Lehigh's men's ultimate frisbee team poses for a photo. The team ranked sixth in the region last spring and will compete in the Eastern's Qualifier 2024 competition on Feb. 24. (Courtesy of Danny Dilsheimer)

Unleashing the Ultimate: Lehigh frisbee teams bond on and off the field


Through a mix of special nicknames, long-held tradition and “the spirit of the game,” Lehigh Ultimate Frisbee continues to thrive on and off campus.  

According to Lehigh Sports, the team was founded in 1975, making it one of the oldest collegiate Ultimate teams in the country. 

Lehigh Ultimate Frisbee consists of three teams: Lehigh United, the men’s A and B teams, and Lehigh Gravity, the women’s team. The teams have separate practices and tournaments throughout the fall and spring semesters. 

Lehigh United allows for more people to get involved in the sport. The separate men’s teams give both people who have played competitively and people who’ve never played a chance to compete. 

In spring 2023, the men’s A team was sixth in the region for Division I, and the women’s team took second in the region for Division III.

Beyond their success on the field, Lehigh Ultimate creates a close-knit group for everyone involved, Kaitlyn “Epcot” Moore, ‘25, said.

“Ultimate, in general, has this awesome community that I never really experienced with other sports,” Moore said. “Specifically at Lehigh, it’s an accepting community. I always feel like if I ever need something, someone there will have my back.”

Moore credits the “spirit of the game” as part of why the Ultimate community is so special. She said “spirit of the game” is a concept rooted in sportsmanship and respecting the opposing team while competing. 

Ari “Tripp” Carp, ‘24, co-captain of the men’s A team, explained everyone on the Ultimate teams views frisbee as more than a sport, which adds to the sense of community.

“The best part about all of it, at least for me, is none of us have to be there,” Carp said. “We’re all just taking the time out of our day and working really hard at something we care about just because it’s fun for us. We’re all there out of choice, on our own time, doing something that we really like.”

For Catherine “Rosie” Spellman, ‘23, ‘24G, Ultimate balances fun and competition. During practices, there is an atmosphere of creativity and friendship, but when it comes to tournaments, everyone gets serious.

“We’re not only a really good group of friends and an inviting, accepting community,” Spellman said. “We’re competitive, and we spend a lot of time working on the craft, playing and learning.”

Numerous frisbee team traditions bring the teams together outside of the common denominator of playing the same sport.

Everyone in Ultimate gets a nickname when they join, and these nicknames take the form of their actual names among their teammates. 

“I don’t know anyone’s real name,” Danny “Shake” Dilsheimer, ‘25, co-captain for the men’s A-team, said. “It’s little things like that create a little bit of brotherhood or sisterhood that really distinguishes frisbee from the rest of the clubs, because I haven’t really seen that kind of energy from any other club on campus.”

Another tradition for the frisbee teams is that all the upperclassmen live together on Birkel Avenue and pass the houses on to rising upperclassmen, Dilsheimer said.

Living on Birkel this year with his frisbee teammates has allowed Dilsheimer to more easily meet and work with his co-captain. Even as an underclassman, Dilsheimer remembers spending a lot of his free time at the frisbee houses on Birkel with his teammates.

Reflecting on her time at Lehigh, Spellman said she could not imagine her time at Lehigh without frisbee. For her, it was the basis of her entire “traditional college experience.” Ultimate introduced her to her best friends and connected her with the people she would live with for the next four years.

“At Lehigh, everyone has such different interests,” Spellman said. “Ours just happen to be playing a sport where you throw around a piece of plastic. I’m glad that we can offer a community where people can find a place where they really feel like they belong.”

This weekend, on Feb. 24 and 25, the men’s A team will be attending the Easterns Qualifier 2024 competition in Myrtle Beach, SC. 

After applying to the tournament last year and not receiving entrance, the team reapplied for 2024 and was accepted. To keep tournaments competitive, teams often have to apply and receive an invitation, such as with the Easterns Qualifier. 

The Lehigh men’s A team will be one of 24 schools from across the Midwest and East Coast competing at the tournament.

Lauren Durant, ’26, beats Amy Zimmerman, ’25, to the frisbee during a drill at Gravity’s practice on April 27, 2023. The team is ranked 16th in the College D-III Women’s Power Rankings. (Lauren Slovensky/B&W Staff)

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  1. Thanks for this. Early 80s Lehigh Ultimate member and love to see how strong Ultimate is at LU now.

    Especially pleased that there is enough participation for a full women’s team – we could only manage coed back then.

    I’m also happy to read the vibe around college Ultimate sounds still the same. It certainly was a sanctuary for the nonconformist in my time, thankfully.

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