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Ex-Panther a flying disc expert

ULTIMATE WARRIOR

POSTED May 14, 2018 11:00 a.m.
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BY JIM MISUNAS
jmisunas@gbtribune.com

LAWRENCE — When Brandi Schneider attended Great Bend High School, the multi-sport athlete excelled in volleyball, basketball softball and soccer.
Her highlight came when the Great Bend Panthers finished as 5A state basketball runner-up to SM Miege in 2009, Schneider’s ninth-grade year.
Now, Schneider plays Ultimate, a team game with flying discs, at the University of Kansas.
After two years at Kansas, she became intrigued after seeing the Ultimate team called the Kansas Bettys seeking players.
“I heard about ultimate during Hawk Week at KU,” Schneider said. “Hawk Week is full of events showcasing different clubs and organizations. I really missed playing sports my first couple of years in college. I thought I’d go to the first practice and give it a try.”
The team limits players for the “A” team, but a “B” team has been added to introduce players to the game.
Players are assigned positions in a seven-player lineup.
“Faster or taller players are cutters,” she said. “Handlers usually have the best disc movement and throwing skills. Players who are better on defense or offense will usually play those points. With ultimate, when you drop the disc, you immediately start playing defense so offensive players will have to play defense too and vice versa. I personally like to cut the most.”
Points are scored by passing the disc to a teammate in the opposing end zone. Players must not take steps while holding the disc, and interceptions, incomplete passes, and passes out of bounds are turnovers.
Schneider said Ultimate is a growing sport as an organized club sport at Kansas.
“We’re very grateful to the funding KU gives us to help with travel and tournament expenses,” she said. “We don’t cut players from the team because it takes time to really learn how to throw a disc well and how to cut correctly.”
Schneider said Ultimate mixes and matches aspects of various sports.
“I really like how it’s a mix of other sports,” she said. “Certain aspects are similar to basketball, soccer and football. It’s about working the disc down the field and making cuts to get open so you can score in the end zone. It’s competitive and athletic — and requires a lot of endurance.”
Schneider said her Ultimate experience has been rewarding.
“I really like the community of people who play ultimate because everyone is very friendly and welcoming,” she said. “Playing ultimate has been the best part of my experience at KU.”
The Bettys practice twice a week and mix in a weekend workout when a tournament isn’t scheduled. The team plays four fall tournaments and six spring tournaments on weekends. The team has competed in regional tournaments at Manhattan, Lawrence, Columbia, Mo.; St. Louis and Tulsa, Okla. She’s also played in Ames, Iowa; Apopka, Fla.; Charlotte, N.C.; Austin and Milwaukee, Wis.
“We usually play three or four games a day,” she said. “It’s exhausting (ha-ha).”
The daughter of Todd and Kim Schneider of Great Bend is a graduate student in the KU school of pharmacy, a grueling six-year journey that will culminate with her graduation Saturday in Lawrence.

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