It's not uncommon to hear "Heads! Heads!" shouted across the men's ultimate frisbee field, followed by a careening disc and a wave of players ducking and covering their heads with their hands. With anywhere between 30 and 50 men at any given practice, men's ultimate Frisbee is the most popular club sport team at the College. Currently, though, the team is allocated one regulation-size field at Pickard Fields.

For many years, the men's ultimate team was smaller than today and shared a field with the women's team. But Bowdoin, reflecting a national trend, has seen a significant increase in participation within the last few years. Three years ago, the teams requested their own fields.

According to Matt Murchison '07, one of the team's captains, one field is insufficient to accommodate increasing interest in the game. If men's ultimate had two fields, he said, they could split the A and B teams, allowing more practice for players of all ability levels. This would allow rookies to learn faster, increasing the team's overall competitiveness.

Additionally, men's frisbee, which won Division II Sectionals last weekend and claimed the Division II Regionals title last year, is moving up to Division I next season.

"If we want to be a really competitive Div. I program, we need to split up A and B, which will require more field space," Murchison said.

Sharing fields is an issue for the rugby teams as well. Currently, both the men's and the women's rugby teams share one field during practice. According to Eric Robinson '07, a senior on the men's rugby team, it is rare for one team to ever use the entire field, as it is often split to accommodate each other's drills.

Ideally, Robinson says, each team would have a field.

"With our own field, there would be no limits to the drills we could run and no tension with the women's team. Overall, we would have a stronger program," he said.

Director of Athletics Jeff Ward sympathizes with the crunch experienced by club sports teams.

"I'm trying to give everyone a great experience, but demand for field space is growing faster then I've been able to create," he said.

Ward anticipates the demand to increase in coming years as the popularity of ultimate Frisbee and rugby continues to rise. However, Bowdoin has limited options for creating more field space. A new soccer field is set for construction behind Harpswell Apartments, but will only replace the existing men's soccer field, which will disappear beneath the new hockey arena that is being built behind the Lubin Family Squash Center.

Ward identified a few potential solutions to the problem, including improving Whittier Field so that club sports teams could practice there when it is not in use by the football team. Currently Whittier is only used for home football games because of the difficulties associated with maintaining the field. Whittier is in an aquifer protection zone, meaning that no chemical herbicides may be used on the grass and weeding must be done by hand. As a result of these limitations, the grass is of a lower quality there.

Ward is also considering maximizing efficiency at Pickard Fields by lining fields closer together, though he admits this could cause potential problems with teams intruding onto field space used by others.

Although Ward recognizes that field space is an issue, he believes that other, more pressing problems exist with regards to Bowdoin's athletic facilities, primarily the lack of space in the Watson Fitness Center.

Before seriously considering the allocation of more field space to club sports, especially men's ultimate frisbee, Ward said he would like to see a documented history of growth.

"If men's ultimate has 60 members in three or four years, that would be something to consider then," he said.