Catch the Breeze

By Jeffrey Donahoe

Georgetown has a tradition of strong women’s and men’s Ultimate Frisbee club sports teams, and some of the Frisbee-flinging Hoyas from the men’s team have gone pro.


While he hasn't quit his day job teaching fourth-grade math, Matt Kerrigan (F'13) plays professionally as a member of the DC Breeze, Washington's pro team. "It's an honor to play with some of the best in D.C.," says Kerrigan, who captained his club team at Georgetown.

"This team has an amazing connection to Georgetown," Kerrigan adds. Since the Breeze was introduced in 2013, about 15 alumni have played or been on the staff, including three alumni on this year's roster. Breeze athletic trainer, Katherine Gray, is the trainer for the whole club sports program at Georgetown.

In-flight Discovery

One of the owners of the Breeze is a Hoya as well. Don Grage (MBA'93), of Vienna, Virginia, played recreational Ultimate for many years, but it wasn't until a few years ago, while perusing an in-flight magazine on a plane trip, that he discovered the sport had developed pro leagues around the world—including a team in Washington.

"This team has an amazing connection to Georgetown."

"I was instantly hooked on getting involved somehow," says Grage, an IT business owner. "As soon as I got back home, I contacted the commissioner of the league, Steve Gordon. They were looking for exactly someone like me, who had an Ultimate background, who was an entrepreneur, to join the current owner of the Breeze franchise."

Three weeks later, Grage was officially part of the Breeze organization.

The Breeze play a 14-game season each year from April to August and reached the playoffs in 2017 for the third time in the last four years.

Matt Kerrigan (F'13) of the DC Breeze
Cutter Matt Kerrigan (F'13) at left.

Not Your Average Frisbee Game

Ultimate is not the casual game you see at parks or on the beach. "When people hear I play frisbee, they say, ‘Oh, that's the thing with dogs where you throw the disc and they go to catch it.' I answer, ‘Well, no …' says Breeze player Brian Marshall (G'15).

In Ultimate, players are not allowed to run with the disc, so players and spectators alike are constantly scanning the sky to follow the disc's flight.

"The way the field is set up, it's like football where you pass and score by throwing the disc into the end zone," says trainer Katherine Gray. "It's really fast-paced and athletic, laying out and jumping high for the disc. I'm so impressed by the sport."

Georgetown Camaraderie

Player Troy Holland (C'16) says "it's really the people who bring me back to the game on top of the competitive nature of the sport. It's really nice to be on a team and have other Georgetown players on it," he adds, noting that Kerrigan was his captain his first year at Georgetown and coach his second.

Cutter Brian Marshall (G'15)
Cutter Brian Marshall (G'15), pictured in center.

Nico Lake (F'16) played two seasons—2015 and 2016—with the Breeze as an undergraduate, in addition to playing on the Georgetown club team. "The Breeze is a great competitive experience that challenges you in a different way than college Ultimate," he says, adding that his time with the Breeze used leadership and management skills he learned on the club level.

Georgetown alumni are professionally passing the disc in the the AUDL (American Ultimate Disc League). Charlie Patten (C'13, G'14), Mike Drost (C'11), and Josh Tsung (C'16) play for the Philadelphia Phoenix, New York Empire, and Pittsburgh Thunderbirds, respectively.

As a fan, player, and now team owner, Grage is bullish on Ultimate's future prospects. "The sport is growing by leaps and bounds across the board. The AUDL now has 24 teams across the U.S. and Canada.

"The key is to get more fans into the stands. What I'm looking for, along with many other owners, is to gain awareness," he continues. "The vast majority of people that see our game come back, and that's where we want to go."

Keep up with the Breeze at thedcbreeze.com and catch action across the league at audl.tv.