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Tuesday, October 21, 1997 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Seattle Middle Schools Give New Sport A Fling -- Frisbee Program Might Be Ultimate Trend

Seattle Times Staff Reporter

Flying saucers have entered the world of interscholastic sports in Seattle.

Ultimate Frisbee debuted last weekend as a sport for Seattle School District middle schools.

"I'm pretty sure this is the first school district in North America that has a Frisbee program," said Joey Gray, president of the Northwest Ultimate Association, as she watched two teams play the seven-on-seven game at Mercer Middle School.

Using money raised by SAFE (Seattle Athletic Facilities and Education), the district has started the coed sport to expand athletic offerings to middle-school students. Girls soccer also began Saturday.

Ultimate Frisbee has the appeal of being low-cost, coed (at least two girls must be on the field for each team) and a good workout. Players call fouls, so there is no referee. Advocates say this promotes sportsmanship and saves money.

The game is similar to football or soccer in that the object is to get the disc into the end zone. The disc can be advanced only by throwing, and players must throw it within 10 seconds.

The sport was invented in 1968 in a Maplewood, N.J., parking lot and was brought to Seattle in 1977 by television's Bill Nye, "The Science Guy," Gray said.

Students from Mercer, McClure and NOMS (New Options Middle School) played Saturday at Mercer. At Meadowbrook Playfield in the North End, teams from Hamilton and Eckstein played. The games were informal, and players from different schools often were on the same team.

Mercer sixth-grader Angel Lasseson had a quick answer when asked what she liked about the sport: "All of it."

Eighth-grader Mike Iese of Mercer said he liked "the teamwork."

"It's good exercise, too," he said.

Copyright (c) 1997 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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