A compassionate leader, Co-Captain Ben Rowland ’22 has continuously demonstrated strength and teamwork in all aspects of Ultimate Frisbee (Ultimate). Known for his athleticism and warmth on the field, many of his teammates rely on him for guidance and support. His ability to collaborate with Co-Captain Samuel Elliot ’22 further solidifies him as a cornerstone of the team.
Sakina Cotton ’24 described Rowland as a motivated captain. She noted his ability to persevere and move forward in the game as a desirable feature in a teammate and in a captain. Rowland tends to lighten the mood, regardless of the score, and manages to bring a smile to everyone’s face according to Cotton.
“His leadership really shines through the moments where everyone’s tired, because in addition to his responsibility and his cool temper, he knows how to keep calm and also be strategic, and welcome everybody and keep everyone’s spirits up. He also is [a] good handler, and knows [that] his job is to work the field right and control throwers…He’s just really, really talented, and also very welcoming and supportive of everybody’s skills, I think he brings the best out of everyone,” said Cotton.
Devan Hernandez ’23 felt he was introduced into a hospitable team, Rowland being amongst the first to welcome him. Furthermore, he stated that Rowland demonstrates extensive understanding of Ultimate, which benefits the team in terms of making plays and scoring. Especially in a sport where honesty is crucial in creating an equitable environment, Rowland illustrates good sportsmanship and respect for the game according to Hernandez.
Hernandez said, “I’ve known Ben since last spring, which is when I first started doing frisbee and he was one of the first kids on the team who really made me feel welcome, just a super nice guy. Very helpful and a good teacher in terms of teaching me how the sport works because I was pretty completely new to playing Ultimate Frisbee…[And] as a captain, he’s really smart about the game, like in ultimate Frisbee, it’s different because there [are] no refs. So you have to know the rules, [you have to] self officiate. And I think he by far probably knows, the most rules are out of anybody. He’s always out there, like settling disputes on the field and stuff.”
Josie Banson ’22 spoke about their bond with Rowland going beyond the field. Rowland embraces everyone on the team regardless of class differences, and tries to build connections that happen to be a great foundation in the game. Trust, a big factor in sports, is something Rowland has achieved through continuous dedication to his teammates and the team, which appears to help him become a prominent player both on and off the field according to Banson.
Banson said, “I think [Rowland] is just very calm and [has a] welcoming energy to him. And so I think he’s just a very natural leader. When he leads our chants and stuff, he just brings a lot of great energy. And just like, on and off the field, he always says hi and greets me and [he is] really inclusive [and] just helps foster a really inclusive atmosphere. He’s also just a great leader. On the field, I can ask him about anything.”
Focusing on Rowland as an athlete, Hernandez praised his cognitive abilities, alongside his handling skills. The ability to not only lead, but comprehend the game has been Rowland’s powerhouse. While the team relies on Rowland, he also reciprocates by relying on his teammates to run with the plays he initiated.
“He’s definitely like an anchor on the team as a handler. He makes really good throws. He is fast. He always knows where to be on the field…he’s never in a bad spot on the field. Just in that position of being a handler, he always has to make decisions…and he’s always looking out for that, but usually he makes the right choice, and I can always rely on being able to catch his throws, since they’re just always so nice and right to me,” said Hernandez.