Guts Frisbee team aims to soar at world games

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From the Lansing State Journal


Waverly High alums will vie for championship


Mary Jo White
Lansing Community Newspapers


DELTA TWP. – It takes a lot to catch a Frisbee coming at you at 85 miles per hour. That’s why they call it Guts Frisbee.


It looks simple, but it’s definitely not. Two teams of five players stand 15 yards apart.


One team throws a Frisbee, which the other team must catch one-handed. You can’t throw it vertically and you must throw it within reach of the other team.


Local Ingham County sanitarian and 1972 Waverly High School graduate Mark Banghart goes way back with this sport, a cousin of disc golf.


In 1972 he was invited to the International Frisbee Tournament (IFT) in Copper Harbor by Hugh Anderson, a friend of his father’s. He was hooked.


Banghart joined Anderson’s team, “The Foul Five,” then moved to several other teams, eventually winning the IFT with his Air Aces team.


After a stint in the Army and time off to earn a degree from Ferris State, he was back at it. Eventually a reunion team that included two of Banghart’s three sons entered the 47th annual IFT in 2004.


“Daniel and Michael (19- and 17-years -old at the time) loved the sport and the tournament,” Banghart said, “and vowed we would go back one day and win it.”


Two years later, calling themselves “The Boomtown Saints,” they did just that. By that time the oldest Banghart son, Jeffrey, joined the team. Since then the Saints have distinguished themselves with a number of wins.


Because of their victory at the 2007 U.S. Nationals, they will represent the U.S. at the World Ultimate and Guts Championships (WUGC) in Vancouver, British Columbia, next August.


There’s definitely some danger in this game, even if you’re quick and agile. Kathy Banghart, Mark’s wife, confesses that she didn’t go to the tournaments in the beginning and there’s an occasional black eye when the Frisbee grazes someone’s face. Kathy says, though, that the guys wouldn’t think of wearing helmets or other protective gear.


All of the Boomtown Saints are Waverly grads. Jeffrey Banghart, 25, is a Michigan State University grad who works at Quiznos on West Saginaw while seeking a professional job. Twenty-two-year-old Daniel Banghart, an MSU student, works at Royal Scot. His brother, Michael, 20, attends Lansing Community College and works at Quiznos.


Then there’s 25-year-old Ryan Scott, a state employee, and 24-year-old Joe O’Connor, another MSU grad who manages a Biggby Coffee and is working toward a medical degree.


Mary Jo White is a reporter for Lansing Community Newspapers.


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