CHAPEL HILL – Nearly one hundred athletes converged on Finley Fields Saturday to take part in the first team tryouts of the new year for the Raleigh Flyers and Raleigh Radiance, men’s and women’s professional ultimate teams of North Carolina. Threats of rain gave way to mostly sunny skies and cool temperatures, with a noticeable breeze keeping players on their toes. Four large Astroturf fields provided plenty of space for both teams to hold their respective tryouts with only a handful of discs sailing onto neighboring fields.
Facilitating Flyers and Radiance tryouts simultaneously and at the same complex was a historic first for both programs. The Flyers are entering their fifth year as a team in the American Ultimate Disc League, while the Radiance are returning for their second after an exciting inaugural debut last summer. Both tryouts lasted four hours and featured a traditional combine, individual drills and small group games.
“I thought it went really well,” commented Flyers General Manager Hugo Sowder, who praised the turnout of both tryouts and overall success of the event. “I think that one of the things that just hit me really hard was how many people we collectively have, both men’s and women’s players in this area. This is a great representation of everybody who plays here and all the history that there is now, with this area producing great ultimate players.”
Conversations with Sowder and coaches from both teams featured a recurring theme: Local college players turned up en masse and excelled, providing plenty of excitement for not just the 2019 season, but future seasons as well. Standout players from Saturday included Texas Melee’s Domenica Sutherland, NC State Jäga’s Carmen Tormey and North Carolina Darkside’s Colin Smith.
“I think we have some young talent that is continuing to grow,” said Flyers Coach David Allison. “Bringing some of that youth to the Flyers is going to be cool.”
“For a lot of our players it is an opportunity for them to also keep growing their skills,” remarked Radiance Coach Eddie Alcorn. We have a young base of women ultimate players in the Triangle that we’re really trying to build up, and so Radiance is a great opportunity for those younger players to also combine with some more veteran players to just learn even more skills.”
One more day of open tryouts awaits athletes. As today’s activities featured measurables and individual or small group-focused drills, tomorrow’s schedule will be chock full of seven-on-seven scrimmaging.
“Tomorrow we’re going to get in a lot more scrimmaging time which I think will be great to see not just how players are facing up against each other in 1v1 situations, but how they’re playing and assessing the field,” said Alcorn.
Allison is also excited for the scrimmage. “[Small group games] are nice because it sort of isolates people a little bit, but you do lose resets and how we actually space the field. It’s not quite like full-on, simulation ultimate. I’m really just looking forward to seeing all these [men] and women come out and make some plays.”
As for the tryouts themselves, Allison gave nothing but praise. “It’s nice for the community to have the best ultimate players in the area all be together for a weekend.”