Ironfist, John Brown University’s men’s Ultimate Frisbee Club, is preparing to compete in the Dust Bowl tournament in Tulsa, Okla. on March 7 and 8.
Ironfist will play against Frisbee teams from all over their region at the Dust Bowl Tournament, which is sanctioned through USA Ultimate, the governing body of Ultimate Frisbee.
In order to be eligible for nationals, Ironfist must play in 10 games. The team has played eight sanctioned games already, so they will gain eligibility for nationals after the Dust Bowl Tournament.
“How we do will determine if we get a bid to nationals at the end of the season,” Bradley Herschend, one of the team captains, said. “The Dust Bowl is important because we get to play a lot of the teams in our actual division, which gives us a glimpse of what nationals will be like.”
The Dust Bowl, named for the substantial amount of wind in Tulsa, presents a unique challenge to the teams.
“It’s gonna be windy, so [the challenge] will be how well we throw and catch in the wind,” Aric Powers, handle, said.
Powers added that another challenge is accommodating for missing team members, many of whom are unable to attend because of injuries.
Ironfist has been more intentional in their practices this semester as they prepare for nationals.
“This semester specifically, we’re focusing on conditioning,” Herschend said. “We’re focusing on strengthening our defensive schemes and offensive schemes so that when it comes time to be in a game, we’re in better condition and we can finish the game as strongly as we started.”
In addition to working on finishing strong, the team has been placing emphasis on technique as well.
“One of the biggest things we’ve started doing is working on footwork and agility drills,” Powers said. “We’ve been working on fundamentals like learning how to throw and catch the disc.”
Ironfist recently played at a tournament in Denton, Texas, where they placed third out of 24 teams. They received one loss from Texas Christian University but they will have a chance for a rematch at this tournament.
“TCU is gonna be there. Hopefully we’ll be able to stand up against them,” Ryan Gulbranson, handle, said.
Powers expressed that Tulsa is a fun place to play because of the amount of students who
come out to support the team. Gulbranson also likes the comradery that comes with such a nearby tournament.
“Because it’s a close tournament, every now and then we get some JBU fans to drive out,” he said. “It’s always a blast to have support from friends.”
Although the team is young in age, they’ve grown close throughout the season.
“I’m looking forward to seeing the things we’ve been working on in action and how our team will respond to adversity,” Herschend said. “It’s always fun to be with those guys. It’s a great group that really loves each other and loves the Lord.”