Co-Captain Isaiah Lee ’19, who is originally from Hong Kong, first learned of Ultimate Frisbee through a friend who had moved from the United States in seventh grade.
Lee joined Andover Ultimate Frisbee his Junior year and was voted by his teammates to serve as captain for both his Upper and Senior years.
Lee credits his Prefect and former captain, James Wolfe ’17, for inspiring him to join Andover Ultimate as a Junior.
Lee said, “I think joining the team my first year here had a lot to do with my Prefect James, who was the captain at the time. I was asking him throughout the fall and winter what ultimate was; like, should I do it or should I not, and he encouraged me to try out for the team. I’m really glad obviously in retrospect that he did that; it’s become one of my favorite things here at Andover.”
On the field Lee plays the main position of a handler, which he enjoys because he can control the team’s offensive play.
“I guess growing up as a kid I used to play basketball a lot, and I would play point guard, so it’s kind of like a similar position as I play now in ultimate. I’m a handler in ultimate, which is basically [that] you’re the guy with the disc. And you’re just trying to throw it down field to other people who are running around, which I like because while it is kind of stressful at times, it makes you feel like you’re in control of the way the offense is moving. It’s just fun,” said Lee.
According to Head Coach Scott Hoenig and Kion Young ’20, Lee’s technical skills and experience allows him to be resourceful player in both the offense and defense.
Hoenig said, “Isaiah has a lot of experience as a player. He came in as a ninth grader and was selected for the Varsity team in his first year, so he already was a good player and had some good skills and knowledge of strategy, but he’s really developed and improved over the course of his time here. Starting out I think his real strengths were as an offensive player, as a thrower, and since his [Junior] year he’s really developed as a defender and as a cutter as well. Now he’s somebody that we look to for all of those roles on defense. And also on offense, both as a thrower in more of a handler position and also as a cutter too.”
Young said, “Isaiah is one of the best technical players on the team. Offensively, he can perfectly perform all kinds of throws, as well as get open for an easy pass. As a defender, he is constantly on his mark and has no problem laying out if he needs to.”
As a leader, Lee motivates his teammates with his loud vocal presence and constant energy, according to Kam Saalfrank ’21 and Hoenig.
In an email to The Phillipian, Saalfrank wrote, “He’s a loud voice in practices and games, trying to give everyone that extra boost to beat your opponent. I think his presence on the field shows his dedication to the sport and is one of the most effective ways he inspires his teammates.”
Hoenig said, “He is very vocal. He does a lot of cheering, both for the team and for individual players. Anytime he gets to do so while we’re doing a team run, he’ll start leading a team cheer, and high fives and things like that.
According to Co-Captain Chris Ward ’19 and Saalfrank, some of Lee’s distinguishing qualities as a captain include his helpful personality and ability to inspire a fun team environment.
Ward said, “Isaiah is a great teacher. He’s always giving people tips to improve their throws. More than this though, he is great at keeping the team’s spirits up. He’s always smiling and manages to help the team enjoy practice while somehow maintaining the team’s focus.”
Saalfrank wrote, “Isaiah is someone who will lend a hand to anyone who needs one. He exemplifies this by helping anyone in the program with things they can improve, whether it be throwing with a teammate before practice or cheering on teammates during conditioning drills. Isaiah, along with the rest of the varsity roster, is funny, friendly, and an all-around good person, which is what really makes the team mesh together so well.”
Lee’s friendly presence extends beyond the field, according to Young.
Young said, “Isaiah does not change at all when he’s off the field or on it. His charisma definitely comes from the fact that even outside of practice, he is still the friendly leader we see at ultimate. He is easy to approach and make conversation with, and I know that many of the ultimate players consider him a close friend.”