The Catholic High Ultimate Team defeated nationally-ranked #2 Lakeside of Seattle, 13-10, last weekend to capture the ultimate frisbee high school national championship. The national title is believed to be the first of any kind for any team competing in Catholic High history.
The Bears went 6-0 in the national tourney held in Rockford, Illinois. Five of the victories came against nationally ranked opponents. CHS came into the tourney ranked 12th nationally and was the 5 seed in Rockford. Lakeside was the 2 seed.
The Bears finished the 2017 season with a 32-3 record - the three losses came to top 10 nationally ranked teams.
The Bears were led by head coach Thomas Echols and assistant coach/team moderator Michael Aguilar and Taylor Messenger. Echols is in year two leading the Bears, while faculty member Aguilar completed his sixth season with Bayou Hazard, the CHS Ultimate program. Deuce Harrison served as the strength and conditioning coach for the squad.
"What an accomplishment for these guys and Catholic High! I am so proud of our kids for competing at the highest level for six games over the weekend,” said Aguilar. “Our administration, our faculty/staff, and community played such a big role in this achievement. The commitment our administration gives to our program is light years ahead of what we see from others around the country."
Aguilar praised Thomas Echols and his direction of the program. "Thomas had a great game plan for each opponent and did a tremendous job with advance scouting,” added Aguilar. “Our guys were awesome executing the game plan that Thomas presented them in each of the six games. Our five seniors, Preston Nelson, Dylan Reviere, Matt Freeburgh, Parker Hanks and Hayden Jack, exhibited great leadership and were great contributors on and off the field. They will be tremendously missed."
"I am blessed to coach such a hard-working group of guys,” said Echols. “They executed so well over the course of the tournament. Their skill and buy-in allowed us to play man the entire tournament. We played a combination of force forehand, force backhand and force middle. Our guys were dominant in winning their matchups and Landon Gremillion matched up with our opponent's best player."
An underrated facet of the program was the strength and conditioning regimen laid out by coach Deuce Harrison. Aguilar acknowledged Harrison's sport specific program for the ultimate team and his team's mental toughness built through countless 6 a.m. workouts conducted by Harrison. "We were the most physically prepared team in Rockford,” said Aguilar. “While our opponents were cramping, tiring out or subbing often, our guys played on a higher level due to Deuce's preparation of the guys. Creating mental toughness off the playing field allowed our players to overcome adversity this season. A great example of this was Nick Major playing with a fracture in his throwing hand."
Bayou Hazard included:
Nelson, Reviere, Freeburgh, Hanks, and Jack led the way as seniors.
Gremillion and Major along with Alex Labar, Gabe Hardy, Jacques Gaspard, Jonah Hagstad, Joseph Romero, Luke Anseman, Marty McGreal, Michael Crick, Miles Polito, Tyler Rogers-Hymel and Tyler Waddick.
With 13 members back from the national champion team for 2018, expectations will be high for the returning players. Just the way Catholic High teams like it!
Click here for an article on CHS winning the national championship courtesy of Ultiworld.com.