Photo by Gabriel Zucker
Photo by Gabriel Zucker

Cal Poly Humboldt men’s Ultimate Frisbee team

A look at the Ultimate Teams race to regionals
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by Gabriel Zucker

A silence fell over the field, all eyes looking up as the frisbee flew. Then, as one, every player let out a wail of pain, watching as it flew out of bounds, bouncing off the hard track and finally coming to a rest. One of the Buds dropped to the floor, groaning as they all did ten push-ups.

Scott Estepa, a member of the team, explained this was important to get down the basics of the game.

“It encourages us not to throw it out of bounds and make sure our throws are accurate,” Estepa said. “Also, a good workout.”

Photo by Gabriel Zucker | Kenny Kurbat stretches out trying to catch the frisbee at practice

The Buds are the Cal Poly Humboldt men’s Ultimate Frisbee team. They are listed as a competitive sports team in the USA Ultimate College Series in the Southwest Region. They are the winner of three national tournaments and are focused on making it through sectionals this year.

They practice Monday 6-8 p.m., Wednesday 8-10 p.m., and Saturday 12-2:30 p.m. On top of this, they hold a scrimmage every Sunday against alumni that come out to teach and play against current Buds.

Each practice includes rigorous conditioning, learning, practicing different strategies, and finally a scrimmage against each other.

Even though the schedule is rigorous, the Buds come out every practice, ready to not only work out but to join in the camaraderie. The Buds as a group are very close and welcoming to everyone.

“It was the community,” Estepa said. “All the Buds are really tight and really nice people. Everybody is welcoming to everyone. The first time everyone was so chill and so happy. We had a great time at practice, practice wasn’t serious.”

On top of practicing together, the Buds take advantage of the frisbee golf course in the community forest.

“We have Buds disc golf outing where we get a ton of people and break up into teams of two and wreak havoc on the course,” said Collin Silva, safety officer for the Buds team.

All of this practice and conditioning is not only for meeting new people, and the Buds regularly partake in tournaments. They play the likes of Oregon State and Reno for the opportunity to reach the top in their division.

Galen Trexler, a Bud from 2010-2015, is one of the coaches for the team. He told me that he was more there to pass down his knowledge than to coach, as most of the coaching is done by older students. Trexler and other alumni give back to the Buds by giving their time to help coach, teach, and play with the newer generation of Buds, passing down their wisdom for a chance to feel young again.

Towards the end of practice, after a Bud had dropped an easy catch, Trexler made the Buds run a lap.

“We lose, we all lose,” Trexler yelled. “We win, we all win.”

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