COMMUNITY JOURNALISM: Luther nearing top in ultimate disc

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Editor’s note: Megan Lehman is from Knoxville, Ill., and is entering her second  year at Kirkwood. She wants to study journalism at the University of Iowa.

By Megan Lehman, community contributor

Ultimate Disc made its first appearance when introduced to the student council of Colombia High School in Maplewood, N.J., in 1968 by Joel Silver.

Since that day, ultimate disc has spread from high school student councils to college campuses, like Luther College in Decorah., which will be making yet another appearance in national competition this year.

One year after its creation, the first game of Ultimate Disc was played between two student groups. Rutgers and Princeton played in the first college game of ultimate disc on Nov. 6, 1972, with Rutgers bringing home the gold after defeating Princeton, 29-27.

Ultimate disc is a non-contact sport played with two teams of seven players. The team’s referee themselves, even in the national tournament, and play on a field similar to that of a football field. To score, one team must catch the disc in the other team’s end zone.

The first National Collegiate Tournament was played on April 25, 1975 with eight teams vying for the title of Ultimate Disc Champions.

Luther will be making its second consecutive and third national trip in the past four years. This year’s tournament is April 28-29 in Northfield, Minn.

“We prepared for the next level of competition by training five days a week in the off season with weightlifting and running programs,” Luther Coach Reid Wilson said. “We also played in top level tournaments in Texas, Georgia and around the Midwest.

“The team utilized advanced instruction for mental and physical performance. We focus a lot on visualizing technique and success. We also make sure we learn from our mistakes each day.”

Luther tied for fifth last season after falling short in its match against the University of Oregon.

Wisconsin and Minnesota from the Big Ten will join Luther, Carleton College and the University of Minnesota-Duluth at the 2013 Ultimate Disc National Tournament.

Wilson said the Luther team couldn’t be as successful without outside support.

“Our now retired Student Life Dean, Ann Highum, and President Torgerson are great supporters of the program,” he said. “(And) the whole Student Life department as that is where our program is based ... (our fans) are wonderful and traveled to Boulder, Colo., to support us at nationals.”

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