Garrett Yetman was looking for a new sport to play his freshman year at Catholic High School after he had just missed making the roster of the school’s baseball team.
Yetman discovered a number of his friends were playing ultimate Frisbee on a regular basis. So he figured he’d give it a shot.
“I just went out and I enjoyed it greatly, and I’ve enjoyed it ever since,” Yetman said.
Yetman’s enthusiasm for the sport has paid off.
Yetman, 18, now a pre-nursing freshman at LSU, won a gold medal with the United States’ junior national ultimate disc team in the World Flying Disc Federation’s 2012 World Junior Ultimate Championships in Dublin, Ireland. The competition was held Aug. 12-18. He will play with LSU’s ultimate Frisbee team this year.
Yetman said he never even thought he would make the team and applied to try out only after friends and coaches convinced him to do it.
“I wasn’t thinking I would even get invited to tryouts, but I did,” Yetman said.
He said he found out that he made the team by email March 25.
After months of going through conditioning drills organized by team coaches via weekly emails — players were spread out across the country — the team gathered together on Aug. 10 to leave for the tournament, which began two days later, Yetman said.
Yetman said he was barely able to visit any of Dublin because the tournament kept him busy.
“When you’re in Ireland, that’s what you would want to do,” Yetman said, “but the tournament made up for it.”
He said the team mostly spent its free time resting in dorms on Dublin City University’s campus.
Yetman said the U.S. team played against 20 teams from all over the world, including Japan, Germany, Australia, Israel and Russia.
“It’s basically the Olympics for ultimate Frisbee for people under 20,” Yetman said.
Yetman and the Yanks were dominant, according to official scoring tallies on the World Flying Disc Federation’s website.
The Americans never lost a game, outscoring their foes by 110 goals in pool play before reaching the championship rounds.
After beating Canada 11-8 in the semifinals, the U.S. team took the gold against Colombia by winning the final 15-10.
Yetman said he loved the experience — aside from some windy and rainy conditions early on. He said his team experienced 20-plus miles per hour winds and cold rain on the first day.
“If it’s windy, it’s going to change the game dramatically,” Yetman said. “But the fields were incredible.”
Yetman said he enjoys playing ultimate Frisbee because it takes more athleticism than people realize. He said he has played many other sports, including football, basketball and baseball.
“People think that just because it (ultimate Frisbee) is a non-contact sport, it’s not a real sport,” Yetman said. “It’s definitely the hardest sport that I’ve ever played.”
Yetman said he also enjoys ultimate Frisbee because of the camaraderie it builds. In a short time, he said, he made friends with players from Oregon, Washington, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Pennsylvania and Georgia.
“Everywhere I go, I’ll always have a Frisbee buddy in a different state,” he said.
Yetman seems to have built good relationships with his Frisbee-playing friends in Baton Rouge as well.
Dylan Shannon, a former president of the LSU ultimate team, said he has played with Yetman for the last couple of years on Turbodog, a club team in Baton Rouge that travels around the country for tournaments.
Shannon, 22, now a student at the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine, called Yetman “the most talented player in Baton Rouge.”
“I don’t think he’s the best player, but I think he has the most talent,” Shannon said. “He’s very, very aggressive, and he’s always looking to make the highlight reel.”
Timothy Lala, 21, a sports administration senior at LSU and the current president of the ultimate club, said he has played with Yetman a few times in pickup games and saw him play in high school.
Lala said Yetman can run fast and jump high, and that his skill set, including throwing ability, is “out of this world.”
“There’s a few things we’re going to have to work on and polish a bit when he gets working with us, but he’s very experienced for his age,” Lala said.
Both Shannon and Lala said having a Baton Rouge player participate in the World Junior Ultimate Championships can help raise the profile of the LSU ultimate team and raise as awareness of the sport in the capital city.
“Any type of publicity that’s coming to the LSU ultimate team is good publicity,” Lala said.
Yetman said he just hopes his participation in the World Junior Ultimate Championships can help people in Baton Rouge, aside from ultimate Frisbee enthusiasts, take the sport more seriously.
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