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Ultimate spring camp welcomes high-level guest coaches to Grand Forks

Teams preparing for a busy play schedule across the region

Frisbees were flying everywhere in City Park all weekend for two special events for Ultimate players looking towards another competitive season as the sport grows across the Boundary.

High school and middle school-aged youth were getting ready for another Ultimate frisbee season in City Park over the weekend, with Saturday dedicated to a spring development clinic with guest coaches overseeing drills and physical training. More than 60 students were put through their paces to improve their speed, agility, aim and minimize the risk of injury.

Professional coaches Alex Lam, Miu Shiraiwa and Will Tang, all from the Vancouver Ultimate League, led practices and drills all day, running stations working on specific moves frequently used in Ultimate.

The clinic was sponsored by BC Ultimate.

Despite the cold and dreary conditions, Grand Forks Ultimate co-coach Kristy Kuromi said there was a lot of enthusiasm and it was great to see this many players come out.

“The whole idea was to give the young players a chance to get instruction from high-level coaches,” she said. “Even through the rain, their spirits are really high and energetic. They are learning a lot of valuable skills and it’s just really great to hear from different coaches.”

While they were invited to the Boundary Region, Lam explained BC Ultimate is keen to see the sport grow and expand beyond the Interior. They had heard of the rapid rise of the sport in the Boundary, so they are helping to develop players and teams in other areas.

“We are really happy that teams are starting up in places like Kamloops and Kelowna and now Grand Forks,” he said. “We are really hoping this place has their own club by this summer because we want to see Ultimate frisbee growing and getting more people involved.”

On the quality of players in Grand Forks, Lam said he and the other coaches were impressed by the energy and enthusiasm everyone has. Their skills are already well-honed, he said, adding it’s great to see people starting in Ultimate frisbee young so they can perfect those skills earlier and hopefully make them a lifelong passion.

The future of Ultimate in Grand Forks is looking so bright, it’s been selected to be the new hotspot for the sport in BC outside of the Lower Mainland, with school teams leading the way, said Lam.

The reputation of great Ultimate in Grand Forks brought out a few non-city residents to get in on the training. Jaime Oustaas, 17, from Kelowna and on the Canadian National U-20 Women’s team, was on the field with the local teams.

Despite her already high-calibre skills, she was here for some “next-level” coaching.

“I’m here to get to the next level,” she said. “I love the competitive environment and I love meeting new people and helping others get to the next level.”

While Ultimate is advertised as an accessible sport for most people, Oustaas said for her level, she does strength training six days a week all winter and when the season starts, it’s six days a week playing Ultimate and trying to work hard everyday.

Sunday was dedicated to tryouts for Zone 1 BC Summer games, which will be held this July. This will be the first time Ultimate will be part of the games and Grand Forks gets to host the first tryout session for the zone, Kuromi said. The zone ranges from Invermere, to Golden, Kimberly and Grand Forks/Boundary region.

The season for the Grand Forks Ultimate teams will be getting started in the coming weeks, with the three GFSS Wolves high school teams starting this Friday in Oliver. The middle school team’s first game is May 10.

About the Author: Karen McKinley

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