Ultimate Frisbee soars in popularity among Utah athletes

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SALT LAKE CITY -- Ultimate Frisbee started as a pick-up game and has quickly evolved into a highly competitive sport in Utah.

The sport, known simply as Ultimate to those who play, is growing faster here than anywhere else in the country, and the Utah Disc Association thinks it’s about time the game moves toward boys and girls teams that could one day become official high school sports.

“For the past 8 years we've had open teams, which means boys and girls can play on the same team,” said Tara Wion, State Youth Coordinator for Utah Ultimate Disc Association. “But this year we are transitioning away from the open style of play and moving more toward the boys and girls. We now have enough men playing and enough women playing in the state that we can get full girls teams and give them enough opportunities to play in tournaments.”

On Saturday, girls from several high schools took part in the first ever state Ultimate Frisbee tournament.

“Most of the girls play on boys teams, so we haven't had a ton of practice with just the girls, it's been so awesome to get to know each other and when you play with girls you get to play a lot more,” player Sam Yorgason said.

It took years for Ultimate to grow from a game to a sport. The teens who play it said it takes strategy and practice, just like anything, but it also requires a higher level of sportsmanship and comradery.

“I love that it is self-refereed,” player Makayla Holt said. “I love the spirit of the game. I love just playing hard, but probably the people. Good people play ultimate.”

They said they expect it to take a while to achieve their goal of making it a high school sport, but they said, considering how fast it’s caught on, it’s a real possibility.

And the Utah Disc Association expects more schools to add Ultimate as a club sport in the next few years.