Katikati lads soar onto world stage

Year 13 Katikati College students Luke Spurr, brothers Sean and Daniel Nicholson, and Ayrton Hodson are off to Poland next month. Photo: Merle Cave.

Ultimate Frisbee is flying high at Katikati College where four students have been chosen to represent New Zealand at the World Youth Frisbee Championships next month.

Poland will be the destination in August for Ayrton Hodson, Luke Spurr, and twin brothers Daniel Nicholson and Sean Nicholson when they join 16 fellow New Zealand ultimate frisbee athletes.

After Katikati College won the New Zealand Secondary Schools Open Frisbee championships in April, the students will be carrying a lot of momentum and confidence into the tournament.

Katikati College’s Ultimate Frisbee coach Peter Besley says the players function well as a unit.

“All four of the boys read each other well as they’ve been playing together for so long and I think that’s been the point of difference for them.”

Peter says the road to the world championships has been an arduous one for the boys.

“There’s been a very long trial process. The boys were spotted at the NZ Secondary Schools championship and encouraged to go along to regional tournaments, which they attended in May last year.

“A larger squad of about 50 players is then selected and after a few more trainings they narrow it down. These guys had been to three or four of the squad training sessions before they were in the final 20 announced earlier this year,” says Peter.

For a lot of people ultimate frisbee is a relative unknown – so what could one compare it to?

There are similarities to more familiar sports.

“Position-wise it’s a lot like touch but you have people running in an offside position like American football. So you can run in front of the player, you can throw forwards, backwards, across – whatever you like really,” says Peter.

“You score in an end-zone the way you do in American football.”

Although there are specific roles, ultimate frisbee players need to be versatile and able to adapt.

“There are specific roles but it’s also a game where if there’s a flow-on, in other words a team moving backwards, you just keep moving forwards and slot in,” says Peter.

“But yes we do have specific roles; there’s someone at the back called a ‘handler’ and then you have your ‘runners’ who go long for the long throws and then you have the guys in the middle who are the ‘lynchpins’ between the other two positions.”

Peter and the boys have been working tirelessly to raise funds to get to Poland. A quiz night at Katikati Rugby Club on July 9, from 6pm, with proceeds supporting the boys. Table prices $30 per person, $150 for table of six, and $400 per VIP table. There will be spot prizes for best dressed team. The dress theme is something sporty. For bookings, email: spurt4@gmailc.om or call 027 549 5460.

The boys’ Givealittle page is at: https://givealittle.co.nz/cause/katikati-boys-off-to-the-frisbee-world-champs


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