The Ultimate Accomplishment

Eyeing career beyond UPrep, senior Will Turner clenched spot on national ultimate team


Photo: Joanna Oster

Senior Will Turner jumped to catch a disk at a home ultimate game against Overlake. Turner, who has played on national teams, intends to carry his ultimate career into college.

Senior Will Turner is well known for being an ultimate player on University Prep teams, but many might not know the scope of many of Turner’s accomplishments in his athletic career.

This past year, Turner played for the number-one ultimate adult club team, Seattle Sockeye. 

“We won nationals last year. It’s like club frisbee for adults, and it’s the highest level of adult competition,” Turner said.

Over the summer, the team plays a circuit of five to six tournaments. These games determine each team’s seeding going into nationals. Tryouts for Seattle Sockeye are long and time-consuming.

“It’s like a two-month tryout. You have tryouts on Saturday and Sunday for, like, I think it’s four hour tryouts both days. And then there’s like one two-hour practice in the middle of the week,” Turner said.

Turner found himself overwhelmed at many moments while trying out.

“Every hour after the trial ended every Sunday, they’d do another round of cuts. So going in, I didn’t think there was any chance of me making it. So like, every round of cuts, like I just stressfully waited over my computer, refreshing it,” Turner said.

Similarly, when trying out for the national team, Turner faced a long process that included more than just playing ultimate.

“[The tryout process] required a lot of writing. You had to write long responses to different questions about strategy and stuff like that. And then you had to get two recommendations from well-respected Frisbee players in the community. And then if you get selected, then you go to a two-day trial. There’s like 50 to 75 people in each one, and then they narrowed it down to like 10 from the East Coast and 10 from the West Coast,” Turner said.

Getting playtime and respect from Turner’s older teammates on Seattle Sockeye was a struggle as he was the youngest player on the team.

“I wouldn’t call them disrespectful, but they’re really critical of you because you’re younger. One mistake for you would be a lot bigger because you have more on the line,” Turner said.

Turner first got into ultimate after watching his sister play while he was growing up.

“In first grade, I’d watch [my sister’s] games when she was playing and I just thought it was super cool because everyone looked really good playing,” Turner said.

Turner played a lot of sports in middle and elementary school and wasn’t always as focused on his future as an ultimate player as he is now.

“I first kind of viewed [ultimate] as a fun side activity, because I was focusing on baseball. But then I realized that I was really good so I started focusing on it,” Turner said.

Turner’s ultimate career began to take shape in eighth grade and early high school. Turner played for many club teams and traveled to play in large tournaments. One of his earlier teams was Seven Hills, an under-20 club team that plays in the winter and travels to play against colleges in a California tournament. Turner also played for one of Seven Hills’s three high school teams.

Turner’s next step is to focus on ultimate in college.

“My next biggest goal is to win a Callaghan award in college, and normally seniors win [as] the best male player in the nation. And then, after that, the U.S. national team I made is an under-20 team, and my goal after college is to get onto the under-24 team,” Turner said.