Gables Ultimate: The Snow Leopards

Ximena Puig, Photographer

Recently, a group of Gables students formed an out of school ultimate frisbee team called the Coral Gables Ultimate Snow Leopards (CGUSL). The founders and co-captains, juniors Mark Braun and Julian Elortegui,  first came up with the idea on the Gables out-of-state college tour – they gathered some friends and took it from there.

“Snow leopards are my spirit animal, so I proposed it to the team and they all liked it,” Braun said.

The CGUSL are very dedicated and can be found practicing at the Gables field two to three times a week. Their goal is to become better individually and as a team.  A typical practice last about two hours and consist of a warm up passes and drills for cutting and handling. Afterwards, the CGUSL play a scrimmage game and apply what they practiced or learned during the warm up.

One of the CGUSL’s favorite strategy is the “Vert Stack,” which consists of the players lining up vertically down the field and then sprinting in all different directions so they can lose their defenders.

“This strategy is indeed a unique way because most teams run almost solely routes and plays but [the] leopards believe in a more instinctual Ultimate game,” Elortegui said.

The team has competed in a couple of Ultimate Frisbee tournaments in the last two months. Even though it is not a very popular sport, there are many ultimate frisbee teams in Florida. The tournaments are normally hosted by sport companies and played at fields such as the University of Central Florida Wellness center field.

“My brother, Julian Elortegui, has done a great job of getting our team involved with the ultimate community and has found many tournaments for our team to play in,” senior Alexander Elortegui said.

At the tournaments, CGUSL competes against other teams in their age division. The tournaments take place on Saturdays and on average, they play four to five games. Last tournament, ultimate frisbee superstars junior Jose “Pepe” Puig  and Carlos Mannarino scored a total of 19 points.

In April, CGUSL will be loading their cars and heading to Lakeland to bring home the state championship cup. Make sure to contact the captains next season to join the Coral Gables Ultimate Snow Leopards!