Ultimate Frisbee Team takes East Coast by Storm

Univ. Communications – When most people think of Ultimate Frisbee, they picture a laid back game played by casual friends on the quad or the beach. While this may have been how Ultimate got its start in the early 70s, since then it has undergone an incredible transformation. Ultimate is one of the nation’s fastest growing sports, with almost 5 million Americans playing at least once per year. The University of Rochester Ultimate Team, the Piggies, started in the mid 1980s as a small club that would take seven to 10 guys to tournaments. Since then, Ultimate has become an official club sport at many universities, with a national championship in the late spring of every year.

Much like the sport itself, the Rochester Piggies have transformed over the last few years into a larger, more serious team with an active roster of about 25 members. The team is also becoming increasingly competitive; they earned a 16-4 record last fall, including a huge win over Cornell University, a division rival and a previous National contender.

Often described as a hybrid between football, soccer, and basketball, Ultimate is played between two teams of 7 players on a small scale football field with two end zones. A team must complete a series of throws to move the disc into the opposing team’s end zone. Once a player catches the disc, they cannot move and have 10 seconds to throw the disc to a teammate. If the offense does not complete a throw, the other team gains possession of the disc and must follow the same rules to score. These rules create a high speed game that combines the scoring principles of football with the endurance of soccer.


During the 2012 spring season, the Piggies traveled all over the East Coast for tournaments, starting with the massive High Tide Tournament in Brunswick, Georgia. High Tide is a three day tournament that takes place during spring break and attracted around 100 open, women’s, and mixed teams this year.

The Piggies finished 5th out of 32 teams at Shippensburg University’s Steakfest Tournament, and went undefeated at the Roll Call Tournament held on the National Polo Fields outside of Washington D.C. The Piggies strong showing this year has been aided by the presence of teammates who played competitively in high school, including sophomore Matt Bandes.

“When I first got to college, I was a little bit disappointed with the Piggies, as they weren’t as competitive as I’d hoped they would be,” said Bandes, who played Ultimate all four years of high school. “But over the last year we’ve changed our mindset and work ethic, and now there isn’t a doubt in my mind that we have a shot at nationals. They’ve become my family.”

Despite the changing nature of the team, the Piggies still retain the spirit the team was founded with. At a tournament in Montreal this fall, the Piggies won both a hotdog eating contest and a competition to see which team could make the craziest diving catch, known in Ultimate slang as a layout contest.

“To me, Ultimate is unique because it encourages humor and goofiness,” said Eli Witkin, a junior and current co-captain of the Piggies. “Our team can be playing at its absolute highest potential and still be having a great time out on the field.”

The Piggies ended the 2012 spring season on a high note, placing 4th overall in Sectionals and advancing to Regionals. While the Piggies were eliminated in the first round of championship play (with a one-point loss to Yale), they placed 11th overall. The team, which is only graduating three seniors, is optimistic about competing in both tournaments next year.

All University of Rochester students are welcome to join the Piggies, which typically taps new players in the beginning of the fall and spring semesters. Those interested should email rochesterultimate@gmail.com. The University of Rochester also is home to a competitive women’s ultimate team, girls interested in playing should contact Captain Kathryn Haapala at khaapala@u.rochester.edu.


Article written by Blake Silberberg, an intern at University Communications and a member of the Piggies. Silberberg is a junior majoring in political science.

Men’s and Women’s Swimming & Diving Dominate Libery League Tourneys

Rochester Athletics – Over the weekend, it was Yellowjacket Fever at the Liberty League Championship tournaments.

The University of Rochester men’s swimming and diving team scored 14 event wins and set three new Liberty League records en route to running away with the team title in the Liberty League Championships Swimming and Diving Saturday at RPI.  Rochester totaled 1006.5 points, over 200 better than second place RPI.

For the Lady ‘Jackets, the weekend was just as successful. The women swimmers and divers ran away with the title by over 475 points in the team standings at the 2010 Liberty League Championships.  In the two day event, the Yellowjacket women totaled 13 event wins and set six new Liberty League records.

It was was more of the same for the Yellowjacket men, as they jumped out to three straight race wins to start session three at the league championships.

The first winner was freshman James Frauen who won the 200 backstroke with a time of 1:56.42.

A new school record in the 200 breaststroke was achieved by Adam Bossert who completed the win with the time of 2:09.91.  Fellow Yellowjacket Pat Davis was fourth in the event.

The Rochester squad had a great showing in the 100 freestyle where they took six of the first seven spots.  The winner of the race was freshman Chris Doser who swam a 47.21.  Right behind him in 2nd place was Bossert who raced to a time of 48.08.  Freshmen Derek Lam and Booky Porapakkham earned 3rd and 4th place finished while Brian Wong was 6th and Vincent Ness was 7th.

In the day two diving events, Rochester two competitors earned solid finished of 7th and 9th in the 1 meter board event.  Sophomore Zach Howard was the 7th place finished compiling 261.20 points.  Junior Elliott Lasher was the other UR finisher while scoring 343.70 points.

Freshman Brian Wong got in on the action with a win in the 200 yard butterfly, finishing in a time of 1:55.64.

Wong also was a member of the winning 400 yard free relay team along with classmates Porapakkham, Doser and Frauen.  They finished the race in 3:11.25, over three seconds ahead of the 2nd place team.  Rochester’s B team in the event placed third with a time of 3:16.47.  That squad consisted of senior Vincent Ness, junior Christian Vu, sophomore Alex King and freshman Brett Maus.

UR had six multi-event winners over the two day championships.  Leading the way for the Yellowjackets was Wong who ended with six wins (individual and relays), while Bossert and Doser had five wins apiece.  Frauen had four victories while Porapakkham tallied three.  King rounded out the multiple winners with two.

For his impressive results, Bossert was named Male Swimmer of the Year while teammate Brian Wong was named Male Rookie of the Year at the championships.  The UR coaching staff was also named Coaching Staff of the Year.

In the third session for the women’s team, freshman Lauren Bailey got her fourth win of the championships in the 100 yard freestyle, finishing in a time of 54:02.  Teammate Meg Lawless was second in the event Meg Waring was fourth for the Yellowjackets.

In the 200 backstroke, Rochester got a third and fourth place finish from freshman Teresa Xu (2:12.10) and sophomore Farrell Cooke (2:12.49).

In the diving events on day two, the UR women achieved a 1-2-3 finish in the 3 meter board event.  Junior Sara Spielman placed first scoring 393.24 points.  Classmate Megan Braun was second scoring 392.10 points in her dives while senior Rachel deLahunta was third in the event after scoring 356.35 points.  The three finished as the top 3 in the 1 meter diving event on day one of the championships.

The women smashed the Liberty League record in the 400 yard freestyle relay by nearly three seconds en route to another event win.  The team of Bailey, Waring, Lawless, and Xu finished in a time of 3:37.60.  The B squad of Ellie Ansani, Avery Palardy, Kristy Harding and Emily Friedline placed third in the race with a time of 3:46.41.

Waring earned another solid finish, this time in the 200 breaststroke where she placed 4th with a time of 2:34.47.

In the 200 butterfly, Rochester had three of the top-6 finishes with Lauren Bailey finishing 2nd (2:11.20), Friedline getting 4th (2:12.49) and Steph Bolin ending up 6th (2:14.65).

In the overall team standings, Rochester ran away with the title, winning with a total of 1115.5 team points while the second place and host RPI Engineers ended up with 629.5 points.

The slew of multiple event winners included Bailey (5 wins), Waring (4), Friedline (3), Karen Meess (3), Xu (3), Ellie Ansani (2) and Lawless (2).

UR had many award winners in the post meet ceremonies as Braun and Spielman were named Women’s Co-Divers of the Year, Friedline was Women’s Rookie of the Year and the UR coaches took home Coaching Staff of the Year honors.

This article includes reporting from Scott Sabocheck, Athletic Communications Asst., photos courtesy of Rochester Athletics

Debate Union Earns High Marks in Season Opener

University of Rochester Debate – The University of Rochester Debate Union started the year off with a bang.  The team traveled to Binghamton University for the East Region Season Opener last weekend. Half of Rochester’s 12 teams advanced to elimination debates.

The U of R’s top performance was turned in by the veteran team of Alyssa Schwartz (Junior) and Vijay Kasschau (Senior). Schwartz and Kasschau were a nearly perfect in preliminary debates, finishing with a record of 5 wins and 1 loss. They advanced through two elimination rounds when they finally lost on a split decision to the City University of New York. In addition to taking home the third place trophy, Kasschau was named the tournament’s 4th best speaker and Schwartz was 2nd speaker.  Freshman Zach Taylor was also honored for his superior speaking, taking home the 8th place trophy in the Junior Varsity Division.

Director of Forensics, Ken Johnson, summed up the Binghamton opener by stating, “This was one of our best first tournaments in a couple of years. Everybody won debates. We clearly have lots of work in front of us, but it is nice to have early success.”

Even though the debate season is underway, there is still plenty of time for students to join the team.  To join, students simply need to attend a debate meeting in Morey 100 at 7:00pm on Monday or Thursday.  They can also email the Director of Forensics at ken.johnson@rochester.edu. No experience is required to be on the debate team – it is open to every undergraduate at the University of Rochester.

The team has a busy fall semester, with tournaments at Toronto, West Point, Harvard, and Vermont on the schedule, available here.

Rochester Teams with Awards:


Nina Datlof (Sophmore) & Alap Patel(Freshman) (9th)

Novice Policy:

Cody Monday (Soph)/Swing (17th)

Junior Varsity Policy:

Joshua Rose (Fresh) & Zachary Taylor (Fresh) (9th)

Varsity Policy:

Vinit Akolkar (Junior) & George Weddington (Senior) (5th)
Ben Batha (Junior) & Kevin Diamond (Senior) (5th)
Vijay Kasschau (Senior) & Alyssa Schwartz (Junior) (3rd)

Article courtesy of Ken Johnson, director of Forensics and lecturer in the Department of English. The team photo, taken in spring 2011, also is courtesy of Ken Johnson.