The ultimate trip

Queen’s team spins through California

After another undefeated season against Canadian universities last fall, the men’s ultimate team flew their mothership all the way to the west coast this month to battle some of America’s finest.

The Stanford Invitational, a 16-team tournament which brings together the best ultimate teams from across North America in what inevitably proves to be a showcase of exceptional disc-spinning talent.

Of the 16 teams attending the tournament, 15 were invited based on their reputation and achievements on the ultimate stage this season. The final team earned the right to compete by winning a qualifying tournament a week earlier.

The only Canadian teams invited to the tournament were from Queen’s and the University of British Columbia.

Men’s ultimate captain Ryan Lee told the Journal that the tournament was a great opportunity for the team to be able to show they can compete with the top teams in North America.

After winning the Eastern Regional Championships for the third straight time and then going undefeated through the national championships in October, the team was set to face their toughest competition yet.

Lee said that the sport of ultimate frisbee has received a lot of recognition in U.S. colleges over the past few years, and that when the Queen’s players attend tournaments like the Stanford Invitational, they compete against programs that have been recruiting players out of high schools reputed to have top ultimate programs.

Needless to say, the competition is very good.

“We really wanted to break into the top seven or eight, and to make the quarters,” Lee said. “But with the teams that were there, we are happy with what we accomplished.”

What they accomplished was a decent eleventh-place finish and the chance to hold their own against the number-one team in North America.

“We got to play against Florida [State], who are first in the nation and have a record of 25-0 after winning the tournament,” Lee said. “We stayed with them, but lost 15-8.”

Lee added that in losing 15-8 to Florida they came closer to beating the powerhouse than any other team in the tournament.

Canada’s other representative at the tournament fared a little better than Queen’s did—UBC made it to the finals, where they lost to Florida.

“[UBC] had been training for this for a while,” Lee said. “When we played them we were with them to five, and then they blew us away 15-4.”

Lee added that UBC had added a couple of extra players to their squad, who didn’t usually play with them when they competed in Canadian tournaments.

In order to be able to attend a tournament in California, team members had to cover a significant portion of their travel and tournament expenses.

Individual plane tickets cost $476 per player, and all 13 members who attended were responsible for coming up with the required funds.

Team member Alex Davis explained that on top of their plane tickets, the players had to cover a significant amount of other expenses.

“Because we were officially representing Queen’s on that trip, we were required to satisfy more stringent transportation guidelines (for liability reasons),” Davis said via e-mail. “The administration didn’t want us driving personal vehicles to and from Toronto, so we agreed to take Coach Canada to Pearson airport and back, at $100 each for a two-way ticket.”

Davis added that the collective total of the trip was approxim

ately $9000.

At the beginning of the year both the men’s and women’s ultimate teams are given $750 total from Queen’s Athletics.

“We use that up in one tournament, because we have to pay for a bus and tournament fees can be up to $300,” Lee said.

Having already played in the Eastern Regional and the nationals, the team’s funding had been understandably tapped out before the Stanford Invitational.

Lee added that the team hosted a couple of fundraisers before they left, which raised $1000. Queen’s Athletics granted the team another $500 for the trip, and Davis said that the team approached both the AMS and Principal’s Office for grants, but were turned down. However, the Ottawa-Carleton Ultimate Association matched the contribution of Queen’s Athletics with a $500 donation of their own.

On top of the financial struggles the team faced in being able to get to the tournament at Stanford, Lee explained that they almost faced an even more frustrating scare right before leaving.

“We got an e-mail that said that the tournament might be cancelled due to rain and field conditions,” he said. “But they managed to change the fields at the last minute—to a place that was two hours from the original location. But at least we got to play.”

When commenting, be considerate and respectful of writers and fellow commenters. Try to stay on topic. Spam and comments that are hateful or discriminatory will be deleted. Our full commenting policy can be read here.