USA Takes Gold in Both Open and Women’s Divisions of WFDF Pan-American Ultimate Championships

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The 2011 WFDF Pan American Ultimate Championships were held in Medellín, Colombia on November 24-26, 2011. The festivities began on Wednesday evening the 23rd with a Parade of Nations, Opening Ceremonies, and showcase game featuring Colombia’s Revolution vs Fury of the USA. The City of “Eternal Spring” didn’t quite live up to its reputation weather-wise, as it had been a very rainy fall and the weather pattern did not improve. In any case, the tournament featured 12 open teams and 8 women’s teams representing 7 countries: Argentina, Colombia, Mexico, Dominican Republic, Panama, USA, and Venezuela. Formats were simple for the two divisions (open and women’s), with pool play leading to quarterfinals/semifinals/finals, but the weather made scheduling a challenge. The organizers went into the tournament with two schedules: a good weather schedule utilizing six fields (of which three were turf), and a poor weather schedule with only four fields.

Open Divison:

Sockeye – USA
Warao – Venezuela
Kie – Colombia

Women’s Division:

Fury – USA
Bamboo – Colombia
Revolution – Colombia

SOTG Award
Pre selección – Colombia Mixed Fury – USA

Because of the rain, the organizers made the decision to go with the poor weather schedule and compete on only four fields. Two rounds in, it became obvious that the event was only going to be able to use the three turf fields. Although play had started at 7:00 AM, it would now need to continue on day one past 10:00 PM to complete the schedule. Tournament staff and volunteers, ably led by Mauricio Moore, were able to flexibly handle this and every other challenge they faced during the event and, despite the long hours, everyone kept smiling.

It didn’t rain constantly throughout the weekend. When not raining, it got really hot, but each day nonetheless would bring heavy rains in the afternoon. Friday we completed pool play and quarterfinals, too. We also made the decision to shorten the placement play for places beyond 5th to one game rather than two for both divisions and split one field space into two narrower fields to accommodate placement play and allow all of those teams to make it back to the stadium fields to see the championship games. These proved to be excellent decisions given the lightning storms that wreaked havoc on play on the last afternoon of the tournament. Because of the adjustments, the teams had completed placement play and returned to the safety of the stadium and were sheltered from the lightning that came ominously close as the Open third place game was being contested.

But it was not all doom and gloom: Field 1 had been streamed over the internet for the entirety of the tournament. The showcase game and both finals were also televised live in Colombia. Despite the positives of this media coverage, this led to an unfortunate situation in the Open third place game as the lightning delay and the TV schedule forced a hard-cap on the game. The time cap was put into effect at 10-8 and Voladores of Venezuela scored on Kie of Colombia to make it 10-9 where it was over. Voladores showed a great deal of class in accepting the shortened bronze medal game.

The Women’s Championship game featured the consecutive six-time USA Ultimate champions — as well as reigning WUGC and WUCC champions — Fury of San Francisco — against Bamboo of Bogota, Colombia. Fury would prevail. On the Open side, Seattle Sockeye would make it a sweep for the USA teams as they defeated Warao of Venezuela.

Spirit was high throughout the tournament. Some teams did receive low spirit scores early on, but the organizers were pleased to see that the Latin Americans’ understanding of spirit of the game notably improved as play continued. Leading the way on the Women’s side was Fury, adding the Spirit of the Game trophy to their Championship. On the Open side was a late addition team, the Pre-Selection Colombia Mixed team, which demonstrated all weekend why the division is called “Open” and not “Men’s.”

Despite the weather challenges, the tournament was a complete success. Mauricio Moore and his staff and army of volunteers did a fantastic job. The tournament was supported by AJUC (Colombian Ultimate Players Association), INDER (Medellín Institute of Sports and Recreation), ACUM (Association of Medellín Ultimate Clubs), and Alcaldía de Medellín (Medellín Mayor’s Office). Medellín Colombia was a fantastic host city for PAUC. Everyone I met was warm, welcoming, and helpful.

Report by David Raflo, WFDF Technical Delegate

Final Standings: http://www.pauc2011.com/public/info/view/uniquenews/news/35

Open Divison
1. Sockeye – USA
2. Warao – Venezuela
3. Kie – Colombia
4. Voladores – Venezuela
5. Absolut – Colombia
6. Dominó – Dominican Republic
7. EPD Inder – Colombia
8. Alebrijes – México
9. Fenix – México
10. Pre selección – Colombia Mixed
11. Truco – Argentina
12. Jumara – Panamá

Women’s Division
1. Fury – USA
2. Bamboo – Colombia
3. Revolution – Colombia
4. Mantis – Venezuela
5. EPD Inder – Colombia
6. Mamajuana – Dominican Republic
7. Adelitas – México
8. Jumara – Panamá