Several members of the Oklahoma Christian ultimate frisbee team played on club teams this past summer. While a handful took their talents to the older Oklahoma City Supercell program, over 12 players competed with a brand new club, BARNSTORM.
Sophomore Logan Krehbiel discussed the differences between club and college ultimate, reporting less turnovers than in the collegiate scene.
“It’s much cleaner frisbee than college,” Krehbiel said. “Pretty much everywhere is cleaner than college ultimate, but especially club ultimate. People are more in control and know what they’re doing.”
Krehbiel talked about the different atmosphere club provides.
“The energy is different,” Krehbiel said. “In college ultimate, teams rely heavily on sideline energy to win big games. In club, the sidelines can be dead quiet, and the players on the field can be doing a great job regardless.”
Krehbiel also mentioned the change in mental energy between the two scenes.
“People are more mentally there, and they are focused,” Krehbiel said. “They still go to work on Monday, they’re parents to children they have to get back to, so their whole life isn’t wrapped up in just frisbee.”
Despite the club debuting this year, BARNSTORM won the Ozarks conference by outscoring their opponents 48-28. At the South Central Regional Championship, they fought hard, even when the bracket pitted them against defending national champions Denver Johnny Bravo.
Junior Sammy Roberts explained why they chose not to take the game too seriously.
“We knew it would be hard, if not impossible, to get past Bravo,” Roberts said. “We decided it would be better as a team to not waste the energy and play in the backdoor bracket.”
While BARNSTORM still had a chance to qualify for nationals despite losing early in the championship bracket, the fight was far from over, and the competition was only slightly easier. BARNSTORM still had to grind out victories, going on to beat the four seeded Iso Atmo by one point. The underdog story would eventually end however, as BARNSTORM lost to Dallas Brawl in the backdoor quarterfinals 7-14. Sophomore Alex Santai spoke on unforced errors playing a role in the loss.
“We had a lot of drops in that game,” Santai said. “It had to have been around seven or eight.”
Sophomore Logan Krehbiel also expressed disappointment in the loss.
“We probably should’ve beaten Brawl,” Krehbiel said. “We should’ve, but we just didn’t.”
Despite looking back at the game with regret, Krehbiel showed optimism from the learning experience.
“Any team can be beaten,” Krehbiel said. “It’s all dependent on the day and who shows up to play.”
While Krehbiel was reminded that no win is guaranteed, fellow sophomore Logan Hammersmith learned about the importance of minimizing turnovers.
“I learned that slowing down and playing smart is extremely valuable to success on the field,” Hammersmith said.
Graduate Student Joshua Gill agreed with Hammersmith on patience, while also adding in the value of high energy.
“Possession of the frisbee is so important,” Gill said. “I watched so many games that were won and lost from simple mistakes and turning the frisbee over. It’s also important to have good energy. Having great energy is so valuable for your team.”
BARNSTORM owes much of their success to Juniors Sammy Roberts and Emmanual Kameri, two of the captains for Oklahoma Christian. Roberts led the team in assists with 26 and Kameri in second with 8.
While ultimate’s regular season does not begin until next semester, they do have some tournaments in the fall. The next tournament, named Just Plain Nasty (JPN), will be hosted by the University of Oklahoma Oct. 14-15.