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Meet BMo and Shiver, Brown’s Frisbee Powerhouses

Brown’s premier club ultimate frisbee teams ready for regional run next month

Shiver, left, puts up their signature “Shiver of Sharks” fins. BMo, right, huddles after sectional wins against UMass and Vermont. Courtesy of Retta Karpinski (top photo) and Cooper Herman (bottom photo)
Shiver, left, puts up their signature “Shiver of Sharks” fins. BMo, right, huddles after sectional wins against UMass and Vermont. Courtesy of Retta Karpinski (top photo) and Cooper Herman (bottom photo)

It’s not unusual for Brown's varsity sports teams to draw attention from the wider student body from time to time. But one of Brown’s most successful programs is not a varsity team, and it’s one whose tremendous accomplishments tend to go unsung: club ultimate frisbee.

Bruno’s frisbee boasts two A squads that consistently compete at the national level: the men’s team, “BMo,” and the women’s and gender-expansive team, “Shiver.” Both groups have achieved astounding success in recent years while building upon the program’s winning tradition and flying relatively under the radar.

BMo, short for Brownian Motion, has topped the national rankings, having advanced to national finals in 2022 after winning their third national championship in 2019. They’ve also excelled in talent development: the team has produced five winners of the Callahan, an award given to the country’s best frisbee player and widely considered the sport’s most prestigious award.

Azeez Adeyemi ’21 and John Randolph ’22 claimed consecutive Callahan victories in 2021 and 2022. Today, BMo is ranked as the 10th best team in the nation, representing the sole Ivy League school in the men’s Division I top 25.


“There’s definitely a sense of culture on the team,” Andy Burris ’25 said. “Everyone has bought into winning.”

Though the bulk of their season falls in mid-spring, BMo hits the ground early, running five-week tryouts starting in September. Head Coach Jake Smart — a former National Champion for Wisconsin — picked from over 100 prospective players to replace the team’s recent graduates, according to BMo co-captain Caleb Moran ’25. 

“We have a lot less high-level experience than some of these other schools, but our coaching staff is really good at finding people’s strengths and helping them build on those to have a role on the team over a long period of time,” Henry Egan ’25 told The Herald.

“Most people on our team come in with some amount of experience,” Egan said. “But there’s always one or two guys that come in with no experience.” 

Jason Tapper ’26, one of few BMo players who joined with no prior ultimate frisbee experience, said that he “always wanted to play organized ultimate” and that his past athletic experiences aided the transition. “I played lacrosse in high school, so a lot of the movements are similar, especially in cutting and field sense,” Tapper said.

For players who don’t make BMo and Shiver — Brown’s A teams — they still have a shot at the University’s B teams, Polyester Funkadelic (“PFunkFunk”) and Cosmic Rays (or “CoRays”), as well as C teams. 

To maintain its national prestige and reputation, BMo participates in tournaments across the country against other nationally ranked opponents — but not routinely against other Ivy League schools, like most sports at Brown do.

Instead, Moran called the University of North Carolina BMo’s “fiercest” rival, having knocked Brown out of playoff contention in each of the past two seasons. The tournaments that BMo competes in require flights, lengthy drives and lodging — all of which cost far more than the annual stipend they receive as a club sport. This season alone, the team has traveled to Florida, Tennessee, South Carolina and Georgia. 

Brown’s club sports receive a fund after submitting their estimated annual budget. But despite getting more money than most club sports — which the team is immensely thankful for, he added — the funding “is not enough to cover expenses at all,” Moran said. 

BMo credits an outstanding alumni group, who cover roughly half of the team’s costs, for their financial generosity.


“Our alumni network is fantastic,” Moran said. “This team only exists because of them. We have guys dating back to the team’s founding in 1975 that are still involved. They keep it financially accessible for all players.” 

Despite its exhausting travel schedule, BMo builds chemistry and tight-knit relationships on the trips. “At our last tournament, we had to drive back from North Carolina, and I was in a car with Andy (Burris),” Tapper told The Herald. “I had a great time and there were a lot of fun memories just being in that car.” 

After finding success two weeks ago in sectionals against the University of Vermont and the University of Maine, BMo looks ahead to regionals, which will happen in Massachusetts during the first week of May. The team must finish in the top three of 16 teams in the Northeast region to advance to nationals.

“I think we’ll probably come into (regionals) as the third seed,” Egan said. “But we still need to play well enough to earn our way to nationals.”

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Shiver, Brown’s women’s and gender-expansive team, also boasts a rich history of success.

Ranked the 24th-best women’s team in the country, Shiver has found massive success this season. But, unlike BMo — which relies heavily on players with organized ultimate frisbee experience — Shiver is more responsible for developing groups of predominantly rookie players, according to co-captain Retta Karpinski ’24.

“I had never played ultimate (frisbee) before I got to campus,” Karpinski said. “I actually thought it was like hacky sack. (Eventually), I realized not only is it a real sport with super high levels of competition, especially in the region we’re in, but it’s also a huge community.” 

“Shiver recruits players in the fall by running tryouts where the captains make final decisions on a final roster,” Karpinski said. Afterward, the team works on developing their rookies in preparation for spring tournaments.

While their relative lack of experience provides some challenges in the off-season, Co-Captain Rita Feder ’24 finds that it also brings memorable moments. 

“The highlight (of the season) is usually going to a first or second tournament in the spring and seeing the skills that we’ve practiced gel together and for us to look like a fluid team,” Feder said. 

Recently, Shiver has looked nothing less than fluid, going the distance in some of the country’s most competitive tournaments.

In late February, the team traveled to Martinsville, Virginia, where they went undefeated and were crowned Commonwealth champions. Just weeks later, the squad flew to Austin, TX to compete in “Centex” — an annual, ultra-competitive tournament — where they secured an unprecedented second-place finish. “It was unheard of,” said Karpinski. “We broke seed by a lot, which was really fun.” 

Feder credits the sport’s “balance of competitive intensity and funny goofiness” as a crucial part of the team’s success. “Our team is fiercely competitive and wants to win any game that we’re in,” she said. “But we’re also on the sidelines making funny jokes.”

Between this year’s trips to Texas and Virginia, Shiver, like BMo, faced intense costs. The team relies on the University’s club fund, player dues and alumni donations. “We have had a huge effort recently to decrease the cost of dues,” Karpinski told The Herald. “We have also had some really big fundraising efforts, especially talking with alumni.”

Nevertheless, Shiver collects significantly less funding than their men’s counterpart. BMo, in an email to their alumni, announced a pledge to help Shiver fundraise an additional $5,000 for their season, writing that “our peers on Shiver deserve to have access to high-level competition like we do.”

Last weekend, Shiver competed in the sectionals hosted by Brown, where they qualified for regionals, which will take place on May 4 and 5 in South Portland, Maine.

“For the past two years, we have been on the doorstep to nationals,” Feder said. “Usually, we have three (national) bids for our region. Unfortunately, this year we only have two, so this regional tournament is going to be more competitive.” To claim a national bid at regionals, Shiver will have to compete against the University of Vermont and Tufts University, both of whom are ranked in the top 10 nationally.

There is much to look forward to as both programs continue to establish themselves as national ultimate frisbee powerhouses.

Cooper Herman

Cooper Herman is a senior staff writer covering sports and arts & culture. He is a freshman from Alexandria, Virginia studying Economics and International and Public Affairs.

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