Spring Break & NCDGC Come to an End
After crowning the individual medalist on Saturday evening (Colleen Thompson, representing Illinois State University and Brett Wishon of Kennesaw State), the focus today was on the team competition finals.
Texas State, Alabama, California-Monterey Bay and Georgia Regents made up the four teams in the First Flight finals. The First Flight started the day with the earliest tee times at 8:30am.
California State University–Monterey Bay #1 team, made up of Trevor Hodgins, Patrick Somers, Brian Schoehfelder, and fan-favorite CSUMB Otter, Hyuma Ohkawa, shot the hot round during the finals besting the Texas State #1 team by six throws in the final round of team doubles today. The Texas State Bobcats, made up of Matt Dawson, Jeff Teal, Steven Schmidt, and Adam Kitts, had taken an insurmountable lead into the final round and won the First Flight division by 21 throws to earn a berth in next year’s Championship flight. The University of Alabama team of James Lewis, Derek McElveen, Brian Bartlett, and Nate Wegryn placed third in the First Flight, while fourth place was taken by the Georgia Regents University team of Dakota Bailey, Bryan Hayes, James Burg, and Jonathan Densmore.
The women’s teams, now in their second year of competition, teed off shortly after the First Flight. The ladies of the Mississippi State team successfully defended their 2012 title. The lady Bulldogs made up of Krystin Nowicki, Mitzi Stegall, Pazlee Walker, and Chelsea Palmer threw a 64 in the final round to increase their winning margin to 29 over the second place Oregon State Beavers consisting of Katherine Walgrave, Randi Gullickson, Katelyn Cooley, and Ingrid Udd, who also finished in second last year over Liberty University. The growth of the women players in the collegiate venue of disc golf has been more apparent than ever in the last two years of competition. Pete May, NCDGC creator, dreams of the day that 1,000 teams compete in the Championships and the ladies dream of the day that all 1,000 teams have female participants.
While the First Flight and women’s competition were runaway wins, the Championship Flight was a tight race going into the final round. Tennessee Tech was in first by only 1 stroke on Colorado State, the 2012 National Champions, Alabama-Huntsville was 3 off the lead followed by Mississippi State in 4th with only 4 strokes separating them from the leaders. The top 9 teams going into the finals were within 10 strokes of taking the title, all just one “hot round” away from making history. With a race this close, we have visions of the day when there is enough media coverage to follow every group in the Championships.
Walking around on the course watching the tournament live was exhilarating and overwhelming. What group to watch, what am I missing, who’s winning now, these were just a few of the questions going through the spectators minds while watching the Finals. Looking at the score cards halfway through the final round UAH and Mississippi State were actually winning from the second card. In the back 10 (NCDGC rounds consist of 20 holes) Tennessee Tech found their groove and pulled back in first while Colorado State could not seem to connect the dots and get back in the zone. The 2012 Champions played their hearts out until the end. Conner Mitts caned an impressive 45ft putt into the hanging basket on 17 putting the team back to only one stroke out of first going into the last hole. In the end Tennessee Tech held on to their one stroke lead to become the 2013 National Collegiate Disc Golf Champions. According to Alan Kane, General Manager and NCDGC Tournament Director, “This is the closest National Championships we have ever had in the history of the event with a one stroke victory.”
Colorado State finished tied for 2nd place with Mississippi State who shot a smoking 52 in the final round. Purdue and Arkansas both matched Mississippi State’s hot 52, the top score for the finals.
One of the great things about this event is the camaraderie and pride of the players. As Crazy John Brooks put it, "It's exciting, it Collegiate Disc Golf, enough said.” The 2013 National Disc Golf Championships was a huge success. Special thanks to Tournament Director Alan Kane, Killer B Disc Golf, and the countless volunteers who made this event possible.
Top National Championship Finishers:
1st - Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles
Michael Hoffman, Brent Whitehead, Alex Callis, Ethan Cassidy
Previous Best Finish: 6th in 2012, 2011
2nd (Tie) – Colorado State Rams
Austin Montgomery, Colin Hurley, Tyler Liebman, Connor Mitts
Previous Best Finish: 2012 Champions
2nd (Tie) – Mississippi State Bulldogs
Matt Norris, Dustin Keith, Ethan Warren, Bear Faulkner
Previous Best Finish: 2009 Champions
4th – Purdue Boilermakers
Josh Lowe, Jeremy Johns, Ross Kohrs, Billy Plant
Previous Best Finish: 8th in 2011
5th – University of Alabama-Huntsville Chargers
Seth Beaman, Zach Beaman, Jared Neal, Rick Korab
Previous Best Finish: Third place in 2011 and 2009
6th – Georgia Regents University Augusta Jaguars
John Baker, Holton Brinson, Jason Lynn, Clint Kuglar
Previous Best Finish: 2010 Champions (as ASU)
Stay tuned for a full list of the National Collegiate Disc Golf Championships awards including your 2013 All-Americans along with this year's Guts, distance and Hott Shott champions.