The official student newspaper of Lower Merion High School since 1929

The Merionite

The official student newspaper of Lower Merion High School since 1929

The Merionite

The official student newspaper of Lower Merion High School since 1929

The Merionite

DISC-overing their Potential

The LM Boys’ Ultimate Team is soaring high this season and hopes to make a bid for Nationals.
Photo courtesy of Charlie Weinstein ’24

After grinding out a long and arduous pre-season, the LM boys’ ultimate team is off to a phenomenal start on their journey to nationals. The qualifiers for the national-level tournament, representing the top sixteen teams in the nation, are determined by the organization Ulti-World, which ranks the top teams based on their performances in national level tournaments. The Aces are hoping to secure some big wins this season to solidify their spot as a nationally competitive team.

Over Saint Patrick’s day weekend, the Aces journeyed to Arlington, Virginia, where they competed in their first national qualifying tournament since 2019. Arriving in the afternoon, the team focused on staying relaxed and taking it easy before their series of matches the next day. According to Ivan Sanchez ’24, they “ate dinner as a team, hopped in the pool, and played some cards.” The following day, the team headed to their group stage and crossover games, where they dished out some quick wins over their opponents. They ended up going 2-0 in the group stage and winning their crossover game.

The real test, however, would be on the following day. Waking up at six in the morning, the team headed to their quarterfinal match against Pennsbury, a T16 ranked team in the nation. Going into the game, the Aces knew that they would have to dig deep to get the win; they had played Pennsbury multiple times previously and both teams knew each other’s strategy well. The game was tight, riddled with tough calls and fouls, with notable plays from Becker Joseph ’25, James Korin ’24, Javier Gonzalez-Recober ’24, and Zach Rachfal ’24. Towards the end, with only a few minutes to spare, the game was tied 12-12 and both teams were locked in a tense standoff. With the Aces in possession, Toby Potts Drew ’24 dished the game-winning throw to James Korin ’24, giving LM the ultimate win. 

Fortunately for the Aces, they had just bested their opponent in what was a highly contested matchup. Unfortunately, there was no time to celebrate. The semifinals, against the extremely talented Jordan team (one of the top 3 teams in the nation), was set to take place in just a couple of minutes. 

With only a fifteen minute walkover, the Aces had no time to rest and catch their breath. Despite the mental and physical fatigue from the previous game, the Aces didn’t back down from the match and played their hearts out. Unfortunately, Jordan proved to be too much, and the Aces weren’t able to keep up. The Aces lost the match 13-8, a score that they certainly weren’t ashamed of against a team of such caliber. 

As captain Gonzalez-Recober put it, “We understood that Jordan was an extremely strong team and maybe the best team in the country … making the semifinals at YULA was a huge achievement regardless of winning or losing, so we didn’t let it hurt us mentally too much. When we lost, we just turned our focus to the 3rd place match.” 

As stated by Gonzalez-Recober, boys’ ultimate now had to fight for the third place spot against Wissahickon, the two-time defending PA state champions. Just like the previous match, the Aces knew that they would have to fight hard to get this win, as Wissahickon was the defending YULA champion as well as the 2nd ranked team in the country. The team didn’t let this get to their head though, and remained steadfast in their approach to winning the match. After a grueling hour of play, the Aces emerged victorious with a final score of 13-8, securing them a 3rd place finish, a testament to their strong determination. 

These matches demonstrated that LM boys’ ultimate is a nationally-competitive team, capable of performing at extremely high levels. Shortly after the tournament, the team was ranked by Ultiworld in the power rankings as eighth in the nation, their first national ranking since 2016. Reflecting on the experience, Luke Meyer ’24 stated that “YULA showcased the hard work [that] we have put in so far and showed what we are capable of for the rest of the season … I am looking forward to seeing how we continue to improve.” 

The Aces have now begun their preparations for future tournaments, such as Born to Dive, a relatively smaller competition hosted by Pennsbury in April. However, their next big tournament, Amherst, will be on May 5th and could be another fantastic chance for the team to demonstrate their true potential. In the meantime, the Aces will be hard at work, drilling away at practices and scrimmaging against neighboring teams in PA. Hopefully, we will all see more wins in the near future.

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