Losing flips, winning games: Illinois Conference Champs

    Photo courtesy of Gung-Ho

    Gung-Ho won this weekend to become conference champs three years in a row. Out of the seven games that we played, though, we lost two, which was a huge surprise — we were such a lock for first that our coach didn’t even come to the tournament, knowing we’d win and be ready to take on the rest of the Great Lakes at Regionals.

    The sectionals tournament was set up with five pool play games Saturday to 13, then two bracket-style games on Sunday to 15 to determine a champion. Rain, winds of 28-39 mph and an average temperature of 43 stalled our upwind game enough for two teams to beat us by one point on Saturday, Illinois 5-6 and Illinois State 6-7. With crazy upwind-downwind points where throwers and receivers simply couldn’t connect with the disc, Gung-Ho and our opponents could only score on downwind points. Our captains had trouble calling the flips at the beginning of the games, so we started off upwind and couldn’t connect on our break points to put us ahead in either contest.

    Hard caps (when teams play to a certain amount of time if they don’t make it to the point amount to end the game) meant that the games ended before we got a chance to fight back after halftime, so we went 1-2 coming into two more bracket play games on Sunday (one at 7:30 a.m. to make up for a cancelled game Saturday afternoon).

    Our first two Sunday games went the way the rest of our games in pool play should have — we won 13-3, then 11-3. With a break between our last pool-play game and the start of bracket play for the championship we headed to Target, Culvers and anywhere else close by with cheap food to keep us fueled for our next two games.

    We came back ready to dominate against Loyola after seeing them once in a scrimmage on Thursday, then once on Saturday in pool play. We took control of the game early and finished 13-4, then geared up for the championship game of the tournament against Illinois State.

    Even though they had beaten us 6-7 on Saturday in the wind, we took charge and won 15-6. We made the most of our championship game, putting players on the field in groups by grade level and letting our seniors play some back-to-back points.

    Although Saturday’s weather was miserable and had most of Gung-Ho dreading playing upwind points, we took advantage of a beautiful Saturday to tear up the fields and win Illinois.

    Next up: Great Lakes Regionals. We’ll face tough competition from Michigan, our biggest GL rivals, but also from Notre Dame and Indiana. We play for our bid to Nationals in two weeks!


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