Berry ultimate frisbee team won regionals, progressed to nationals

Joshua Mabry, Campus Carrier Sports Editor

victor 2The Berry men’s ultimate frisbee team made it to nationals as one of the top 16 teams this past season after going 6-0 at the regional tournament as the sixth seed and claiming the title of southeast region champions.

At nationals, the team won two out of five games, according to sophomore Walter Ellard, the ultimate frisbee team captain.

Head Coach Robert Bradham said that he is very proud of the team’s accomplishments.

“The guys worked really hard every week and gave it what they had,” Bradham said. “That hard work payed off. The endless hours that we spent all season, they came in and did what they needed.”

Bradham said that it was special to watch the guys work hard and enjoy nationals as a ranked team.

Berry competed well against every team that they faced, according to Bradham.

Ellard said that going to nationals was an amazing experience.

“We got to see some of the best players in the nation,” Ellard said. “We got to win some games, which was really cool because we were an upset from a small region. We weren’t really supposed to do much at nationals. We were expected to lose every game.”

The ultimate team did not originally have enough money in its budget to go to nationals, according to Ellard.

They had to raise money through a GoFundMe page.

Ellard said that the team had an initial goal of raising $3,000, and this was raised by the end of the first week after the page was set up.

“It was incredible to see the campus and everyone around us coming and supporting us and helping us get there,” Ellard said. “Even some people from other ultimate teams that we have played against in the past donated to our GoFundMe, which was incredible to see.”

By the end of two weeks, the team had raised $8,000, according to Adekale Ande (19C), former ultimate frisbee team member.

“We had a good support group over two weeks,” Ande said.

After the semester was over, the ultimate frisbee team had to stay at Berry for two weeks to practice for nationals.

“It was really cool to bond with the team and hang out during this time,” Ellard said. “We did a couple practices a day, which was super fun.”

Even though the team had much success last season, this does not seem to be the most important aspect of being on the team.

“It gave me a second family,” Ande said. “It gave me a place to go hang out and meet new people.”

Ellard echoed Ande’s sentiments. He said that the best part of the ultimate frisbee team is the friendships that are formed on the team.

“You’re out there six hours a week,” Ellard said. “We practice three times a week for two hours. Any sports team that you’re on, you’re going to get closer with the guys. We had a really special connection.”

Bradham said that his favorite aspect of coaching the ultimate frisbee team is seeing the athletes grow not only as athletes but also as people.

“I feel blessed to be a part of that growth,” Bradham said.

Ellard encourages anyone who is interested in joining the team to come try out.

“It’s still just so much fun to hang out and be a part of the team,” Ellard said.

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