Ultimate team travels to Round Rock for state tournament

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Ultimate team travels to Round Rock for state tournament

By Chase Porter
Staff Writer

Every sport at Coppell High School is a dominating force year after year but a relatively new team is on the rise. The Coppell High School Ultimate Frisbee team is becoming a new threat and will be entering the State Tournament this weekend in Round Rock.

The ultimate team is relatively new, coming about only last year. CHS 2011 graduate John De La Chapelle brought the idea of an ultimate team to social studies teacher Jared Stansel’s attention because of Stansel’s previous history as an ultimate player in college.

When the team was formed it quickly took off gaining many new members and popularity amongst last years senior class. Even though last years squad was the genesis team they still managed to be recognized as the No. 1 seed in the state but unfortunately fell short in the semifinals.

This year’s team has lost many players due to senior graduations including the founding member Chapelle but Stansel is continuing on as the team’s coach. The only returning veteran to the team is junior Josh Brunelli who has managed to recruit many new members from freshman up to seniors.

“People join the ultimate team because they like the idea of a team sport,” Brunelli said. “The sport really grows on you because it is tons of fun and it’s really easy to play. Being apart of a team and playing a sport for fun is always enjoyable.”

During the fall and the past few months of the spring the ultimate frisbee team has been playing against the nine other teams in the North Texas Ultimate League. In practice, Stansel makes the team go through the fundamental drills so that when they play in games everything will come naturally.

“Coach makes us do a lot of different drills but the majority of practice is dedicated to the fundamentals like throwing and catching,” senior Kevin Dunham said. “We are also putting a major emphasis on our defense this year which has turned out to be one of our biggest strengths.”

Hard work and many Saturdays on the field have earned the Cowboys the 14-seed in the state. Even though their ranking is not as high as last years the team is confident that they will make it far into the tournament.

“We are much better than our ranking,” Brunelli said. “Marcus is fifth in the state and we only lost to them by one point. We are coming in as the underdog and we expect to surprise people.”

To make the state playoffs the team has to go through an unusual process. First a swarm of paper work ensues for every team that would like to compete in the state tournament, almost like an interview process.

“To compete in the tournament there is a much different process than other sports,” Stansel said. “We have to send in a bid and be one of the first 15 teams and then we have to fill out a mountain of paper work.”

After all of the work is done the play can resume. This weekend in Round Rock 20 teams will compete for the State Championship starting in four pools of five teams. Once every team in the group has played one another the top two teams will then play the other winners from the other pools to determine who will be in the final game on Sunday afternoon.

The Cowboys will have to play San Marcos, Katy, J.J. Pierce and the No. 1 seed, San Antonio McCollum High School. Even though there pool has some stiff competition Stansel is confident they will make it to the second round.

“We should make it through pretty easily, we just need to get off to a good start,” Stansel said. “We have been doing well defensively all year we have just been having a hard time starting as fast as we can finish.”

The 14 Cowboys traveling down to Round Rock this weekend will have to play face their toughest competition early in tournament but they are certain they will be a team to reckon with.

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