Capilano’s newly formed Ultimate Frisbee team may be young, but they’re good
Justin Scott // Managing Editor
While the Capilano University Blues has long been known for its basketball, soccer and volleyball teams, the department recently expanded their athletic horizons. On Sept. 30, CapU not only competed in the Canadian Western University Ultimate Championships (CWUUC), they came home with a silver medal. And according to Milton Williams, athletic director, the second-place finish was no fluke.
This tournament was not the first time CapU fielded an Ultimate team. Williams recalled how the school had a team in the past. “We actually had a club here a long time ago,” he said. That was more than five years ago, but now the school is once again entering the Ultimate arena.
Williams has known that there’s interest in the sport from the school’s community for a while, but the timing was never right. Recently however, he decided it was time to pull the trigger. Knowing that the CWUUC was approaching, he decided to see what would happen if the Blues attempted to enter a team.
“We quickly reached out to a few students,” he explained. Excitingly, the department had enough interest from students that a team was formed. And these weren’t just any students either. Not only did all the players have plenty of previous experience, according to Williams, some of them are “national team calibre.”
One of those students is Ty Barbieri. The tournament may have been Barbieri’s first time representing CapU in an Ultimate game, but it was not his first time dawning the Blues name on his chest. “This was my first time playing Ultimate for Cap, but I played on the soccer team in 2015,” he explained. In fact, 2015 was the year the men’s soccer team won the provincial title and took home a silver medal at nationals, so he’s accustomed to bringing hardware back to the Sportsplex as well.
While Barbieri has always enjoyed sports, it originally took some convincing to get him to try Ultimate. “I started playing in high school at Sutherland Secondary,” he said. “The coach there, Carla Keffer, paid me $10 to try it out, and I instantly loved it.”
In fact, Williams and Keefer are now working together to bolster CapU’s Ultimate roster for future seasons. They have decided to work together to bring some of the North Shore’s top ultimate talents to the school over the coming years. “Carla Keefer is in charge of one of the top academies on the North Shore,” Williams said. “We got talking and the idea is, it is a recruitment tool for the University, but it’s also an opportunity for these kids to play another level up and not give up on the sport.”
And play they will. While the CWUUC was the only competition CapU’s team will see this year, Williams knows of multiple tournaments in the Spring that he intends on sending the team to. However, these tournaments will be a warm up of sorts for what he has planned for next year. “Our intention is that we will get into a full-fledged circuit next year. So, we would have a half dozen tournaments that we would enter, culminating with the Western Canadian Championship, and if they’re good enough, then the national championship,” he said.
Seeing as the team already took home a silver medal in their first tournament, it appears they have nowhere to go, but up. “I thought our first tourney went really well,” Barbieri said. “We came second falling to UBC in the finals. We have tons of potential but could definitely use a few more players,” he added. It should also be noted that while the team that was entered in the CWUUC was all male, the school hopes it will soon become a co-ed team and is encouraging any women who enjoy Ultimate to join.
Tournaments aside, Williams sees this new addition to CapU’s recreation as a positive sign for the school and its community. “The idea is to get more students engaged,” he said. “The CSU is doing a great job of that, so what we want to do is contribute by offering competitive recreation.” He concluded by adding that “It’s a great way for students to participate. It’s great for mental health, it’s great for physical health and meeting new people and all those things.”