Detox deep dive: Getting to know the men’s Frisbee team

Occidental's DETOX team practicing on Patterson Field at Occidental College in Los Angeles, CA. Feb. 9, 2023. Luka Jackson/The Occidental.

Standing on Occidental’s quad, one might notice a group of people passing a Frisbee, or even get hit by an off-thrown disc.

One of these Frisbee throwers on the quad is likely to be Teddy McGowan (sophomore). As co-captain of Occidental’s Men’s Ultimate Frisbee Team, or Detox, McGowan said tossing usually occurs on the quad because that is where a lot of Detox members enjoy spending time.

“For me, it’s just fun to throw a disc and work on my throws. But I do understand the sort of fear surrounding a disc, flying through the air at weird angles. And sometimes, more than we would like, colliding with a passerby,” McGowan said.

Detox co-captains Cole Lewis (senior) and McGowan said they are excited to discuss plans for the upcoming season and for the team’s future.

“There’s this energy on the team. It feels like we know that we can really go to Nationals this year,” Lewis said. “I haven’t felt this since my freshman year.”

Lewis’ excitement is justified — the team recently attended Stanford’s tournament in Stevenson, California. Though the team was ranked as the 11th seed, Detox placed fourth overall. Lewis said as this was the first tournament of the competitive season, it was important for the team to play well, but also to learn from the other teams they competed against.

McGowan said one of the most memorable moments during the tournament was the game against Loyola Marymount University (LMU), which Detox won, pushing them into the semi-finals. Lewis said the victory was not won easily, and McGowan said that Detox’s energy and drive during difficult moments were essential to win the game.

“If you make the decision to keep your head up and keep your energy going, you can sort of out-energy the other team, and then they won’t really know what to do with that,” McGowan said.

Ian Terell (first year) also said how crucial team spirit was in their victory against LMU.

“When we got to the LMU game, we just promised ourselves that we would bring a different kind of energy from the sidelines. I think that really pushed us up above our competition because I mean, to be honest, they were a really good team. They were a small but really mighty team, but we brought the spirit,” Terell said.

DETOX Member Ian Terell (first year) outside the Cooler at Occidental College in Los Angeles, CA. Feb. 9, 2023. Luka Jackson/The Occidental.

After the win against LMU, Detox played in the semifinals versus Santa Clara University. Even though the team did not win, Lewis said they still learned a lot of valuable lessons from playing against a team as skilled as Santa Clara.

“Playing against [Santa Clara], I think was very helpful for us, because all these players are so good and they’ve been playing for a while,” Lewis said. “I think it was very beneficial for everyone’s growth, and just knowing that that’s what it feels like to play against really good teams.”

As co-captain, McGowan said he understands how important it is for members of Detox to know they are part of a community, not just a team. According to McGowan, this is especially important for their first-year members who are looking to meet new friends and bond over common interests.

Terell said since joining Detox, he has felt welcomed and more reassured about his first year at Occidental. The support system that Detox provides for team members does not go unnoticed.

“The most important thing for me was from the first couple of weeks, they would wave to me in the hallways, and it felt like I was already part of the team,” Terell said. “I think our leadership is working really hard to make sure that, outside of just the athletic and competitive component, we’re really becoming a group of really good friends.”

According to Lewis, Detox’s goal for this semester is clear: beat Claremont McKenna College at Sectionals and advance to the National Competition.

“How we do at these tournaments throughout the spring can kind of determine if we’ll go or not because at the end of the day, what we want to do is go to Nationals,” Lewis said.

Terell said he is excited to see what the team will achieve this semester, and that he has faith in Detox’s skill as a team.

“Even though it’s my first season, I’m looking at this team, I’m like, Oh, my God, we’re gonna make it far,” Terell said.


Contact Sela Dingpontsawa at