Wettengel takes talents to American Ultimate Disc League

Ali Sami | The Chronicle

William Wettengel catches a frisbee in his professional ultimate debut for the Indianapolis AlleyCats in an away game against the Atlanta Hustle on April 29.

While most seniors are balancing their last few weeks of high school with preparing for college, William Wettengel is managing being a student, getting ready for college, and being a professional athlete.

Wettengel, who led the Mason High School Ultimate team to a state championship in 2021 and 2022, has taken his game to new heights by playing professionally for the Indianapolis AlleyCats, one of 24 teams in the American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL).

After a successful amateur career playing for Mason’s ultimate team and several Cincinnati club teams, Wettengel has stepped into a professional career before graduating high school. Wettengel also plays soccer, and was the Greater Miami Conference player of the year and was named second-team All State this year for the Comets. Wettengel said he is very grateful for the opportunities he is given and is thankful to the coaches and players for helping him along the way.

“I’m really grateful for the opportunity to play professionally in a sport I enjoy a lot,” Wettengel said. “I’m also really thankful for the coaches and teammates that got me where I am.”

Wettengel is the only teenager in the AUDL’s central division. One of the teams he played for before the AlleyCats, Cincinnati Omen, is an adult club team that included several former AUDL players. That experience gave him a taste of what it would be like to play at the highest level. He said that he feels prepared to play at a high level from his years of experience, and is not intimidated by playing with professionals.

William Wettengel throws out of a double team in his first professional ultimate game.

“I’m the only teenager in our division,” Wettengel said. “It’s pretty cool to be one of the few in the entire league, but the pressure [of being young] doesn’t affect me since I’m used to these situations.”

Wettengel is a defender for the AlleyCats and initially set his sights on winning the AUDL’s Rookie of the Year award. After his first few games, Wettengel found himself tied for second in the league in blocks and said he has now shifted his focus toward a team record in that statistic.

“Rookie of the Year was my goal when I first made the team,” Wettengel said. “But after two games, my goal this year is to get the most blocks in our team history,” Wettengel said.

Although Wettengel is playing a professional sport, he still has to balance out his job and school like any other teenager, just on a larger scale. All of his practices are in Indianapolis, and games are played all over the country. This requires Wettengel to spend a lot of time commuting and doing schoolwork while on the road.

Wettengel will be attending the University of Cincinnati in the fall, where he plans to play for the school’s club ultimate team and continue playing in the AUDL. He said that he is already adjusting to the routine, something he will have to continue in college.

William Wettengel makes a leaping catch near the sideline for the Indianapolis AlleyCats.

“Since the car rides are normally pretty long I just do my work in the car on the way to my games,” Wettengel said. “Once I do my work I don’t have to worry much about it.”

Wettengel said that he has learned a lot from his AlleyCats teammates and coaches and appreciates their guidance for him with the background they have in ultimate.

“My AlleyCat teammates have really helped me with their mentorship, and Mason teammates have motivated me to perform better and better every game,” Wettengel said. “My coach helps me clarify information and strategic plans, and he elevates my understanding of the game.”

Wettengel credits his dad for getting him into the sport in the sixth grade and said he owes his progression and success in the sport to his guidance.

“I definitely would not be playing right now if my dad didn’t teach me,” Wettengel said. “He introduced me to this sport, and I’ve taken a lot from him.”

Photos contributed by Will Wettengel