Moeller Ultimate Seeks Back-to-Back State Titles
Eight.That’s how many teams there are in Moeller sports history who have won back-to-back state championships. Only about one in four state-winning teams have fielded strong enough teams following their state title to win another championship the next year. Now, one of the most unknown sports at Moeller has a chance to join this elite group: Ultimate Frisbee.
Since it is considered only a club sport (It’s not OHSAA sponsored), it does not draw as many players or as much as publicity as more mainstream sports. However, coming off the first state victory in program history, the program is hoping to expand and garner more interest from the Moeller community. Just as importantly, they are seeking a second consecutive state title, one which would set them apart from other Moeller sports.
Compared to last year’s state team, this year’s team is distinctly different. Where last year’s team had a wealth of experience and athleticism which helped give them their edge, this year’s team is centered around a younger, much more inexperienced core. Furthermore, this year’s team lacks any players so dominant that the entire offense is centered around them, as was the case last year with a few of the seniors.
Most would see these things and be discouraged or assume that this year’s team has little chance of living up to the success of last year’s team. However, according to Zach Kaylor, Moeller’s Ultimate head coach, these perceived limitations could actually become advantages. “I fully believe that this year’s team has the potential to be a far better team than we had last year. We’re going to have to put in the work to get better and get to that level, but I know that these guys are up for the challenge,” Kaylor said when asked about this year’s team.
The team captain, Al Lovekin, agreed with this sentiment. He emphasized the importance of developing chemistry among the team and playing smart, particularly with a younger team. Interestingly, he views this year’s team lacking any standout players as an advantage. “I think that we definitely have the skill and it’s more evenly distributed this year among the whole team than it was last year,” Lovekin said. “We have a shot, but we’re going to need to really work for it and stay focused.” he replied when asked about the possibility of a second consecutive state title, noting that their hardest competition will likely come from strong St. Xavier and Revolution Ultimate teams.
An important part of staying focused is enjoying the sport and fostering a community that represents these values. Particularly among the seniors, this community is something which Kaylor thinks is special about this year’s team. “The group we have this year is really right-knit, and I think that that’s going to make a difference in how hard we work and ultimately how well we do this year.” he said. As for the part about enjoying the sport, there’s little to say. As Al Lovekin put it, “It’s fun. It’s lighthearted, and not super competitive. Anyone can play. You don’t need to be a superstar to have a great time.”
On the surface, it seems like the Moeller Ultimate team is on a slow decline following a successful year. In reality, though, it’s on it’s way to another successful season, and possibly a historic state title that will place Moeller Ultimate into the pantheon of Moeller’s great teams.