Ultimate soars past expectations

As the season drew near, expectations were lackluster for the varsity Ultimate Frisbee team. The year prior, the team compiled a losing record and finished a measly fifth in the state tournament. Coupled with little returning senior experience, the 2013 season appeared to be a sure struggle.

This past Sunday at St. Louis Priory High School, the Spartans put the final stamp on their Cinderella season, mowing through the 2013 USA Ultimate Missouri HS Championships. They finished a commendable second place, capping off a 13-3 campaign. To Head Coach Jason Becker, their newfound success is a strong step in the right direction.

“Given where we played in the league last year, second place is an extremely positive result for us,” Coach Becker said of his squad. “Last year … we played in the intermediate tier. This year, we played in the advanced league. We only lost two games during the season and one game during the tournament. So we made a lot of progress, and it was definitely encouraging.”

So while the team fell to DeSmet 15-8 in the finals, their respectable finish to the season brings a sense of accomplishment. The Spartans’ ride home from St. Louis was a happy one.

“[We were] pretty positive, because we knew we still played hard,” said second year junior Clay Goodman. “Our hard work did pay off. Even though we didn’t come out with [1st place], we still achieved a lot this year.”

Goodman believes that it serves as a team-wide morale booster — one that could translate into increased success next season.

“I feel like it gave us a lot more confidence,” Goodman said. “[We know] that with another year of experience, we can really accomplish great things.”

Goodman is part of a squadron of players returning next season, making this team’s success a possible precursor for things to come. That experience factor, Becker believes, bodes well for continued improvement.

“We’ve got a core of about eight juniors that are coming back for their third year, so I’m really looking for us to peak next year,” Becker said. “We’ll have a good chance of running pretty deep [in the state tournament] next year.”

Becker has encouraged his players to play in St. Louis Ultimate Association summer leagues to develop their skills in the offseason.