Youngstown State University’s Ultimate Frisbee team is a group of friends connected by their love of the little-known sport.
Ultimate Frisbee is a similar sport to soccer, where players score points by getting the Frisbee down the field and into the end zone. The YSU team was formed in 2010 and currently contains 20 members of both genders.
Brandon Mirto, the president of the team, said that the sport is one that many people know of, but not many people know about.
“It’s a team sport, seven versus seven on the field. It acts a lot like soccer, except when you get the Frisbee, you can’t run or move. You’re stationary whenever you catch it. You have end zones, and you just want to work the disc down the field and score,” he said. “There are two main positions: the handlers and the cutters. The handlers are the better throwers on the team, and the cutters are the ones with the best hands to catch and score … It’s like football where you cut through the field to catch a pass, that’s what they do. ”
Mirto said he became involved with the sport from playing an amateur version of it during his cross-country practices. Eventually, that evolved into becoming a member of the university’s team.
“I played with the cross-country team in high school four to five times a week. I met a couple guys from the team in college and eventually started going to practice,” he said. “Next thing I know, I’m on the team.”
Travis Kneen is the vice president of the team and graduate student at YSU. He said that Ultimate Frisbee is a sport that is widely appreciated out East, and that it is catching popularity across the country.
“I played Ultimate Frisbee when I was in New York in college because I got hurt and couldn’t play varsity sports anymore. It was a very social event, and the team became my main group of friends,” Kneen said. “When I came to Youngstown State University for grad school, I sought out the team because I knew what kind of people played this sport … good people.”
Kneen said he believes that the sense of kinship between himself and the other players of Ultimate Frisbee is one that brings people into the sport and is the defining factor of what keeps them there.
Mirto said that he credits Ultimate Frisbee for being his main reason for finding close friends at a commuter school.
“I lived on campus for awhile. That’s when I first joined the team and made my friends. When I moved off campus, we all stayed close,” Mirto said. “I was able to get a really good group of friends from here. It’s the camaraderie. Without the sport, I wouldn’t have them.”
The team has a tournament in Niagara Falls this weekend, followed by one at Ohio State University on Oct. 13 and 14.