Columbia HS recent graduate Sydney Mannion leads Team USA to a gold medal at World Junior Ultimate Championships in Poland

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MAPLEWOOD/SOUTH ORANGE, NJ — Columbia High School 2022 graduate Sydney Mannion was a member of Team USA that won a gold medal at the World Junior Ultimate Championships in Wroclaw, Poland, from Aug. 6-13. 

Out of more than 100 players at tryouts in March, just 24 girls were selected for Team USA. The team had less than a week of practice together before taking the field in Wrocław, Poland, for the World Junior Ultimate Championships.

WJUC brought together teams representing 23 countries from four continents.

Team USA went comfortably undefeated through seven games in pool play.

The semifinals against Canada (15-12) and finals against France  (14-12) presented a challenge with much tighter games, and the first instances where Team USA trailed to start the game.

Team USA won gold after seven days of intense competition. France took silver, Canada bronze while Austria won Best Spirit of the Game. 

Mannion scored in the team’s first game against Germany and in the final against France. She is the first woman from Columbia High School to play in the WJUC, and was the only player from New Jersey selected this year.

Mannion won New Jersey Player of the Year in girls ultimate and captained CHS Sparkle Motion to win the New Jersey state championship. She played for the Ultimate club team DEVYL last summer. 

Mannion plans to play for Hydra Ultimate at the University of Virginia starting this fall

USA U20 Open Division team also went undefeated and won gold against the French Open Division team in an exciting final (15-11).

“Early on, we established our team values as Love, Trust, Grit,” Mannion said. ”I really believe those ideals brought us together and kept us together when we faced challenges from other teams. In the final, I was struck by how much I love this sport, and how strongly I trusted my teammates to get the job done. Even when France started to close the points gap, I never really doubted that we would come out on top. 

“I couldn’t have done this without the support of my community back in New Jersey. The love I received on social media was quite astounding.”

Photos Courtesy of Sydney Mannion.