Ultimate frisbee team works and plays hard, but not without some laughs

The Geneseo ultimate frisbee team, better known as ¿Snail? to the players themselves, is a lively and competitive club team here at Geneseo. The 25-person team competes weekly against teams from Houghton, SUNY Buffalo, Ithaca, RIT and several other schools. "We also went down to Georgia for Spring Break to compete in an enormous tournament called High Tide," said senior Jim Howarth, one of the team's captains. The team has won tournaments at Alfred and Houghton, as well as placing fourth out of 24 teams at Buffalo last semester and third out of 12 at Clarkson.

"We've played some of the best ultimate that ¿Snail? has seen this year," said Howarth, who has played for ¿Snail? since 2004. "We've come a long way since I first joined," added junior Katy Meyers, who has played ultimate for the past three years.

As a club sport, ¿Snail? sometimes has trouble getting practice time in the gyms. "Along with other club sports, we've had to do a lot of work to secure the two nights of practice we have now," Howarth commented. "I think a lot of people have no idea that it's just as intense as soccer or lacrosse." Junior Chris Mandato added, "Unfortunately, gym time has decreased over the past couple years, but we make the best of what we got."

Practices are held almost every day of the week at Doty Field and newcomers are always welcome. The team's friendly and laid-back attitude has undoubtedly contributed to their growing numbers over the past several years. "Frisbee has definitely gotten more popular in the past couple of years," said senior Jamie Fragnito. "We have a lot of new freshmen show up every Fall for practices and it's great to see new faces."

"Last year we started having kids join who already knew how to play disc, and our numbers have doubled since my freshman year," said Meyers.

While the sport can be intense, don't get the wrong idea. For ¿Snail?, having fun is priority number one. The team's trademark is having creative nicknames for almost all of their players. Fragnito said, "I don't even know some of my teammate's real names honestly!"

"That's one of the best parts," added Mandato. "Mine has been Kitty from the beginning of freshman year. Some others include Meeps, Yum, Bambi, Sandy, Hutch, Scarface, Killer and Roadkill." Each player's nickname has some entertaining anecdote associated with it. "There are stories behind each one," said Fragnito.

As for the name of the team itself, that's apparently something of a mystery among the players. "Why is it called ¿Snail? I actually have no idea," said Meyers. "When we talked with alumni from the team they never explain(ed)."

Mandato made an attempt to explain the name's significance. "I don't know the whole story behind the name ¿Snail?," he said. "But it goes along with a phrase, 'Patient on O (Offense), Sticky on D (Defense)'."