By Branson Hardcastle | Reporter
The Baylor Men’s Ultimate Frisbee Club, also known as Stonewall, is looking to build off its success last season as it finished eighth out of 16 teams at regionals.
During the club’s first year in 2008, one of the members yelled “Stonewall” every time he got a defensive block. The other players loved it so much that they decided to name the team Stonewall.
Last season, Stonewall fell to Texas State 15-10 in the seventh place game at regionals in Austin at the University of Texas. Many on the team considered it a decent finish, but Nashville senior and president club Keon Cleary felt that injuries held them back from reaching their full potential.
“It wasn’t necessarily the finish we were hoping for. I think that we could have done a lot better if we had all of our starters healthy, but it was still a respectable finish,” Cleary said.
Ultimate Frisbee is played on a field 40 yards wide and 120 yards long. Each end zone is 25 yards deep. The goal of the game is to get points by catching the Frisbee in the end zone.
This year, Stonewall expects to surpass its eighth-place finish and place in the top two to advance to nationals. Making it to nationals would be a major feat for the team as it has yet to reach the national tournament stage since the club was founded.
Tryouts for Stonewall saw a mix of returners and new players and concluded last week. It started practice on Tuesday with the help of volunteer head coach Baxter Robb, who was a member of Stonewall until he graduated in May.
“It is a time we use to grow in our skill and as a community,” Robb said. “We usually do drills for the first part of practice to help with technique and to work on specific areas and then the last 30 to 45 minutes we scrimmage.”
This year will provide a new challenge for the team, as it has to fill some holes left by athletes who graduated. Cleary expects returning players and new players to step in so the team can get back to regionals again this year.
“Our biggest challenge this year is development. We lost a lot of guys last year to graduation,” Cleary said. “We really need people who didn’t play that big of a role last year to step up, as well as new rookies, like freshmen, that we will take on the team to step up and fill roles as well.”
The community aspect of the team is very important to the players and also to Robb.
Robb said the players care about the development of their skills but more importantly the development of the players as individuals. He said they try to connect on an individual level and grow together outside of practice in different aspects of life whether it be in their faith or as young men.
Elmhurst, Ill., freshman Trevor Hoogendoorn, a new member, noticed the same type of community that Robb described.
“After every tryout it was always ‘Where are we doing dinner? What are we doing together after this?’” Hoogendoorn said. “You can just tell there is a lot of camaraderie between the upperclassmen and the people who have been playing together. I definitely look forward to being a part of that.”
Stonewall plays in seven tournaments a year; typically the team plays two in the fall semester and five in the spring semester. Its first tournament will either be Sept. 30 to Oct. 1 at Texas State University or Oct. 7 and 8 at the University of Texas. It is still unknown which tournament they will take part in.
Stonewall is still accepting new players and no experience is needed to join or to give Ultimate Frisbee a try. Practices are held Monday, Tuesday and Thursday from 6-8 p.m.at the intramural fields. For more information about the team or if you are interested in trying Ultimate Frisbee, contact Keon Cleary: firstname.lastname@example.org.