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Alleycats back in action: Center Grove alumni take the ultimate disc team into a comeback season

Alleycats back in action: Center Grove alumni take the ultimate disc team into a comeback season

The team will play at Grand Park on June 26. (Photo by Mike Gross)

By Jessica Todd

After an off-season due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Indianapolis Alleycats are back in action. Center Grove High School alumni Travis Carpenter has played since the professional ultimate disc team formed in 2012.

“I am the only person left on the team that has been there since it started,” said Carpenter. “The league has grown tremendously compared to how it was when we began.” For 22-year-old Trey Dynes, the professional league is new this season.

“Eric Leonard, who was the coach before Will Drumright, allowed me to go to practices in the summers of 2018 and 2019,” said Dynes, who is also a Center Grove alum.

Carpenter began playing ultimate disc in 2010 when he was in high school. He began playing for Center Grove when he was in the off-season for soccer. Dynes began playing for Center Grove as a freshman in high school.

“Center Grove has contributed the most players to go on and play for the Alleycats than any other school in the state,” explained Carpenter. “No other school comes close.”

CGHS won the state championship in ultimate disc Carpenter’s senior year. The school continued to place first for seven consecutive years after that.

“Travis graduated long before me,” explained Dynes. “My biggest accomplishment in high school was making it to nationals my senior year of high school.”

Carpenter made it to nationals his senior year of college and won a gold medal in 2015 for team USA in the world games. He was the only person to come from a smaller school and make it on the world’s team.

“Throughout college and ever since I have continued to find success in the sport with the Alleycats,” Carpenter said. “I have been a captain six years in a row, beginning in 2016. We had our best season in 2019 and were able to attend the AUDL championship. We lost to an undefeated team in the semi-finals.”

Keenan Plew was the assistant coach for the CGHS high school disc team and told Carpenter
about the Alleycats.

“I decided I would try out because I wanted to gain experience and play with players who knew the game better than I did at the time,” said Carpenter. “I did not expect to make it, but I made the team as an 18-year-old in 2012. I played for both the Alleycats and my college team until I graduated.”

Dynes found out about the Alleycats after being around players such as Levi Jacobs, Donovan Triplett, Nick Hutton and Carpenter.

“Nick and Travis were graduated by the time I came into the program,” explained Dynes. “Levi and Donovan were seniors when I was a freshman. They were on the varsity team while I was on the JV team. I would go to the Alleycat’s games while in high school which sparked my interest in going professional.”

Dynes is celebrating his first season with the Alleycats and is eager to get playing time.

“Making the Alleycats and getting playing time is one of my greatest accomplishments since I have been training for five years and counting,” said Dynes.

Plew, a retired player for the Alleycats and current Center Grove Middle School North gym teacher, says playing on the field with Carpenter was like having a constant security blanket.

“I knew what Travis was capable of, and I knew he could take control of a game,” said Plew. “If the team needed a play, Travis would step up and make it happen. He brings a level of intensity to games that make everyone around him play harder. That is often hard to find in teammates.”

Carpenter was honored as an MVP finalist for his success with the Alleycats in 2019.

“I was one of five athletes named as an MVP finalist,” explained Carpenter. “I have been aiming to be recognized as someone that is good not just in the Midwest, but in the country as well. Ultimate disc was not popular in Indianapolis until about 10 years ago. Winning MVP made me feel like I was one of the best in the whole league and not just the area I play in.”

As the team begins making its comeback after an off-season, Carpenter says the sport means more to him than he ever thought before.

As the saying goes, ‘You never know what you have until it is gone.’ I never wanted to take this sport for granted. The games are so much more special now because we realize how much fun it is to be together as a team.”

Dynes says the team’s comeback is like getting in shape again.

“Before the season, I would work out consistently but for ultimate, you are not ready until you actually play. Overall, I am super excited to be back playing ultimate, especially for the Alleycats,” Dynes said.

The Alleycats are a team of 30, with 25 new players joining this season. It is one of the largest roster turnovers the team has seen in years.

“I was nervous about the first couple of games, but we have been doing better than I expected,” said Carpenter. “The toughest part has been the physical impact on the player’s bodies. We were all not in the best shape when we began training again. Overall, I do not believe we have had a huge setback.”

Plew believes Carpenter’s work ethic will help him have another successful year with the Alleycats.

“Travis is constantly trying to become a better player or find an edge on his competition. He has shown his ability to work independently on his game and regularly finds the drive to push himself. His work ethic is what has made him become the great player that he is.”

The next home game for the Alleycats will be on June 26 against Chicago at 8 p.m. Games are held at Grand Park in Westfield on the indoor soccer field. For more information on Travis Carpenter, Trey Dynes and the Alleycats, visit theaudl.com/alleycats.

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