From club to competitive team sport

Spinnaker

Club sports may appear to be for groups of athletes who couldn’t find their sport in college and made a club to salvage the enjoyment that sport brought them. Or, that group of athletes might be trying to establish a tradition and bring glory to the institution they will reside in for the next four years of their lives.

The latter category is where the UNF Ultimate Frisbee team lies.

“We’re trying to go from, ‘Oh we’re having fun,’ to, ‘running in cleats, laying out and getting dirty,’” said Josh Hyde, a psychology senior and captain of the UNF Ultimate Frisbee team.

Club president Tony Ruscito, a business management junior at UNF, echoes the same sentiment. Now, in his second year of being president of the club, Ruscito and other club players are focusing on being more competitive.

When the club started in 2004, there wasn’t a huge drive to be competitive, and the main focus was for recreation, Ruscito said. Last year, the team started advertising itself. It recruited more players but didn’t have enough to be a relevant force in the USA Ultimate world.

“We didn’t have the numbers [last year], and we weren’t as good as a team this year,” said Scott Collins, a history senior at UNF.

The biggest difference is the change of mindset in everyone, Collins said. The team, Category Five, practices every Monday and Wednesday at 8 p.m at the South (Crossings) Field. The team has a coach that occasionally comes to aid the team in reaching its goals.

The team’s strong freshman class has also been a huge perk to the team’s aspirations, Collins said. The team took fourth in its only action this year in the Kennel Kick-Off, a preseason tournament hosted Nov. 12-13 by the University of Central Florida.

The team plays under the rules and regulations of USA Ultimate, formerly the Ultimate Players Association. Under its guidelines, a team has to submit a bid fee registered under UNF to enter each tournament it plays in.

Hyde, with only one year of eligibility left, said he has high hopes this year and for the future of the team. The team is better-rounded, and the team doesn’t lose a beat when reserves step in to give the starters a breather, he said.

Despite the move to being more competitive, he team doesn’t want to turn away people who are curious about the high-flying sport. Currently, there are no tryouts, and everyone makes the team, but the leaders want prospective players to come out with the right mindset.

“Just don’t come out there and say, ‘this is something I want to do once or twice,’” Ruscito said. “We’re looking for people to commit.”

Jordan Harirchi, Assistant Sports Editor

Email Jordan at [email protected]