Spirit of the Game

Celebrating Spirit

2022 Club Division Spirit Awards

2022 Kathy Pufahl Spirit Award

Sarah “Surge” Griffith


From the team: “This team wouldn’t be what it is without Surge. On the field, we aim to emulate her excellence in effort, her drive, and her tenacity. She makes everyone around her want to work harder, she teaches us intricate nuances of defensive footwork, and she assigns us film homework. The tactical knowledge she brings to us cannot be overstated, but her leadership and what she does for this team off the field is equally as impactful. She has shown us, through the most unfair example (an ongoing injury), what mental strength, resilience, and dedication looks like. She is the epitome of the perfect teammate and leader – high-expectations, supportive, vocal, committed… the list goes on. And yet her influence is so much more far-reaching than Fury. Her legacy in Seattle lives on within Riot, within old teammates who are still playing and who have long-ago moved on from the competitive field, within every youth player she’s ever coached, and within Seven Hills, the youth club program she co-founded to make ultimate equitable and accessible for all. On the national level, Surge’s imprint on the US National Team program is deep with two World Games golds (2013, 2017), one WUGC gold (2016), one WUGC selection (2020) thwarted by the pandemic, and an upcoming U24 assistant coach (2023) opportunity. When her dream of trying out for a third World Games was shattered by the injury, she did the most selfless thing she could have: flew out to the tryout anyway to support, to lose her voice cheering, to give individual pep talks and advice, and to set the tone for the weekend with an opening huddle speech that left most everyone with tears in their eyes. Surge made everyone there feel like a teammate and friend whether you had known her for years or just met her that weekend.”

2022 Peter Farricker Spirit Award

David Cranston

DC Truck Stop

From the team: “David has exemplified spirit and hard work both on and off the field for Truck Stop. A long-time captain, Cranston holds both himself and his teammates to the highest level of dedication, effort, and spirit of the game. A fierce competitor, he always plays the game fairly and with total respect for his opponents.”

2022 Spirit & Equity Award (Women)

Alissa Soo

Seattle BFG

From the team: “Alissa holds us to a high standard on and off field with regards to equity and leads by example when it comes to having tough conversations. Whether it’s intentionally planning scrimmages at our practices that force us to confront how equity shows up on the field within our team, or leading team conversations around how we as BFG can best represent ourselves when we play, Alissa consistently steps up to guide us. They also are self-reflective and seek to grow their own perspectives and knowledge as well as provide those close to them with the opportunity to do the same. Alissa also works hard within the Seattle youth community to elevate BIPOC players and make sure they have as many opportunities as possible to play ultimate at high levels.”

2022 Spirit & Equity Award (Men)

Caleb Denecour

Drag’n Thrust

From the team: “On the field, you will find Caleb playing with great integrity, utilizing all members of the team, and approaching all conversations with respect and patience. Off the field, you will find him chatting it up on the sideline and building comradery with others in the division. Caleb is a major proponent for growth both on and off the field. He pushes himself and his teammates to improve their play, but more importantly themselves. Over the past 3-4 years, he has been a major contributor on Drag’n Thrust’s Equity committee by providing resources and assisting with facilitating conversations regarding language, privilege, and gender, racial, and financial equity. Caleb exemplifies SOTG and continues to push himself and our team to grow and be great examples as leaders in our community.”

2022 Masters Division Spirit Awards

2022 Marty Bakko Award

Joel Conn


From the team: “Joel Conn has been instrumental to the health and growth of the Ultimate Goaltimate community in California’s Central Coast since 2010. It’s easy to find Conn investing his time and energy into growing Ultimate at grass roots, collegiate, and advanced levels. He is also a USA Goaltimate Ambassador and hosts Goaltimate games, leagues and tournaments. Conn also coaches 3rd through 9th-graders in Ultimate and helps provide avenues for them to play and develop. Conn was on the 2022 ‘Best in the West Goaltimate Team San Frandisco’.”

2022 Women’s Masters Spirt Award

Mary Uthuppuru

Hot Flash

From the team: “Like most Masters-eligible women, Mary wears many hats in her daily life. She is an absolute staple in her home ultimate community of Bloomington, IN. She not only serves on the Bloomington Ultimate Board, but she also actively pushes forward initiatives, forums, and clinics geared towards growing the number of women-matching players in the community. She does this all while also running a small business and being a primary caretaker for her parents. Whenever a new woman-matching player joins one of the Bloomington area leagues, they are always placed on Mary’s team because she is so welcoming, experienced, and supportive. While Bloomington is a smaller ultimate community, her presence and leadership are well-known and deeply felt throughout.”

The Culture of Spirit

Quotes from the Community