Campus Celebrity: Thomas Cartwright

HCX recently had the privilege of interviewing Exeter’s very own sporting prodigy, Thomas Cartwright, who plays Ultimate Frisbee for Great Britain (simply known as “Ultimate” in the sporting world). We couldn’t wait to catch up on his news and find out a bit more about his fascinating journey!

Name: Thomas Cartwright 

Year: 4th

Course: MSc International Management (BSc Geography)

So what motivated you to start playing Ultimate?

TC: In 2008 - I was going into L6th - I had a Geography teacher who started at my school and he’d just been playing for the GB Open team in Vancouver. That October he started teaching a couple sessions and I just went along. It wasn’t a huge school and we all just got involved. That’s where it all stems from.

So how long have you been playing for?

TC: 5 years this month.

You play for Great Britain! What’s the story behind that?

TC: I literally just turned up to the GB Open U20s trial in March 2009, 5 or 6 months after I’d started playing. The teacher Matthew Beavan just told me to go along and give it a go. I went more for an experience rather than expecting to get it. I got an email telling me I’d been selected and I thought “how has that happened?” I definitely wasn’t expecting it, especially given how long I’d been playing for. Some of the people there had been playing for 4 or 5 years. 

That’s amazing! So how often were you training with the team then?

TC: With GB there was one training session per month, leading up to the European Youth Ultimate Championships in August. A lot of emphasis is put on doing it yourself and training and maintaining your fitness.

Is it hard to motivate yourself then? What happens if you don’t put in those extra hours?

TC: Well it’s all self funded. You don’t want to pay all that money to play badly in a tournament. There’s a squad of 24/25 people with only 7 people on the pitch at a time, but if you aren’t fit enough or don’t play well, you won’t get picked. 

Which tournaments have you played in?

TC: Well, 2009 I plated in Vienna for the European Youth Ultimate Championships, 2010 in Heilbronn, Germany for the World Junior Ultimate Championships, 2011 in Wroclaw, Poland for the European Youth Ultimate Championships and this year I played in the World U23 Ultimate Championships in Toronto.

Wow! So what’s the competition like?

TC: The Americans are dominant at this sport.  In 2010 we had a semi-final against the USA and they were just unbelievable. They went on to beat us quite comfortably. We also have good matches against Germany, Canada and Japan. 

What’s been your favourite match experience?

TC: In 2010 in Germany we had a huge Bronze-medal match against Germany. We beat them in front of a huge crowd and it was the first time that GB has ever medalled at Junior Worlds. I think that’s my favourite match experience so far.

Do you play for any other clubs?

TC: I also play for a club called Chevron in Manchester and I train once a month with them too. We’re currently the second best team in England. Like with GB, there’s a lot of responsibility to go out and train yourself.