Running Club Advances to Nationals
On Saturday, November 16th 2013, the UMBC Running Club traveled to Hershey, PA, to compete in the NIRCA Club Running National Championships. Despite the loss of top runner sophomore Jordan Psaltakis and club president Senior Matthew Davis due to injury, the men’s team performed exceptionally well, placing 27th out of 110 schools in the nation, beating all DC-Maryland teams except for UMD College Park. This was an improvement of almost 20 places compared to last year and with a healthy team the club would have placed 19th overall.
The men’s team was led by Junior Jatin Narang, who placed an impressive 69th in a a time of 27:43 on Hershey’s challenging 8k course mere weeks after his spectacular performance at the Baltimore Marathon. With every single runner returning for the 2014 season, the running club has even higher aspirations for the spring and next year.
UMBC Women's Ultimate Hosts Layout Clinic
On Sunday, March 25th, the women’s ultimate team helped to host a layout clinic with the club team, Backhanded Compliments, in our very own RAC. Players from neighboring schools, such as Goucher, Towson, John’s Hopkins, and even Georgetown University, made their way to UMBC's campus to participate. Even alumni players, including coaches and upper-level club team players graced us with their presence and showed off their skills.
Many who don’t play ultimate ask, what is a layout? In the game, a layout is when a person vertically dives to catch a disc before it hits the ground, or on defense, it is done to catch or block a disc from the opponent. This is an important part of higher-level ultimate, and it is extremely important to know how to layout correctly in order to avoid injury.
Coach and experienced player, Zara Cadoux, set up stations with different types of safety mats, to help players learn how to layout. The stations included core-strengthening exercises, a “face your fears” mat, throwing routines, and finally, a run-and-jump exercise. Girls had a field day with the stations and there were notable bids from some of our very own players.
It was a successful day for UMBC women’s ultimate, connecting the ultimate community and promoting the sport within our campus.
UMBC Men's Ultimate places 3rd at High Tide Spring Break Tournament
This year’s High Tide spring break tournament in Brunswick, Georgia was a resounding success for UMBC Booya Men’s Ultimate. The team eventually tied for 3rd out of 20 teams in the Open A division at the High Tide Session III tournament. Here is an account of Booya’s success.
The warm weather and sense of camaraderie after the hat tournament made games pleasant and cheerful, but that didn’t shake our drive to win. Booya went into its first game against U. of Minnesota Duluth’s Northern Lights. The first point was an ugly battle of turnovers which set the pace for the rest of the game. Duluth’s aggressive zone and athleticism put them in control of the game, and eventually got them a callahan. Coming out of the second half, Booya shook off the nerves and pounded back with some clean deep shots and unders. We had found our stride, but couldn’t close the gap - Duluth took the game 13-11.
After the game, Coach Meech let it slip that Duluth played at nationals the previous year, not as an excuse for the loss, but to say, “yes, we can run with the big boys, and we’re going to do just that.” Booya took this mindset into the next game, and every game after.
A strong cross wind developed for our next game against a split Rutgers squad, and with a tinge of reluctance, the name of the game became “huck and set”. With only a handful of stars, Rutgers was forced to pull their best cutters around the disc, leaving their downfield game without threats. UMBC’s zone pressed down and locked Rutgers in the endzone time and time again. Booya clinched the win at 10-4.
The last game of day 1 put UMBC against Medford. Booya’s zone game was looking strong, so they continued to throw the cup for the rest of the week. Medford fought hard, but the squalls played in the favor of UMBC’s defense. Game at 11-8, Booya.
Day 2 of High Tide saw more of the same windy play, which meant lots more zone. Game 1 against Hamilton - Booya grabbed a couple quick defensive breaks in the first half which carried throughout the game. Hamilton fought back but couldn’t take control - Booya took the game 11-8.
UMBC faced a small but athletic Westchester squad in game 2. Westchester had just come off of a win against UConn and was looking to take another, but Booya’s d-line made it a struggle. UMBC held fast to its “punt and play D” mentality, but a towering deep defender was patrolling the skies for Westchester, which tilted the odds in their favor when coming down with the 50-50 shots. Booya had taken half, but Westchester had reeled the game back within their reach as the cap neared. With some refocussing by the coaches, UMBC played the last o-point with chilly swings and smooth flow, finding the endzone quickly and effortlessly - game sealed at 10-8 for Booya.
Last game of day 2 - Booya vs. UConn. Grind’s squad dwarfed UMBC’s, but they weren’t deterred in the slightest. The game began with a bang as Booya’s zone pushed UConn onto their endzone line. Lorenzo on mark popped the around-swing into the air, and it was caught by Clarkson for the callahan. Booya stole a few more break points before UConn really entered the game, but UMBC had already taken half 7-5. As the second half began, the wind had subsided, leaving both sides of the field open to attack. Both teams seized the opportunity to stretch the deeps, and the game became a frantic shootout. Booya would not give up their lead, however, and ended the game strong at 11-7.
Quarterfinals began at 1pm the next day, and UMBC strolled into the bracket while others had to fight for their spot. Westchester had beaten Medford to see Booya once again. The blustery winds returned that day, making it a straightforward upwind-downwind game. The first point turn after turn, but Booya stuck to their zone and eventually scored the break. Booya took the next upwind break point, and from there the game slowed as neither team could manage to maintain possession. Through the ugliness, UMBC took the game 8-4 and prepared for the semifinals against Millersville.
UMBC had lost to Millersville already this season. It could have been nerves from games previous, or it could have been that Booya had finally run out of steam, but Moose went on an early run and held control of the game the whole way through. A stifling zone kept Booya from making progress, and hungry receivers pulled down the 50-50s in Millersville’s favor. In the second half, Booya started to make some consistent connections, but the game was already gone. Millersville went on to face Minnesota Duluth in the finals, and eventually took home the title.
UMBC tied for third in the open A division, upsetting a lot of teams that we would not have been able to compete with even a month ago. There is a lot of promise for sectionals, but also much room to improve in that time.
Ultimate Frisbee Nut Buster VII Results
The second of March - elephants congregated on a brisk Friday afternoon at their usual stomping grounds: Erickson desert. Practice was held as normal, ending in a gritty bout of zone versus zone as the rain picked up (surely an omen for what awaited in the misty crags of Penn). We turned in early to recoup from the cold and returned mere hours later for a lengthy drive to Indiana Pennsylvania for IUP’s Nut Buster VII.
Our caravan included drivers Lorenzo, Atom, Paul, and Thomas; each taking a varied route to their collective destination. B. Dong made a pitstop in Frederick, Maryland at Jerry’s home (Frederick is also home to the good Bradley and Greg) to retrieve air mattresses for our sleeping arrangements. Thomas missed his exit several times. PJ’s journey was probably quiet and uneventful. Atom’s troupe paused for Thai food (where he met a man who recalled Baltimore as a “dark place”) as well as other festive doodads. On their trip, the group birthed the concept of challenge flags (a moment which will forever live in infamy). In spite of heavy, demon-concealing fog (and stealth mode), each car made it to our host’s house safely. Our host, Joe Bowers was kind and generous, completely opening his home to strangers (but forewarning us of his volatile “roommate”, Taz). Our first night in Indiana was calm and peaceful.
Booya woke the following morning, greeted by the frigid Pennsylvania air, not in any way made better by a thermostat set to 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Slowly, we geared for the cold and left for the fields at Saylor Park. As usual, we were one of the last teams to arrive. Greg went to a meeting of captains, only to sit and wait for the TD who never showed up. The captains took their food bags and dispersed.
Game one pit Booya against Shippensburg B. The frozen elephants made it a goal to come out with blazing spirit and vigor and managed just that. With man-coverage by both teams, Booya took half. Ted made a bid along the left sideline to maintain possession. Patrick didn’t fake once, still getting many hucks through unwary defenders. ISO plays are run, successful on many accounts. Booya kept the ball rolling after the half, taking the game at 15-6.
Our next game took place on the same, awful field. Our opponents were a spirited group of 7 from Canisius College. Though they had the fight, Booya steamrolled to a 13-2 win. Canisius was a friendly group, and our teams bade farewell with nothing but respect and admiration for one another.
At this point, Booya hunkered down against the piercing winds, attempting to keep some warmth for our inevitable third game that afternoon. the tournament director, however, had rearranged the field space (the fields were set up amidst a snow cover, and the light of day revealed a patch of concrete on one of them), which altered the schedule. Altered in what way, our director could not say, so his best reply was, “I’ll come by and let you know.”
Booya sat idle for a period of 3 hours. Time was passed in various ways - eating snacks, frolicking on the playground adjacent our field, and foremost above all: heckling other games. Loafing about on the sidelines, Booya folk made friends with other teams- watching, cheering, and providing color-commentary.
After a disturbingly long break, Booya finally began their game against the host school, IUP’s Fighting Squirrels, with a cold start. With home field advantage, the Squirrels were able to bring their entire A-squad, effectively doubling the man-power that UMBC is able to bring. This did not discourage the scrappy troupe; Booya made the game hard fought and close. IUP had more bodies at their disposal, which made their zone coverage much harder to break, with fresh legs bearing down on our handlers each point. The cup defense became overwhelming at times, and Booya faultered, giving away two Callahan points to IUP’s aggressive defense. After a grueling first half, UMBC picked up the pace. Poppers Brad, Lorenzo, Jerry, and Fightmaster began to find openings, slowly working the disc downfield. Handlers Greg, PJ, Patrick, Window, and yes - even Ronnie the Bear break apart the cup - over, under and straight through. IUP switched to man coverage after their zone started to fail. Athletic plays abounded, as Bradley Scott made defensive bid after bid, successful or not. Lorenzo threw to the back right corner cone for Joel Wheatley, who made a spectacular layout catch right onto an unfortunate bed of concrete (he was fine, eventually). Booya fought, but the slow start and disadvantage of numbers took their toll; the Fighting Squirrels win the game for first seed at 15-13.
Day two, Booya awoke again at Mr. Bower’s abode. Everyone cleared their peepers of the sleepies, but Bradley Scott suffers enormous pain in his own eyeball, after borrowing contact solution from our own Mr. Daniel Dresser. Apparently, Brad didn’t know how to use it correctly, resulting in intense, acidic horribleness. And so, Booya suffered a casualty before even setting foot on the fields. With so few members to begin with, the loss was a hard one.
The elephants arrived to an even worse field than had been played on the day prior, with more hills, divots, and rocks. The first game was against UPJ’s Flood, who managed to show up even later than our good guys. Consequently Booya was able to start with some greater intensity, with Atom getting a point block and immediate layout Callahan for their second point. Atom later sustains a hand injury, taking him out of play for some time. Despite their slow start, the Flood made its inevitable crescendo, ultimately taking the game 15-10.
The last game of the day, Booya faced the SUNY-Brockport Chupacabras. The opponents relied heavily on handler movement and deep throws, which Booya slowly began to understand. Defenders Greg, Pat, Joel and Lorenzo are set upon their handlers, which slows down Brockport’s game tremendously. Their zone defense was especially effective in the gusting wind and cold. Despite the numbing tundra, Pat’s pulls were dead-on. One particular pull pinned the Chupacabras in the very back middle of their own endzone. Realizing the pressure, the rest of the elephants stampeded down field, eager to convert. Lorenzo marked their captain, who looked helplessly to his cutters - not one open throw. Desperate, he wound up for a backhand punt, but Lorenzo read the throw and leaped over, receiving the disc directly in the chest. After a moment of, “ouch that really hurt”, Lorenzo resumed play, and Booya converted the turnover. With the same intensity, Dan skied his man for a point, and Ronald T. Bear got bookends. Pat threads the cup with a tricky inside backhand break, centering to PJ, who can’t help but smile. Booya started to throw their own four man zone as the wind grew stronger. As Brockport neared game point, the snow started rolling in, and in an epic zone versus zone fight, the Chupacabras closed the game at 15-11. As if on cue, the snow haulted with the end of the game, and Booya left Pennsylvania with a record of 2-4 (our consolation game was forfeit in order to make a timely return home).
The Nut Buster VII was a hearkening back to Booya’s past - a heritage wrought with the most adverse of circumstances - back when twelve men (and women, in many cases) was considered a large squad. This cold March weekend, the rookies Dan, Jerry, Ronnie, Chris, and Ted felt a little of what it used to be like, when subs were few and far between, but you had to keep playing. Through the cold and fatigue and hard losses, Booya fights on.