Local throwers headed to World Boomerang Championships


From Delaware to Denver, area throwers are set to make their mark on the sport’s biggest stage this weekend: the World Boomerang Championships.

The best throwers from all over the globe will be there — an event slated to kick off Saturday in Westminster, Colorado — including a few who call Delaware home.

Erik Richards, Kian Snouffer and Jake Stein will be making the trip, as will coaches Gregg Snouffer and Stephanie Frisch.

“The sport of boomerangs is known as a ‘sport for all’, which means men and women, seniors and youth, as well as new and experienced throwers all compete on a level playing field,” Frisch said. “There are no divisions, no segregation of players, and no ‘minimum requirements’ to be a part of the community.

“We look forward to participating in this event, not only to compete, but also to expand our skills and relationships within the boomerang family. Lifelong friendships have been forged on the field over the years of competition. That’s what I look forward to the most … and I think our young team feels the same.”

Frisch, a Delaware Hayes grad who currently coaches swimming and diving at Olentangy Berlin and with the Delaware DARTS, competed on the 2002, 2008 and 2010 international women’s teams.

Gregg Snouffer, also a Hayes grad, has competed on multiple WBC championship teams and was coach of the 2010 team that won back the prestigious Uncle Toby’s Oats Cup from Germany.

Richards, 27, and Stein, 20, are Hayes grads, too.

Richards, who coaches diving at Ohio Northern and with the DARTS, is a veteran of regional and national competitions. Stein, a junior at Wilmington College where he swims for the Quakers, will be competing for the first time while Kian Snouffer, 24, who grew up throwing with his legendary boomerang family, was the junior national champ in 2008 and a member of an international team that competed at the WBC in New Mexico back in 2018.

The trio of local throwers will join fellow US National Adult Developmental Boomerang Team members Tommy Gruchala, Anthony Ives, Bennett Sprague, Julia Greene and Gavin Bowling at the championships. Gregg Snouffer and Frisch, meanwhile, will be joined by Barnaby Ruhe on the coaching staff.

The squad, known collectively as Team Gel, is making a return to the event for the first time in 35 years.

“The original Team Gel was a group of throwers who traveled cross-country in a camper, showing up at tournaments, and celebrating every aspect of the sport,” Frisch said. “Winning wasn’t the goal … fun was. Many of the original members became world-class throwers, winning numerous WBC titles over the past 35 years. Team Gel is a state of mind.”

“Team Gel’s return to the World Boomerang Championship symbolizes the ongoing passion and dedication to the sport,” team organizer Sam Lemay said. “Our team embodies the spirit of camaraderie and joy that defines the boomerang community. Competing at this level is an incredible opportunity for these young athletes, and we are determined to make it memorable.”

Since its formation, Team Gel has hosted several events for building and throwing boomerangs in Delaware. The team’s building more than boomerangs, though … its building change.

“Gel came into the boomerang movement and change the world of sports entirely,” Ruhe said. “Suddenly, there were women working alongside men, contests with bravehearts fooling around as if there was no contest, only joy.”

The joy begins Saturday in Colorado.

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