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LUFDA falls to Grinnellephants in Conference Championship – Luther College Chips

The Luther Ultimate Flying Disc Association (LUFDA) lost 15-7 to the Grinnell College Grinnellephants in the 2024 Division III Ultimate Frisbee West Plains Conference Championship on April 13. LUFDA attempted to repeat as West Plains Conference champions.

Luther hosted the championship game, which took place on the intramural fields beyond the football field. LUFDA was the runner-up participating in the championship match.

LUFDA and the Grinnellephants are currently the only two teams in the West Plains Conference. But historically, the West Plains Conference hasn’t been that small. According to LUFDA alumnus and current Miller Hall principal Calvin Harper (’22), the West Plains Conference had a size comparable to the American Rivers Conference and included schools such as Nebraska Wesleyan University.

“There were a lot of teams in the conference and we always dominated because every other team was pretty small,” Harper said. “A lot of those smaller teams went bankrupt during the pandemic, so now it’s just us and Grinnell.”

Current LUFDA captain Simon McDonald (’26) reflected positively on the championship match and recognized the performance of the Grinnell team.

“I was happy with how it (the conference championship game) went,” McDonald said. “Obviously we lost by a modest margin, but they (the Grinnellephants) are a strong team.”

The championship game was followed by a scrimmage between the current LUFDA selection and the alumni who came to cheer on the team. McDonald appreciated having the LUFDA alumni back and said it was “a good experience to have an outside view on the team.” He also appreciated former players giving him some tips on how to become a better captain.

“It’s always fun to have (the alumni) back and play against them and talk to them,” McDonald said. “We always learn a lot when we play with them.”

Harper echoed McDonald’s sentiment, saying the scrimmage was “a lot of fun.” He said LUFDA benefited from competing with alumni who had their own extensive careers in ultimate frisbee while attending Luther.

“Almost all the alumni that came here played on the team for three to four years when they were here, so it’s a lot of experience to throw at the (current) team,” Harper said. “Most of this current team are rookies this year, so it’s just nice for them to see a different level of play.”

LUFDA’s current lineup consists of one senior, one junior and five sophomores, with the remaining majority of the team being freshmen. Although LUFDA is a young team, McDonald felt that with the support of a passionate group of alumni and strong upperclassmen, the future is bright for the team.

“We’ll look really good in a few years.” McDonald said.

LUFDA returns to action on April 27, where they will compete in the North Central Division III College Men’s regionals, which will take place at the James W. Cownie Soccer Complex in Des Moines.