He was behind the Australian defender and racing toward the end zone. The disc was floating through the air.
So what was Jack Williams thinking at that potential gold medal-winning moment?
“Luckily, nothing was in my mind,” said Williams, who was tracking down what became a perfectly placed throw by teammate Grant Lindsley. “I just saw the disc, and it was 'go catch it.' Luckily, in those moments, for me at least, it’s a simple game of catch.”
Catch it he did, giving the U.S. a 13-11 World Games win over Australia in the Flying Disc gold medal game in front of an overflow crowd at John Carroll High’s football stadium. It touched off a wild celebration in the south end zone and created a memory that will last a lifetime.
“Feels incredible to do it with this group,” said Williams, a North Carolina native, who had four goals thrown and two goals caught on Saturday. “When we came together, a lot of us didn’t know each other. Now, it feels like we grew and really became a family. We had some low moments; obviously we had some really high moments right there.”
The team was announced on April 1. Five players returned from the 2017 team that claimed a World Games championship. However, many of the others were unfamiliar with each other.
“The first step is, get in a circle and find out about each other,” Williams said. “A lot of us have played against each other; we know each other’s game but didn’t know each other. We sort of got in a circle, were vulnerable with each other and really got to know each other as people.”
From there the team had three or four training weekends, which doesn’t offer a long time to prepare. They came together in Birmingham 10 days ago, though, and really worked on melding together as a team.
On Saturday, the U.S. team dominated early on, building a 7-3 halftime lead. The lead evaporated in the second half and Australia eventually tied the score at 10. Soon after that game-tying score, the U.S. turned the disc over. Australia’s opportunity came to a halt when Dylan Freechild got the disc back for the U.S.
“That was huge,” Williams said. “He’s been our rock all tournament - if anyone is going to get that D, it’s him. After the game, we all talked about that moment. No doubt when Dylan is on the field, he’s going to get that back for us.”
The U.S. regained the lead on a catch by Carolyn Finney, who had two goals thrown and two more goals caught. After another turnover, it was a goal catch by Carolyn Normile that gave the U.S. a 12-10 lead. Australia answered with a beautiful catch by Liv Carr, who raced after a tipped pass and grabbed the pass just before sliding out of the back of the end zone.
Not long after, the U.S. secured the win.
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