Roughly 140 miles lie between and Luther College in Decorah, Iowa. Yet for five Eastview alumni, a Frisbee—yes, a Frisbee—has helped maintain the ties they formed in high school as they transitioned to college.
In 2007, Collin Meyer, then a junior at Eastview, formed the school’s first Ultimate Frisbee team with a couple of friends. The sport, which is officially called Ultimate because Frisbee is a trademark, combines elements of football, soccer and basketball. It appealed to many students and quickly became popular at the school. About 50 kids tried out for the team, which ended up finishing seventh at the Minnesota High School Ultimate League tournament that spring.
“Ultimate really caught on at Eastview,” Meyer said. “Since we were so welcoming, we had players from the soccer team, football, cross country, as well as choir and band students.”
That sense of inclusion traveled south as five members of Eastview’s Ultimate team made their way to Luther.
Today, Meyer (EVHS class of 2008), Ben Kofoed (2008), Mike Redig (2008), Trent Erickson (2010) and Matthias Broner (2010) are members of Luther’s Ultimate team, the Luther Ultimate Flying Disc Association, which is competing in the Division I college championships in Boulder, CO. The tournament started on Friday and runs through Monday.
While Ultimate wasn’t the only reason any of the five chose Luther, it certainly didn’t hurt. LUFDA made a surprise trip to the Division I championship in 2009 as a largely unknown program, finishing 11th.
Broner, a freshman who plans to major in philosophy or anthropology, said Luther’s Ultimate team was “definitely a tipping point” in choosing the school.
Erickson, a freshman who might major in psychology, said that while Ultimate wasn’t a driving force in his college choice, the friendships he formed at Eastview were.
Redig, a junior biology major who transferred from St. Thomas, discovered the school after visiting Meyer and Kofoed two years ago in Decorah.
“So indirectly you could say Ultimate led me to Luther through the bonds that were formed while playing with Ben and Collin in high school,” he said.
Kofoed, a junior captain, is one of three cutters among the Eastview group. The position is similar to a wide receiver in football, catching passes thrown by the handlers. Meyer and Broner are handlers.
LUFDA earned the fourth and final bid to nationals from the North Central Region with a 12-9 win over the University of Minnesota, and team members hope to improve on its 11th-place finish from two years ago. But they know nationals will be at least as tough as having to eke out a berth in the tournament.
“You are playing on the biggest stage possible for your level and are playing against all of the biggest teams you always hear about and having to step up to their level is crazy,” Broner said. “But the excitement and awe take over and mutes it so that you have no choice but to play out of your mind.”
Meyer, a veteran of the 2009 team, knows what it’s like to be on such a big stage, but has a good feeling about this year.
“This year, we are a much better team, and are going into nationals with a heightened level of confidence,” Meyer said.
Keep up with LUFDA's tournament performance on the national tournament website. Follow LUFDA on Twitter @lutherultimate.
To learn more about the sport, visit the USA Ultimate website.