Illustration by Maya San Diego
Ultimate frisbee is on the rise internationally, nationally, and at Berkeley High School (BHS), and BHS’s Coup Ultimate Frisbee team UpRoar continues to find success. The BHS team recently won the Western Youth Fall Cup, located in Portland, Oregon.
The team, or “program,” as senior and four-year Ultimate frisbee player Liam Ereneta calls it, played a total of four games over the course of two days. While it was a strenuous trip, Ereneta said, “Getting to spend three days with each other away from responsibilities, with lots of free time, and lots of Ultimate could not have been a better break for our seniors especially.”
After losing the first game to a local Oregon high school, UpRoar walked away with a 13-11 win against a team who had attended the Youth Club National Championships just a few hours later. The BHS team then played the local team from Oregon yet again, but this time fought to redeem themselves. They won 15-7 to send the Jackets to the final. The victory was a clear statement.
The BHS team was nervous but ready for the final. They knew it would be a close game that they would have to fight for and play with heart. At the start of the second half, it was a tie game. “Our seniors walked on the field before our coach had called us, knowing the importance of winning this point,” said Ereneta. Standing on the field knowing you are playing to win the game on that point is an invigorating feeling.” BHS ended up winning the point, the game, and the entire tournament. “Winning that point was a relief,” said Ereneta. “It also was an amazing feeling to travel to another state and win a tournament.”
In addition to becoming champions of the Western Youth Fall Cup, BHS also won the spirit award for their division. Spirit awards are given to the team who’s voted to best exhibit the “spirit of the game,” which in Ultimate “relies upon a spirit of sportsmanship that places the responsibility for fair play on the player,” per the USA Governing Body of Ultimate. The BHS program “takes [spirit] very seriously, as does the Bay Area Ultimate community as a whole,” explains Ereneta.
BHS’s success in winning the Western Youth Fall Cup and the Spirit Award, can be accredited to the “sheer size of the pool of players that we are able to draw from,” and that the BHS Ultimate team has a “very positive and playful vibe. It definitely feels like a big family at times,” said Ereneta.