Wesleyan’s Ultimate Team Concludes Successful Season

Nietzsch Factor co-captain Philip Benjamin ’09, left, watches teammate Karl Nagy ’09, right, reach for a flying disc during an Ultimate game. Wesleyan has had Ultimate teams since 1975.
Posted 05/01/08
They play seven to a team, run continuously across a turf field, intercept passes and block their opponents and score in an end zone. Although their game could be considered a hybrid match of soccer, football and lacrosse, all it really takes to play is one piece of equipment – a flying disc.

The club sport, known as “Ultimate,” dates back to 1975 at Wesleyan and has grown more competitive every year. Fifteen students are on the 2007-08 roster, and Wesleyan ended their season ranking 62nd out of 500 teams across the country.

“Overall, we are very happy with what we accomplished this year as a team,” explains team co-captain Philip Benjamin ’09. “We have become much more competitive and can now challenge – and beat – any team in the region when we play well.”

During this semester, the team, named the Nietzsch Factor after a former player David “Nietzsch” Garfield ’80, has played in six tournaments, which were held in Las Vegas, Nev.; Savannah, Ga.; Washington DC; New Haven, Conn.; Kingston, R.I. and Lancaster, Mass.

The first four tournaments, which began on Feb. 8, are the equivalent of a full season of play. During a single tournament, Wesleyan plays several other teams. For example, during the “Roll Call” Tournament in Washington DC, Wesleyan played against teams from Ohio State, Boston College, Michigan State, Virginia Tech, University of Pennsylvania and the University of Maryland in a two-day period.

“If you finish in the top four at sectionals you make it to regionals. If you finish in the top two at regionals you make it to nationals,” says Benjamin. “If you win nationals you are the best team in the country.”

This year, Nietzsch Factor finished in second place at sectionals and seventh out of 16 teams at regionals.

“Our long-shot goal for regionals was to make nationals this year and that was not achieved, but our more realistic goal was to win a few games and finish above our initial eighth ranking, and that was met,” co-captain David Saranow ’08 says, pictured above.

Other members of the team are Amit Bob ’10, David Canter ’11, Lightning Jay ’09, Brendon Larkin ’09, Peter Lubershane ’10, Dick Mirsky ’09, Karl Nagy ’09, Gus Seixas ’10, Rohan Trivedi ’10, Jean Pierre Valette ’10, Eric Weiskott ’09, Micah Weiss ’10 and Joe White ’09. The team credits their new coach and former Nietzsch Factorian Dan Cogan-Drew ’93 for their success this season.

In 2008-09, Nietzsch Factor (team pictured at left) will be down only one player from this year.

“You can expect big things from us next year because for the second year in a row we will only be graduating one senior,” Benjamin says. “If it is any year in the near future that we make Nationals for the first time in 10-15 years, it will be next year when the core of our team will be seniors and juniors.

Nietzsch Factor welcomes new players to meet the current team and throw a disc at 4:30 p.m. Sept. 5 and 7 at the base of Foss Hill. Practice begins Sept. 11 and the Club Sectionals Ultimate Tournament is Sept. 16-17.

“We’re looking for athletic, tall, and/or fast guys who want to have a lot of fun and compete at the collegiate level. No experience necessary,” Benjamin says. “We’ll teach you how to throw!”

For more information on the Nietzsch Factor Ultimate team, go to: http://www.wesleyan.edu/wsa/nf/.

To view the team’s individual results in the Ultimate Players Association, go to: http://upa.org/scores/scores.cgi?div=18&page=3&team=1242.

By Olivia Drake, Wesleyan Connection editor. Photos by Nick Russell ’09.