Their practice destination is sometimes unknown, and their workout times are at odd hours of the night, but for members of MagnUM — the Michigan men’s ultimate frisbee team — it is a part of their everyday lives.
“I come back from school often and take a nap,” said sophomore Zubin Shetty. “Then I’ll plan my work around what else I have to do. Normally I’ll finish my work before practice, go to practice, come back, shower, go to bed and repeat the next couple days.”
For those who are unaware, the game of Ultimate Frisbee is played seven-on-seven, with each team vying to move the frisbee up the field through either a series of short or long passes. Once someone catches the frisbee in the end zone, then the team is awarded a point.
“I love the spirit of the game, how it’s self officiated and it’s competitive nature,” junior Mike DeRubeis said.
It’s a sport that has a simple concept, but is very difficult to execute. Luckily for MagnUM, it is one of the campus’s most popular club sports, and the team has a talented pool of athletes to choose from. Last year, the team finished fifth overall at college nationals — a testament to the team’s athleticism.
“In the fall, we have open tryouts for the first couple weeks of classes on Mitchell Field,” Tom Haynes, a graduate student and one of the team’s captains said. “We try to recruit athletes that have played a different sport in high school. Often we get soccer players or hockey players who were really competitive in high school, but aren’t going to make the varsity soccer or hockey team but they still want to be competitive. Ultimate is easy to learn, but being competitive and being athletic isn’t.”
A week ago, the team returned from St. Louis after competing in the Huck Finn Tournament — it’s last tournament of their regular season. MagnUM went up against some of the top teams from the region, defeating Illinois, Wisconsin and Indiana, before losing to Northwestern. But the team isn’t too worried about the loss.
“We’re just doing what we normally do,” Shetty said. “Practicing hard and keeping healthy. We’re a great team and we know that.”
After honing their skills all year, MagnUM team is finally ready to put its skills to the real test as the team enters the postseason. This weekend, MagnUM will participate in the Michigan Sectionals, which may allow it to qualify for regionals, and then eventually nationals.
“We’ve just been increasing our amount of practices and really focusing in on postseason so we make sure that we don’t have any mental lapses, and make sure that we are in top physical condition,” DeRubeis said.
Practices are usually separated into track workouts and on-field workouts. The track workouts are more focused on conditioning and targeting specific muscle groups that the players utilize, whereas the on-field workouts consist of scrimmages and drills for in-game scenarios.
For the team, these extra practices will be necessary, as they are currently in what they consider to be a rebuilding year. Although the program has around 50 people, just about half of them are considered active starters on the roster. Those starters are much younger than in previous years, but it definitely doesn’t mean they are lacking in skill.
“This year, we are a younger bunch,” DeRubeis said. “We got a lot of fire. We’re really going to go and give it our hardest, we’re going to give it our all, and it should be a good postseason for us.”