Photo by Sean Carpenter – UltiPhotos
Article by Matt Hunt
Jonathan Cox first started playing Ultimate as a freshman at Middlebury College in 2007. Cox ran cross country in high school but wanted to try something new at Middlebury so he decided to attend the team’s first practice and was amazed at what the players were able to do with the disc.
Meanwhile, Cox struggled to throw a backhand more than 5 yards and did not even know what a forehand was. Many of the freshmen that joined the team, including Jake Herman of the Rumble, had never played before but were committed to getting better.
Cox started out as a defensive cutter with Middlebury, but eventually developed into an offensive cutter as well. The team failed to make regionals during his freshman year, but the young team had potential. Two years later, they made nationals for the first time in team history and placed 11th. Herman and Cox did not win a college championship while playing for Middlebury, but helped set the foundation for Middlebury’s 2013 D-III College Championship title.
Cox, already establishing himself as one of the premier defensive players in the league, feels that his time playing soccer as a kid has helped him learn how to cover an opponent trying to get open. He’s also accustomed to putting his body at risk trying to make a play. Cox said, “My mom would always get mad at me for spending so much time on the ground, I’d be slide tackling, attempting bicycle kicks, just throwing my body around…and that’s something you’ve got to be willing to do in Ultimate.” He can often be found frustrating the opponent by getting a layout D and then scoring on the same point.
His favorite aspect of Ultimate is the team chemistry, “It’s an amazing experience to be on a tight-knit team when you’re in the 4th quarter of a tied game and everyone is exhausted, yet you’ve still got the entire sideline shouting their lungs out at the 7 on the field, just willing them to win.” He also enjoys the unique qualities of the sport, especially how a disc behaves compared to the objects of other popular sports.
Before joining the Rumble, Cox has also spent a season with the Sons of Liberty and Garuda as an offensive cutter. Outside of Ultimate, he enjoys reading and works in publishing. Expect to see Cox continue his defensive prowess as the Rumble hope to secure a playoff spot.