BYU Ultimate Frisbee works for university recognition

BYU Ultimate Frisbee works for university recognition

PROVO, Utah – Brigham Young University’s Ultimate Frisbee team is starting to garner national attention with their play, but they still face the battle of becoming an official team at the University.

“Who doesn’t love to catch and throw a disc? It’s the funnest thing you could do,” said senior Wyatt Nethercott.

“(Ultimate Frisbee is) one of the fastest growing team sports with 5 million players a year just in the United States,” said head coach Bryce Merrill.

The club team BYU CHI has caught on to the national trend. Merrill is adamant on making a name for themselves.

“Yes, we’re really a sport. Yes, we actually travel the country to play this game,” Merrill said.

Extramural Sports Program Director Morris Havea, however, said it’s not likely that they’ll add Ultimate Frisbee to the university lineup.

“We’re not looking to expand if that’s what you’re asking,” Havea said.

Havea said the extramural program has a storied history of winning.

“Historically, men’s rugby they’ve won four or five times now – the national championship. And then our men’s lacrosse (are) four-time national champions.”

It’s a small group of six very successful teams, but Havea said they get multiple requests a semester.

“Spikeball. We had cycling and I think there was bowling when I came in,” Havea said.

Nethercott said BYU CHI is not just another niche sport looking for recognition.

“The program has excelled at such a fast rate it’s crazy,” Nethercott said.

Grad student and team member Ryan Hawkley said he has lofty goals for the team.

“Continue to improve our ranking and one day to be able to compete at nationals,” Hawkley said.

BYU CHI competes at tournaments all across the nation, which has led to a Top 10 USA Ultimate ranking this year. But the Ultimate team does not get the funding that other extramural sports receive, so playing for the club is a great sacrifice.

Nethercott, though, said it’s all worth it.

“Bryce has taught us to believe in ourselves,” Nethercott said. “The kind of character it creates. Hard work.”

“I’m not the tallest guy out here, but there’s a role for me on this team,” Hawkley said.

And when it all comes down to it, they play for the love of the game.

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