Ultimate frisbee gets competitive

“Fun. Fast. Intense.”

That is how junior Diego Donna, the men’s ultimate frisbee club president at UM, describes his sport. This Miami local fell in love with the fast-paced game in high school when he started to play with some friends. Now he is the president of a promising and highly-motivated club team, the “Miami Vice,” playing off the 80s hit TV series.

The six-year old program at UM has ambitious goals for the upcoming season.

“We want to make it out of the sectionals and advance to the regionals,” said senior Ari Schiftan, the captain and vocal leader of the team.

It is not like the team hasn’t had success before; they won the Heat of the Huck (a deep pass in Frisbee jargon) tournament in Valdosta, Ga. three years ago and the FIT in Melbourne, Fla. last year. But the consensus within the team is that this year’s group has the tools to take the next step.

The first test will come mid-November when they will compete in Orlando in the sixth annual Kennel Kickoff followed by the Janus and Warm-up tournaments in January and the famous Trouble in Vegas tournament in February.

“We’re planning on mixing and matching to field an A and B team,” Donna said.

They can afford this team reorganization because the interest in ultimate frisbee has been steadily rising over the past years, causing player participation to increase.

According to Donna, the club had 32 members last year and is now at 40. The number keeps fluctuating though because new players can show up to practice at any time before tournament season and participate right away.

Although official tryouts aren’t required, the team is not short on competitive spirit.

As soon as their practice begins, the intensity of the sport is evident. It is like watching a mixture of football and basketball. Offensive plays are called out, players jump to the sky to snag the flying disc and dive on the ground to make improbable catches. Participants battle the hot August sun and some are even close to getting sick on the field.

Nevertheless, the whole group is still involved and animated. Even the players on the sideline bark out encouragement and instructions to their teammates. This team chemistry and steady influx of young talent has everybody excited about the upcoming season.

Patrick Riley may be contacted at priley@themiamihurricane.com.


The men’s ultimate frisbee team practices Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 5 p.m.-7:30 p.m. on the IM fields.