.
The travel team has attended two tournaments so far. Their most recent tournament was this past Saturday in Livonia, Michigan.
“A lot of the teams at the tournament are very experienced teams, so a lot of times we didn’t win the games but we were right up there competing with them,” Pestritto said. “At this point, I’m not concerned with winning or losing, it’s more about the experience and getting better, which I really saw.”
Pestritto added that the other team captains at the tournament were shocked and impressed when they heard that Hillsdale’s team had only been official since August.
Elwell said she is committed to playing the sport, improving the team, and making it more well-known during her time at Hillsdale.
“My goal is that by the time I graduate this team is a club sport that is known, that is recognized as a legitimate player in tournaments, and that keeps going after we graduate,” Elwell said.