ESPN featured Collegiate Disc Golf during the Mississippi State vs. Alabama football game last weekend. The highly anticipated match up of these previously undefeated SEC teams definitely had a sea of viewers watching as they featured coverage from a disc golf match between the two nationally ranked disc golf teams and showed that their rivalry exends far beyond the gridiron.
The thirty-second segment shown below seemed to be foreshadowing as the Alabama Crimson Tide beat the Mississippi State Bulldogs in the disc golf competition by one throw while the football team went on to secure their big win in the second half.
In other big news, the National Champion Mississippi State Women’s team was honored at halftime of the football game on October 13th. As the Bulldogs were winning 27-14 at the half, the crowd cheered as the game announcers called the Ladies’ team out to mid-field. Check out the photograph of them up on the Jumbotron at Davis Wade Stadium.
NCDGC Qualifier Events
Collegiate Disc Golf also had two National Collegiate Disc Golf Championships qualifier events played last weekend, October 27th and 28th. Both tournaments were inaugural events and marked the continued growth of intercollegiate disc golf. The Lower Midwest Region had the Texas Collegiate Disc Golf Championships in Austin. The Upper Midwest Region hosted the Great Lakes Collegiate Open as one of the NCDGC’s Premier events in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Following the two events, the NCDGC released their latest rankings, where the two winning teams made big jumps in the top 25.
There is only one more NCDGC Qualifier event left on this semster's schedule. The West Coast College Open is the Southwest Region's Premier event and will be hosted in Santa Cruz, California November 2nd through the 4th. Check out the CSUMB disc golf team's website for registration information.
Great Lakes Collegiate Open
Last weekend Wayland and Kalamazoo, Michigan served as the sites for the NCDGC’s Upper Midwest Premier Collegiate Qualifier. The Great Lakes Collegiate Open was presented by Essential Discs. The tournament took place at the beautiful private course Blue Gill Disc Golf Course and at Oshtemo Park.
Saturday started off in an interesting manner with a few teams missing the hard to find turn into the parking area for Blue Gill and getting a scenic tour of some of the deep woods in the area. After getting in and out of being stuck in the mud and getting to tournament central just in time for check-in with vehicles that looked as if they just came out of the bogs, the rest of the day was set for adventure. At only 38 degrees and breezy at tee off, everyone was bundled up with hand warmers in one hand and disc in the other in preparation for their shot. After playing Team Doubles through the tough 24-hole layout, two teams stood apart from the rest shooting 9 throws better than the next team. Wisconsin-Stevens Point and Ferris State would take that lead into the second round.
Foreseeing some daylight restriction the second round had to be modified from the original 24 holes down to only 19 cutting out some fairly easy deuce opportunities on holes 16 through 20. Making a move in the singles competition was newcomers Wright State as they came charging back thanks to a great team effort and an individual hot round of 62 shot by Ben Kahut gaining 5 throws on Ferris State and 3 on Wisconsin-Stevens Point.
As a new day dawned on Sunday morning teams showed up early to take a look and get a feel for the championship level Oshtemo Park course. Players were seeded and placed on cards based on their scores from the second round with the hottest players from the top 4 schools on one card. After 288 holes and 1068 throws, the first Great Lakes Collegiate Open concluded. Again in the individual competition, Wright State gained ground on their competition, but it turned out to not be enough to overtake Ferris State for second place. Wisconsin-Stevens Point took home the title of Great Lakes Collegiate Champion for 2012 and along with Ferris State took home berths to the National Collegiate Disc Golf Championships in April.
It was a great weekend for disc golf! And to those other teams out there looking qualify for Nationals, beware and be on the lookout for Wright State as they have only been together about two weeks. They have plans to make it to some more events and look to be a dangerous group for the future.
Texas Collegiate Disc Golf Championship
The first ever Texas Collegiate Disc Golf Championship was held over the weekend at Twin Parks Country Club in Austin, Texas. The first time tournament was deemed a major success. The event was paired with the Team Justice Amateur Match Play event and the two events worked very well together, providing a two-for-one scenario for many of the players. College students played in the AM Match Play event and represented their school and team at the same time. The collegiate side saw five schools represented including the University of Arkansas who made the 10+ hour trek to compete for the coveted Lower Midwest Region qualifying spot.
The U of A Razorbacks came prepared for battle as the team took an early and commanding lead after the first two rounds of play. However, the Texas State Bobcats weren't about to go down without a Texas-sized cat fight. Texas State tied up the Razorbacks by winning 3 of 4 third round matches while the strong Arkansas team failed to earn any points in the final matches as the sun began to set in the Texas hill country. Texas State was looking great down the stretch and even took a two match lead going into the final round that would see three matches featuring players from Arkansas and Texas State go head to head.
News came in early that Ryan Bewley whom earlier had gone 1-3 in matches reached deep and brought in a huge win for the Bobcats. They only needed one more win to seal the Championship and Nationals bid. Then, Texas State's 3-1 Eric Olden lost his match while 3-1 Justin Hunt was in a tied match and on their last hole. The interested gallery showed up on Justin's last hole just in time to witness an unfortunate out of bounds shot that swiftly ended Justin's chance to seal the deal. Immediately, everyone scrambled to catch up to the last match that featured the two lead schools locked in battle.
This last match featured Texas State’s team captain, Mark Olden, of Houston, who had no idea what had just transpired. Maybe it was a good thing that Mark was unaware of the current team situation. He just knew going into this match that a win was a must. The good news was that the Bobcats were guaranteed a playoff due to Ryan's win earlier. The bad news was that Mark's match was grueling and had just went into sudden death after being tied at the conclusion of the twelve hole match. His Arkansas opponent had a big distance advantage off of the tee and they were faced with Twin Parks Crown Course’s, Hole 7, that favors those that throw far. Hole 7 is one of the toughest holes to stay in bounds of the tee and the pressure only compounded on Olden as he watched his opponent's drive get a wind bump that would ultimately land him out of bounds. Olden's drive flew through the air with confidence as it penetrated the swirling winds and came to rest safely in bounds. Smart play through the rest of the hole led to high fives abound from his teammates as the Texas State Bobcats would win the inaugural Texas Collegiate Disc Golf Championship and the Region 4 automatic bid to the NCDGC.
Big thanks to Team Justice, Des & Jay Reading for directing the event with sponsoring support from Disc Nation, Fully Loaded Disc Golf, Innova Champion, KEEN Footwear, HOTT Tour and YetiDisc.com.