Pine-Richland captains aim to be ‘ultimate’ teammates

Sunday, October 24, 2021 | 11:01 AM

As co-captains for the Pine-Richland ultimate team, Reid Duncan and Matt Farmar have made it their mission to make everyone who joins the team feel at home.

Ultimate is unique in several ways compared to other scholastic sports, but one of the biggest differences is that players from seventh grade on are members of the varsity team.

Duncan was in seventh grade when he joined the team and was appreciative of how the older players treated him. Farmar was in ninth grade when he started and had a similar experience.

Now they are tasked in helping 14 new players of all ages grow together while learning a new sport.

“When we were younger, we had a huge age difference from the older players,” Duncan said. “We were seventh graders playing with seniors, and they treated us with so much respect as friends and teammates instead of treating us like middle schoolers. Now Matt and I are doing our best to pay it forward by giving the young players on our team as much respect and friendship as possible. I think it’s really paying off. Everyone is loving the sport.”

The Rams started the fall season 3-1 with wins over Central Catholic and Hampton twice and a loss to Fox Chapel.

The fall season is akin to baseball’s spring training or preseason football, where the results are considered scrimmages. It leads into an indoor winter league and the spring season that are sanctioned by the Pittsburgh Ultimate league. A district champion and a state champion are crowned in the spring.

It’s been two years since the PHUL has had a spring season due to the covid-19 pandemic, but the 2022 season is on track to be held. The Rams won back-to-back PHUL titles in 2017 and ’18 and were runners up in ’19. A return to normalcy is welcomed.

“There’s been a lot of anticipation for the past two years, so we’re excited to finally play an official season,” Farmar said. “We have a lot of younger players who we are eager to teach the game to and hopefully have some success this upcoming spring.”

This fall season is extremely important to the Rams with so many new players on the team. It gives the Rams coaches Kelly Rigsbee and Blaine Taylor as well as more experienced players a chance to teach newcomers while they get some game reps.

“We’ve gone over a lot of the fundamentals while working on conditioning,” Farmar said. “Not only does that allow them to learn the skills that they need, but it gives them the stamina to stay on the field for long periods of time. Everybody is working to elevate their individual play, so by the time more competitive seasons come along, we’ll be ready to win some games.”

Training has gone well and isn’t limited to scheduled practices. Walk-throughs the days of games have also been beneficial.

“A lot of our new kids haven’t even had that many practices, so what we try to do before games is get to the field an hour before we start and in that time, run through the same drill for 45 minutes to iron out the basics,” Duncan said. “That’s gone pretty well for us. Everything we do now is preparation for the spring.”

Jerin Steele is a freelance writer


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