Carnegie Mellon Press Release: April 7, 2004
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Press Release

Contact:
Chriss Swaney
412-268-5776

For immediate release:
April 7, 2004

Carnegie Mellon University Incoming Freshman Named To National Junior Ultimate Frisbee Team

PITTSBURGH—Tommy Hendrickson, who will enter Carnegie Mellon's mechanical engineering program this fall, is tapped to play with the U.S. National Junior Ultimate Frisbee Team in Europe this summer.

Hendrickson, 18, joins 34 other talented American athletes to compete for the gold medal at the 2004 World Ultimate and Guts Championships in Turku, Finland Aug. 1-7. Sixty teams from more than 30 countries will participate in the games. The U.S team last medaled in the 2000 World Ultimate Games in Germany.

"I'm really excited about this opportunity, but I am a bit tired of people asking me if this is the sport where the dog catches the frisbee," said Hendrickson, a senior at Central Catholic High School in Pittsburgh.

Sandie Hammerly, executive director of the Colorado-based Ultimate Player Association, said the game is a cross between football and basketball. "Teams of seven individuals race across playing fields with the ultimate goal of catching a 10-inch disc in the end zone," Hammerly said. Unlike football, the players are not permitted to carry the 175-gram flying disc, but instead must pass the disc with fancy maneuvers like hammer or scoober throws.

"It all takes speed and agility," said Hendrickson, a soccer and cross-country athlete. "My brother Andrew is a member of Carnegie Mellon's ultimate frisbee team, so the sport is really a family thing," he said.

The sport is also fast becoming a multimillion business as more than 100,000 youth and adults participate in league and pickup games throughout North America, according to the Ultimate Player Association. The association reports 17,000 members nationwide.

The sport began in the late 1960s with player pioneer Joel Silver, producer of the popular movie The Matrix, Hammerly said. "It has gone from a summer camp game to a very competitive sport and maybe to the Olympics one day," she said.

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