local Frisbee-er helps U.S. win world title
Gravity, lift, drag, thrust: the four simple forces that act on a Frisbee as it takes flight. This basic principle was one of many things on Eau Claire ultimate Frisbee player Pat Niles’ mind as he and his team recently took home the gold from the World Ultimate Club Championship in Prague, Czech Republic.
“The tournament was awesome!” Pat said. “It was my first time playing against international competition. … It was definitely an eye-opening experience.”
Pat, originally from Eau Claire, was invited by Iowa-based team The Chad Larson Experience (CLX) to compete in the tournament. Jumping at the opportunity, Pat was soon on board a 747 to Europe with the team, eager to see what the sport was like across the Atlantic.
The tournament introduced them to a plethora of different teams. During their march to victory, Pat and the CLX played against teams from Luxembourg, Switzerland, Japan, New Zealand, and Canada (the finale). All told, Pat contributed 12 goals and 13 assists during the tournament.
Throughout the competition, Pat said he was happy to see the other teams well-versed in what makes ultimate Frisbee … well, ultimate.
“One thing that sets [ultimate] apart from other sports is the spirit of the game,” Pat said. “Players on the field need to work together to get through the game since there is no official calling fouls. … This gives everyone more respect for their opponents.”
With over a decade of experience under his belt, Pat’s athleticism and knowledge were great contributions to the CLX’s big win. Now freshly back from Europe, he plans to continue coaching the nationally ranked UW-Eau Claire women’s team, SOL, as well as play for his team Drag’n Thrust – a play off of the principle mentioned above – in Minneapolis.
“I didn’t realize ultimate was spread as far around the world as it is,” Pat said. “I would suggest it to anyone at any athletic level.”