May 2023: World University Games Update

We hope everyone’s Memorial Day Weekend was a nice one. May turned out to be an extremely busy month for local college and university sports and events, and for international university sports, including the 2029 FISU World University Games (WUG); so please read on for a number of the highlights. Before you do, though, we want to share one exciting bit of news: our online store launched today – marking the first time that 2029 World University Games merchandise is available to the public. Click here to access the store and read more about the 2029 WUG Collection below.

International University Sports Panel at Sports ETA 2023

Lori Thomas, Ashley Walden, and Hill Carrow speak on the International University Sports Panel

For the first time in the United States at a major sports tourism conference, a panel on International University Sports was held on Wednesday, May 10, 2023, at the Sports Events & Tourism Association (Sports ETA) Annual Symposium in Kansas City. The Sports ETA event brought together over 950 sports tourism professionals from across the United States and neighboring countries for four days of education, networking, social events, and entertainment all designed to continue to grow the sports tourism industry and increase professionalism and relationships among three main constituent groups: destinations, rightsholders (event owners), and industry suppliers.  

The panel entitled “The International University Sports Opportunity,” featured Lori Thomas, Secretary General of the US International University Sports Federation (USIUSF), U.S. member of the international university sports governing body, FISU; Ashley Walden, COO of Lake Placid 2023, the Organizing Committee for the FISU World University Games Winter held in Lake Placid in January of this year; and Hill Carrow, Chairman & CEO for the 2029 World University Games Summer to be hosted in central North Carolina.  

The primary purpose of the panel was to create more awareness and understanding of the International University Sports sector in the United States. The panel members focused on the current momentum for international university sports in America building off the very successful Winter Games in Lake Placid and pointing towards the Summer Games in North Carolina a little over 6 years from now. In particular, Lori Thomas laid out FISU’s major single sport World Championships and World Cups in more than 30 different sports, ranging from Beach Volleyball and Golf to Soccer and 3v3 Basketball, and including winter sport championships, too. Ashley Walden cited Lake Placid’s hosting of the FISU Speedskating World University Championships: “The event brought together over 60 countries and 300 athletes and provided Lake Placid with a positive economic benefit as well as national and international media exposure.”

International University Sports Booth Maxes Out at Sports ETA

International University Sports Booth at Sports ETA

The panel was not the only first for an International University Sports presence at Sports ETA. Thanks to the effort led by the North Carolina USA Team, who arranged for it, designed it, and provided staffing, International University Sports and the World University Games had a booth in the three-day Sports ETA Trade Show. The trade show, featuring almost 200 exhibitors, is a centerpiece of the Sports ETA Symposium and is referred to as The Marketplace because it is the primary component of the annual event facilitating significant business among all Sports ETA constituencies.  

The International University Sport and World University Games booth was extremely popular and well-received, maxing out the total number of appointments possible at the trade show, with 60 different destinations signing up for individual meetings to learn more about the international university sports opportunities in the United States.  

It was an impressive group of cities that visited the booth, including Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Detroit, Houston, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Louisville, St. Louis, Minneapolis, Orlando, and Pittsburgh, just to name a few – all of whom are very experienced in international sports events and highly capable of adding a significant international university sports championship to their host city resume. In meeting with the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau, we learned that Miami had hosted FISU’s World University Netball Championships approximately 5 years previous. Miami’s CVB representative, Mathew Ratner, indicated that he had been a part of that event, which was successful and a good event to host.  

Seeing the value of the numerous meetings, contacts made, and information shared, the USIUSF agreed they should plan to have more of this type of presence at other conferences and trade shows in the future.  

USIUSF Gets New Leadership

After its Board Meeting on May 2, the USIUSF announced its new officers, including confirmation of Lori Thomas, current Commissioner of the Heart of America Conference and a 19-year Board Member of the USIUSF, as the new Secretary General of the organization. The Secretary General functions as the equivalent of the Executive Director or chief staff person for the USIUSF. Lori succeeds Delise O’Meally, who was announced in August of last year as the new Vice President for International Relations at the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee. (Delise retains her position as a member of the Executive Committee of FISU.)

Dan Guerrero, Athletic Director at UCLA for 18 years (2002-2020) and former Baseball athlete in the World University Games, was re-elected as President. Chris Parker, President & CEO of the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA), and a Charlotte, NC-area resident, was elected First Vice President; while Bob Vecchione, CEO of the National Association for College Directors of Athletics (NACDA), was elected Second Vice President. Lori Thomas had this to say, “I am very grateful to have the opportunity to continue the work of supporting college and university students who aspire to pursue their sport at the highest level together with athletes from around the world.”

2029 FISU Games Official Online Store Makes Its Debut

Are you excited about the FISU World University Games coming to the USA? Would you like to let your friends and associates know about the event? Are you looking for a special gift item for a family member or co-worker? If so, then the new (just launched today) 2029 World University Games online store is the right place for you! Featuring a variety of attractive apparel items in a wide selection of colors, ranging from polos and T’s to hoodies, tanks, and caps, the online store has something for everyone. Prices are reasonable, items are in stock, turnaround times are manageable (allow 3 weeks), so there is no better time than now to get yourself properly outfitted for the big event. Get your Games on! Visit the online store today by going to our website On the Home page scroll down to, and click on, the SHOP tile, and it will take you directly to the online store.

News Briefs

On Monday, May 1, 2023, the 2029 World University Games was the focus of the keynote remarks by Hill Carrow at the North Carolina World Trade Association Annual Meeting at the AC Hotel in Downtown Raleigh. Thanks go out to Heather DeanGinny VacaCathy Ma, and NCWTA President, Mike Seibert, for the invitation and a wonderful evening discussing exciting international opportunities for our state.

On Monday, May 15, Hill did a presentation on the 2029 World University Games for the Durham Downtown Rotary. Many thanks to Carver WeaverSharon Lassiter, and Club President, Judge Craig Brown, for including the WUG, but also arranging for the full-house attendance at the PNC Club at Durham Bulls Athletic Park, a WUG 2029 Host Venue for the sport of Baseball.

On Thursday, May 18, North Carolina USA Leadership Team Member, Shannon Mizell, and Hill Carrow, were invited to tour the amazing new broadcast facilities under construction at the offices of the Van Wagner Agency in North Raleigh on Six Forks Road. Van Wagner is one of the largest sports and events agencies in the U.S. with major offices in New York, Los Angeles, and Raleigh. The tour was hosted by Bob Becker, President, Productions (and former Carolina Hurricanes producer), and Christy Nicolay, Executive Producer, Productions (of the Studio City offices in LA). Van Wagner was the firm that did the in-venue presentations for each sport in the Lake Placid Winter World University Games in January, including music, entertainment, graphics, videoboards, and much more.

Local resident, Ashley Twichell, U.S. Open Water National Team Member, Olympian, World Champion, World University Games athlete, and Duke alum, is featured in a very nice article by USA Swimming in this month’s USA Swimming News on her return to competition while enjoying being a first-time mom. USA Swimming News. Citing the company’s major support of, and involvement in, North Carolina USA’s successful bid for the World University Games, and their long-standing contributions to bringing new facilities such as WakeMed Soccer Park and the USA Baseball National Training Complex to Cary, the Cary Chamber of Commerce, a World University Games bid sponsor, recognized Sports &Properties, Inc. as its 2023 Small Business of the Year. Also honored at the annual luncheon were Caleb Smith of Triangle eSports Academy, a WUG bid sponsor, receiving the Impact Award, and Derek Wall of Triangle Aquatic Center, the WUG Water Polo venue, named Large Charitable Non-profit of the Year.

WUG 2029 Host Universities Sports Update for May 2023

Duke University: Men’s Lacrosse hosted (at Koskinen Stadium) and won the first round in the NCAA Tourney, then steadily advanced in the tournament before finishing the NCAA Championships in 2nd Place. Women’s Softball hosted (at Duke Softball Stadium – site of the 2029 WUG Softball Finals) the NCAA Championship Regionals, which Duke won, advancing to the NCAA Super Regionals, which Duke also hosted.

Meredith College: Women’s Lacrosse won its first round NCAA Division III Championship game. The win marked Meredith’s first-ever NCAA championships win in any sport.

NC State: Wolfpack Men’s & Women’s Track & Field hosted the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Men’s & Women’s Track & Field Championships at NCSU’s Derr Track. Women’s Tennis won the ACC Tennis Championships at Cary Tennis Park (Tennis Venue for the World University Games) and finished the season with a 2nd place finish at the NCAA Chammpionships.

UNC Chapel Hill: Women’s Tennis won the NCAA Division I National Championship. Men’s Golf is currently in the semi-finals of the NCAA Championships.

UNC Greensboro: Both Men’s Golf and Women’s Softball competed in NCAA Championship Regionals.

William Peace University: The Men’s Baseball team made it to the USA Southern Conference Championships Final for the first time in school history.Men’s and Women’s Track & Field:NC A&TNC State, and UNC Chapel Hill qualified athletes to compete in next week’s NCAA Division I Track & Field Championships.

State of Baseball – Men’s Baseball

  • The State of North Carolina put 8 teams into the NCAA D-I Championship Playoffs, more than any other state. (Texas is second with 6 teams, followed by Alabama, California, and Louisiana tied for 3rd with 4 teams each): CampbellEast CarolinaDukeNC StateUNC Chapel HillUNC CharlotteUNC Wilmington, and Wake Forest.
  • The Triangle is the number one ranked city with three teams – Duke, NC State, and UNC – in the NCAAs, followed by Nashville with two. No other city has more than one.
  • Wake Forest is the number one ranked team in the entire tournament.
  • The UNC System, if it were considered a state, would rank third in terms of participating teams, with four state universities – NC State, UNC Charlotte, UNC Chapel Hill, and UNC Wilmington – all in the playoffs.


  • Durham Bulls Athletic Park in Durham, World University Games Baseball Venue, hosted the ACC Baseball Championships, May 23-28
  • Boshamer Stadium at UNC Chapel Hill, WUG Baseball Venue, hosted part of the ACC Baseball Championships
  • Lake Wheeler in Raleigh, hosted the ACC Rowing Championships, May 12-13
  • Lonnie Poole Golf Course at NCSU, hosted the NCAA Division I Women’s Golf Regional, May 8-10
  • Triangle Table Tennis in Morrisville, World University Games Training Venue, hosted the Butterfly Upside Down Tournament, May 27-28

The DBAP hosted the 2023 ACC Baseball Championships May 23-28

Support the Games

You can support the Games in a number of ways: corporate contribution, individual contribution, or volunteering. We encourage you to visit our website at and join our team.

Sponsor Thank You’s

We cannot thank our sponsors enough for their strong belief in, and generous support of, North Carolina’s bid for the World University Games. We encourage you to patronize their businesses and give them your own personal thanks when you do.

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