Ultimate made its debut at Oklahoma Christian University in fall 2019, and the team won its first tournament in program history on Sunday, Oct. 3. They also placed second at their first tournament.
Junior Kevin Van Roosmalen spoke on finally winning their first tournament.
“It means so much to us to finally get that first win,” Van Roosmalen said. “The work that every player has been putting in is starting to show and it’s really exciting.”
Junior Elijah Johnson said he understands what this win means not only to himself, but to the program as a whole.
“This win is a testament to not only how hard I worked, but the team as a whole worked to get to this point,” Johnson said. “It just proves what we’ve believed this entire time, that we are the best team out there.”
Head Coach Garrett Taylor said this is only the beginning for the team, as the season is young with many tournaments still to be played against better competition.
“Honestly, this tournament is just the beginning,” Taylor said. “We’re going to continue to play better teams, so we just have to get better with them and I’m confident that we will do just that.”
Van Roosmalen said the program has grown, especially since Taylor became the head coach in 2020.
“I’ve been playing for OC since we started and the growth we have experienced under Coach Taylor is just crazy,” Van Roosmalen said.
Johnson said he has also noticed the growth within the team.
“The growth that we have all made personally and as a team is incredible,” Johnson said
Thanks to a successful recruiting period last summer and increased experience within the team, hopes were high going into this season. Both players and coaches said they were not surprised at the team’s early success in their first tournaments.
“In years past, we have had players being dropped into a sport they have never played before,” Johnson said. “This year, we have experience under our belts. Along with added talent, we have a well rounded group.”
Van Roosmalen also said the team’s roster was strong.
“We signed some star players to go along with some experienced guys,” Van Roosmalen said. “We have the experience, talent and knowledge.”
Taylor said he is not satisfied with one win. Knowing they have bigger things in store for the rest of the season, Taylor said he is making sure his team does not become complacent with one win.
“I told the guys that winning one is fun, but in the long run our goals reach way beyond winning this tournament,” Taylor said. “We have to keep looking forward; that is our mindset.”
To match their coach’s high expectations, players will keep their eyes set on the championship on Dec. 17-20.
“We’re the best team out there. Now the other squads have to beat us to be champions and we don’t plan on giving that up anytime soon,” Johnson said. “We just need to keep working hard and make sure we’re the best versions of ourselves for Nationals.”
The Eagles’ next tournament is the Ozarks Conference Tournament starting on Saturday, Oct. 16.