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  • Writer's pictureSarah Szymborski

2023 AWI Worlds Recap!

Back in May of this year, a new and upcoming disc team signed up for an event venue called AWI - Ashley Whippet Invitational. Little did they know at the time, in a few short months they would compete in the AWI Worlds event and place in the top 3 in Toss and Catch. Here's a recap about Kyle and Risk's disc journey in one of the most prestigious venues out there.

May 2023

Kyle and Risk entered their first AWI and USDDN world qualifier events back in May 2023. At this point, the team had only been competing on and off throughout Risk's life because Risk was my (Sarah) sport dog. Anyways! Kyle and Risk made their debut event count and ended up placing second in the AWI Toss and Catch qualifier (top 3 teams get to play at worlds) and 5th in USDDN qualifier (top 3 get to play at worlds, next 3 get alternate spots to play at worlds). The field was deep at this event with some of the most talented teams in the area competing for the precious Q into these world events. I was on cloud 9 hearing how well Kyle and Risk did!

September 2023

Fast forward to the Worlds event, always held on Labor Day weekend and held local to us at Nike Park in Naperville, IL! There were absolutely no expectations but to go out and have fun at their first ever disc worlds event. I remember Kyle telling me about how nervous he was feeling, which was really weird for him. Getting sleep the night before felt impossible as the nerves and anticipation began to sink in about playing the next day. Unfortunately with work, I couldn't go out and cheer them on... but wow, everyone showed up and support Kyle and Risk! I think that having his family and friends there definitely helped him feel supported which motivated them to really make their worlds debut count.

There were 50 or so participants entered into Toss and Catch. In my gut, I knew that Kyle and Risk could take a spot in the top 10. They're so capable and reliable, but the wind! The wind was already roaring and in a sport like disc, everyone knows how challenging it is to master the skill of throwing with any wind - especially one that will change from the second you throw to the second it's halfway across the field. As the day carried on, the wind picked up making catching ratios drop lower and lower. And this is where I am most proud of how much Kyle has grown as a disc player - he persevered and fought the wind back.

Kyle and Risk ended up with a 9.5 point round for their first round. At the time, they didn't know it, but this landed them in the top 10 teams going into Toss and Catch round 2. Despite the wind, they managed an impressive 11 point round which rocketed them several spots up. An incredible feat!

Kyle and Risk stuck around until the very end, cheering on others Toss and Catch and freestyle routines, in hopes that maybe... just maybe there would be a podium finish.

I wish I could have seen the look on his face when they announced Kyle and Risk, 2nd place in Toss and Catch. A huge accomplishment for any time, let alone a team that is just getting started in a deep and impressive field.

I am so excited for Kyle and Risk to keep refining their skills and techniques and grow together. I'm also excited for them to pursue more freestyle so that they can compete in the Open Overall division in years to come. Words cannot express how proud I am. Kyle, a talented and dedicated human, and Risk, a talented and dedicated dog. Together, they are unstoppable.

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