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Frisbee tournament kicks off at sports complex
Ultimate Frisbee: Atlantic Coast Regionals
Sunday, May 6, 2012
By CHRIS PRIDE - Bulletin Sports Writer
Every which way you turned Saturday at the Smith River Sports Complex, there was no shortage of Frisbees flying in all directions.
That’s because the USA Ultimate Collegiate Series got its Atlantic Coast Regionals under way, which finishes today with berths into the national tournament at stake.
A total of 32 teams —16 each for men’s and women’s — took part in Saturday’s festivities, featuring 21 different schools ranging from Delaware to South Carolina. Hundreds of athletes were decked out in all styles of uniforms with their own unique cheers looking for Frisbee gold.
The SRSC happened to be the perfect venue to hold such a large event, Atlantic Coast regional coordinator David Branick said.
“This is great, we’re able to fit 12 ultimate fields here, which is ideal for the amount of teams we have here,” Branick said. “This was a pretty good central location where all these teams could come to compete, and the complex itself is perfect for a regional caliber event.
“When these teams come to Regionals they can count on a lot of family and friends to come out to cheer them on. So this set up is perfect with stands for the main fields and plenty of room for spectators to take in the action.”
Pool play and the first round of bracket play was scheduled for Saturday with the quarterfinals, semifinals and finals set for today. The action was fast and featured plenty of spectacular throws and catches.
In one of the early pool play games on the men’s side, Virginia battled with ACC rival Clemson in a close match. Standing out was U.Va. senior physical education major Aaron Mullins, who made a few dazzling diving catches for scores and also played his role defensively with a several key breakups.
“Night Train,” the nickname for the Cavaliers’ team, finished 3-0 in pool play and advanced to today’s quarterfinals.
“It’s definitely a lot of fun, laying out, getting dirty, and making those highlight plays,” Mullins said. “It’s a lot easier in Frisbee when the disc is in the air longer and you have time to lay out for it.
“It’s a tight knit community and not very well known, so a lot of these schools go to the same tournaments. This is my first time at this facility, and it’s really nice with a lot of fields, but yeah Martinsville has been nice.”
Observers, the referees of ultimate, were also very much a part of the action. While not all games had observers — only seven present on day one — more will be available for today’s knockout rounds.
David Ryan, from Silver Springs, Md., was one of those observing the U.Va.-Clemson match and has been associated with the sport for almost a decade.
Ultimate is traditionally self-officiated, but observers are generally called in during bigger tournaments to arbitrate disputes on the field.
“Most observers are still players at some level, and then there are some that are retired players,” Ryan said. “I still play at the club level which gets started after the college season later in May. But there are a lot of observers that come back after the club season is over and observe for the college series.
“It’s really fun to do; I love Frisbee and to be out running around. I feel it’s one way to give back to the sport and also allow the players to focus on playing more so than worry about the rules and officiating the games themselves.”
The conclusion of the Atlantic Coast Regionals is today. Quarterfinals will begin at 9 a.m., and the championship game is at 1 p.m.