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September 1, 2014

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UNLV ultimate frisbee team has high hopes for collegiate tourney

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Richard Brian

Anthony Carvalho, a member of the UNLV Red Storm frisbee team, catches a pass during team practice at the UNLV practice fields.

A closer look at the UNLV ultimate frisbee team

Brian Uran, captain of the UNLV Red Storm frisbee team, prepares to throw during practice at the UNLV practice fields. Launch slideshow »

The roster of UNLV's Ultimate Frisbee club is filled with former high school athletes.

The club, nicknamed the Red Storm, has members who have competed on wrestling, swimming, basketball, football and baseball teams, many from Henderson high schools.

The trick for player-coach Brian Uran is condensing that diverse experience into a competitive Ultimate Frisbee team.

"On this team, we have a hodgepodge of washed up high school athletes," Uran, who played baseball at Green Valley High, said jokingly.

In five years of existence, the Red Storm has become competitive but fallen short of challenging top-ranked clubs such as CU and MIT.

UNLV's 20-man squad will try to break into the top echelon Feb. 6 to 8 at the Trouble in Vegas tournament, a 124-team collegiate competition held at the Silver Bowl Sports Complex.

"Athletically, I think we can compete with the best teams in the nation," Uran said. "We just need more time to put into it."

The Red Storm went 5-4 in last year's tournament, which serves as a preseason test before collegiate sectional and regional tournaments in April. "I think we're one year older and one year better," Uran said.

After graduating high school in 2006, Uran put up his mitt but wasn't ready to give up his competitiveness. He found an answer in Ultimate Frisbee, a sport that mixes the art of throwing a disc with the endurance of soccer.

In Ultimate, teams are allowed seven players on the 70-yard field at time. The goal is to catch a throw in the opposition's end zone.

Scoring is not as easy as it sounds, however, as players are not allowed to move once they catch the disc.

Uran spent last season learning the game before taking over as coach in November.

"This let's me work on my athletic side and keeps my competitive fire, but it's a lot of fun, too," he said.

As a club team, the Red Storm is recognized by UNLV, but it does not receive a lot of support aside from an evening practice location. Uran said he expects to get about $400 from the school to help pay for uniforms and equipment.

Members of the Red Storm, meanwhile, try to pinch pennies any way they can when travelling to tournaments.

"We try to save money by carpooling and cramming in as many people as we can in a hotel room," said senior Anthony Carvalho, who played basketball for Foothill. "After a couple trips like that, you get pretty close to your teammates."

Teammate Dustin Martinez, who wrestled and played football and volleyball for Basic, said he started playing Ultimate to keep in shape and ended up falling in love with the sport.

"It's a physically demanding sport with all of the running and sprinting involved," he said.

Sean Ammerman can be reached at 990-2661 or [email protected].

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