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The Greyhound

The Student News Site of Loyola University Maryland

The Greyhound

Hidden Corners of Loyola: Flying Pagodas Soar at High Tide 2019


As part of The Greyhound’s Hidden Corners of Loyola Series, we highlight anything that flies under the radar of the Loyola student population.

For at least the past five years, the Flying Pagodas have spent spring break competing in the High Tide Ultimate Tournament in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. But that consistent presence hasn’t quite translated into more visibility for Loyola’s ultimate frisbee team on campus.

From March 4 to 8, the Pagodas traveled down to Myrtle Beach to compete against teams like Holy Cross, William and Mary, and Georgetown. The tournament runs annually throughout March so schools can compete during their respective spring breaks.

“You get some teams that try and some teams that just want a spring break,” said co-captain John Reynolds ’19. “In terms of balancing competition and fun, this has been one of the better years.”

Team member Sean Mizoguchi ’20 enjoyed that balance, explaining that it allows a “spirited, fun, [and] competitive” experience for the team.

Even beyond the tournament, the Flying Pagodas strive to perfect that comfortable balance between being a highly competitive club sport and a having a strong bond between teammates. With that goal in mind, co-captain Drew Hayden ’19 reflected on this year’s tournament compared to years past. “Even though we didn’t place as highly, we were much more cohesive as a team unit, and it was highly successful in my eyes,” he said.

The team competed in the mixed tournament for teams with men and women players. Lizza Banquer ’20, one of those female players, enjoys the team’s spirit. “When you play, you have to put in all hands and all teeth,” said Banquer, crediting fellow teammate/co-President Kyle Wenning ’19 with the mantra.

Despite this hard work, Hayden said, “I feel like we’re a little bit invisible in that we fly under the radar.”

Reynolds elaborated, adding that, “A lot of people on our campus don’t even know we have a [frisbee] team. And then those who do, at least 30 percent of them think we’re disc golf and not ultimate frisbee.” While the former is more stationary, ultimate is an active sport with the goal to throw the disc from one end zone to the other, and once players have the disc, they cannot move and must establish pivot foot. The sport demands strategy in the vein of football, basketball, and handball.

It is rare to grow up playing ultimate, yet “people at Loyola are hesitant to try and will just assume they’re going to be bad at it, but most of us–we’re bad going in because we haven’t played before,” Reynolds said. Though there is bound to be a learning curve, players quickly adjust thanks to a fairly frequent practice schedule of three to four days a week, team dinners, and bonding activities like trips to the movies.

As the year comes to an end, Reynolds maintains his primary goal to “always get people comfortable and more familiar with the sport,” adding that he still feels like a beginner himself.

The Pagodas have one last tournament at Rider University next month. Beyond it being the final tournament of his Loyola career, Reynolds is more excited “to showcase the skills learned all year.”

But Mizoguchi can’t help but look forward to next year. “We’re really excited about the first-year class and getting people from abroad back,” he said. “The jump between zero and one is a lot bigger than the jump from one to two, so we’re just excited to get the first-years over that hump and make a splash next year at High Tide.”

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Hidden Corners of Loyola: Flying Pagodas Soar at High Tide 2019