2006 World Juniors Ultimate Championships - Daily Log - August 13th

Posted: August 13, 2006 03:13 AM

The big news from the US Junior Teams out of Boston today was the last minute addition of Robin Stewart-Demartino to the US Boys roster.  Robin's promotion from the alternate list was prompted by the training camp injuries to Stephen Panasci and Andrew Hollingworth.  Robin has a wealth of experience from Amherst HS and the club team Twisted Metal and was on the Amherst scout team which played the US Junior Boys on Saturday.  His skill with the disc, endurance, and great mark will make him a valuable addition to the team particularly in the role of point in the team's zone defenses.

Today was a rest day for the teams with some light activity.  Both teams woke up late and enjoyed a leisurely breakfast before heading out to the fields for a thorough warm-up, some stretching and throwing, and a little strategic fine tuning.  At 5:30pm the teams participated in the opening ceremonies which began with a parade of all participants followed by a welcome from the tournament director, Linda Sidorsky, and WFDF representative, Brian Geisel.  Elder stateman of Ultimate, Steve Mooney spoke to the up and coming players about the ability to help Ultimate evolve and then each team presented a song or skit.  Highlites included interactive songs from Finland and Israel.  The US Girls presentation was a multi-part competition that included "body traversing" (dominated by Leila Tunnell and Amber Sinicrope) and a pickle-eating contest while the US Boys presented a skit featuring the physical comedy of Grant Lindsley.

Tomorrow games begin with the US Boys meeting Great Britain at 9am and Finland, in a rematch of their 2004 semifinal, at 2:00pm.  The US girls will open at 10:30am against Australia before meeting Canada in a highly anticipated match-up against Canada in the 4:00pm showcase round. 

Before the first pull the wonderful work of the seven US Team coaches should be acknowledged.  The US Team coaches have done remarkable job with the challenging and often thankless (and certainly salary-less) responsbility of taking a group of talented players and in a short time creating a team.  The US Junior Girls team is lead by three Seattle players, head coach Vida Towne and assistants Miranda Roth and Julia Weese-Young.  Vida's leadership is well supported and complemented by Julia's ability to connect and communicate with the players and Miranda's technical expertise.  Most of the players on the team are stand outs on their high school or regular team and as such play the role of handler.  The challenge of the US Girls Coaches has been to identify diverse roles for these players and teaching some players to be comfortable in a completely new and unfamiliar role.  Becuase of their wealth of knowledge Vida, Julia, and Miranda have been succesful at accomplishing this difficult task.

On the US Junior Boys side head coach Michael Baccarini is supported by assistants Jason Simpson, Chase Sparling-Beckley, and Ben Van Heuvelen.  Michael has delegated defenseive strategy to Ben and Jason while he and Chase have tackled offensive strategy work.  In addition, Ben has trains the team in mental toughness, Chase provides extensive one-on-one feedback, and Jason lights a fire under the team's belly.  Michael, like the rug in the Big Lebowski, really ties it all together.  The boys coaches have done a fantastic job of taking 19 all-star players and making them a team.  In the parlance of our times, these coaches are sick.