Seeking to “open a new avenue” for students, Oklahoma Christian University Athletic Director David Lynn announced Nov. 8 Oklahoma Christian will offer Ultimate Frisbee as a club sport for the 2019-20 school year.
Oklahoma Christian joins a small percentage of schools to offer scholarship money for Ultimate as a club sport and the athletic department will also cover the team’s travel expenses.
Lynn hired Gabe Cabrera as the program’s inaugural head coach. Cabrera worked with the University of Kentucky’s program, Black Lung, and helped start two collegiate programs and one high school team in St. Louis, MO. Following his time in St. Louis, Cabrera moved to West Virginia to lead the program at Ohio Valley University.
Cabrera said his goal for the Eagles’ first year will be to start strong and compete in every situation.
“We’ll actually be starting workouts, practices and intercollegiate play in the spring semester,” Cabrera said. “As such, current students will be given an extra six months of training that they wouldn’t receive otherwise. This will allow them to showcase their grit and skills. Come the fall, players can expect a year-round season with at least 20 games per semester. I would love to see Oklahoma Christian qualify for regionals in its first year but would be just as happy to have the Eagles make a strong showing at the Ozarks Conference tournament in April.”
Similar to Oklahoma Christian’s bowling club team, Ultimate operates under the same construction. The team will not be classified as a varsity sport, but athletes can still earn scholarship money.
Oklahoma Christian’s Ultimate conference is governed by USA Ultimate out of Denver, CO. Cabrera said the team will start off in 2019 playing in Division III as part of the South Central Region in the Ozarks Conference.
“Ultimate is a strange sport in that you can never be sure who you will play any given season,” Cabrera said. “Unless you’re in one of the top 40 or so programs, the teams that make up your schedule can vary dramatically. One year with [Southern Illinois University–Edwardville], I played small schools like Western Illinois and Coe College. The next season we saw Northwestern University, Cal Poly and Texas. It really depends on who has what money any given year.”
For recruiting, Cabrera said he will open up spots to current students on campus while also recruiting new prospects.
“Being involved in each other’s lives is a tremendous part of being a member of any team, so having those upperclassmen there from the start will go a long way in encouraging new students to join,” Cabrera said. “We’ve already been in touch with several prospective students. The team will be a vital recruiting tool for the university in the years to come.”
When he arrives in January, Cabrera said—ignoring skills and competition—his main goal is to create a program that fosters the ideals of Oklahoma Christian.
“What I would like to do is build a community which allows players to find friendship and family in those people who choose to join them on the Eagles’ Ultimate team,” Cabrera said.
Anyone interested in learning more information about the team, program or becoming a part of the Ultimate program can contact Gabe Cabrera at firstname.lastname@example.org.