On the come up

Former club turns into school’s latest competitive sports team


David Masengale

Junior Jimmy Elorza cuts inward as he prepares to catch the frisbee during practice on Sept. 20. This is Elorza’s second year playing for the ultimate frisbee team.

A frisbee whizzing by a defender’s face, the shouts from players as their teammate makes a grab and the frantic movements up and down the field. A SHS player typically gets a feel for all of these during one of their ultimate frisbee games. But it wasn’t always like this. A club that began with a teacher, a couple students and a frisbee has evolved into something much greater.
“It was really cool after like four or five years to see more competitiveness,” initiator and foreign language teacher Chris Sponsler said. “Kids were really getting out there.”
When the club began, Sponsler gave a couple hours of his Friday afternoon to throw a frisbee with some of his students. The after-school club has now grown into the newest sports team at SHS.
According to Sponsler, he started the club in 2012 alongside former SHS student John Hawkins during his freshman year. Hawkins and his friends convinced Sponsler to start a club so they had the opportunity to do something different.
“Hawkins wanted to create something that would leave its indelible mark on the school,” Sponsler said.
Even since last year the program has shown growth. According to senior Toby Brummett, they now have almost 20 players on the team.
“Last year we had maybe 12 regularly show up … so it’s a lot better,” Brummett said.
Hawkins certainly accomplished his goal of leaving his mark. The ultimate frisbee club continued through all four years he attended SHS and lasted a year after he graduated.
The program didn’t die out once Hawkins was gone. In fact, it did quite the opposite: It evolved from merely a club into a sports team in 2017.
The person behind this change was former SHS student Kaden Wood. After being in the club for his freshman and sophomore years, Wood had a big influence on the decision to make it a competitive team.
“I wanted to start practicing and going to tournaments to watch skill levels grow,” Wood said. “And also allow (players) to show their skills against other teams.”
According to Brummett, Wood’s decision to come coach has helped the team gain experience and helped them continue the team. It encouraged more students to try something new and begin playing frisbee.
“Our graduating seniors have come back to help coach their knowledge,” Wood said. “More people joined winter leagues and summer leagues.”
The frisbee team has seen a great amount of growth in the program, mainly over the last few years. According to Wood, their numbers have nearly doubled since the transition.
Not only does the team have more players, they have more talent too. According to Wood, in just their second year as a competitive team they earned themselves a spot in the state championships.
The team might have gained a lot of talent since their first year of competing, but that didn’t come without hard work and dedication. According to Wood, many people at the call out meeting struggled to even throw a frisbee, but now they are capable of longer throws and many different types.
“The growth has been just astronomical,” Wood said.

David Masengale
Pictured below: Sophomore Devin Ritter defends as SHS graduate Adam Barclay prepares to throw.