Being new to ultimate is never easy. Having a young team in any sport is never easy. Combining those two attributes onto a single team can cause some extreme difficulty. Such is the case for Georgia State this season. Chupacabra Ultimate is in its first season and the team’s record (0-8) and ranking (No. 462 in the UPA Open division) has reflected that youth and inexperience.
What the Chupacabras may lack in wins, they make up for in exuberance that may remind many seasoned veterans of themselves in their early stages of learning the game.
“(Freshman co-captain) Chris (Hill) and I have known from the get-go that this first year is going to be extremely difficult,” freshman co-captain Korey Meek wrote us in an e-mail. “Unfortunately we have not been able to pull out a win yet. The team has shown exponential growth between each tournament … and it’s only a matter of time before we get that win that everyone is so hungry for.”
The Chupacabras have certainly been close on several occasions. During the Under Dawg Classic in Athens last weekend GSU lost its final three games by a combined nine points. However, unfortunately for GSU, hunger and close does not translate to a high seed. The Chupacabras enter into Sectionals in Columbia as the bottom seed of the tournament. As a result Meek has set a team goal to break seed in the team’s grudge match against No. 15 seeded Clemson-B.
“We played (Clemson-B) back in the fall,” Meek wrote. “Like I said, our team has grown exponentially in the past months and I think beating the No. 15 seed, Clemson-B is an attainable goal.”
Though they may lack experience, Meek believes the Chupacabras have some of the pieces that they need in order to become a competitive team. Among those pieces are freshmen Justin Cumbey and Chris “Tree” Mylenbush. Cumbey handles for GSU and has a propensity to layout on defense and Mylenbush, according to Meek, earns his nickname in the air. Although there is athleticism, drive and hunger, Meek knows that it may be a few years before GSU’s core starts getting recognized as a threat in the section.
“Having such a young team is difficult right now as we have very little experience on the team and by no means any seasoned veterans,” Meek said. “I think that having a young team will play to our advantage in the long run. If we continue to grow as we have, we will be a force to be reckoned with in the next few years. Our goal is for teams to be worried about playing us.”
Although there are plenty of bumps in the road ahead of the young Georgia State program. They certainly have the attitude and the young core to become a player in the GA/SC section. One need look no further than GSU alumni and current Chain Lightning o-liner Josh “Cricket” Marquette to know that there are diamonds in the rough among the Georgia State student population. Meek and company plan on playing to their potential this weekend and continuing to build a program by learning from more experienced teams in the section.
“Chupacabra Ultimate is hungry for a win,” Meek said. “If we play like I know we can, we’ll get one. I am really looking forward to playing our best ultimate all season as well as learning as much as possible this weekend.”
Georgia State will see action against Emory, Clemson, Georgia-B and Clemson-B on Saturday.