On February 18, USA Ultimate announced the players who made the men’s national team. These 60 boy and girl players will head to Wroclaw, Poland this summer to represent the United States at the 2016 World Junior Ultimate Championships. Wilson’s own Duncan Fitzgerald was one of the 60 accepted players out of 400 initial applicants to be on the team. These 60 athletes are some of the world’s best youth ultimate players, according to USAultimate.org.
Senior Duncan Fitzgerald applied to try out for the national team last September. “There’s not really requirements to apply,” Fitzgerald said, although the application process was time-consuming. “That application took me longer than any of my college applications,” he said. Two tryouts were held; one for East Coast players and the other for West Coast players. Fitzgerald attended the East Coast tryout, which was held January 23 through 24 in Orlando, Florida. The West Coast tryout was held January 30 through 31 in Seattle, Washington. According to Fitzgerald, the competition at the West Coast tryout is notoriously steeper than that of the East Coast, and the majority of the national team players are chosen from there. But even in Florida, tryouts were intense. Fitzgerald explained the day’s schedule as full of “drills and scrimmages.”
After tryouts, Fitzgerald eagerly awaited the news, although he was expecting the worst due to the high level of skills the other players exhibited. His admission onto the team was emailed to both him and his dad, who casually reminded Fitzgerald to check for news the day he found out. “We are pleased to offer you a roster spot on the 2016 U.S. Junior Boys team,” read the email. This has been a long journey for Fitzgerald, and it has clearly paid off.
Fitzgerald began his Frisbee career on the Wilson ultimate team. It was a sport he excelled in. Initially he “played soccer, football, lacrosse and track,” but soon realized that ultimate is his true calling. With the help of his teammates and best friends Jake Radack and Avi Taylor, along with his coach, Dave Ohls, he became the agile, skilled and motivated player he is today.
Along with being co-captain of the Wilson ultimate team, Fitzgerald also plays on an adult club team called Sparkle Ponies. This past summer, he also played in the Youth Club Championships for ultimate Frisbee, which his team won against the San Francisco team.
In the off seasons, Fitzgerald plays indoor Frisbee and trains year round. The coaches on the national team will soon send Fitzgerald a workout regiment which he will adhere to until he leaves for Poland in July. By the time July comes around, he will be in the best physical condition of his life, he said.
In the future, Fitzgerald will continue to ‘toss the disc.’ Many of the colleges he is applying to are renowned for Frisbee; he is even considering a career as a professional Frisbee coach. For now, Fitzgerald is still consumed by his great news and hopes that this summer he can represent Wilson well at Championships, where the U.S. will hopefully take home gold!
PHOTO FROM BILLY DZWONKOWSKI