Losing a spot on his high school baseball team led Jake Butrica, a senior graphic design major, to try ultimate frisbee.
Butrica tried out for Philadelphia AMP, a mixed-gender ultimate frisbee club three times.
He felt his perseverance was rewarded when he made the team this year.
AMP won the mixed USA Ultimate National Championship in San Diego, California, on Oct. 27. The team has won back-to-back mixed-gender ultimate championships.
“I really liked the team culture on AMP,” Butrica said. “Head coach Patrick Sherlock reached out to me when I was pretty young and had me around the team. I always had fun, and I just liked how competitive the team was.”
Butrica is captain of TU Alert, Temple men’s ultimate frisbee club. He’s a cutter for the team, which makes space to receive a pass. This position requires consistent catching and speed to create separation from defenders, he said.
Butrica switched to handler for AMP in the fall season, which makes accurate passes and stays back while cutters work to get open on the field.
The position change made him a well-rounded player and helped improve a weakness of his game, Butrica said.
“Coming into the club season, I would make a lot of bad decisions, but I was able to work on decision making with my throws,” Butrica said.
Butrica’s performance was noticed by Ultiworld, a website dedicated to ultimate frisbee, which praised his patience with the disc and his ability to make precise passes on time in an article on Nov. 6.
“For them to point out how my game is improving in print was an awesome moment and it’s cool to see that playing two different roles definitely helped me improve,” Butrica said.
Butrica’s positivity and energy make him fun to coach, AMP’s assistant coach, Matt Zumbrum, said.
“It is great to have a player like [Butrica] who has such high energy.” Zumbrum said. “He is always giving 100 percent, and I can always expect that when he’s on the field.”
Butrica is also a reliable defender when his team doesn’t have the disc, Zumbrum added.
“On defense, we can expect him to be a lockdown defender, and a lot of times, we will put him on the opponent’s best throwers,” Zumbrum said.
Butrica gives advice to the younger Temple players, sophomore cutter Brad Predmore said.
“He’s a good teammate, if I’m doing something wrong he’ll always show me how I need to fix it,” Predmore said.
Temple’s players were excited when Butrica got to play on ESPN with AMP, Predmore added.
Now that AMP’s season is over, Butrica has shifted his attention to Temple’s upcoming season.
He’s focusing on becoming a leader and showing the underclassmen the culture that the seniors created, he added.
On April 28, Temple lost to Ohio University, 14-3, and to Penn State, 11-9.
“We couldn’t beat the teams after them,” he said. “We should be better this year, and the goal is always to get better.”