USGPA World Championship Results
by Steve Taylor | Sep 11, 2012

What a weird, wonderful, woeful, wistful weekend!

The 2012 World Guts Frisbee® Championship was everything we'd hoped for, all that we dread, and ended as few would've expected. All season long, the Appleton Assassins have been a juggernaut, winning Illinois, Wisconsin, The IFT, The U.S. Nationals, and bearing down on the Worlds with a chance to "run the table". With Cupola retiring their name after 32 years, the torch wasn't just being passed--Appleton seemed ready to forcibly rip it from Cupola's hands. Few teams in history have hit the end of the season this much on fire. But wait a minute. Perhaps the three-time defending champions might have a little something to say about that. Propelled by the sick D and pinpoint shooting that made Daily Jackson MVP of the 2012 World Ultimate and Guts Championships in Osaka, Japan, the Bataan Park Brothers were blowing into Detroit like a towering New Mexico sandstorm. This was the showdown everyone was so excited to see.

Except in Lansing.

After a few last-minute cancellations, the Saturday morning field was set at 16 teams. Perfect Guts conditions: about 82° with winds under 8 mph both Saturday and Sunday. Things kicked off with round-robin games in pools of 4. Based on last year's Finals, Bataan Park was seeded first, the Assassins second. Pool play results filled out the rest of the brackets.

Two rounds of best-of-three matches Saturday afternoon left four undefeated teams and 12 teams in the single-game loser's bracket: Bataan Park topped Guts Army and then Blame the Dog, Boomtown beat the Keweenaw Mountain Men and Ridin' High, Cupola topped Seam 'n' Speed then Beer City, and the Appleton Assassins dropped the Fire Breathing Rubber Duckies and Keep On Truckin' into the loser's.

The Saturday night get-together at tourney sponsor Rosie O'Grady's was enjoyed by over 100 players and fans, with everything from great service to delicious food to conversation-friendly music volume all exactly as we'd requested. Back at Sunnybrook, kids and families had a great time bowling and watching a scary movie on the big screen, all free, courtesy of the Worlds. But there was a dark cloud hanging over the evening: word had come that Guts Hall-of-Famer Gary Ciaglaski was missing in west Grand Traverse bay, his boat found empty and circling.

Sunday's 9:00 AM loser's round saw the Hipsters eliminate Guts Army and the Young Guns knock off the Keweenaw Mountain Men. The new Oklahoma team's first-ever win had come in the round-robin over Seam 'n' Speed, but in the rematch things were different and Daughter Barn was put out. The Air Aces squeaked by the Rubber Duckies, and we were down to ten teams left.

In the 9:30 loser's round, Keep on Truckin' beat the Hipsters and Beer City eliminated the Young Guns. Ridin' High knocked Seam 'n' Speed out for the fourth time this season, and Blame the Dog chewed up the Air Aces. Six teams left.

The first final-four match featured Boomtown and Bataan Park, who took the first game. But Boomtown rallied and won the next two to advance to the winner's bracket final. Suddenly, the defending champs were faced with the prospect of being eliminated. Meanwhile Cupola was trying, unsuccessfully, to fend off the Assassins. The Bandits dropped to the loser's, and Appleton set their sights on Boomtown.

To determine who would battle Bataan Park in the loser's, Beer City snuck by Keep on Truckin' 21-19, but the Albuquerque team dispatched them 21-12 to advance in the loser's. Blame the Dog eliminated Ridin' High 21-18, but fell to the swan-song Cupola Bandits 21-14. That left Bataan facing Cupola in the loser's semi, while Boomtown met Appleton in the winner's. Things seemed to be going almost according to script. The Assassins threw smoke and took the first game from Boomtown 23-21. Their spot in the Finals looked about 30 minutes away. But the Saints weren't ready to die and fought back once again to win the next two games, 21-19 and 21-14. On the other field, history was unfolding as Cupola saw one of their tips fall to the ground for the very last time, as they went down 21-19. A 32-year dynasty was over, and Bataan would finally face the Assassins--but not in the Finals as many had predicted. This was now a fight for survival to see who would emerge from the loser's bracket. There would either be no Four-Peat or no Grand Slam. In a spectacular game, Albuquerque spoiled Appleton's quest for a perfect season with a 21-16 Bataan Park win. The Finals would be a rematch of 2009, when Bataan Park started their 3-year run of victories.

Boomtown came in focused and ready, and they rode their trademark defense and Mike Banghart's wicked thumber to a 21-18 win in the first game, but Albuquerque stormed back to take the second, 21-19. The level of play was incredible. Bataan had Evan Davis, Keenan Jackson, Frank Brady, and Daily Jackson starting, with Steve Sengebush and Ian Whitman Carlson switching off in the 5th slot. Boomtown brought Danny Banghart, Mike Banghart, Ryan Scott, and Jeff Banghart, with Will Walden and Mark Banghart sharing time. In the weeks leading up to the Worlds, while everyone was so excited about the ABQ vs. APLTN showdown, Lansing had been quietly--but intensely--preparing for this Sunday afternoon, and when the dust and plastic finally settled, the Boomtown Saints had regained their spot at the pinnacle of the sport by defeating Bataan Park 21-17 in game 3. The World Championship bragging rights were back in Michigan.

The win paid Boomtown $1000, with $750 for second and cash down to 6th. The Saints had stunned the appreciative crowd, and toasted their win with commemorative shot glasses served from the tournament trophy. Mike Banghart was voted tournament MVP for his outstanding play. The awards ceremony also featured a thoughtful gesture by the Cupola Bandits, who presented each of the Young Guns with a souvenir Frisbee signed by every player in the tourney.

Later that evening, while all were enjoying life post-Cupola, the afterglow of beer and pizza, and a rowdy paper plate tournament with 60 players in the Sunnybrook lounge, the sad news came that Gary Ciaglaski had drowned. It was a sad loss to the sport, and to those who knew him, that loss was severe.

With all the new teams and the unprecedented level of play, it had been a wonderful weekend of Guts Frisbee. We witnessed the long-anticipated end of the Cupola era while trying to deal with the unexpected loss of a stellar Guts player and friend. The tournament directors thank our sponsors Sunnybrook Golf & Bowl and Rosie O'Grady's for their support. Congratulations go out to the Boomtown Saints for an impressive victory, to the Bataan Park Brothers for their four straight Finals appearances, to the Appleton Assassins for their unprecedented run at the modern Grand Slam, and to all the newer teams and players for helping revitalize the sport. We hope to see an even bigger turnout for next year's World Guts Frisbee Championship. Great Guts everybody!