Don’t be good, be SYC

SYC, Women's, WUCC2018

Josh Coxon Kelly reviews SYC’s games on day four of WUCC 2018

Women’s power pool O saw SYC carrying in their loss to Traffic, and facing Austria’s Mantis as well as the familiar faces of Nice Bristols. With both teams starting on a loss, they needed to win their first matchup of the day, and then go onto win the following match against each other to get into the top 24. 

Mantis had looked strong, and already notched a win against Bristols but arguably presented their opponent the better chance to go up. Despite little cloud cover at 11:00am, the conditions were actually more forgiving than recent days, with temperatures a couple of degrees cooler and humidity noticeably reduced. What was less forgiving however was the gusting breeze, which created a pretty straight upwind/downwind game.

Sexy Fish Monsters

Devon, Open, WUCC 2018

Josh Coxon Kelly Reviews Devon’s Games from day three of WUCC

Bad Skid and Devon faced up this as part of pool play. Going on past placings, Bad Skid would likely be given the upper hand in this match – the two are generally separated by a fair few seedings at EUCF. Black, Green and White are the colours that both clubs share, and more than that, both center around a strong core of junior development. St Peter’s school in Exeter is the home of Airbadgers, a team that you won’t see at WUCC yet is utterly dominant in their scene – UK junior championships. Keep an eye out for paw-print tattoos on the Devon sideline, as it is this mark that many of the Airbadger alumni carry. Devon’s Luke Ryan was a recent graduate of Airbadgers in 2008, when he competed as part of the GB Men’s Junior team at WUGC 2008 in Vancover against Germany for the bronze medal, and in that game (which Germany won), many of the victorious side would go on to form the Bad Skid roster Devon now faced. Florian Böhler (who won the ‘golden arm’ for most assists in Vancouver, including all senior divisions), and Holger Beuttenmüller who was responsible for the majority of Florian’s goals and continues to be a dominant force on the international stage. Based in Heilbronn, Bad Skid have such a high representative count in the German Men’s National team that they’re often described as such colloquially. Between the two sides, many more years of experience were at play than suggested by youthful exteriors.

What’s Cooler Than Being Cool?

Iceni, Womens, WUCC 2018

Josh Coxon Kelly reviews Iceni’s day two at WUCC 2018

At a relatively early point in the tournament, reigning European champions Iceni have a very important game on their hands. Besting Seagulls in their pool and losing to Fury were results without serious surprise. An early wobble in the former was corrected for a confident win, and whilst some were frustrated by the Fury game, the Londoners gained valuable experience from the matchup and had a lot of fun whilst they were at it – both being crucial in such a rare opportunity. Standing in the way nexte was Japan’s Swampybarg – a largely unknown team for Iceni.

Crash Landings

Glasgow Ultimate, Mixed, WUCC2018

Glasgow, starting second bottom in group F began the day with a 15-8 win over second seeded Freakshow from Singapore. This made things exciting. Sesquidistus, from France and also in this pool showed their hand at Windmill, and were known to be beatable by the Scots. The french pushed the pool leaders Crash to 15-13 in the first round of play, which altogether rendered Glasgow’s upcoming matchup as surprisingly human despite both the high seeding maple leaf next to their name. Whilst all Canadian and North American teams undeniably arrive with inherited respect at WUCC – a hand up before the game has even started – the narratives of this pool were starting to look like things might not be so simple, and Glasgow would have a decent chance.

WUCC 2018 Previews – SYC

SYC, Womens, WUCC Previews

Josh Coxon Kelly completes the Women’s WUCC previews with a look at SYC.

How did they get here?
Formed in 2010, SYC began challenging at a high level from their inception. They narrowly missed out on WUCC 2014 by losing a positioning game, and therefore the final remaining UK bid, to Nice Bristols at EUCF 2013.

WUCC 2018 Previews – Glasgow

Glasgow Ultimate, Mixed, WUCC Previews

Josh Coxon Kelly continues our previews with Glasgow, competing in the mixed division at WUCC.

How did they get here?

Glasgow Ultimate weren’t visible in their current guise at the last WUCC, but this team has its genesis as far back as the previous cycle, 2010. Originally formed with the aim of being an umbrella for Glasgow based teams, Glasgow Ultimate has grown as a scene and in terms of results since its inception (for an excellent and detailed insight into their journey, see this series of articles on the subject). After crashing out of Mixed Nationals in the semis last year, and losing guaranteed qualification (as well as the first of any extra bids), the team found itself on the way to Cincinatti when UK landed its second additional mixed WUCC bid.

Andrew Warnock with a big catch against Flat Perth at Mixed Tour 3. Photo by Andy Moss.

 

How has this season been?

One of their strongest so far, if not the best, notching wins against Reading, SMOG and Black Eagles across the season, with the latter coming in a thrilling early tournament match-up at Mixed Tour 3 which saw Glasgow come out on top (although Eagles returned the favour in the final). The strong performance of their second team, particularly at Mixed Tour 2, shows that there is a considerable amount of depth in the scene to draw from.

Windmill was a good showing with many close games, including a 10-8 loss to eventual finalists Salaspils. They finished above SMOG by a single place, placing 11th and very narrowly missing out on the quarters – all of which suggests we haven’t seen their best yet.

 

How do they play?

Not unlike their local rivals Black Eagles, Glasgow bring a combination of tight match defense and an aggressive, huck-happy offense – they’re unafraid to utilise their athleticism on both sides of the disc.

Often looking for isolation plays as a first move, they will also look to make use of aggressive handler plays leading to power position hucks.

 

Can you give me three players to watch?

Katie Flight
Katie brings International experience from the GB under-24 campaign earlier this year, as well as plenty of GB undder-20 trips, and will bring an aggressive and athletic handling game to the team.

Katie Flight goes for a catch at UKU Nationals. Photo by Sam Mouat.

Philip Webb
Phil has been a core offensive feature of Scottish Ultimate since the early days, and will be crucial to maintaining possession whilst also  leading the team’s assists.

Rory Curran
Rory provides additional firepower, and in Webb’s own words his throwing ‘has hit form’ ahead of Cincinatti. He’ll often be the one looking to hit the aggressive shots downfield.
How are they going to do?

Glasgow can peak as high as any UK team attending, but relative inexperience on this stage may cause issues later into the tournament. There are a fair few unknown quantities (to me, at least) in their pool, but they beat Sesquidistus at Windmill and a third place finish and progression into top 32 looks attainable. I predict they’ll comfortably beat their 38th seeding and finish somewhere close to 24th. That said, if a team looks the wrong way before then there’s every chance that they sneak higher.

A Day in the Life of… Yanni Kappelmann

European Ultimate, Eurostars, Previews, Womens

Charlie Blair interviews a new joiner for this year’s Eurostars Tour

The first of my interviews with the new players joining Eurostars this year has been weeks in the making, with Yanni and I exchanging email after email trying to find a window to coordinate. It didn’t surprise me that this would be difficult, knowing how much preparation she must be doing for both Worlds and this summer’s tour. However, while rising for the 7:30am chat on a Wednesday morning made me realise that my own breakfast radio show is an infeasible reality, I was also left blushing in my PJs when Yanni told me she started her day at 5:15am!

Yanni was actually meant to be part of the Eurostars tour last year but sadly had to pull out at the last minute due to injury. To add irony to heartbreak, she recalls that “surgery was on the day my flight was meant to leave for America”. It was a devastating set back for the German national, now based in Bern. Having played for over a decade for both national teams and elite European clubs, Yanni had always dreamed of playing stateside.

“I’m so, so happy I got the chance to do it again because it was a dream come true. I always wanted to go to America and play there but could never do with studies and being self employed, I have no time to take out a few months. This was THE chance to go out there and play some of the best teams in the world.”

The significance of the Eurostars tour is not lost on Yanni at all, who notes the huge impact she has seen it have on both men and women after just its first year.

Yanni at work – Photo courtesy of Yanni Kappelmann

“I’m hearing lots of things,” she tells me. “Already I know people are excited to watch these games again. It’s always nice to go to tournaments and have people tell me how awesome this is. And the younger players really like to watch these games. On YouTube, you find so many really good men’s games, or US teams vs US teams, but not much of European players competing at this level. It’s great to have people coming up to you and being an idol, but I also hear men talking about it and appreciating women’s ultimate being pushed to grow and develop.”

With the women’s scene in Europe now more competitive than ever, we have been treated to some phenomenal games of late. Last weekend’s Windmill Windup was full of close games with only one or two points often making the difference. However, most significant for Yanni were last year’s beach finals, where Russia took a dramatic win over the USA: “It was the best final. Last year the men also said the women’s finals were better to watch. Even if the guys are more athletic and faster, if a game ends 15-7 it’s not as good as a game ending on universe point.”

Photo courtesy of Get Horizontal

So as we chat more about her desperately not wanting to let the Eurostars opportunity slip away, it becomes strikingly clear that Yanni is somebody who is absolutely defiant in the face of adversity and has utter faith in her determination and intelligence to overcome it. Having gone to the doctors with discomfort in her knee last year just before the tour was set to kick off, she learned that her meniscus had torn out of the bone completely and was told, “if you play now, you will never do sports again.” She was also advised to change her sport, now that she has had two major surgeries on the same knee in the last four years.

However, Yanni is an athlete through and through. She competed in high level gymnastics from an early age and was always utterly resistant to any other way of life. When back problems ended her gymnastics career at the tender age of thirteen, her doctor suggested she take up hobbies like music. Yanni jokingly recalls scoffing at even the idea. That was not her calling – it was sport. She’d already told her mum by first grade she would study sports. And from the age of sixteen she knew that frisbee was always more important that anything else.

Yanni has thus fiercely fought her way back to recovery. She says it’s fortunate that, being a sports scientist and personal trainer herself, she knows how to train. But I can appreciate how important (and astute) of her it was to recognise, at a young age, that she needed to empower herself to ensure she could always do the thing she loves. She can now directly use the knowledge and flexibility of her profession to facilitate her own personal goals as an athlete. Moreover, she has essentially rehabilitated herself in defiance of the doctor’s orders to come back from injury in order to participate in this years Eurostars.

“I’ve had a lot of ups and downs, but now it’s been two months since fully back on the field and it’s feeling good.”

Legend.

If Yanni’s determination off the field is anything to go by then she will undoubtedly be a huge asset to the Eurostars on the field.

There is a self-assuredness that comes across when I talk to Yanni about her game. And it’s well justified – she knows how much work she puts in. Having come from an individual sport she understands what a solid foundation this is for one’s mental game and has invested in strengthening her teammates on any team she is on.

A typical day would involve her coaching early morning, and mid-morning and afternoon trainings. The flexibility her job offers also allows her to fit in two of her own personal training sessions in a lunchtime and in the evening. Better still, she has cultivated a loving fanbase among her clients who are always willing to be flexible for her if ever she needs to go off to tournaments. So loving in fact, that not only do they sometimes come to watch her play, but some have taken up the sport themselves!

So when it comes to stepping on the field, Yanni knows she’s put in all the work that she possibly could have. She’s also got over a decade’s worth of high level play under her belt having hit the international scene way back in Vancouver 2008 with the German Mixed national team. Since then she has played every major international or European tournament for both club and country to date. This year, she is playing with and coaching the FAB squad heading for Cincinnati in the coming weeks.

She hopes that she will be able to flourish on the Eurostars squad just as much as she did with the German national team who took home the victory at Windmill in 2015. For Yanni, this was a team in which she could really hit her stride. “I could play what I play, and do what I could do best,” she recalls. This tournament showcased her prowess upfield, either as a deep receiver or coming back under to put up the hucks. For years, she has been a dominant force in the air on the European women’s scene and it is clear that Yanni’s confident reads of the disc are a result of her backing herself entirely: “I’m pretty motivated and I know how to fight, I will never give up on anything.”

So what more could you want from a fellow teammate? Oh yeah, maybe someone whose profession is to see that people can push way more than they ever think they can. An aerial boss and the ultimate sideline. Check. You’re gonna struggle to top Yanni’s expert hollering. Watch out ‘Murica.