Pine-Richland ultimate Frisbee team off to fast start

Friday, April 13, 2018 | 11:00 PM

After winning the Pittsburgh area ultimate Frisbee title last season against the top competition that the region has to offer, and following that up with a second-place finish at the state championship tournament, the Pine-Richland ultimate Frisbee club team is off to a scorching start to this year's regular season.

In PUHL play, the Rams have jumped out to a 5-0 record, with a plus-25 scoring differential against its opponents. Coach Marcus Ranii-Dropcho and his team have found early-season success despite suffering some attrition from last year's senior-heavy roster, and also despite not being able to practice outdoors.

One key for Pine-Richland's pristine start to the spring season, according to the coach, is the stellar play of a robust sophomore class.

“It's because we have a really good sophomore class that's really taking on a larger on-field responsibility this year after we lost so many seniors from last year. They've been pretty integral for us,” Ranii-Dropcho said.

“They've really been stepping up and developing. We have to continue to develop though, because we'll be graduating more seniors after this year, and it's important for us to find the right balance to be consistent as a team.”

Sophomores Dylan Staples and Luke Gochis have risen up to the challenge of picking up the slack that was left behind by last year's graduating seniors.

“Dylan has just been a really good all-around player for us. He's rotating over to offensive and defensive line, and he's just been so versatile. That versatility is something I really value in a player,” Ranii-Dropcho said.

“And Luke, he's been one of our very best cutters on offense. He's chewing up tons of yardage and scoring a lot of goals as well. He's got that great top-end speed, and he's beginning to find his own playmaking potential on the defensive side, too.”

While Staples and Gochis have heightened their level of play, Ranii-Dropcho also pointed out the quality leadership the group has received from its senior captains, Aiden Landis and Lucas Saunders.

Kevin Lohman is a freelance writer.


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