July 3, 2013

Maine's ultimate disc flickers catching national attention

A sport that's easy to love is gaining more and more converts, and now a regional event may be heading to Maine.

By Glenn Jordan gjordan@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

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Ben Smith of Portland, soon to be a freshman at the University of Maine, throws a disc during warm-ups before a Portland Ultimate Adult Summer League game Tuesday at the Cumberland County Fairgrounds, the site of eight games on this night.

Photos by Gabe Souza/Staff Photographer

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Jared DeWolfe of Falmouth catches a goal for Rising Tide, a youth ultimate team made up of the best high school players in Maine.

Additional Photos Below

"It was really interesting," said Katrina Meserve, a rising senior at Falmouth High who took up the sport only this spring. "I just fell in love with (ultimate). It's competitive but it's also super chill when you want it to be. It's not a super stressful sport."

Meserve is a year-round volleyball player whose father used to play in the Portland Ultimate summer league, now into its third decade of existence.

Members of Rising Tide practice Sunday mornings, work on strength and flexibility at the Maine Academy of Gymnastics on Monday nights, play in the adult summer leagues on Tuesday and Thursday nights (following a one-hour team practice both nights) and play in the nascent youth league on Wednesday nights.

The team is randomly split each week to form two teams that play Tuesdays and Thursdays in the adult summer league.

"They're great," said Gretchen McCloy, whose New Gloucester Village Store team led 7-6 over a Rising Tide squad Tuesday night when lightning forced a premature end to a game normally played to 15. "And they're so athletic. One of the guys on our team said, 'I played in high school and I never learned how to throw a forehand or what the force was.' These guys are so much more advanced, even at the high school level."

The force is a defensive strategy in the seven-on-seven contest similar to overplaying one hand of a basketball dribbler, only the entire defensive team is in on the ploy. Players call their own fouls, so sportsmanship and respect are paramount.

McCloy brought her baby, Forrest, and husband, Sean McCloy, to the fairgrounds Tuesday night.

"I've been playing since before college," said Sean McCloy, who has found pickup games around the globe. "It's an instant community of friends who are like-minded people. I've found apartments through it. I've found part-time jobs through it. I've found people to date through ultimate."

The members of Rising Tide hail from 12 high schools. A middle school league also sprung up this spring, and Maine Ultimate formed another development squad, Neap Tide, to compete in the U-16 age group in Minnesota this summer.

Glenn Jordan can be contacted at 791-6425 or at:

gjordan@pressherald.com

Twitter: GlennJordanPPH

 

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Additional Photos

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Nick Plummer, a member of Rising Tide, looks to throw around Nate Buck of the New Gloucester Village Store during their game.

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Jacob Brady of Cape Elizabeth, right, has the disc sail over his head. USA Ultimate, the national governing body, may select Portland as the site of the Northeast Regional next May.

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Other players can only watch as Jacob Brady of Cape Elizabeth stretches to catch a goal for the Rising Tide. The number of high school teams playing the sport has risen this year to 28, representing more than 450 boys and girls.



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