Student selected as USA Ultimate player of the year
June 23, 2014
Collegiate Ultimate has evolved from a pickup game on the quad to a full-fledged sport known for spectacular leaps and a vibrant community. With Lewis & Clark’s club team Bacchus, Will Shaw ’15 has risen to the top of the game, earning the USA Ultimate Division III offensive player of the year award.
Shaw practices for six to eight hours a week with Bacchus, while staying on top of his biology and computer science classes. Whether in the lab or on the field, he values hard work and creative thinking.
“Ultimate is for the most part self-officiated, so being able to coherently express your opinion of a foul call is helpful,” Shaw said. “I’ve learned to observe other players and teams and methodically pick apart what they do well and what they do poorly, then apply that to my own game.”
Shaw excels as a handler, the point guard of Ultimate. He scans the field, analyzes the defense, and tosses the disc right where his teammates need it. Though his long throws devastate defenses at anywhere from 50 to 70 yards, Shaw knows he needs more than that to score.
Said Shaw, “It takes cooperation and commitment from everyone on the field.”
No partnership better demonstrates that fact than the duo of Shaw and teammate Ben Whitenack ’16. The two will captain the Bacchus team next year, but already their chemistry frustrates any defense. Said teammate Sam Cooper, “The Will and Ben dual threat was on the same page at every practice, every tournament, every point.”
Even during the off-season, Shaw lives the sport. In the fall he teaches skills to incoming first-year students, and in the summer he joins college graduates and University of Oregon stars on local club team, Portland Rhino.
“Will understands Ultimate Frisbee at a level far beyond other college players and tries to impart that wisdom onto his teammates,” Cooper said. “The culture of dedication, teamwork, and camaraderie in Lewis & Clark Bacchus Ultimate has helped Will grow into an outstanding player.”
Learn more about club sports in the article “The Club Scene at Lewis & Clark” from the Chronicle magazine.
Caleb Diehl ’16 contributed to this story.