Ultimate frisbee players compete against each other at a 6 a.m. practice due to conflicts for scheduling field time at Griswold Stadium. (Sam Scott/Pioneer Log)

Bacchus ultimate frisbee team showcases strengths

Lewis & Clark students show dedication through club sport


Ultimate frisbee is very different from traditional sports. It is offered nowhere in the United States as an official sport, only as a club sport. In many places, though, it is taken as seriously as any formal sport. “Frisbee is different from traditional sports; it is more inclusive, laid back, and open. We have a coach but students are able to take charge at practice,” explains Will Sarvis ’19.

The team is being led to success this year by Ben Whitenack ’16 and Lucas Contino ’16, both of whom have shown their dedication to and success in ultimate frisbee for years. “This summer I played on Portland’s premier club team, Rhino, and we made it to Club Nationals. But now I’m ready to take all that I learned this summer and apply it to Bacchus and push our team to the next level,” Whitenack adds.

Contino was fortunate enough to play for the U23 Italian Nationals team this summer as well.

Despite ample preparation, not everything has been smooth. The club is dealing with frustrations over sharing the field with the traditional sports teams. This has caused them to schedule practice at 6 a.m. on weekdays and 8 a.m. on weekends; luckily, the players are dedicated enough to accomodate inconvienent practice times.

“This shows a commitment and determination that is not commonly seen in club sports, as well as a great step forward for Bacchus and the ultimate community at LC,” says captain Ben Whitenack ’16.

Though Bacchus doesn’t start their official season until the spring, they have been nothing but busy for the last month. With multiple practices a week and weekend-long tournaments, they are aiming to have and preparing for their best season yet.

Whitenack already sees a lot of potential in the team this year. “Fall is a time we reserve to develop our incoming freshman and teach them the game. Many new players come into the school year without ever having played ultimate so we make it our priority to give them as much time playing and learning the fundamentals as possible,” he said.

While the team does compete in the fall, these preliminary tournaments are held to prepare and give the teams extra practice for the spring season. Over fall break, Bacchus traveled to compete in the Beaver Brawl, a two day competition in Corvallis Oregon. They played teams from all over the northwest and California, including Portland State University, University of Portland, University of Puget Sound, Oregon State, and San Jose State University.

Azen Jaffe ‘19 is excited about his first year on the team. “We learned a lot and we played well. There are many new team members, so we are all warming up to each other and learning how to play together,” he noted.

The following weekend, the players road-tripped to Chico, California to challenge multiple teams at the Chico Chug. Driving for over 20 hours gave the club ample time to bond, which the first year players seemed to enjoy. “We played much better on Sunday than Saturday and grew a lot as a team on and off the field. We were able to spend a lot of social time together on the road and come together as not only a team, but a family,” says Jaffe.

This year the Northwest DIII region is shaping up to be much more competitive than in years past, which is a reflection of Bacchus’ success over the last seven years. In the spring they will compete for a chance to go to nationals in North Carolina. This includes playing a diverse group of teams from all over the country, including a travel tournament to Southern California.

Bacchus will continue their attendance at informal tournaments until their official season begins in the spring.

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