manchester university ultimate frisbee
Students enjoy frisbee on the mall.
Photo provided by MU

Ultimate Frisbee Offers Fun, Friends for Manchester Students

Madison Cunningham 

WHOOSH. . . . That’s the sound a disc makes as it glides through the mall, one that every Ultimate Frisbee member is familiar with. This sound, ever so slight and insignificant, is what sends team members racing to grasp the flying disc before their opposing team does. It is most recognized on Sundays when students at Manchester University gather from 4 to 6 p.m. on the Mall to play a friendly game of Ultimate Frisbee.

The Ultimate Frisbee team has been a part of Manchester for many years, although they have been on and off (especially throughout the Covid-19 pandemic). The team officially resumed last spring; however, it was not an official club again until this past fall.

It was restarted by current president, Andrew Kreps, and his sister Libby Kreps who was a former co-president and team member. They found a love for the game from their father, who runs an Ultimate Frisbee team at Manchester’s sister school, Bridgewater College in Bridgewater, Va.

Prior to Covid, the team was at its peak. “It was really big 2019–2020, right before Covid happened,” said Libby Kreps. “We had about 15–20 people who came out regularly (to play), but Covid kind of gashed it.”

The team used to compete in tournaments against other colleges around the area, including Huntington University and Grace College. However, post pandemic, the club has narrowed its scope to compete against fellow Manchester students. Their focus has been on rebuilding the team.

On average this year the team has had around 10 to 16 people come to the games held on the Mall, although the turnout has been reliant on weather.

A few members are often seen tossing the frisbee back and forth on the mall in attempts to gather students for a game. “It’s easy to pull people in, between classes,” said Libby Kreps with a grin. “(It is as easy as saying something like) ‘Hey, do you have a couple minutes in between classes? Come on by.’”

For anyone walking across the Mall, this friendly bunch is not one to turn someone away; they encourage everyone to join in on the fun. Many of the club’s members invite their friends along to take part in the fun.

When it comes to Ultimate Frisbee, one of the best parts of the club is that anyone can come out and play, regardless of skill level. “We’ve had a lot of people that this is their first time playing Ultimate,” said Libby Kreps, “but we’ve also had a lot of people who learned when they were in gym (class) in middle school.”

This proves true for Kora Beasley, the team’s secretary. She has been playing with the team for two years now. Beasley has played Ultimate Frisbee growing up; however, she said that Andrew Kreps taught her most of what she knows.

One of the things Beasley has learned is how to throw a frisbee through her leg. She’s even pulled the stunt during a game. The stunt was successful since her teammate was able to catch it.

What was her craziest encounter with the Ultimate Club? Beasley said, “One time someone threw a frisbee at me while I was giving a tour. I dropped it, but it was still pretty fun.”

Even though the task at hand for Ultimate Frisbee is to get the disc into your team’s set of cones, it is not the goal for this club. In this game, no one person is on just one team. Members often rotate with players standing by, meaning even if you start on one team at the beginning of the game, you may just end up playing with the other. The club just strives to have fun and share their love for the game with others.

The team’s president, Andrew Kreps, has played Ultimate for two years with Manchester. However, he has been playing frisbee since he was around eight or nine.

Although he has been playing for so long, it was not until a few years ago that he decided to learn a few of the fancier tricks to do with the frisbee; these tricks are often used among players to throw off an opponent.

His favorite part about playing Ultimate at Manchester is the distraction from academics that the game offers. “it’s a relief from the week,” he said. “We all come together and just let everything go and just play; we just have fun with it. It lets us breathe and it sets us up for the next week.”

Ultimate Frisbee is just one of many co-curricular activities that the University has to offer, and it is offered year-round, either on the Mall or in the PERC (depending on the season). It gives Manchester students a break from their workload and an opportunity to engage in a fun activity and meet new peers.