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LJCD student starts ‘ultimate’ sports team

Ultimate Frisbee team offers credit

Daniel Stein went to summer camp a few years back and discovered a cool new game called ultimate Frisbee. He enjoyed it so much he decided to bring it back with him to La Jolla Country Day School.

Stein, a Country Day junior, has helped spearhead the creation of a new athletic team at the school. Now in its second year, the Torreys’ ultimate frisbee team has about 20 members.

“It’s been so rewarding for me to have this dream to start this program and have it come true,” Stein said. “To take it to a high school and make it a success has been so much fun.”

The co-ed program offers full athletic credit to participants, just like any other sport at the school. It is a club program without the benefit of the CIF San Diego Section to govern it, so Stein and coach Zach Mullert do most of the work when it comes to scheduling games and practices.

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Tourney time

They play against teams from High Tech High, Patrick Henry and University City, among a handful of others. Last weekend, Stein helped bring together six teams for a tournament at San Diego State.

For the uninitiated, ultimate Frisbee is a game that combines elements of soccer and football, but played with a Frisbee instead of a ball. Using a field about the size of a football field, a team of seven players tries to throw the Frisbee downfield – using the traditional backhand throw, a forehand throw and an overhead “hammer” throw.

Players are not allowed to run with the Frisbee, so they may only move downfield by throwing the disc. To score, a player must catch the disc in the end zone.

The first team to 15 points wins. A game can take three hours, and requires tremendous amounts of running and leaping to catch passes.

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‘Flying’ soccer

“It’s kind of soccer on a football field,” Stein said. “There can be some incredible Hail Mary passes.”

Stein said he and David Ohana, who graduated last year but helped start the program, got a lot of skeptical looks when they began to recruit players, but once people give the sport a try, many come to enjoy it. Stein said the biggest challenge is teaching the basic skills, but that they can be picked up quickly.

“People thought we were crazy, but once we got going, kids started to really buy into it,” Steins said. “Kids ended up being really excited about it.”