What team would show up at midnight for a two-to-three hour
practice at Oosterbaan Field House? It’s actually the
men’s ultimate Frisbee team, maybe not your first guess.

For those who aren’t familiar with the game — it is
known as “ultimate” to those who play — it is
akin to rugby with a Frisbee, but also incorporates aspects of
soccer, football, and basketball. It’s a non contact sport,
played by two teams of seven, on an area similar to that of a
football field. There are endzones on each end of the rectangular
field.

This simple explanation is just the beginning of understanding
ultimate, and the Michigan team. The team goes by the nickname
MagnUM, upholding a tradition in ultimate to name your team
something besides the school’s mascot. Seeing the energy and
dedication the players put into their practice at the indoor
facility — at 1:30 in the morning — one gets the
feeling that there is something special about this sport and this
team.

The level of sportsmanship and camaraderie in ultimate is so
unique, it’s actually built into the rules — there are
no referees in ultimate. The game is self-policing, with players
calling their own fouls.

The camaraderie in the sport is so strong that it extends to the
other team. Once the game is over, players feel just as connected
to their opponents as they do to their own teammates.

“I played a lot of sports all throughout my life, and
I’ve never played a sport like this,” sophomore Dave
Collins said. “You can run all day on the field against
opponents, and then hang out with them all night, and just chill.
On the field you hate them. But then at night you have a great
time. It’s an awesome sport.”

Perhaps the aura that surrounds this team can be understood by
seeing of the diversity of the people in the sport, all united
under one common bond. Sophomore Eron Cayedito sees this as a
definite strength.

“There’s no greater variety of personalities than
there is in the sport of ultimate frisbee,” he said.

MagnUM offers a unique experience to University students. One
that they can’t get on any other team, varsity sport or
not.

“What I love about this team, is that I’ve gotten to
travel all over the United States, to cities I never would never go
to originally,” fifth-year senior Sean Halladay said.
“Boise, Boston, Baton Rouge, we’re going to Seattle,
San Diego, with a group of 25 of my best friends, in college, and
basically my life, right now. And at the end of the year we get to
go out and compete for a National Championship. I’ve never
played in a sport like that before.”

The team has two coaches, head coach Ricky Eickstadt and
assistant coach Jonathan Brodhag, but is run democratically. The
major decisions are made by an elected “leadership
group.” This group includes both coaches and players in every
class, from freshmen to seniors.

“I don’t want to run the team,” Eickstadt
said. “It’s their team. I’m there to provide some
mentoring and guidance. And I provide my 10 cents.”

Ultimate is physically demanding, requiring a great deal of
stamina and conditioning. To prepare, MagnUM practices and trains
year round, starting in the fall. Eickstadt actually boasts that
his team’s coniditioning habits could stand up to any varsity
team on campus, short of maybe the track team.

This past year, 100 students tried out for the team and only 25
made the cut. Practices in the fall focus on conditioning, and
progress towards strategy and scrimmages as the season
progresses.

Ultimate offers excellent competition for students at the club
level, with a comprehensive network of college teams around the
country, and culminates in the National Championships.

MagnUM has stepped up to the competition and advanced to
Nationals in the last five seasons, finishing in the top 10 each
year.

Currently, the team is preparing for the first round of the
College Championship at the Michigan Sectional, to be played on
Saturday and Sunday. From there, MagnUM hopes to advance to the
Great Lakes Regional Tournament, where it could earn a sixth
consecutive trip to Nationals.

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