The Ultimate Player


Senior Cade Culbertson catches a frisbee. He has been playing Ultimate since elementary school.

Connor Tate, Copy Editor

It’s like football, except there’s no contact. It’s like soccer, except there are no goalposts and no goalkeeper. It’s like basketball, except you can’t dribble the ball because there’s a Frisbee instead. Its scoring system is similar to volleyball’s, but it’s played on something more like a soccer field. It’s like other sports, but at the same time, it’s something completely different.

It’s Ultimate Frisbee, or just Ultimate for short. And when it’s being played on our fields, Cade Culbertson will probably be in the thick of it.

“Ultimate Frisbee was the only sport that I picked up that I stuck with,” Culbertson said.

Culbertson first discovered the sport in elementary school.

“There was a woman who was inspiring the youth to play Ultimate at my school, Miss Denison,” he said. “She came to my school and I got interested, and I joined.”

Culbertson said that he tried other sports over the years, but found that none of them grabbed his attention the same way Ultimate did.

“I never planned to stop. Even before going to high school, I knew that I was going to be playing Ultimate Frisbee for a long time,” Culbertson said.

Culbertson said he’d been planning to play on the club since before coming to high school. When he joined as a freshman, the club was in its second year.

“I first met Cade when he was a freshman and he came to his first practice at Austin High,” Ultimate Frisbee coach and math teacher Steven Trenfield said. “He was pretty quiet, but he clearly was dedicated to playing Ultimate.”

Culbertson soon became acquainted with the rest of the team, including senior and fellow team captain Skylar Weum.

“At first I didn’t really know him well,” Weum said. “But after I got to know him, he’s just a great dude.”

After the previous captains graduated, Trenfield picked Culbertson to become one of the team’s new captains.

“He’s a leader in the kind of way that I don’t think people give enough credit for all the time because he’s a quiet person, but he’s a perfect leader by example,” Trenfield said.

During the years that Culbertson has been one of the Ultimate team’s captains (alongside Weum and senior Troy Abbott), attendance to club practices has risen greatly.

“When we first started, it was kind of a disorganized group that we’d have. We had 20 people that wanted to play but only five to seven would show up to a given practice,” Trenfield said. “I think Cade really made it the norm that this is a sport that you’re dedicating your time to, and not just some club that you’re showing up to.”

Culbertson said that he believes the team he co-captains is one of the most spirited in the area.

“There’s a lot of diligence that goes into practices,” he said. “But first, we still have fun.”

Next year, all three Ultimate captains, including Culbertson, will have graduated. Given the major role Culbertson has played on the team for the past four years, Trenfield considers losing him to be “definitely a big loss.”

“We’ll miss Cade, but I think because of leaders like Cade and the people before Cade, we have good potential leaders next year to step up and take on that role,” Trenfield said.