Wilson frisbee’s ultimate expansion

Ethan Fingerhut

A coach, 10 guys, and a couple of discs made up the entire Wilson ultimate frisbee team in its inaugural 2012 season. However, just six short years later, the program is coming off their best season ever with the boys team being ranked 11th in the country and the establishment of an up-and-coming all-girls team.

While ultimate has had a presence at Wilson since the ‘70s, the current program resurfaced in 2012. It was founded by coach Dave Ohls and then Wilson freshmen who are now juniors in college. The team mostly competed in scrimmages, as they were the first significant DC ultimate program.

Since its beginnings, the program has expanded rapidly, increasing in both members and coaches. Over the past six years, the team has grown from fewer than 10 members to over 50. Additionally, social studies teacher Aaron Besser became a coach in 2016, after starting as a teacher at Wilson.

Ohls credits the growth to the players. “We had a few really dedicated players. They put in a lot of work and they practiced hard,” Ohls said. Besser described it as, “incredible to see [the players] just taking initiative themselves and working hard to recruit other people to come out.”

The coaches also attribute the program’s growth to the culture they have strived to promote. “We have tried to make it a fun and positive environment for people to be a part of,” Ohls said. Team captain senior Claire Schmitt expressed similar sentiments to Ohls regarding the team’s climate. “It’s fun and it’s relaxed, but it’s also competitive and serious athletically,” Schmitt said.

The increase in membership has also led to a separation into boys and girls teams. Originally, there were not enough Wilson girls to form an independent team, prompting the formation of Northwest Corridor, a team composed of girls from Wilson, Bethesda Chevy Chase, Walt Whitman, and School Without Walls.

However, the number of Wilson girls interested in ultimate is nearing the possibility of starting an independent Wilson girls team. Schmitt is excited about the potential of the Wilson girls team, saying that, “a lot of the teams in the area, especially the girls teams, are nationally ranked, so establishing ourselves next to them has been difficult. But it’s happening slowly.” Besser and Ohls expect an official Wilson girls team to surface within the next two years.

In addition to a solidified independent girls team, Ohls and Besser are looking to have distinct boys JV and varsity teams. “One [program] to help players develop and one to help us compete at the high level,” Besser explained. Ohls also wants to broaden the backgrounds represented on the team, saying that the team “wants to represent everyone from Wilson and draw [players] from all over the city.”

Besser and Ohls are also optimistic about the program’s strength this year. “I think ability-wise, this year we have the potential to be one of the best teams in the country,” Ohls said.