Pine-Richland Frisbee team defends Ultimate league title
By: Kevin Lohman
Friday, June 8, 2018 | 11:00 PM
For the second consecutive season, the Pine-Richland boys ultimate Frisbee team captured the Pittsburgh High School Ultimate League championship. The Rams defended their title with a 15-12 victory over rival North Allegheny in the championship game.
From there, the team went on to compete in the state championship tournament held in North Huntingdon, advancing to the quarterfinals before bowing out.
Still, after a challenging 10-3 record in league play, Pine-Richland brought the PHUL championship hardware home, and coach Marcus Ranii-Dropcho said his group should have plenty to be proud of.
“Largely, the back-to-back titles is just a culmination of that senior class that I started coaching four years ago. They helped bring everyone else on this team together,” Ranii-Dropcho said.
“That senior class put in the work for four years. They were talented and dedicated to the team and playing together. Nothing was given to them, they just had to keep working hard, and that's what they did. They did a lot in helping to build this team up to what it is now.”
In the championship game win, senior captain Aiden Landis was named the finals MVP.
“He's our on-the-field leader, for sure,” Ranii-Dropcho said. “He's versatile. He can handle the disc and throw it, but he can also go downfield and make plays in the end zone. He can read the discus and catch it at its highest point.”
“As far as leadership goes, he's grown into it and filled the void left behind by last year's graduating class. That was a big step for him, as well.”
The PHUL title game victory was made sweeter by the fact the Rams were able to exact a little vengeance on North Allegheny, a team that had beaten them twice during the regular season. En route to the championship game, Pine-Richland also took down Upper St. Clair, 15-3, in the quarterfinal round. Upper St. Clair was the only other team to defeat the Rams during the regular season.
“Being the defending champs, we definitely got our opponents' A-games, that's for sure,” Ranii-Dropcho said.
“We lost more games this year than we did in the last two years combined, I believe. But it can be a good mental test. Having the mental focus to dial it in, no matter who the opponent is, that's something you have to develop. I think we proved that we were able to do that against Upper St. Clair and North Allegheny.”
Ranii-Dropcho was assisted by Mark Fedorenko, who also served the team in a coaching role.
Other members of the championship-winning team include Jack Herberger, Jerek Stegman, Ethan Landis, Sam Mahsoob, Justin Waltrip, Nick Michel, Devin McCue, Greg Gilmore, Eliot Duncan, Evan Grande, Luke Gochis, Reid Duncan, Dylan Staples, Luke Waltrip, Kyle Stephenson, Aiden Pavlick Kevin Zhou, Alex Fu, Lucas Saunders, Nathan Grande and Troy Rowlands.
Kevin Lohman is a freelance writer.