Monday, May 9, 2011

A few MUTS leave the pound

By Nick Bravos
Cardinal Staff

Now that spring has finally woken up from its hibernation, birds aren’t the only things flying around.

The SMU Ultimate Frisbee Club, the MUTS, hosted its third annual Hilltop Huck-A-Thon outdoor tournament recently.

While the MUTS ended up on top of the Hilltop Huck-A-Thon, it will be the last time the founders lace-up and go long. In 2007, when the MUTS became an official club, nine of the 14 original members were freshman, and since then they have been braving the rain, snow or shine together for the past four years. Over the years, the number of players steadily increased and now has a dedicated group of 25.

In the beginning, there were a handful of freshman that were invited to play in some scrimmages and pick-up games by a few other upperclassmen.

“After that, we all just loved it and ended up starting a club,” said senior captain John Delmundo. “I just love how far we've all come.”

Just last year, the MUTS traveled to Illinois for their first on-the-road tournament, and since then the growth of the team has showed more than ever.

“Now we are a legit Frisbee program that hosts tournaments and we have coordinated, strategic practices,” said senior Captain Nick Sweeney. “We have jerseys, casual apparel and travel to tournaments; on top of that, we compete at a high level.”

This year’s season is the best the MUTS have ever had in tournament play, with a final record of 34-26. The team also upset large schools to come in third in the HalloWinona tournament with a 6-1 record, and winning the Hilltop Huck-A-Thon with a 3-1 record were high points for all of the seniors this year, said Sweeney.

Although the SMU campus played host to the D-III College Conference Championships April 16 and 17, due to “some very disappointing misunderstandings and miscommunications,” the MUTS were not among the competitors to go head-to-head on the field.

“This was a huge blow to all of us; this tournament was very important to us all, not just the seniors,” senior Tim Sheedy said.

A team-wide vote was taken to decide whether to remain or withdraw as hosts for the tournament after hearing they would not be competing, and the team unanimously concluded they are to remain as the original host to better the future image of the club.

“It stings that we’re not competing in our own Conference Championships,” said Sheedy. “But still hosting the tournament will progress the image of the club and may create future opportunities.”

Next fall, however, after the seniors have left, the MUTS will be lacking the same caliber of leadership it’s been used to.

“New people are going to have to step up and become leaders of the team,” said Sweeney. “I think Santiago Escobar, Adam Billings and Tim Sheedy will be great captains who can recruit new players, and I know they will do a great job.”

After graduation this spring, the founders will part ways, leaving behind the foundation of the team, deepened friendships and unforgettable memories.

“Over the past four years we have played together, lost together, won together, traveled together, grown together, matured together and even studied together,” said senior Captain Ben Eirickson. “We’ve become arguably one of the most successful athletic teams on campus.”

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