Greg Albright admits Ultimate may have something of an image problem.
“When somebody says “Ultimate,” they chuckle a bit and think about throwing a Frisbee to their dog on the beach,” said Greg Albright, athletics director at Atlanta International School.
But, he said, “it’s much more involved.” Albright describes Ultimate, which fields seven-member teams on a 70-yard field and uses a Frisbee instead of a ball, as a fast-paced game that is sort of a combination of soccer, rugby and American football.
“It absolutely is a sport,” said Bart Yeager, who started playing Ultimate in college and now coaches the AIS teams.
AIS has fielded teams since 2006, Albright said, and this year will meet several other local high schools in head-to-head matches, will take part in tournaments and in March will host its own tournament. Last year, the girls’ team won the state title, Yeager said.
Ultimate has produced the school’s fastest-growing teams among the 34 sports teams it fields each year, Albright said. Sixteen players take part in the boys’ high school Ultimate team, nine on the girls’ high school team and eight on the middle school team, he said.
Yeager says that while the girls’ team is rebuilding after a number of graduations, he’s hopeful the boys’ varsity team will have its best season.
The sport’s emphasis on self-policing, Albright said, makes it a natural fit for the international school, which uses an International Baccalaureate curriculum that promotes student responsibility.
“There are no referees. You call your own fouls,” he said. “I thought with our school, with the cultural diversity, the openness to new things and the skill set, it would great for us. It generates great fitness and … calling your own fouls fits into the IB curriculum, which is very student-centered.”
Alice Morrison was ranked in the Top 10 in the state last year in the long jump and triple jump, and was All-Area as a member of the Sweet 16 Volleyball Team this year.
High jumper Mustafa Thomas can jump 6’ 3”, and starts on the boys’ state qualifying soccer team.
Senior James Ratchford will be playing tennis for Yale University in the fall.