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Michigan Tech club team headed to nationals

From Walker Lawn to a potential national championship in just four years. One of Michigan Tech’s newest club teams is headed to California soon to face the best the country has to offer. The university has had a men’s Ultimate Frisbee club team for longer, but recently members helped a women’s squad to form.

Captain Lucy Toppen says she was a freshman when the group took to the field to represent MTU for the first time. COVID-19 took away two years of championships but to compensate the national governing body created a fall tournament in California. Toppen’s team qualified by winning their region, consisting of the western half of the UP, Wisconsin, and Minnesota.

So, we travel to Minneapolis. We’ve gone to Kansas City or Iowa before for tournaments. We have to drive quite a ways to compete.

Toppen says the sport is rightfully compared to football. It works on a slightly smaller field, only about 70 yards long and narrower across. You cannot advance the disc with your feet, meaning it takes at least two players to score. The frisbee can only go forward through completed passes. A score is worth one point and games are usually played to 13, maybe 15. Toppen thinks that is the sport’s most unique aspect.

One of the cool kind of things about Ultimate is there is no individuality to it. You need at least two people to score, which is pretty unique to the sport.

The guys aren’t slouches either, having made it to nationals in 2019. They came in third place at regionals this year, just missing out. Both squads pull for each other and Toppen is proud that each has gotten to the sport’s biggest stage in successive tournaments.

Being a club team, there are two formal practices per week. And of course there is also the travel, to as far away as Kansas City, Missouri. Toppen says the commitment is not that of a varsity sport, but more than the typical intramural squad.

Going to California is not without significant cost. The Tech Women’s Ultimate Frisbee team has set up a gofundme to help offset expenses. You can donate here.

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