- Cheltenham High School
Spirit Animals Ultimate Club Qualifies for States (Sort of), Looks to the Future
In the Spirit Animals’ first year competing in Ultimate against top division teams, the team has had some ups and downs, according to club advisor Tom Cook. In the team’s first tournament of the season in April, the Spirit Animals finished second out of eight teams.
Entering the Division 1 City Championship tournament at Oaks Pa., this past weekend, the team had high hopes of finishing within the top eight to earn a bid to the states. Despite standout performances from juniors Findlay Peet and captain Colin McLaughlin and senior Lionel Smoler-Schatz, the Spirit Animals finished in ninth place with a record of 2-5. Facing off against teams from Masterman, Lower Merion, North Penn, Strath Haven, Haverford, Radnor and Methacton, the team suffered three of their losses by a combined four points. By finishing in ninth place, the team is the first alternate for states and will qualify if another team withdraws or they are granted a bid through a series of complicated tie-breakers.
“In all, with only three of our 21 players graduating, we are well positioned for a deep run next year,” said Cook. “Our team has displayed grit, sportsmanship and deep respect for themselves, their opponents and the game all season. I am really proud to be a part of this group, and am hopeful for more recruits next season to continue to build a program that will make the whole school community proud.”
The first-year girls team has not had a chance to play many games, but the program is growing and Cook is hopeful to compete at Division 3 City Championships in Oaks, Pa., on Saturday, May 18. While that path does not lead to a state competition, Cook said, he is “proud of the growth, chemistry and bonds that have formed among our 11 girls, only one of whom is graduating this year.”
Cook has recruited soccer, basketball and track athletes, and the team has been critical for many students who otherwise would not be able to play sports for their high school. The team is actively looking to build the future of Ultimate at CHS. Anyone who has an interest in playing or becoming an assistant coach should contact Tom Cook.
Back row (l to r): Findlay Peet, Clement Thomas, Julian Mendelsohn, Gabe Kary, Ian Wright, Romain Pötgens, Dan Fox, Coach Tom Cook
Front row (l to r): Lionel Smoler-Schatz, Will Galtman, Ramsey Banda, Stephen Collins, Colin McLaughlin (captain)
Not pictured: Seth Bernstein, Elijah Foggie, Kai Gibbs, Eli Leighton, Edgar Maddox, Alejandro Plata, Dan Turner