DUFF Season Keeps Davidson Elite at Ultimate Frisbee

Jonathan Swann ‘19 

Sports Writer

A familiar sight for many Davidson students is walking by the Union and seeing Davidson Ultimate Frisbee Folk (DUFF) practice under the Richardson Stadium lights three times a week. 

The dedication and hard work the team puts in week in and week out can be easy to overlook if you don’t know a DUFF player personally. However, DUFF competes against the best college ultimate frisbee teams in the South and nationally ranked teams. This season, both the men’s and women’s team had to overcome challenges including injuries, but finished strong overall, with the men placing third in the region and the women placing fifth in the conference.

Co-Captain Mac Harris ’19 said that the team improved throughout the season after a slow start, culminating in winning “two of our final three tournaments, including a Conference title for the third time in the past four years.”  Men’s DUFF entered Regionals on an eleven game win streak, but they fell in the semifinals to perennial rival University of Richmond, the team that ultimately won the region. Jack Swinson ’21 echoed Harris’s assessment about the season, stating that “[the team] made so much progress coming together.” Swinson added that “it was so much fun to see the first years improve and it was hard to accept that we wouldn’t play with the seniors again.”

The men’s final record was 22-8, highlighted by finishing first at D-III EastUR Tournament in March and first at conferences in mid-April. While the big goal for the men’s team was to clinch a spot in nationals, only one team from the Atlantic region could earn a bid, making the goal challenging for the team. 

Dusty Smith ’20 emphasized that while winning regionals was the main goal, the expectations for the team were not limited to on-field results. Smith said that “we want every player, regardless of where they start, to finish as a better ultimate player than when they started; we also pride ourselves on building close relationships within the team and making DUFF a fun experience for everyone involved.” Those themes of team bonding, goofiness, and player development form a critical component of DUFF. Harris and Swinson reiterated those themes, with Swinson stating that his favorite part of this season was bonding with all the guys on the team. 

Both the men’s and women’s team had many underclassmen because of the loss of talented seniors from last year and the various injuries players faced. Katie Craig ’19 says that the women’s season was focused primarily on rebuilding and remaining competitive for every game. On the women’s side, the season was punctuated by wins against Elon, University of North Carolina-Asheville, and Wake Forest. 

On the men’s side, Smith says that “[we] only had three seniors playing by the end of the season due to injury, but we had about fifteen freshmen on the roster who were all ready and willing to work hard and step up when we needed them to.”

The young team benefitted from two new coaches this year who could provide advice to the newcomers and returning players. According to Smith, a few years ago, DUFF was entirely player-coached and now “having three experienced coaches who sacrifice so much time to support the team is really a blessing.” 

Smith says that next season, the team will be even hungrier to make nationals as the current sophomores and freshmen have never been, and next year is the last chance for the current juniors. Rising sophomores such as Landon Schabes ‘22 and Kevin “Slippery” Escott ‘22 will look to step up to make up for the graduation of talented seniors, including Alex Berro ‘19, Kaylen Alexis ‘19, Isaac Mervis ‘19, and Mac Harris ‘19. Overall though, DUFF will continue to be driven by one burning question (according to Harris): “who put the fork in the garbage disposal?”

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