UD Ultimate teams earn berths at nationals
4:28 p.m., May 24, 2007--The University of Delaware men's and women's ultimate disc clubs will be competing in the Ultimate Player's Association (UPA) collegiate national championships to be held May 25-27, in Columbus, Ohio.

Both teams earned a national playoff invitation following victories in the Metro East Regional Championships in Edinboro, Pa., on May 5-6. The UD men and women's teams competed in a 16-team field that included teams from New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware and Washington, D.C.

“Each of the eight regions was allotted a certain number of spots for the national championships, with one spot for each region, and four additional spots depending on how well the competing teams did at last year's national championships,” Kevin McCormick, a doctoral student in the College of Arts and Sciences, said.

Ultimate is played with a flying disc and teams score by passing the disc downfield until they reach the end zone. Players cannot run with the disc and have only 10 seconds after a catch to pass it along to a teammate. The sport was invented in the late 1960s and quickly gained popularity on college campuses.

The UD ultimate men's club is ranked No. 12 in the UPA Open standings, with a 31-6 record, while the UD ultimate women's squad, Sideshow, earned a No. 8 ranking with a 31-4 record in the women's ratings.

Sideshow co-captain Val Nigro, an art history and sociology major from Cranford, N.J., said the team has grown from the original 1997 squad of seven women, just enough to field a team, to a squad that boasts an A and B team.

“Since then, our numbers have swelled enough for us to field a B team for the first time. Our coach Tim Johnson is in his first year with the team,” Nigro, said. “This year was the first time in our team's history that we won the regionals.”

Sideshow member Kayla Burnim, a senior mechanical engineering major from Amherst, Mass., said that she began playing 10 years ago in middle school and enjoys the camaraderie and the competition among team members across the region and the nation.

“It has a lot more freedom in terms of what you can do, and everytime you go on the field something different happens,” Burnim said. “It's just such a new and exciting sport, and even though the competition is intense, it is still friendly.”

McCormick said that the ultimate community refers to the self-officiated contests (during the regular season) as being consistent with the sprit of the game where the players want to do well but still be friends when the game ends.

“I like the fact that ultimate players try to win, but at the same time keep the focus on having fun,” McCormick said. “After the game, the players will hug, shake hands and congratulate each other. It's a great way to meet people and to make friends.”

For more information on the men's ultimate disc club and the women's ultimate disc clubs, visit [www.udel.edu/clubsports/mudisc.htm] and [www.udel.edu/clubsports/wudisc.htm], respectively. For more information on the UPA collegiate national championships, visit [www.upa.org/].