Welcome to the AFDC Juniors Blog!
Here we will be showcasing written pieces by players and coaches in the Juniors community. Look for new content to be posted every week!
AFDC HS Open Varsity Power Rankings
Hi everyone, and welcome to the first installment of AFDC HS Open Varsity Power Rankings! This season, Ken Kirschner (Woodward’s coach) has developed a rankings algorithm (based on USAU’s) to measure team strength of AFDC teams in intra-division play. Note that this means games are only factored into the algorithm if both teams are registered as AFDC high schools.
For this article, the writeups about each team were provided by their own coaches or captains. The main intent behind these rankings is not to speculate on who the strongest teams are, but rather to increase knowledge about all AFDC HS teams and help players feel more connected to the overall community.
With that in mind, I am happy to introduce the Open Varsity Power Rankings!
After losing a third of their team to graduation for the second year in a row, Paideia is looking to its younger players to step up this year. Led by senior captain, Matthew Shu, and juniors David Chalmers and Ben Dameron, the team played their first games of the season at the River Campus Classic. The young squad was the top seed in its pool and held onto that spot after defeating the other three teams in their bracket. The second day of the tourney found them defeating nationally-ranked #17 STEM for the second time in as many days to make it to the championship game. Paideia went on to finish second with a loss to #25 Pi Kentucky Homeschoolers.
Editor’s Note: Despite an impressive resume so far this season, Paideia has no recorded games against AFDC opponents and is therefore unranked.
14. South Forsyth (0-3)
I am South Forsyth’s Captain and Founder, Manthan Sonawane, and despite the fact that we are seeded last, I can confidently say that I am proud of what my team has achieved. With only one season under our belt before this one, we’ve still managed to exceed expectations and hold our own against other more versed teams. And I expect to see our team continue growing thanks to the future of our program lying in the hands of those like our Junior Handlers Garrett Mullis and Alex Reburiano – leaders both on and off the field. SOFO YOU KNOW!
13. Forsyth Central (1-9)
With a fresh crop of 8 rookies, Intensity (FCHS) Ultimate has struggled thus far. However the want to improve has taken over the hearts of all their players. It seems this team is starting to play their best ultimate now.
Andrew Pipping (JR)- As the Captain of Intensity Ultimate, Andrew understands everyone is looking up to him and at him. At it seems when the lights shines the brightest he plays his best ultimate, he never makes the same mistake twice and always has a smile on his face.
Nate Parker (JR)- Nate may not be a captain but don’t let that fool you; he may be the most talented player on the Intensity roster. With that being said he is also without a doubt the most spirited.
12. Northview (2-8)
Northview could not be reached in time for this publication.
11. Decatur (2-5)
Decatur Ultimate is excited to have three teams competing this year with the addition of a JV Boys team and a Girls team to the existing Boys Varsity team. We’re learning, enthusiastic and getting better each game. One club – three teams – go Bulldogs!
10. AIS (3-4)
AIS has improved upon last season significantly and is off to a 3-4 start at the mid-season point. After losing to Northview on Universe Point on the AIS field, they were able to claw back from a 2-5 deficit at the AFDC Round Robin to win 9-6. AIS also has an impressive win over Parkview this season, as well as a commanding win over Central Forsyth. Thanks to the defensive play of Junior, Robbie Grattan-Smith, and the leadership of handlers Matthew Mills and Sidd Grover, AIS will look to continue to improve upon their 2018 season at the next AFDC Round Robin.
9. Parkview (3-2)
Grace, power, finesse and style
Damn, we look good, too!
8. Chamblee (3-3)
Chambsquad started their season by taking a small squad to the Woodward Round Robin. They finished 2-1 with wins against Forsyth Central and Northview and a loss to Woodward. Next was the first AFDC round robin of the season and Chambsquad went 1-2, beating Decatur and losing to Lambert and Druid Hills. Last year’s biggest deep target, Hayden Austin-Knab, has developed into a backfield threat as well. He’s joined in the handler core by fellow YCC returner Brian Hazelwood, while Genki Aikawa is a workhorse downfield, dominating the popping space when running zone offense.
7. Trinity-East Coweta (3-3)
Purple Reign is a new combination team consisting of students from Trinity Christian and East Coweta High School down in Coweta County. The team is captained by a trio of seniors: Luke Anderson, Ben Lacina, and Ethan Gazan. So far this season we have competed in the Woodward Round Robin and AFDC Round Robin leaving us with a solid 3-3 record. We look forward to what the rest of our inaugural season has to offer!
6. Brookwood (4-2)
Brookwood Ultimate is more proud of how we celebrate our team’s diversity than any wins or losses on the field. As the most diverse program in Atlanta (and likely one of the most diverse in the country) we are proud to represent over 20 home countries for our players. As we try to exemplify our motto of “one program, one team”, we practice together and do our best to ensure equitable treatment of all genders, races, and skill levels.
5. Lakeside (3-2)
The Lakeside Vikings Varsity enters its eleventh season with one of its deepest squads.Combining talent from all four grades, Lakeside won its pool at Deep Freeze and made the championship bracket at Queen City. Led by seniors Marie Perivier, Kendal Ridley, and J.P. Miller, and juniors Justin Burnett and Wyatt Maher, the Vikings are psyched to play!!
4. Lambert (5-1)
The Lambert Ultimate team is 5-1 so far this season, with huge wins over South Forsyth (13-0) and Central Forsyth (13-2) and their only loss coming from Woodward Academy. The Longhorns have a lot of depth and great talent, which allows for easy substitutions. Led by strong handlers Ted Shipley (Sr.) and Harrison Chesser (Sr.), and lockdown defenders in Clay Wells (Sr.) and Cole Krucke (Jr.), Lambert is looking to make a solid run to state this year.
3. Druid Hills (7-1)
The Disc Devils are excited to have a much deeper bench this year, with 20 players rostered (up from 14 last year)–including several brand new to the sport and 11 juniors anchoring the team! This increased depth shows in the current 7-1 win-loss record and ranking of the team to date, led by co-captains Matthew Dacey-Koo, Isaac Huntington and Adam Jolliff, all juniors.
2. Woodward (6-0)
The 2018 Woodward Boys Varsity ultimate team looks to continue the growth and improvement it has shown in recent years. With 10 seniors and 11 returning varsity lettermen, the team is among the most experienced in the state. Off to a 6-0 start at two early round-robins, Woodward turns its attention to Terminus and the state tournament in the weeks ahead.
Woodward has at least three strong all-state candidates this year. Brad Freedman is a scoring machine on offense and a monster deep on defense. Alex Rand controls the offense with the ability to put the disc anywhere on the field at any time. Brian Smith does everything well – handle, cut, and play fantastic defense. These three — along with captains Sam Berman, Shaylan Patel, and Isaac Zelcer — lead a team focused on being the best it can be.
Go War Eagles!
1. Grady (1-0)
Grady Varsity Boys are trying to carry over a successful end to last year’s season with a strong start in 2018. The Grady Boys have been to two tournaments, Deep Freeze and Queen City, and have won both with signature wins over Carolina Friends School, Lone Peak, and Holy Family Catholic. The team is lead by three captains: seniors Reid Barry and Jacob Dillard and junior Aidan Downey.
Editor’s note: While Grady has only played one game so far against an AFDC team, their strong 15-6 win over Brookwood earns them the top spot in the rankings.
Thank you for reading, and look for the end of season power rankings in the future!
USAU Coaching Development Program
Are you interested in furthering your development as an ultimate coach at any level? Then the Coaching Development Program (CDP) by USAU is made for you! The program consists of attending a full 1-day clinic after which you will be a Level I CDP coach within USAU. The morning session consists of classroom discussion about the ethics of coaching and the afternoon is a performance based clinic offering tips for on-field player development. All that’s required to attend is a USAU membership and to pay the registration fee; grants available through USAU for coaches who lead mixed and/or women’s’ teams. The AFDC is hosting one of these CDP clinics on March 31st at Tucker High School, the link to register can be found here.
Why did I start playing ultimate?
by Ebet Lansing
My name is Elizabeth (Ebet) Lansing and I am a senior at Grady High School. I joined the Grady Ultimate team my freshman year, have played every year since, and am now one of the captains of the girls’ varsity team. I played ultimate at camp for several years when I was younger, but never imagined playing it for high school. To be honest, I didn’t even know Grady had a team. My freshman year, I was approached by a senior, who was a captain at the time and who was in the same yoga class as me. She came up to me and basically said, “Hey Ebet, you’re really tall – we could really use you on ultimate. Come out for tryouts!”, and I never really looked back.
By playing ultimate at Grady for 4 years, I have only gained beneficial experiences. I have challenged myself athletically to better myself at the sport. I have gained close relationships with peers and coaches alike. True, I have had to become more intentional about time management for things like homework and studies, but in the long run, that only serves to benefit me as well. Ultimate has shown me what kind of player, leader, and friend I am, and can be, to others.
One of the reasons I love ultimate frisbee so much is because I truly believe that it is a sport for anyone. No matter where you are in life, you can almost always take a little time to toss a disc back and forth with someone. People can take on ultimate with any degree of intensity – playing it as your main sport or just getting really good at throwing it at a desired target – but ultimate frisbee, in the most general sense, is an activity that can include anybody. If 7 years ago you told me that I would have traded soccer and tennis for ultimate frisbee, I don’t think I would’ve believed you, but ultimate has taught me so much about myself, both as an athlete and a person, and I am so grateful I did choose frisbee over other sports.
Why did I start playing ultimate?
by Margot Thompson
Even as someone who joined the school ultimate team a week before the season started, it quickly became clear to me the support and respect members of the ultimate community have for each other. I was welcomed into this squad of almost fifty girls immediately. What excited me the most was this new environment where competition is expected, yet dishonesty is scarce. I had never participated in a sport where these two weren’t equivalent. This applied not only to games and tournaments but practice as well; during every season, there are no cut corners, no lack of commitment, no hesitancy for intensity. Ultimate became my outlet to channel these characteristics for the first time in a way that didn’t feel forced—but natural.
Often times what girls’ high school sports gets so wrong is the actual competitor by implicitly setting teammates against each other instead of celebrating their abilities and channeling that strength into improvement. At school, I face this same environment of judgmental learning; comparing grades, achievements, and ability to learn. These invalidating places of ability never allow for effective teamwork which becomes quite contradictory. Ultimate has instead taught me to focus not only on daily self-improvement but to contribute to the team’s collective effort and commitment. This idea breaks down the walls of hostile competition within girls’ sports because it keeps each individual accountable for her own effort while pushing forward the team’s development.
During the offseason, my teammates and coach are what most encourage and support me to live with the spirit of this game. Every time we pass by each other at school, there’s this sense of an inside joke passing between us—like no one can actually understand the gifts of ultimate and its community until participating in it. And every spring, it the season begins to remind me of why I starting playing in the first place.
Why did I start playing ultimate?
Playing ultimate with the Grady JV Girls team has been the most eye opening and beneficial experiences I could have ever had.
I remember tryouts my freshman year, I was so scared of all the experienced players and I had not a clue as to why I was even there. Sports weren’t my thing. I never played sports. I was never fit. But, when I started to play, I realized how great it felt to be able to move and be part of a team. That team became my second family, and a part of me felt obligated to care for them.
My second year, when I was voted as one of the captains, I remember feeling truly respected and appreciated. I found myself willing to drop everything for the team. There was never a time when I felt inadequate when around my team and my coach. No matter what, I knew I could make a mistake and never need to feel bad about it. There is always this accepting environment; ready to support and defend you no matter what. Playing made me confident in myself and helped me develop a level of self respect other activities could not. Anytime I hear frisbee mentioned or there is talk of an opportunity to throw with my teammates or potential players, I feel myself fill up with excitement.
The girl’s Grady JV team is a team I could never forget. It allowed me to get in shape and also participate in my other activities without problem. I’ve gained so much from playing ultimate and I’ve developed so much as a person. I’ve met my best friends and I constantly look forward the season to see how much I’ll progress through another year.
Why did I start playing ultimate?
by Sarah Jordak
I started playing ultimate my freshman year at The Paideia School and, at first, it was just another form of exercise in the springtime. However, I was immediately drawn into the positivity and support coming from the community. It was unlike anything I had ever experienced from a sports team. The girls are not just dedicated to the sport but also to the values, such as commitment and skills. Even during pre-season workouts, I could see how passionate and intense all the girls on the team are. Yet, sportsmanship is always the highest priority. And, so is fun. This is a group of girls that will go out on the field and play their hardest and then, at any break in the game, start dancing and singing.
I have also learned about the strength of women through ultimate. Between points, and if our team was down, girls would raise their arms up in a power pose informing everyone to keep their heads held high. That is my ultimate team. My team worked on breaking gender barriers in small ways such as never calling it ‘man v. man’ but ‘women v. women’ or ‘person v. person’. Those types of things allowed for the break in gender stereotypes. It is empowering to watch my teammates and look up to women in the ultimate community. Being surrounded by fierce women and playing hard has shaped my perspective on the power of women in sports.
The ultimate community has be incredibly supportive, loving, and fun to be around. I have gained confidence and friendships through the sport. Even though I started playing ultimate for exercise, it has become much more to me.