Fetching the frisbee and fifth place

Breathe in, breathe out. The players on both teams know what is on the line here. Time is counting down, five… four… three… two… and… game! The ultimate frisbee PowerLine National team is now fifth in the nation! The PowerLine team members, four of which are Newbury Park High School seniors: Ryan Barry, Mike Dykes, KJ Koo, and John Lazo, celebrate their amazing feat. .

Ultimate frisbee is a sport with seven players on a team, with a similar playing strategy as football. Players toss the frisbee down the field and try to get to their end zone to score a goal. The catch is that players cannot run with the frisbee.

All four students discovered the ultimate frisbee club at Newbury Park High School, which led to playing the sport more frequently and later on joining the national team.

During several tryouts for PowerLine, “there was like 30 or 40 kids trying out for basically 3 spots, because the kids who had been on the team previously had a spot on the team,” Dykes said.

The frisbee team contains members under 20 from cities from Newbury Park to San Diego. They practice in Irvine, “one or two months before the competition, because it’s hard to do it during school, usually one or two practices a week. We usually have double-headers, so we’d go up there on Saturday and practice for three hours, and then we’d stay overnight and practice the next morning for three hours,” Dykes said.

“It’s not one tournament a year. For our team, it was practice, practice, practice, and then go to nationals,” Barry said.

Koo enjoys the national team, as “hanging out with all these different people that are also really good at playing ultimate frisbee is really cool.”

Lazo has also had a lot of fun, saying “ the national team was really competitive, a ton of fun, and I’m totally glad I went.”

Barry favors the national team over the NP frisbee team, as “the level of play is like night and day with just playing with friends, obviously there’s going to be some that are better, some that are worse, and while that’s also true with the national team, we train a lot harder, the average skill level is a lot higher, and the average knowledge is a lot higher. Playing at a higher level is generally more fun, but that takes a lot of commitment.”

All four boys were pleased with the results of the nationals tournament, but they thought they could’ve placed higher. “The way the bracket was set up, we ended up playing the best team there really early on, so we ended with a record of 6 and 1,” Barry said. “Second and third place teams, and fourth place teams, had more than one loss, and we lost to the team that won the whole thing.”

However, they were still excited, as “fifth in the nation is pretty good, so it was exciting,” Lazo said. Koo agrees, saying “that was awesome, and I think next year we will be able to do even better than that.”

All of the boys believe that next year, “as long as we don’t get kicked down again in the bracket, we’d do better and have a chance of winning,” Dykes said.

Barry agrees. “I think that our team will be better. We have some more incoming people that are really really good. I’m guessing we’ll have more time to practice, and the overall skill will be higher, just because we have more experience on the team,” Barry said. “It’ll just be a chance to have more experience. So more amounts of more experienced players, probably we’ll do a little better.”

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