NEW GLOUCESTER — With mud on her legs and tears on her cheeks, Alyssa Drum of Falmouth agreed.

Winning the Maine high school Ultimate championship was the best birthday present ever.

“It’s just all the hard work that we’ve put in as a team together and they’re not only my teammates, they’re my best friends,” Drum said. “And I’m crying right now because I’m so happy.”

The Falmouth girls withstood a second-half flurry from Forest City, a contingent of youthful Portland and Deering High students, to win the championship match 15-10 in intermittent rain Saturday at the New Gloucester Fairgrounds. Falmouth knocked off defending champion Cape Elizabeth in the semifinals.

In the boys’ final, the Cape Elizabeth boys stopped Falmouth’s four-year title run 13-9, led by the precision passing of Oliver Kraft and Calvin Stoughton.

“Our entire middle school career, and freshman and sophomore years at the high school level, Falmouth has been winning the state title and they have a really good program, but I think our team really came together as 14 boys playing as one unit,” Kraft said.

Ultimate, a seven-on-seven team sport played with a flying disc (Frisbee), started as a club sport for high schoolers in Maine in 2009. More than 700 boys and girls played on about 50 teams this season.

The state championships Saturday drew eight boys’ and seven girls’ teams. The mixed (co-ed) championship will be next Saturday, also at New Gloucester.

The sport rewards athleticism, hustle, and refined forehand and backhand passes that curve or fly straight as needed.

After both championship matches, the victors and vanquished came together in a Spirit Circle, and exchanged comments and congratulations for both big and small things.

“Those girls, the people who I fought the hardest in that game, are my best friends,” said Heidi Meyer of Falmouth. “I wanted to beat them so badly but I love them so much, we were hugging and crying after the game. And I think that’s special to this sport.”

USA Ultimate actively promotes “Spirit of the Game,” which emphasizes sportsmanship and responsibility.

Without officials, players resolve disputes and make their own calls.

In both matches the champs led 8-3 at the half, then withstood second-half challenges.

In the girls’ game, Forest City did a better job of shutting down high throws into the 20-yard deep end zone, as Maya Ragucci guarded score-snatching Falmouth freshman Devin Quinn, who was often targeted by Caitlyn Hanley, the Falmouth “handler,” a quarterback/point guard type position.

Forest City scored five straight to cut the lead to 12-10. After each score a team slings the disc back down the field as far as it can. Called a “pull,” it serves the purpose of a football kickoff. Forest City freshman Emily Pozzy – quickly recognizable as the best player on the field – threw pulls routinely into the opposing end zone, forcing Falmouth to move the full length of the field.

“Something just switched and we were playing amazing,” Pozzy said.

Falmouth held on, aided by two strong defensive knockdowns by Lydia Abbott in one-on-one matchups with Forest City’s top scoring threat, Mia Kelley.

On the boys’ side, Ben Payson of Cape Elizabeth forced turnovers deep in Falmouth’s end, leading to relatively easy first-half scores. Falmouth improved in the second half behind strong efforts from Owen Mahoney, Graham Whiting and Griffin Conley, cutting the lead to 9-6.

Cape responded as Stoughton and Kraft worked a give-and-go close to the goal and then Harry Baker made a long run to snare another score.

“This is probably the best game we’ve had in all those years I’ve played (Falmouth),” Stoughton said.

Steve Craig can be reached at 791-6413 or:

[email protected]

Twitter: SteveCCraig

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