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Princeton’s Club Ultimate Frisbee team sets sights on nationals as new season begins

Group of men in black and orange pose around trophy on turf.
Club Ultimate Frisbee after finishing 5th in 2023 Regionals.
Photo courtesy of @princeton_ultimate/Instagram.

It’s the start of a new season for Clockwork, Princeton’s men’s club ultimate frisbee team. Millions of kids play frisbee in physical education classes across the United States as a lighthearted way to get some exercise, but this is a whole other level to the familiar sport. 

The seven-on-seven game is played on an area about the size of a football field with end zones at each end. Teams attempt to score goals by catching the disk in their opponents’ end zone. The player with the frisbee is not allowed to move until they pass it off to someone else. The offensive players try to pass and advance the disk toward the end zones, while the defense attempts to deflect or intercept passes to cause a turnover. 


Team captain and senior Gus Wietfeldt describes ultimate as a mix of many other sports. “It’s kind of like basketball, but you can’t dribble and play on a soccer field,” Wietfeldt told The Daily Princetonian. “But then you score like football end zones, which is a little confusing until you’ve done it.” 

Princeton has a long history with ultimate. The first ever intercollegiate ultimate frisbee game was played between Princeton and Rutgers in 1972. Clockwork has been competing in Division 1 of the USA Ultimate College Division since 2014. The Princeton-Rutgers rivalry continues today, as they both compete in the USA Ultimate’s Metro-East division. 

“Call it Metro-Feast ’cause we’re eating all the other teams. Tell Rutgers I said that,” Wietfeldt said.

While the ultimate season officially starts in the spring, Princeton Clockwork is working hard this winter to get a leg up on their competition. Clockwork practices for about six hours a week. They work on conditioning, but also learn new plays for their offense and defense. Frisbee is about more than just being faster than your opponents, you have to be smarter as well. 

“I’m looking forward to training hard and having all this training pay off when we actually get to play in tournaments,” first-year Andrew “AO” Oliver told the ‘Prince.’ “I think the spring season is going to be a blast.”

The regular season runs from Jan. 1 to April 2, and every team is ranked before the regional tournament in late April. Regional tournament winners advance to the national championship, held in Madison, Wis. 


“I think we have a really good team this season. And I think we have a pretty good shot at going to nationals, and I’m really looking forward to that,” Wietfeldt said. 

Competing in tournaments is not the only important endeavor for Clockwork. They’re also trying to build the frisbee community throughout Princeton’s campus. Multiple weekly practices and occasional weekend tournaments are intended to not only build skills on the field, but also create lasting friendships off of it. 

“I think the community is actually great. I came in with basically no experience in sports or frisbee, and they’ve been really good about helping me get up to speed,” Oliver explained to the ‘Prince.’ 

Ultimate is a sport with a lot of strategic depth, but the community at Clockwork, according to Wietfeldt, is what brings people back, practice after practice and year after year.

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He said, “I look forward to practicing every single night. It’s one of my favorite things to do.”

Ryan Kirby is a contributor to the Sports section for the ‘Prince.’

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