This Easter Sunday, while others are sleeping in or enjoying brunch to celebrate the holiday, Occidental’s ultimate frisbee team will be competing to earn a bid to a national competition.
For the first time ever, Occidental will play host to the D-III Southwest Conference Ultimate Frisbee Championships. Cal Tech and Claremont will travel to Occidental to compete in a round robin for the conference title and a bid to the national tournament in Louisville, Kentucky.
This tournament is a rare opportunity for students to see the men’s ultimate team, Detox, play at home. The team usually travels far and wide to play in weekend tournaments, with trips to Las Vegas and San Jose. Team captain Spencer Goldman (senior), expressed the importance of this weekend, explaining that this will be the first competitive ultimate game he has ever played at home throughout his four-year frisbee career.
Four-year Detox player Jesse Moore (senior) expressed excitement for the rare opportunity to play in front of a home crowd.
“I’d love to show the Oxy community what Men’s Ultimate is doing … this game serves as a good opportunity to connect with Oxy’s campus and hopefully show people more about the sport,” Moore said.
Moore added that Patterson field usually hosts Major League Ultimate competition on Sunday afternoons, and was hopeful that supporters of the L.A. Aviators will come out anyway and enjoy the college matchups.
Detox hopes to face Claremont for the championship title in the 2 p.m. game. Claremont has been a dominant force in the Southwest Conference, besting Detox the past three years in the conference tournament and has made it to the national tournament every year since DIII nationals began in 2011. While such a competitor may be intimidating to Detox, head coach Ben Potash ’98 believes this year’s team offers more promise.
“In past years we’ve had to rely on 7 or 8 players to carry our team, but this year we have around 20 reliable players so we can rotate them in and out and stay fresh,” Potash said.
Potash emphasize that Claremont usually hosts the tournament and has a large fan base. Potash hopes Oxy will bring a strong following to support Detox and boost moral in favor of the home team.
Goldman also emphasized that this team’s first-year class is one of the biggest (12) and most talented the captains and coaches have ever seen. He believes Detox’s newfound depth will be their key to success on Sunday.
“We need to play to our depth and play as a team. If we can stay away from Hero Ball, meaning we avoid long deep passes and guys trying to make a huge play, then I think we’ll have a good shot against Claremont,” Goldman said.
Potash added another key to the game saying that it will be important to be even-keeled emotionally. Detox showed this ability to handle the big stage in their San Jose tournament when facing off against a strong D-I program, Chico State.
“We were down 2 at the beginning of the second half and immediately tied the game up. Then we traded them point for point right down to the end,” Potash said.
Though Chico State pulled out the win, Potash believes that game showed Detox their ability to compete with stronger teams and rise under pressure.
Potash and Detox are certainly excited for the high stakes competition this weekend, but they also see it as a great opportunity to bring a stronger frisbee presence onto campus.
While Detox members participate in many events across the LA, one event that will bring the frisbee community together is the screening of a documentary titled, “Flatball.” This documentary, narrated by Alec Baldwin, chronicles the history of ultimate frisbee and will make it’s West Coast debut at Occidental April 29.
Potash expressed his hope that this particular event will bring the ultimate frisbee community to Occidental and show students what the sport is all about. Both he and his players encourage students to not only head to Patterson Field Sunday afternoon, but also to the screening to learn more about frisbee history and culture.