Fulford Ultimate are the Under 17 Indoor National Champions!

posted in: News | 0

On the 9th and 10th of March, our Y11 Ultimate Frisbee team attended the Under 17 National Championships in Wolverhampton. After losing the final of the previous Under 17 National Championships in June, Fulford were determined to make amends and put things right.


The vision and the ambition for a National Title have been embedded in these players for a long time. Since the very first week of term in September, the message has been clear: the title is ours for the taking this year. But it can’t happen with determination alone. Trainings have been taking place twice per week at school since the start of the year, and many of the players train hard outside of school as well. These often involve late nights and early mornings – 7.20am trainings at school to make use of the free sports hall!


The hard work of these players can’t be overstated. As well as preparing for Under 17 Nationals, they have also:

  • Competed above their age bracket at Under 20 Indoor Nationals (with a very respectable 5th placed finish)
  • Trialled (and been selected) for Great Britain Junior teams
  • Helped coach the Y7, 8, and 9 players
  • Been working hard studying for their GCSE exams
  • Set a new standard for what can be achieved by Fulford Ultimate

The tournament was written with a new format: the best teams would get to play each other early on the Saturday rather than having to wait until the end of Sunday. This meant intensity and focus was necessary from the start. Indoor games are only 19 minutes long, so a poor start to a game can leave you really struggling with little time for a comeback. Fulford started the weekend with a 6-4 loss to AirBadgers from Exeter. The team who have won the title every-year-but-twice since 2006! This was not an ideal start – some rushed decision making put us 2-0 down early on and Fulford couldn’t pull it back. The team rallied and won the rest of their Saturday games, including against local friends/rivals Manor, with comfortable score lines but a smattering of nervous errors. The pressure was on… they knew they had a really strong chance of winning and had to get that first-game loss out of their heads. After a re-group on Saturday evening, and a good night’s sleep, they took to the pitches for knock-out play on Sunday.


A straightforward 9-4 victory in the round of 16 put them against Evolution from Warwick in the quarter final. An identical quarter final to the same event last year, where Evolution had knocked Fulford out… Fortunately, the tide has turned, and despite some excellent athleticism and throwing skill from the opposition, Fulford came away with a comfortable 10-6 victory and a spot in the top 4 guaranteed. Fulford were hitting their stride now, they hit the pitch with confidence for their semi-final and dismantled the AirBadgers second team 10-4. Fulford were in the Under 17 Indoor National final for the first time. But our opponents were the only team who had managed to beat us this whole tournament…

The final started with Fulford losing the first point, but grafting to win the next two setting up a 2-1 Fulford lead. For the remaining 15 minutes, Fulford and AirBadgers went toe-to-toe and eye-to-eye in an extremely high quality game full of fast throws, big grabs, rapid movement and great teamwork but neither team blinked and neither team faltered. It was one point after the other, each team holding serve as the clock ticked down and the pressure mounted. The other 50 students from the AirBadger school who were attending the tournament screamed their support from the sidelines – comfortably drowning out the efforts of Mr Carson and Ms Wood – but Fulford held their nerve and in a sudden death finish Alfie slotted the disc expertly into the path of a perfectly-timed cut from Dan in the corner of the endzone, and Fulford were National Champions.  


Mr. Harris, the Headteacher of Fulford, expressed his joy regarding the Frisbee team’s triumph, stating, “I am delighted to hear about the Frisbee team’s victory at the National finals. The players have demonstrated exceptional dedication and have exemplified one of our core values – ambition – at the highest level. I am eagerly looking forward to seeing what the future holds! I extend a special thank you to the staff members who organise the team and accompany the students on trips: Mr. Carson, Ms. Wood, and Miss Hill. Their tireless efforts behind the scenes provide our students with fantastic opportunities.”

Captain of the team, Toby Look, had this to say about the victory:


“Winning the u17s national championship has filled the team with immense joy. We feel, from a playing perspective, it is testament to the vast amount of work put in by the whole squad (including Coach Carson). For the weeks running up to the tournament some of the boys were training 5 times a week (on top of other sports) along with balancing school work and other activities. Some of these trainings were before school with the team waking up at 6am!


We had played in the u20 nationals in January finishing 5th against older, more experienced teams and watched the sixth formers finish second against their long standing rivals- seeing the effort put in by them motivated us to work harder and push for u17 gold.


Across the weekend we had various setbacks whether they were injuries or Alfie’s nachos not being served at the restaurant :(. The team brought themselves together and powered through the weekend, giving each other a hand and encouraging one another which led to the demolition of a few teams and the calmness to dispatch of others on the route to the final.


In the final, the boys kept cool heads when things didn’t go our way and this was key to the team winning the game on universe point and winning Fulford Ultimate’s first trophy. We now turn to look and train towards the busy summer ahead, a few of the boys are representing GB in different age categories either in Birmingham (u20s) or Ghent (u17s). The mentality for more silverware is now cemented in the team’s minds as we aim to take the outdoor crowns in June along with encouraging as many people to come and try out our sport as possible!”


We are a team here at Fulford Ultimate, and the Under 17 team wouldn’t have won their National Title without the accompanying support of the other players at the school. As news spread of the victory, congratulations messages flooded into the players from their teammates at home. These are players who span across multiple year groups and experience levels, who all come together to train towards a common purpose: being the best teammate and player that they can be. There are frisbee players in every year group at Fulford and they all contributed towards this title. Particularly, the grit and grind shown by the Sixth Form players and alumni paved the way for younger players to see what a fantastic sport this is to play and what a brilliant experience these tournaments are.


We can’t wait to see what happens next.