The Mason Ultimate Frisbee team is full of brotherly love, and not just in the form of star brothers Axel and Sion Agami.
In a sport where it is illegal for a single player to run down the field, whoever has the frisbee in hand must rely on his teammates to help advance the team and score. The elder Agami, Sion, said the team enjoys great team chemistry which stems from the players being great friends with one another off the field.
“Everyone on the team is really good friends with each other,” Agami said. “We all hang out outside of the sport and we all sit at lunch together and we just love being together. That helps when you’re in a tough game and you need to make a play and you need to rely on your teammates. We all know that everyone has each other’s backs.”
The 2017 team, which returned all of its players from the 2016 campaign, has a talented crop of seniors that have been able to play together all four years of high school. Senior Alex Barnett said that the players’ experience with each other is what leads to their great teamwork on the field.
“I’ve been playing since my freshman year,” Barnett said. “And a lot of people: Sion, Jeremy Jackson, they’ve all been playing since freshman year as well so we all started off on the worst team that we had and then we’ve all just grown together skill-wise and chemistry-wise up until varsity. We all now compete at a very competitive level and definitely having the team chemistry, especially on the longer throws or very tough points, you have that go-to person and know you can count on them to either catch it or put it deep perfectly. Overall, we have very good chemistry as a team and it definitely shows on the field.”
On April 22 and 23, Mason competed in the annual Neuqua Knockout tournament in Neuqua Valley near Chicago, Illinois. Agami said the Comets played well against competition from all over the country.
“It’s like the biggest high school tournament in the nation,” Agami said. “There were 42 teams there and from all over. There was a team from Texas; there was a team from Massachusetts; there was even a team from Canada. We played really well, even though some people decided to go to prom and then drive up Sunday morning. We played the team that won it all and we lost on universe, which is next point wins, and they just destroyed everyone (else), so I’d say it was really successful. We got 10th but it should’ve been higher because we had to play the best team really early.”
The team that won the tournament, Center Grove (IN), escaped their match against the Comets with a 9-8 victory. Center Grove would become the #1 ranked team in the nation by Ultiworld following the tournament win. The game against the Comets was also by far their closest game of the tournament, as they won 13-5 in the finals.
Following the tournament, Mason Ultimate was invited to partake in the national high school tournament in Rockford Illinois. It’s the first time Mason has ever been invited to the tournament which fields only the best 16 boys teams and 16 girls teams in the nation.
The Comets compete this weekend, May 13-14 in the Ohio state championship tournament. The Comets have placed second the last two years, falling to the same team in Holy Family Catholic, a team comprised of home-schooled students that, according to Agami, have been playing together from a young age.
“They’re really good,” Agami said. “All of them start to play when they’re really really young and it’s a bunch of brothers on the team because they have big families and they’re always really deep and well-coached and they’re always just really really good. It should be us in the (state) finals. If for some reason they screw up the seeding, we might meet in the semifinals but us and them are the best two teams.”
Barnett said that Mason will be looking to unseat the defending champions and that the Comets have already played them very closely.
“This year they lost a few players,” Barnett said. “We actually didn’t lose anyone. We played them very tightly in previous tournaments; we took them to universe. We’re expecting to at least play them very well, if not take the W. It’s been (us and them) for the past three years. We were on opposite sides of the bracket and dominated all the way up until the finals.”
Holy Family Catholic also competed in the Neuqua Knockout and was beaten by Center Grove by a final of 11-5.
Coach Jimmy Chisholm said the Comets control their own destiny in the state tournament.
“Our skill level and the way we play is at a level where the only thing holding us back is that Ultimate is a mental game,” Chisholm said. “Once you get to a certain level, you start playing the same game. Once they can go into the games with the right mindset, I truly believe they could blowout the whole tournament.”