Oberlin Ultimate

history | o.m.i.t. | gratitudes | web page


The history of Oberlin Ultimate begins in 1833 when two young Yankee missionaries arrived at a stump-dotted Ohio clearing thirty-five miles southwest of the village of Cleveland. The Reverend John J. Shipherd and Philo P. Steward, inspired by the example of an Alsatian pastor, John Frederick Oberlin, resolved to found an Ultimate team on the Western frontier "to train handlers, longs and other players for the boundless most desolate playing fields in the West." 

The two set up cones in a clear patch of land. Nearby in a pasture, a herd of Flying Horsecows and a pack of Praying Manti were co-existing peacefully. The Horsecows were munching on some frisbees that had landed nearby, and the Manti, of course, were devouring the males of their species. A crowd of people quickly gathered, discs were thrown, "Seven on the line!" was called, and Ultimate at Oberlin was born. 

Ultimate has been played at Oberlin College for a long time. None of us knows exactly how long, but 25 years sounded like a good number, so there you have it. The men's team is known as The Flying Horsecows, the women's as The Praying Manti. In recent history, both teams have been in the upper echelon of the Central Region. The Horsecows have made trips to College Nationals in 1992, 1995 and 1997. The Manti qualified for Nationals for the first time in 1997. Every year in the first weekend of May, Oberlin hosts O.M.I.T., the Oberlin Mellow Invitational Tournament. 

Although we have no idea how long ultimate has been played at Oberlin, we have been able to gather some kind of an official history.  We have put together a collection of college newspaper articles dating from sometime around 1992, to more or less the present day. 


The Oberlin Mellow Invitational Tournament is a tradition of Oberlin Ultimate. OMIT is held on the first Saturday of May at Oberlin College. The tournament is held after Great Lakes Regionals as a chance for area teams to unwind after an intense season of Ultimate. Mellow yet competitive play is encouraged and spirited play is mandatory. Score-keeping is not actively promoted. Indulging in the fine keg of beer that resides on the sidelines, however, is actively promoted. 

O.M.I.T. was first hosted over 20 years ago, when it was known as the Oberlin Spirited Half-weekend Invitational Tournament. This name, however was quickly abandoned in favor of the present one. Previous winners of the tournament include the Oberlin College Raving Drunks, Death or Glory, the Swedish National Ultimate Team, The Mighty Ducks¨ of Anaheim, and a co-ed team led by Frank Zappa and the late Mother Teresa. Call your cable operator to see how you can order O.M.I.T., exclusively on Pay-Per-View. 


The members of the 1998 Oberlin Ultimate teams wish to thank the long-ago alumni for starting Ultimate at Oberlin, the more recent alumni for their knowledge, skills, and more importantly, the willingness and patience to pass these along to us. We'd also like to thank LIFE Magazine and the Mobil Corporation for not suing us. 

And a big round of thanks to all those alumni who have so generously provided us with money (winkwinknudgenudge). 

Web Page

This web page is the creation of Andrew "Smiley" McCormick (Horsecows '97), who begat Jim "Bob" Woodroffe ('99) who (after finally leaving) begat "Ultra" Nate "Callahan" Marsh ('02). A big shout-out to Scott "D.Q." Houghtailing ('99) who, according to Nate, also did a substantial amount of work on the webpage. These pages are currently being maintained by Gabriel McCormick ('05); please send him photos, stories, legends of the Horsecow/Manti, etc..