Colorado Springs, Colo. (December 4, 2023)—USA Ultimate has added 10 coaches to its staff for the upcoming WFDF World Ultimate Championships (WUC) next summer in Australia, the national governing body for the sport of ultimate in the United States announced today.
Following the previously announced appointment of head coaches John Groess (mixed), Nancy Sun (women) and Ben Van Heuvelen (open), the addition of assistants marks the next step in Team USA’s ongoing preparation to defend its three world titles from nearly eight years ago – the last time the tournament was contested.
Joining Groess’ staff in support of the mixed team are assistant coaches Gwen Ambler (Seattle, Wash.) and Isaiah Bryant (Astoria, N.Y.) and selection assistants Sophia Herscu (Boston, Mass.) and Carlos Lopez (Minneapolis, Minn.).
Assistant coaches Rohre Titcomb (Seattle, Wash.) and Andy Lovseth (Seattle, Wash.) and selection assistant Miranda Knowles (Atlanta, Ga.) join Sun’s staff in the women’s division.
Dylan Tunnell (Amherst, Mass.) and Cody Mills (New York, N.Y.) will support Van Heuvelen as assistant coaches for the open team along with selection assistant Bryce Merrill (Provo, Utah).
Ambler makes her Team USA coaching debut after a stellar career as both a player and coach. A member of Team USA that captured gold at the 2009 World Games, Ambler is also a four-time national champion as a member of San Francisco Fury (2003, 2006-08) and world champion in 2014 as a member of Seattle Riot. She also captured a college title with Stanford in 2003. On the sidelines, Ambler coached Riot to a world title in 2018 and Stanford to a pair of national titles in 2005 and 2006.
Bryant is also new to the Team USA program and brings to USA Ultimate his experience as head coach of New York XIST for the past three seasons.
Herscu brings a vast array of experience as a coach and player to her first Team USA appointment. Currently in her second year as an assistant coach with Boston Slow in USA Ultimate’s mixed division, she also coached with Boston Siege in 2017 and served as head coach of the Harvard University women’s team from 2015 to 2018. She has also assisted the Australian National Team in a variety of capacities. As a player, Herscu won back-to-back national titles in the club division with Boston Brute Squad in 2015 and 2016.
Lopez was a selection assistant for the U-24 Mixed National Team earlier this year and has served as head coach of Minneapolis Drag’n Thrust since 2021.
Titcomb returns to the sidelines for Team USA after serving on Sun’s staff at the U-24 World Championships earlier this year where she helped coach the women’s squad to a gold medal. She was also named to the coaching staff in 2020 before the COVID-19 pandemic postponed – then cancelled – the previous cycle’s event. As a player on Team USA, Titcomb is a three-time world champion, earning gold at the World Ultimate Championships in 2016 and the World Beach Ultimate Championships in 2011 and 2015. In USA Ultimate’s club division, Titcomb also served on the coaching staff for Seattle Riot (2012-13, 2017-19, 2022).
Another familiar face to the Team USA program, Lovseth served as an assistant coach for the women’s team that won a world title at the 2016 World Ultimate Championships and was also named to the 2020 coaching staff. At the club level, Lovseth also coached Seattle Riot to a pair of world titles in 2014 and 2018.
Knowles most notably served as an assistant coach for the 2022 World Games squad that won the gold medal. She was also an assistant coach for the world champion U-20 girls’ team in 2010 and was selected to serve on the staff for the open team at the 2020 World Ultimate Championships. As an athlete, Knowles accomplishments include a gold medal at the 2005 World Games, a silver medal at the 2002 World Ultimate Club Championships as a member of Atlanta Ozone and a pair of world titles for Team USA in the masters women’s division in 2012 and 2018.
Tunnell joins the Team USA coaching staff on the heels of a successful college campaign that saw him lead UMass to a silver medal at nationals last spring as head coach. He also possesses a solid coaching pedigree at the youth level, having coached the Valley Ultimate (Amherst, Mass.) girls’ youth club team since 2017 and the Midtown (Atlanta) High School boys’ team from 2008-14. As a player, Tunnell captured a gold medal as a member of the 2009 World Games team and played 14 years for Atlanta Chain Lightning, winning a national title in 2009.
Mills has previously served as an assistant coach for the open team at the 2022 World Junior Ultimate Championships and as a selection assistant for the open squad at the 2022 World Beach Championships, both of which captured gold medals.
Merrill comes to the Team USA program having coached the BYU men’s team from 2012 to 2022, and the University of Utah’s women’s team from 2016-19. He has also coached in the club division with the Utah Killjoys in 2021-22.
The 2024 World Ultimate Championships will take place August 31 – September 7 in Gold Coast, Australia. The Team USA coaching staff is currently in the process of reviewing applications for tryouts which will occur later this winter.