World Ultimate and Guts Championship 2016
18th – 25th June 2016. London, England.
To quote the /r/ultimate discussion thread,
The World Ultimate and Guts Championships represents the highest competition ultimate has to offer. Occurring once every four years, WUGC is the premier international ultimate tournament and features 115 teams across five divisions
Simply, it’s the World Cup for Ultimate and for Guts. It’s the tournament that every country wants to win to prove their prowess on the world stage, and every player wants to play at to represent their country.
Bears Bears Bears Bears
As I’m sure you’re all aware, Warwick Bears is the best uni club in Great Britain and so as you’d expect, there are some Bears alumni on the teams!
- Tom Abrams, #32. Bears Vice Captain ’08/’09.
- Joe Thompson, #21. Bears Captain ’11/’12.
- David Stobbs, #23. Bears Captain ’05/’06 (I think).
- Andy Hillman, #2. Bears Vice Captain ’13/’14.
- James Freeman, #13. Bears Vice Captain ’09/’10, Captain ’10/’11.
- Helen Swan-Thompson, #5. Bears Secretary ’08/’09.
- Ronja Wöestheinrich, #49. Bears Women’s Captain ’12/’13.
There may be more, if I’ve missed any then I apologise; let me know and I’ll edit it 🙂
What have Guts got to do with anything?
You may be wondering why it says Guts in the name. Well, Guts is a sport!
From the WUGC Website: “Guts is a high-speed sport in which players try to throw the disc so fast or with so much movement that members of the opposing team—lined up fingertip to fingertip 14 meters (15 yards, 11 inches) away—cannot catch it cleanly with one hand. Teams take turns throwing and catching, and because speeds often reach over 80 mph, players can have less than one third of a second to react.”
I won’t get into much detail because I don’t know much about it, but from one of the USA WUGC Guts players:
Basically there have been three major competitors at WUGC over the last 20 years. Taiwan, Japan, and the United States. These teams have (with the exception of Taiwan recently) continually sent competitive teams to WUGC regardless of where it’s been held. We’ve faced some teams that have some really good potential, Australia comes to mind first. However, one team that may be of interest to some users on this sub will be Belgium. They are also competing in the open division of the ultimate tournament and are ultimate players first.
Teams to Watch!
Since 1983, there have been 13 WUGCs. Of those 13; USA have won the championship 9 times, and been silver medalists twice. Traditionally the team that wins US Nationals represents USA, but this time is different and they’ve held trials all over the country to pick the best possible players. If you’ve watched any ultimate at all, you’ve probably heard of Dylan Freechild, Kurt Gibson, Beau Kittredge, Jimmy Mickle, etc. Their team is just full of huge names, and are big favourites to win again.
GB has only finished in the top 3 once since 1983, but that was 2nd place in the last WUGC tournament in 2012. Since then, Clapham have continued their domination in the UK and Europe, but have also been closing in on the Americans, getting excruciatingly close to beating Revolver (World Club Champs ’10, ’12, ’14) at WUCC in 2014, losing on universe point in the quarters and then going on to win the rest of their games to finish 5th. As the Americans moved from the club represents country model, GB moved towards it (causing a big argument on britdisc), with Clapham and GB tightly linked with a big cross over of players and joint training. They’ll be hoping this means their chemistry is on point and they’re able to get back to the final and that elusive gold.
Of the 4 times USA hasn’t won gold since 1983, Canada has won 3 of them. Their U20s won gold at WJUC 2014, and U23s won Silver last year. Canada is being represented by Toronto GOAT, the winners of Canadian Nationals, beating 10 time national champions Vancouver Furious George in the final. GOAT have been getting hugely valuable experience against American teams over the years, and at 2014 US Nationals, beat Revolver on universe in the quarters and then lost to Bravo on universe in the semis. Expect Canada to breeze through teams at this tournament until they inevitably meet up with USA at some point. Hopefully it ends up being as good as their 2012 semi final if it happens!
If you haven’t watched Japan play then you’re in for a treat! They’re generally a smaller team, which means they use lots of handler movement, quick break throws and unconventional cross field hucks to do the job on offence and lots of poaching on defence to stop the hucks and force their opposition to swing the disc until they make a mistake. Buzz Bullets have been a big player on the world stage for a while, most recently winning AOUC and Dream Cup over Australia in both finals, and came 7th at WUCC after beating Ironside in an awesome pre-quarter, only to meet Bravo (that year’s US National Champs) in the quarters and then Clapham in their next game.
Germany, Australia, and Colombia among others will be fancying themselves as potential semi finalists. Ireland will be looking to get some big upsets after performing well at Windmill (knocking GB out in the quarterfinal). Go and read Ultiworld’s Power Rankings for more info on them!
Once again, USA have been dominant in this division too, with 7 golds in the past 13 WUGCs. Just like with the men, players were picked from trials rather than USA being the team that won US Nationals, and I’m sure you’ll have heard of names like Opi Payne, Claire Desmond, Sarah Griffith, Rohre Titcombe, etc. This is shaping up to be a very frightening team to play against and are favourites to win, but as we saw at WUGC 2012, and WU23 2015, the USA Women seem to have a weakness…
Japan Women won at home in Sakai in 2012, and their U23s won last year in London (with Andy commentating), so you’d be a fool to say that USA will win easily. They also play in the classic Japanese style with lots of handler movement on O and poaching on D, just watch the U23 game that’s linked above. Part of their U23 win was also credited to their coaching crew who scouted out USA throughout the tournament and developed a new game plan that allowed them to win the final, after losing to USA earlier in the week, expect them to play a big part again.
I would talk about Canada here, but the Firetails have been causing some big upsets recently, winning the Dream Cup against Japan, and a WUGC warm up game against Canada in the past few days. In the Dream Cup final, Mish Phillips (Leia Turner’s #1 fan) and Moe Sameshima basically single-handedly won the game for them (See this article). They’ll be looking to those two as well as Cat Phillips to have big games to make a deep run in this tournament. Finals is definitely on the cards given recent results.
Just like the Canadian men, they benefit from being able to play against US teams all the time. They played USA in a scrimmage last month and only lost 12-14, which given the talent on USA is a hugely impressive result. Expect them to move through to the semi finals without much trouble.
If you payed any attention to Windmill Windup, you’ll likely have seen the German Women’s complete and utter domination of the field, with an average score in elimination play of 15-4. They finished 3rd at EUC after an upset, losing to eventual winners, Finland 11-13. They’re the best Europe has to offer and I’m excited to see how they’ll do against the teams mentioned above, especially after learning about the addition of Michela Meister (USA U23).
Finland won Euros, beating Germany and will be looking to prove that they are still the strongest in Europe. Switzerland were runners up at EUC and Windmill, and will be hoping their European success translates to worldwide success. Look for Colombia to challenge for Semi finals too. Unfortunately, despite Iceni’s successes, GB Women have underperformed in Europe recently, and Pool C is expected to go down to an exciting game-to-go between GB and Switzerland fighting to stay in the top 8.
As Andy said in the Facebook group:
I want to urge you not to underestimate the privilege of hosting this tournament in the UK. 115 teams see this event as the culmination of years of hardwork and training and will be immensely proud of the opportunity to represent their country. So if you are coming to watch please support them as loudly and enthusiastically as possible and make the most of the opportunity to watch the best Ultimate this planet has to offer.
At the very minimum, I’ll be posting links to livestreams throughout the week, and will probably also add a a little recap of the previous day’s play and what’s coming up. It’s going to be an exciting week of high quality ultimate, so make sure you watch the games, follow the story lines and enjoy the ultimate that’s on show!
Finally, take part in the fantasy competition that Andy created! Link to the spreadsheet was posted by Andy in the Facebook group. To quote Andy yet again:
If you’re concerned that you don’t know enough about the teams to make good predictions then 1) don’t worry, many of these teams haven’t face International opposition in 4 years so even the keenest supporters will be guessing 2) Peter and I have (painstakingly, it took a lot longer than expected) researched many of the teams to give you detailed analysis of what to expect from each team.
So please give it a go, it is much less effort than managing a fantasy football team. Plus, there will be prizes for the winners. The minimum will be some very nice chocolates and if we get many entries I will donate some GB and Japan Under 23 kit from last year. Even if you don’t win, reading up on the games and making a prediction will ensure you’re more informed and more invested when you watch the games on the livestream later this week.