Florida Tech’s ultimate frisbee team will be competing in the Division III southeast regional tournament on April 27 and 28.
They need to place first in the tournament to move onto the national competition.
The Panthers went 4-3 in the Sunshine State conference game, good enough to move on to regional play.
Reed Antonich is a senior studying aerospace engineering and team member. He stated in a text message that they have been plagued by injuries this season.
Antonich said that after the first day of the conference games, they clinched a spot in regionals and took it easy through the rest of their games to avoid any more injuries.
“Health and injuries have definitely hurt our season immensely,” Antonich said. “At one of our biggest tournaments of the year, we were missing four of our top seven players due to injuries. Luckily, them taking a few weeks here and there off have put them in shape to help us perform optimally at regionals.”
Antonich said a lot of their motivation this year has come from a late-season loss last year.
“We lost in semifinals last year at regionals by one point to the national champs, and only lost two upperclassmen,” Antonich stated.
The team had a “rocky start” to begin this season, according to Antonich, but he said this may be causing other teams to overlook them now late in the season.
“The teams from our conferences learned last week that we finally got our mojo back,” Antonich stated. “We aren’t going in with the mindset that we have regionals in the bag, but we really have a good shot at winning.”
Fellow teammate Alex Martin, a junior studying aeronautical science with flight, stated in a text message that he also thinks they have a lot to prove at the regional competition.
“We’re trying to go into regionals and prove to all the teams there that they should be worried about playing us,” Martin said. “With all our players healthy, we’re going to have a really good showing at regionals.”
Martin also stated that this season has been a learning experience because of the injuries, loss of players and early struggles.
Hunter Davis, a junior studying computer engineering, also plays for Florid Tech’s ultimate frisbee team.
Davis stated in a text message that they have had more injuries this year than the past two years.
According to Davis, the Panthers usually have 18 to 20 healthy players for a tournament weekend, but they only had 11 players available for their last tournament.
“It puts guys who haven’t played as much and don’t have as much experience on the starting lines,” Davis stated. “Freshman have been able to step up more this year because of the number of injured players.”
Davis stated that he has “made some really good friends” that he definitely wouldn’t have made if it wasn’t for the ultimate frisbee team.
“I love this team,” Davis stated. “I came in as a freshman three years ago. I have had a history of playing team sports in high school, and coming here to a team that is really willing to teach new players was wonderful.”
Joshua Newman, a senior studying astronomy and astrophysics and member of the ultimate frisbee team, stated in a text message that he thinks his team’s full potential is not only making it to the national competition but competing in them .
“There is no one in the southeast [division] I don’t think we can’t beat,” Newman said. “I honestly believe our potential is only what we limit ourselves to.”
The teams that Florida Tech will playing against in the regional competition are University of North Georgia, Berry College, Stetson University, Embry Riddle, Samford University, Union University and Belmont University.
The Panthers haven’t beaten Berry College yet this season, according to Davis.
The schedule for the Division III regional competition hasn’t been released yet, despite the tournament being scheduled for April 27 and 28.