Kettnetic Thunder proud of growth, but keeps raising the bar

Feb 25, 2013

Since its founding in 2009, Kettnetic Thunder has attained team status from Kettering Student Government (KSG) for both A and B sections and experienced steady growth in participation.

Kettnetic ThunderIn less than three years, Kettnetic Thunder, Kettering University’s ultimate frisbee team, has grown into not only a popular on-campus attraction for many students, but a model for how to start, sustain and grow a student activity at the grassroots level.

“We hope our success will inspire other students with passion for sports to never give up in forming a professionally organized sports team,” said the team’s founder, Ken Kaminski. “All it takes is strong leadership, good organization and a dream.”

Since its founding in 2009, Kettnetic Thunder has attained team status from Kettering Student Government (KSG) for both A and B sections, experienced steady growth in participation, has hosted three college tournaments on Kettering’s campus, implemented strong training, retention and marketing initiatives, and has even done outreach to other colleges to help them either launch new ultimate programs or reinvigorate existing ones.

After participating and leading the ultimate frisbee club at Rochester High School, where he graduated from in 2009, Kaminski came to Kettering hoping to stay involved in the sport. At the time, Kettering had a pick-up club, but it lacked structure. He proposed a more organized approach to members at the time and the groundwork was soon laid to get the Kettnetic Thunder to compete in the collegiate league.

Kettnetic ThunderThe team roster for the 2013 season is up on the website. The team will also host a pre-conference tournament for the first time for Great Lakes and Ohio Valley teams in April, with details available on the website.

Here is a timeline of some of the milestones and accomplishments of Kettnetic Thunder:

Nov. 9, 2009 - The Kettnetic Thunder image is created

Spring 2010 - The proposal for team status starts its draft in Kaminski’s COMM101 class with Greg Schneider

Kettnetic ThunderSummer 2010 -

  • Zach Johnson and Ben VanZoest are interviewed and selected as captains
  • The A-Section club is established
  • Made first team status presentation - A-Section was placed into a one-year evaluation period

Fall 2010 -

  • Made B-Section team status presentation. B-Section team status was approved
  • Hosted first tournament, ThunderStorm 2010, 8 teams
  • Team begins more advanced conditioning, advertising, and digital media initiatives

Kettnetic ThunderWinter 2011 -

  • First full season: 4 Tournaments in Grand Rapids, Mt. Pleasant, Ada and Chicago
  • Start to present tournament results through video recording, advanced statistics, and newsletters

Spring 2011 -

  • Kettnetic Thunder participates in USA Ultimate MI D-III Conferences and Great Lakes D-III Regionals
  • Formulation of recruiting plan begins
  • Kaminski launches Aero Ultimate

Summer 2011 -

  • A-Section team status presentations after evaluation period. Team status approved for both sections
  • Restructuring of leadership -- Co-captains and Legacy Captains -- To provide better leadership transition for long-term sustainability

Kettnetic ThunderFall 2011 -

  • ThunderStorm 2011 - second annual tournament hosted on campus - 10 teams
  • Set a record for practice participation: 24 players
  • Ken is appointed as USA Ultimate’s Great Lakes Regional Director
  • Michael Gerrelts appointed as B-Section Legacy Captain, to undergo 2-years captain training
  • Ken joins staff of Detroit Mechanix

Winter 2012 -

  • Indoor practices at Perani Arena begin
  • Second full season: 3 tournaments - Two Ohio indoor tournaments and weekend trip to Virginia tournament

Spring 2012 -

  • Developmental team proposal was created for and approved by Kettering Staff and KSG. Ability to fund 40 players total for future seasons.

Kettnetic ThunderSummer 2012 -

  • A new advertising campaign was launched, including banners around campus and a new website design

Fall 2012 -

  • Record practice participation of 30 players
  • ThunderStorm 2012 - third annual home tournament included participation by two Kettering teams

Future Goals -

  • Formulation of a playbook and accessible season statistics
  • Host Spring showcase pre-conference at Kettering April 6-7th - First hosted spring tournament, now to host two each year
  • Qualification for Great Lakes D-III Regionals and positive record in Naperville, IL
  • Bring back Kettering intramural Ultimate for Summer and Spring terms
  • Two teams (25-35 players) competing in 2013-2014 season
  • Team coach election for 2014 season
  • A run at qualifying for D-III Nationals in 2015

More on Kettnetic Thunder.
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Contact: Patrick Hayes
(810) 762-9538