By Jesse Vineyard/GCU Staff
They know exactly where they currently stand. But the Grand Canyon University Ultimate Frisbee team is determined not to stay there for long.
Experience must be gained before respect can be earned. The Lopes found that out in their first – albeit unofficial – fall matches in the Plan-B Tournament in Tucson last week.
“We’re taking steps into becoming an established program,” Lopes’ sophomore captain Micah Gross said. “That tournament was huge for team bonding and growth. It was really nice to see everyone getting along.”
Gross was the first to say the results that mattered weren’t on the scoreboard, but what was learned from facing top competition in the region.
Not to mention starting and building rivalries with the other state schools: Arizona State, University of Arizona and Northern Arizona.
“While it’s good to build those relationships, the competition was that much harder,” Gross said. “We’re continuing to develop and build our team so we can beat them in the future.”
GCU didn’t go home empty-handed, however. By a vote from the other teams, the Lopes took home the most-spirited award from the tournament. Continuing the sport’s ‘Spirit of the Game‘, this was an award the Lopes were happy to call their own.
“As a team, we want to cultivate that spirit and ‘team’ mentality,” Lopes’ junior captain Adam Barth said. “It really shows the character of our team that we won this award.”
As captains, both Gross and Barth feel a responsibility to keep that tradition going.
“Our team can be the team that steps up to that,” Gross said. “We may not be winning every game, but the award just adds on to our spirit. We get that mentality into people’s heads that we’re not going to get beat mentally. We’re going to stay composed.”
Mastering the finer points of Ultimate Frisbee is important for the whole team, but in playing an early-season exhibition, it gives the freshmen and rookies to the sport a chance to understand where they’re at, and how they can get better.
“I’ve never been in a real Ultimate Frisbee game before, so it was fun to see how it actually goes rather than just practice,” Lopes’ freshman Jesse Wilch said. “It was fun being able to interact with all the other teams.”
With the spring season still months away, the Lopes have much work to do getting to where they want to be.
“We really just need to increase the intensity,” Barth said. “But I expect big things. Having the fundamentals already down at this point, we’re just going to be at a higher level by the time the actual season rolls around.”