After playing ultimate frisbee at the Y.K. Pao School in Shanghai, China prior to Andover, Co-Captain Cory McCormack ’21 worked his way up from the Junior Varsity to the Andover Ultimate team within the span of a year.
McCormack attributes his love for the sport to the team component of the game, stating that the trust, respect, and teamwork are the aspects he values the most.
“My favourite aspect of ultimate is the team culture that we have. We have this thing called the spirit of the game where we assume that no one is intentionally breaking the rules. There is a lot of camaraderie between the team as well as between other teams,” said McCormack.
In collaboration with fellow Co-Captain Kam Saalfrank ’21, McCormack is able to incorporate remote players into the team workouts and keep everyone involved.
“Cory’s awesome, we’ve been on the same team for the past four years, and especially during February, we held as many team Zoom workouts or in-person workouts as we could. During practices, we split a lot of the work as much as we can down the middle; one day, he’ll lead the warm-up, one day, I’ll lead the warm-up, some days we split it in half and alternate,” said Saalfrank.
According to Head Coach Scott Hoenig, McCormack leads with his actions more so than his words.
“I think that’s a nice role that Cory plays as well, he’s not necessarily as loud and out there as Kam is, and yet he is no less able to connect with students and to serve as a role model as well. Basically, he is a role model, in that you watch what he’s doing and he’s a leader by doing. He lets his actions speak louder than his words sometimes. That’s certainly the case on the field,” said Coach Hoenig.
The team spirit is such an important part of the sport that McCormack often finds himself dedicating time to helping his teammates improve and feel good about themselves.
“I think that on the field I help players take control and tell them where to go and what to do while building them up. Also making sure that everyone is playing their best,” said McCormack.
According to Saalfrank, McCormack’s leadership off the field and ability to connect with other players is what makes him a great captain.
“Off the field, he’s a super, super nice guy. I think he’s always willing to lend a helpful hand off the field if somebody’s looking for an extra practice. He’s always the first to give them really helpful pointers on how to adjust their throws and it really works. We have a running joke in our team that he’s the Lebron James of the team because, a) he’s physically huge and, b) he is really good for team camaraderie,” said Saalfrank.
According to McCormack, ultimate has always been about fun for him, and especially this spring, he hopes to keep that in mind as the team navigates the odd circumstance.
“Mainly, I just want to have fun, this year we don’t have a true season, it’s more just games here and there. So I just want to have fun and see our team grow and develop,” said McCormack.
McCormack looks forward to the team’s next game away at Northfield Mount Hermon School on May 1, away.