By: Chase Gardiner/GCU Staff
For the second time in the program’s history, the Grand Canyon University Ultimate Frisbee Team competed in the Desert D-I College Sectionals, where they proved the sustainability of their regular season success. While the Lopes ultimately finished with a 1-3 record, they held their own against several powerhouse teams, and finished just one win away from qualifying for national competition.
Despite losing their chance to compete at the national level, GCU has plenty of reasons to be proud of what the weekend in Flagstaff showed about the team’s progress throughout the year.
“Last season, we were still growing as a team, and transitioning from less of a recreational program to more of a competitive team,” explained Lopes’ Co-Captain Adam Barth, a senior who played his last game with the Lopes after being a part of the team since its inception four years ago. “This season, we wanted to compete at a high level, and we took steps to achieve that, such as having coaches that supported our goals and organizing our own tournaments to help us be prepared. It really paid off, since we were able to get a win against a team we had never beaten before, and we almost beat the University of Arizona, which is the best team in our section.”
While extra preparation clearly played a role in breeding success for the Lopes, Barth also acknowledged how well his teammates responded to the challenge of high-level competition.
“One of the biggest strengths came from what our newer players were able to bring to the team,” said Barth. “At the beginning of the season, a lot of people were brand new and lacked things like game knowledge, but towards the end, we had so many people making really great defensive plays or showing up on offense in a big way.”
With this type of improvement being such a vital factor in the formula of success, the Lopes will aim to continually encourage growth into their next season – both on and off the field.
“Offseason work is going to be really huge,” said Barth. “I’ve already talked to a lot of people who are returning next year, and they really understand how important it will be to work hard over the summer and come into next season better prepared than before. A big focus should be building community and improving team bonding next year so that we can promote the kind of relationships that help to encourage growth.”
While leaving a program which he helped to grow is surely tough, Barth couldn’t be happier about leaving the team in such strong standing.
“I’m so proud of how the team competed over the weekend,” said Barth. “Everyone gave it their all, and the success we had was a clear result of the dedication, hard work and communication that we’ve had all season. I couldn’t be more proud of everyone.”
Interested in joining the Ultimate Frisbee team? Check out their homepage to learn more!